Encouraging signs from promises

Robyn Peat, managing partner at George F White.
Robyn Peat, managing partner at George F White.

Robyn Peat has recently been appointed Managing Partner at George F White, a natural progression following 26 years of being an integral part of the business. Here, he shares the organisation’s thoughts on the recent General Election result.

In the run-up to the General Election, there were many what-ifs in terms of what party would win and what this would mean for the rural sector.

Those in business, property and land waited with baited breath to see who would be appointed and the implications this would have.

In the end, a new Conservative-led government was born, bringing stability to UK leadership. Early indications are showing signs of an underlying confidence that is slowly and quietly growing as the new Cabinet takes shape.

It is obvious that there’s been a sizeable shift from previous governments and the past – with the new-look government appealing to the nation as a whole, rich or poor, male or female and young or old.

There are a number of new or updated initiatives that hold significant relevance to business, land and development advisors. In terms of property – specifically housing – the policy is more or less a continuation of what we’ve seen from the most recent Tory-led government.

It’s highly centred on the Right-to-Buy scheme that the Tories are keen to push, with social housing being the priority. Cameron also promises 200,000 new homes for first-time buyers under 40 and Help-to-Buy ISAs to help young people get on the property ladder.

One of the most notable, and most positive objectives, is the increased focus on land and development initiatives. For example, the Prime Minister has pledged a £1billion brownfield regeneration fund to unlock sites for 400,000 homes, to raise new-build housing delivery. The Conservative manifesto encourages thousands of new home builds which, as business land and property advisors, we greatly welcome.

From an agricultural perspective, the Tories also plan to work to improve and simplify the CAP which we welcome as we believe it needs to go back to a simple low cost system. They’ve also emphasised the need to drive apprenticeships in the rural sector which is we think is really positive as it’s good to see this sector getting the same volume of support, funding and growth that other sectors have experienced. We hope practical steps are put in place so good quality people can be matched with appropriate job roles in the sector.

Another plus for the farming world is that the Conservatives will also work with the food and farming industry to develop a 25-year plan to ‘grow more, buy more and sell more British food’. By setting up a Great British Food Unit, Cameron hopes to help trademark and promote local foods globally. Again, a great win for British farmers and recognition of the importance to safeguard their role in the global food chain market.

In all, there are some encouraging signs here for the sector and, as long as there is fruition to the promises made, then we do believe we can be quietly confident of an optimistic outlook.

Actions, however, speak louder than words so as the new government beds down it’s going to be interesting to see how theoretical policies and pledges translate into a reality.