Monday, 14 March 2011 07:18

Labour to review rural challenges

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Labour to review rural challenges

The Labour Party has announced a major review of the challenges facing rural Britain.

Labour's policy review will examine the challenges facing rural communities - including affordable housing, rising living costs, the future of farming and 'green' jobs.

The working group will inform a wider policy review being undertaken by Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Shadow Defra secretary Mary Creagh said: "Everyone knows how hard it is for families to make ends meet with rising living costs and concerns about jobs. But these challenges are even more daunting in market towns and rural communities."

"Rural growth and the creation of new green jobs are essential if we want to see a lasting recovery for all. That is why we are asking not just how we protect rural Britain but also what future do we want for the countryside."

The Tory-led Government's recent attempt to sell-off England's public forests had led to renewed interest in the countryside with over half a million people signing a petition against the plans.

Ms Creagh said the 'How do we protect Rural Britain?' review would cover a range of issues.

They included:

* Promoting innovation and growth in the rural economy, including the creation of new sustainable industries, quality jobs for young people and the management of our natural resources (economy).

* Strengthening rural communities and providing effective local services (community).

* Ensuring fairness and opportunities for all families, especially young people and those facing the squeeze from rising living costs, fuel prices and food costs (families and social inclusion).

* Feeding Britain - food security and promoting a modern, competitive farming and food sector (Food and farming).

* Britain's relationship with the natural world - valuing nature and wildlife, making them more accessible for all (Natural environment).

A range of experts and politicians has agreed to advise Labour team on an independent and non-partisan basis.

They include Environment Agency former chairman Sir John Harman, NFU president Peter Kendall, RSPB chief executive Mike Clarke, TUC deputy general secretary Francis O'Grady, Prospect president Nigel Titchen and Co-operative Farms managing director Christine Tacon.

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