Levelling Up: what rural areas can expect

“Rural communities desperately needed an ambitious and robust plan to create jobs, share prosperity and strengthen communities, but Government has failed to deliver it.”

“If the government used an objective measure of living standards, more money should be being targeted at levelling up rural communities.

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Last week, the government published its ‘Levelling Up’ white paper:

Levelling Up the United Kingdomr

And these pages gave some response from these parts:

Levelling up: what Devon can expect – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Since then, there has been further response from rural organisations.

This is what the Country Land & Business Association had to say on 2nd February:

Government’s levelling up plans “fail to deliver for rural communities”

While the Levelling Up white paper promises a complete ‘system change’ of how government works, it suggests the government doesn’t understand rural voters or their needs, says CLA

The UK Government has failed to deliver an ambitious and robust plan to create jobs, strengthen communities and share prosperity in the countryside, says the Country Land & Business Association (CLA) in response to the Levelling Up white paper.

CLA President Mark Tufnell said: “This white paper was billed as a programme for economic growth in left behind areas – but it is nothing of the sort. Rural communities desperately needed an ambitious and robust plan to create jobs, share prosperity and strengthen communities, but Government has failed to deliver it.

“The lack of rural focus from government is largely down to the fact that Defra alone does not have the policy levers necessary to make a meaningful difference. The Levelling Up agenda needs to include a cross-departmental effort to deliver policies that will create economic growth in rural areas. It isn’t too late. We call on government to listen carefully to the ambitions of rural businesses and the communities they support. We are ready and raring to go, and want to work with ministers to create prosperity across the countryside.”

Government’s levelling up plans “fail to deliver for rural communities” • CLA

And this is the response from the Rural Services Network on 8th February:

THE LEVELLING UP WHITE PAPER: INITIAL VIEWS OF THE RSN: HOW CAN IT BE MADE TO WORK FOR RURAL SETTINGS?

At some 350 pages in length (plus a Technical Annex on Missions and Metrics), it will take us some time to consider all the rural issues in a ‘Rural Lens Review’ of the White Paper

We look forward to seeing the promised ‘White Paper designed to tackle the core drivers of disparities in health outcomes’ which must be fully rural proofed reflecting the evidence in the Inquiry report.

It is disappointing that there is no recognition of affordable housing as a cornerstone for levelling up economically and socially. Housing challenges are more than access to home ownership and unfit housing. Both are important but more social housing in rural areas is, at the present time, the overriding need.

And finally, there is little mention in the Levelling Up White Paper of the cost of living being a key metric. Research commissioned by the RSN last year shows wages are lower in the countryside, but many of the living costs are higher. So rural standards of living, especially for those who can’t afford or are unable to commute to the cities for work, are low. If the government used an objective measure of living standards, more money should be being targeted at levelling up rural communities.

The Levelling Up White Paper: Initial views of the RSN: How can it be made to work for rural settings? – Rural Services Network

   
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