Rural firms are ready to invest

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Lincolnshire’s rural businesses can play a major part in driving forward the nation’s economy in 2017, says a group representing the views of rural landowners.

But they insist they must be given the right economic and political environment in which to thrive.

That’s the view of the CLA’s Lincolnshire branch committee chairman Francis Dymoke, who says rural businesses need support from both local authorities and Whitehall.

“There is the potential for further investment across a wide range of areas, such as the diversification of rural businesses into residential and commercial property, tourism, renewable energy, and so on,” he said. “However, many are left frustrated by the planning system, which is often unnecessarily costly, time consuming and bureaucratic.”

He added: “Government instability and ever-shifting policy is also a problem for farmers and landowners who look long-term for a return on their investments. Right now, they want some certainty on where they stand regarding Brexit and the opportunities that it will present them.

“Farmers will also be looking for news on changes to regulation that can be made on our exit from the EU that could have an immediate and positive impact – such as a replacement for CAP and a new process for licensing crop protection products.”

Mr Dymoke said farmers and landowners could give themselves stability and an increased chance of profitability by creating long-term business and succession plans. “Informality and a lack of business planning contribute in no small part to holding businesses back from fulfilling their potential,” he said.

While rural broadband had improved in parts of the countryside, Mr Dymoke said the potential of digital connectivity had only started to be fulfilled and more needed to be done to help rural businesses grasp the opportunity to trade globally.