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CPRE praises rural economy strategy

The House of Lords Select Committee on the Rural Economy has today published a welcome report calling for the Government to develop a rural strategy to address issues faced by rural communities.

CPRE agrees with the committee’s claims that rural economies have been undervalued and suffered from a lack of investment, with national policies largely devised for urban and suburban economies. This has led to a number of challenges for communities across the countryside, according to the report, including:

  • a lack of affordable and suitable housing
  • reduced public transport services
  • skills shortages
  • decline of accessible amenities and services
  • inadequate infrastructure

The report’s recommendations include measures to improve rural connectivity, business support, the planning system, service provision such as health and education and much more.

Crispin Truman, Chief Executive at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), said:

‘It is vitally important that politicians and the public have a better understanding of the economic, social and environmental value of the countryside, no matter where they live.

‘Almost one fifth of England’s population live in rural areas, but a failure to address the unique and specific needs of these communities have put them at risk of being left behind. Shop and school closures, dwindling public transport and a shortage of affordable housing has left many people isolated and without access to vital services.

‘The best way to express the political will required to build thriving rural communities is through better funding for affordable housing, infrastructure and public services. By investing in and tackling these issues in a holistic way, we will enable our market towns and villages to flourish, making them attractive places to live, work in and visit for people of all ages.’

Building sustainable rural economies is crucial to enabling our countryside and environment to thrive. CPRE looks forward to working with the government and partners over the coming months to build on the strategy outlined today.

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