The Rural Economy inquiry report was published on 27 April 2019, in it the Committee have called for a comprehensive national-level rural economic strategy, to be delivered locally via communities, councils and businesses.
The House of Lords Select Committee on the Rural Economy was appointed on 17 May 2018 to consider the rural economy, and while there have been studies of particular aspects of the rural economy, such as agriculture, and digital connectivity, the ad hoc inquiry sought to bring these issues together, considering the rural economy as a whole.
In July 2018 the Committee began taking written and oral evidence; CCB’s national body Action for Communities in Rural England (ACRE) was a contributing organization. They have today released a statement saying “ACRE and the ACRE Network warmly welcome and support the House of Lords Rural Economy Committee in their call for an England Rural Strategy and their commitment to ensuring that no resident or business should be disadvantaged unreasonably by their rural location. It’s imperative that Government respond quickly so the action to which they agree can be factored into the Comprehensive Spending Review currently being carried out by the Treasury.”
The Lords’ call is the latest in a clamour for an equal approach to public services in rural areas. ACRE, the Rural Services Network, the Rural Coalition and many other organisations have already signed up to an online campaign calling for a Rural Strategy for England.
ACRE Chair David Emerson CBE said, “We are delighted that the House of Lords Rural Economy Committee has made the call for a Rural Strategy for England central to its report. This adds great weight to the calls of the many rural bodies who see an urgent need for a more joined up approach to policy in rural areas. The acid test will be not only be in Government’s response to their Lordships’ recommendations, but in achieving positive change for rural people who feel all too often that central Government doesn’t understand them.”
All eyes will now be on the Government who must respond to the recommendations made by the Committee. It is the hope of many that Government will rise to the challenge of an England Rural Strategy and unlock the sleeping giant of potential that rests in our rural areas.