“Levelling up is too urban-focused, and does not account for disadvantages in rural economies.”
“Levelling up approach risks worsening rural-urban divides.”
Rural areas are feeling left out:
‘Hidden region’: rural England forgotten in Government’s Levelling Up White Paper
Were England’s rural communities a distinct region, their need for Levelling Up would be greater than that of any other part of the country, according to new research published today that finds the Government’s metrics do not properly account for the pressures facing our smaller towns and villages and as a result effectively side-line 12 million people.
The report, Rural as a region: the hidden challenge for Levelling Up, finds that the Government’s Levelling Up white paper metrics – used to identify the regions most in need of levelling up – are too urban-focused, and do not account for disadvantage in rural economies within regions, often linked to limited local employment prospects, poor transport networks and weak connectivity. It calls for the Government to rethink its choice of metrics and include more rural-relevant indicators such as work placed based incomes, fuel poverty levels, access to further education and house prices relative to local earnings.
As widely reported:
And here’s just one example:
Priced off the Road
Newsnight on 14th June highlighted the plight of rural communities struggling with the negative impact of the rising cost of fuel on rural communities: “For those living in rural areas owning a car isn’t a luxury, it can be a necessity, a necessity that is becoming increasingly difficult to afford”.
The story included a focus on food banks in rural areas, and both the difficulty for volunteers who can no longer afford to fill their cars to transport food donations to rural residents, along with those receiving food parcels from the food banks that struggled to reach them as they were unable to afford the petrol to get there.
With a few more examples: