12 December 2000
CLA name change ‘not for Labour’

By FWi staff

A LEADING rural lobby group has denied that it is changing its name in a bid to appear more New Labour-friendly.

The Country Landowners Association announced recently that from 01 January it would be known as the Country Land and Business Association.

Some members suggested this was because that the word landowners, with its connotations of landed gentry, was unpalatable to the Labour Government.

But a spokeswoman said this was completely untrue, pointing out that the group was already consulted frequently by ministers on a range of rural issues.

“We were the only rural group invited to the sounding board meetings for the Rural White Paper, respond to numerous consultations, and have a healthy relationship with the Government,” she said.

The CLA – which will retain its traditional acronym – says the change of name reflects the fact that it represents more than 100 different sorts of rural businesses.

Its 50,000 members, who need not own land, include airports, design agencies and cricket clubs, as well as farms, woodland management and equine establishments.

The spokeswoman denied that the name change may alienate farming membership, saying that the CLA was well-placed to lobby for diversified enterprises too.

The CLA was founded as the Central Land Association in 1907 and adopted the Country Landowners Association title in 1949.