In general, rural areas voted in favour of Brexit in the 2016 referendum, which CLA president Tim Breitmeyer has called a ‘protest vote for the fact that rural Britain got abandoned’. He said that rural businesses and farms are not in a position to absorb the shock of a no-deal Brexit, which could see tariffs levied on exports and imports of cheap food flooding the market.
Speaking before the start of the Conservative Party conference, Breitmeyer questioned the success of the Party with rural voters in the next election: ‘There are an awful lot of people who are really questioning whether next time round that [Tory] is the way they are going to vote. I think there will be quite a lot of people who look to see whether the Liberal Democrats [have better policies].’
He emphasised that the planning system is something that needs to be addressed by the Conservatives, as it is the ‘number one barrier to growth’ in rural areas. Attention is focused on the housing crisis in cities, but it affects rural areas too, as young people cannot afford to stay and a lack of transport and other infrastructure discourages the young, old and those on low incomes.
→ The Guardian - Quarter of rural businesses 'could be bankrupted by no-deal Brexit'
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