Main-party-logos_456The main political parties have now published their manifestos ahead of the General Election on 7th May. We have been through each manifesto in order to bring you each party’s rural commitments according to our own campaigning priorities, as set out in our own manifesto. Click here to find out what each party plans in terms of food & farming, digital communications, wildlife management, services and communities & housing. We are running an e-lobby where you can ask your parliamentary candidates to back our manifesto – click here to take part and please feed back any responses from your candidates to[email protected] 

Many of the issues identified in the Countryside Alliance’s election manifesto have been picked up by the political parties in their manifestos. Commitments on housing, broadband, food labelling and protecting the Royal Mail’s Universal Service Obligation are all welcome, as is the recognition of the importance of food and farming to the countryside and the UK economy.

Clearly we also welcome the Conservative commitment to protect hunting, shooting and fishing and to give Parliament the opportunity to repeal the Hunting Act. It is however, regrettable that Labour has taken the opportunity to single out shooting in the context of wildlife crime, something which cannot be justified on the evidence, and has pledged to “defend” the Hunting Act, whatever that means. Meanwhile the Green Party has launched an all-out attack on country sports. The UKIP manifesto contains no reference at all to hunting, shooting or any other wildlife management issues. Similarly, the Liberal Democrats are silent on the issue of wildlife management. There is clearly much misinformation and misunderstanding among politicians about shooting and its importance to the countryside in environmental and economic terms.

Whatever the outcome of the General Election on 7th May there will be much to do not only to ensure that policies deliver for rural people but also that the interests of those who manage our countryside are protected.