Monday, 20 May 2013 12:18

Rural voters feel sidelined – poll

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Rural voters feel sidelined – poll

ALMOST three-quarters of rural voters feel politicians are more interested in city dwellers, suggests a poll.

Some 64% of people living in the countryside believe that the coalition government's policies are failing to help rural Britain.

And 73% think politicians are more interested in the views and values of city dwellers – especially those living in London, rather than people in the countryside.

Rural dwellers are more likely to disagree with government policies on fuel, transport and planning, according to research carried out for the Countryside Alliance.

Alliance executive chairman Barney White-Spunner said the concerns should be a wake-up call to all three major political parties, but especially the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

"Rural voters feel badly done by, and loyalties parties may have taken for granted in the past should not be tested further," he said.

"The countryside needs concrete evidence that it matters to government."

One of the commitments that the government had so far failed to deliver has been a free vote on repeal of the hunting act, said Sir Barney.

"We understand the difficulties of government in coalition but both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats should remember that hunting is a totemic issue to rural voters.

"They need to demonstrate to the countryside as a whole that they are listening and engaged."

The government should also consider fuel prices.

"People in rural areas spend 25% more on average per month on their commute compared to those in urban areas," Sir Barney said.

"We say the duty discount on petrol and diesel in the Hebrides, the Northern Isles, and the Isles of Scilly needs to be extended to further rural areas."

Other issues included rural crime and a lack of affordable housing in the countryside.

"The new Police and Crime Commissioners must ensure they do not ignore the countryside in their fight to bring overall crime figures down.

"And rural communities and businesses also need better mobile phone and broadband services just as much as people living in cities.

"The rural vote is a big one and the government needs to work for it."

People in this conversation

  • Guest (Mervyn Jeffery)

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    It has been obvious for the last 60 years that Central government takes account of Cities and towns more than Rural areas. Most rural areas are represented by land owning Tories who only take notice of the wealthy people in their constituency. Bob Walter North Dorset MP is typical of the type. since 1945 there has been only one Minister of agriculture with any REAL knowledge of agriculture.

  • Guest (Cllr John Bishop)

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    Beside there being an urban rural divide there is also a south and the rest of the country divide as well.
    Lincolnshire is a mainly rural county and has not received its fair share of the government money for a very long time but unless the electorate use their power to elect councillors who are willing to fight for the rights of the rural community the status quo will remain.

    from North Hykeham, Lincolnshire, UK
  • Guest (Jim Kent)

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    Though I agree there is a South v. rest of country divide, this stops at Bristol. Much of the SW has been starved of infrastructure development for many years - what's the benefit to SW (or Lincolnshire) of HS2? We have the highest Regional density of Older People and hence their associated H&SC problems. With so many pensioners and a sparse population, it is laughable to talk about improving the local economy when the totality of rural living costs is compared with disposable incomes.

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