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4G vital for rural economy

CROSS-PARTY MPs and Peers heard about the issues and successes of rural businesses at a special reception in the House of Commons hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Rural Business and the CLA, last week.

The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses invited its members from across England and Wales to Westminster to showcase successful rural businesses and highlight how the Government can support economic growth in the countryside.

Speaking at the event, CLA President Tim Breitmeyer said: “Businesses based in the countryside make an amazing contribution to the economy as a whole. There are more than 650,000 rural businesses employing over 3.5million people in England and Wales, contributing £235billion in gross value added. In Wales alone it is estimated that farmers and rural businesses invest £1.3 billion annually into the economy – creating and growing enterprises that communities depend on. It is wonderful to have such a diverse range of successful businesses demonstrating their credentials in the heart of Westminster.

“However, there are still challenges to overcome alongside ensuring a profitable farming sector that remains at the core,” Mr Breitmeyer added.

“Running a business in the countryside should be afforded the same opportunities as those based in towns and cities. It has been invaluable for parliamentarians to hear first-hand the barriers that rural businesses still face and what can be done to help them flourish, such as improving digital connectivity and creating a planning system which supports rural economic growth and allows desperately needed homes to be built. Welsh and English rural businesses must be served by the governments working within their remit and working together where appropriate.”

MPs and Peers attending the reception supported the CLA’s 4G For All campaign by backing the call for the Government to impose tough targets on mobile phone operators to deliver 4G in rural areas.

Mr Breitmeyer said: “4G is vital for rural economic growth in the run up to Brexit and beyond, so that the countryside can become more connected, unlock future investment and realise its full potential.”