Report highlights lack of confidence in farming sector

COUNTRYSIDE businesses are facing a significant drop in confidence and investment, according to the Country Land and Business Association (CLA).

Confidence among the farming sector for the next 12 months has fallen by 25 per cent from a net balance of plus-26 per cent to plus-one per cent compared with the First Quarter.

Second Quarter findings of the CLA/Smiths Gore Rural Economy Index (REI) also said investment for non-agricultural businesses remained a significant issue with a fall of 15 per cent in net balance from minus-two per cent in Quarter One to minus-17 per cent in Quarter Two.

CLA deputy president Henry Robinson said the findings highlighted how ‘damaged’ the rural economy was becoming due to low confidence and investment.  

“The Eurozone crisis, higher input costs, slow or no broadband and weak consumer confidence are some of the factors hitting confidence in trading conditions with the inability to secure capital funding the main reason for lack of investment,” he said.

“The Government must strive to reduce red tape, relax planning rules and improve access to broadband if the rural economy is to recover.”

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