The Government must develop a rural strategy

By Graham Biggs | 28 April 2019

Cuts and closures have plagued England’s countryside for decades. It has been 19 years since the Government last produced a Rural White Paper and it’s clearer than ever that our rural areas are falling behind. 17 per cent (9.4 million) of the population live in rural areas – that’s more than in Greater London – and yet when it comes to Government policymaking, their needs are frequently overlooked.

Evidence in the Lords Rural Economy Committee report published on Saturday highlights the devastating impact of this for rural areas, with communities facing distinct challenges in the delivery of services and missing out on important benefits. Change is needed and that’s why the Committee’s report rightly calls on the Government to take action to unlock rural England’s full potential, and why the Rural Services Network has been campaigning for a new, comprehensive - cross government departmental -  Rural Strategy which raises rural opportunities and challenges up the political agenda as a matter of urgency.

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