Centre for Rural Economy

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CRE experts join call for rural strategy

Experts from the Centre for Rural Economy have made major contributions to a new report calling for the Government to develop a Rural Strategy to address rural challenges and realise the potential of rural economies.

The recently published House of Lords Select Committee report on the Rural Economy highlights the challenges and constraints facing the rural economy and how they can be addressed to ensure the potential of rural economies is realised.

Since July 2018, Centre for Rural Economy (CRE) Professor Mark Shucksmith OBE has acted as Special Adviser to the Select Committee. Professor Shucksmith, a world-renowned expert on social exclusion in rural areas and rural policy, advised the Committee on a broad range of issues – from the impact of migration between rural and urban areas and enabling affordable housing to how to support the rural economy and services in rural areas. Several other academics from the CRE including Professor Jeremy Philipson.

Professor Phillipson said: “Our rural economies have shown themselves to be substantial, resilient and growing, yet they can appear an afterthought in mainstream economic and spatial policy development and delivery. We need a coherent, government-wide strategy for rural economies that makes visible rural strengths, opportunities and needs and embeds them into all economic and business policies – whether they be national or local. Bringing a more visible strategic commitment to rural economies will allow them to play their full part in the nation’s economic plans.”

The committee’s proposals have three linked elements: a coherent rural strategy, re-energised rural proofing and a “place based” approach which reflects the diversity of the countryside and the capabilities and knowledge of those who live and work there. The report’s recommendations also include measures to improve rural connectivity, business support, the planning system, training arrangement, service provision such as health and education and much more.

Lord Foster of Bath, Chairman of the Committee, said: “Rural communities and the economies in them have been ignored and underrated for too long. We must act now to reverse this trend, but we can no longer allow the clear inequalities between the urban and rural to continue unchecked. A rural strategy would address challenges and realise potential in struggling and under-performing areas, and all vibrant and thriving areas to develop further. Doing nothing is not an option."

The full report can be found here: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201719/ldselect/ldrurecon/330/33002.htm

published on: 1 May 2019