NEW YEAR BRINGS NEW CHALLENGES FOR RURAL ISLAND BUSINESSES

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CLA’s Susie Sheldon

Brexit issues, business rates and plans for the new coast path will be key challenges for many Isle of Wight rural businesses in 2017, says Susie Sheldon, chairman of the CLA’s Isle of Wight branch. 

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) represents more than 30,000 landowners, farmers and rural businesses in England and Wales.

Susie Sheldon comments:

“Uncertainties over farm support payments and trade deals following the vote for Brexit and concerns about the continued availability of seasonal labour, are just some of the issues facing rural businesses in the year ahead. These are mammoth tasks to be resolved and the CLA has already been doing much work engaging with Government on behalf of landowners, farmers and rural businesses.”

Another pressing issue for many rural businesses as the new year gets underway will be the impact of recent revaluations of business rates, says Susie:

“We are aware that many rural businesses are facing significant increases in business rates and our concern is that this does not act as a barrier to future investment in innovation and diversification.”

 Natural England will be starting consultations with landowners and farmers on the proposed route of the new coast path on the Isle of Wight during 2017. Susie Sheldon says the path could have a significant impact on many rural businesses and other landowners, including those who do not currently have any public access to their land.

Rural crime will also remain a significant concern for landowners and farmers in the year ahead says Sheldon:

“It is good to see that the new Police & Crime Commissioner is holding a rural crime conference on the Island this Spring and we will be continuing to work closely with the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Rural Crime Partnership on behalf of rural businesses across the Island.”

Finally, uncertainty looks set to continue in 2017 with regard to plans for devolution and the impact this decision could have on the Island’s rural businesses.

Susie adds:

“It’s going to be a busy year and one in which the CLA’s voice on behalf of landowners, farmers and rural businesses will be more important than ever.”

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