by Paul Dixon, Rural Evidence Manager, Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE)
A coalition of thirteen leading rural organisations is urging the Government to commit to more equitable funding in rural areas to support England’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
The Rural Coalition has published Rebuilding Rural: Growing Back Better, setting out its priorities for a successful recovery by seizing the potential social and economic opportunities across rural England.
Rural areas are home to 9.3 million people – more than Greater London – but they have long faced the challenges of sparsity, remoteness, poor connectivity and a history of unequal funding and patchy service delivery. Some communities which are heavily dependent on tourism and seasonal work are now at risk of being left further behind. The COVID-19 crisis has exposed weaknesses in the narrow economic base of some of these areas, but also highlighted the opportunities rural economies can make to the recovery. Now, this potential needs to be unlocked through a programme of investment.