Attended a CAP Reform update seminar in London today - interesting and at the same time very concerning as the current proposals seem to be moving farming backwards and more reliant on subsidy rather than moving towards a more competitive industry less reliant on public funding. Indeed the law of unintended consequences may well come into play if some of the proposals actually get agreed by the European Parliament in due course. Negotiations continue till 2013 so there is time for sense to prevail yet I doubt if it will... UK Government have their work cut out.
In the afternoon attended a briefing by the Secretary of State for Defra and her ministers on the outcome of the Chancellor's pre-budget statement specifically in terms of rural growth opportunities and of real interest to Clinton Devon - Rural Growth Networks. Below is a url linking to a Defra presentation on the subject:
I was involved as Chairman of the Estates Business Group - www.estatesbusinessgroup.co.uk -
Rural Committee in some of this work earlier in the year and it is fantastic that the Treasury are looking to fund some initiatives for rural areas from community broadband, affordable housing to Rural Growth Networks investment. The funds are limited and subject to open competition between the Local Enterprise Partnerships. We need to ensure that the Heart of the SW LEP gets engaged with the rural growth agenda and submits some bids ASAP otherwise the funds will go to other areas. Clinton Devon will do what ever is necessary to help Devon get its fair share to encourage local jobs, increased productivity, income growth for local businesses and community infrastructure - but we need Local Authorities to lobby the LEP over the coming weeks.
Whilst the economy is in a pretty dire situation - we must do whatever we can to protect the UK's AAA rating - otherwise it will be game over. In that respect it will be a private sector driven recovery - especially if the public sector is unable to deliver the necessary infrastructure investment. We shall see...