The Rural Coalition urges the government not to ignore 9.7 million rural votes 


The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has joined the other thirteen national organisations that comprise The Rural Coalition to urge the government not to ignore England's 9.7 million rural votes.

Rural areas have long faced the challenges of failing infrastructure, poor connectivity and unfair funding systems that do not properly account for the additional rural costs associated with delivering essential services, including healthcare.

The coalition's newly published roadmap, A better future for rural England: An opportunity for changesets out nine policy principles to address the structural inequalities and weaknesses facing rural areas and the people who live and work in rural England and is calling on the next government to implement the coalition's vision for rural England, including:

  • Produce a comprehensive rural strategy: create a cross-departmental strategy for rural England to deliver sustainable growth for communities and businesses.
  • Ensure fairer funding: revise funding metrics to allocate public services funds to address the systemic gap between urban and rural public funding.
  • Invest in rural infrastructure: upgrade capacity and resilience of the electricity grid; invest in reliable digital networks and create fit-for-purpose rural transport networks.
  • Adapt and mitigate for climate change: launch a coordinated approach from government and agencies to address the challenges posed by climate change.
  • Create a prosperous rural economy: invest in skills and retraining to increase economic diversity and attract new businesses.
  • Rural proof the design of services: develop service plans that avoid a one-size-fits-all approach and ensure accessibility for rural communities and businesses.
  • Deliver services locally: deliver services at as local a level as possible to ensure they meet local needs and are readily available to the community.
  • Empower the voluntary and community sector: enhance support and funding for the voluntary and community sector to help deliver vital facilities and services.
  • Devolve decision-making powers: devolve decision-making and responsibilities to the most local level so services are tailored to rural needs.

The Rural Coalitionis an alliance of thirteen national organisations championing a living, working countryside. It has set out an urgent appeal for all political parties to empower rural areas in election manifestos to improve the prospects and opportunities for rural businesses and communities.

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