A report released today (Saturday, 27 April) by the House of Lords Rural Economy Committee outlines in stark terms the discrepancy in funding between urban and rural areas.

It also calls for a comprehensive rural strategy, more measures to tackle rural criminality and the importance of ensuring a rural voice in Government.

In its report 'Time for a strategy for the rural economy' the Committee highlighted that with a vast range of rural businesses and initiatives, and new sectors growing fast, rural economies are increasingly diverse, dynamic and vibrant.

But successive governments have underrated the contribution rural economies can make to the nation’s prosperity and wellbeing.

They have applied policies largely devised for urban and suburban economies which are often inappropriate for rural England. This has led to challenges including lack of affordable housing, reduced public transport, skills shortages and decline of accessible services.

Also among the recommendations in the report are research to better understand rural criminality and new measures on fly tipping.

Responses to the report

In response to the report the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) President Tim Breitmeyer said: “We are pleased that the unique circumstances of the rural economy have been recognised by the Lords which advocates for a dedicated rural strategy.

“The report clearly highlights how the ‘one size fits all’ policy approach of successive governments has left the countryside lacking in terms of housing, employment and skills, broadband and mobile connectivity, as well as access to key services such as banks, healthcare, schools and shops.

“These are all issues which have fuelled a growing urban/rural divide and which can only be solved through planning and funding systems that proactively deliver on the three objectives of sustainable development – economy, community and the environment.

The National Rural Crime Network also welcomed the report.

Julia Mulligan, Chair of the National Rural Crime Network said: “This is a welcome and comprehensive report on all aspects of the rural economy and its impact on those who live and work in the countryside.

“The House of Lords Committee is correct that we need to do more to tackle crime and the fear of crime in rural areas – and ensure the police and other organisations have the resources to do that.

“It reinforces the findings of our National Rural Crime Survey which found the impact of crime – from anti-social behaviour to fly-tipping and speeding - is significant and that action needs to be taken. It is vital the government listens.

“We will continue to fight for rural communities, who should not have to put up with sub-standard services just because of where they live."

Find out more about the report