The Rural Services Manifesto

Seeking the best for rural England, 2015 to 2020

Almost a fifth of England’s population lives in its rural areas and rural based businesses make a huge contribution to the nation’s economy.

The Rural Services Network (RSN) and its more than 260 member organisations believe it is vital that the needs of rural areas are addressed, therefore, by an incoming Government in 2015.  Its communities and businesses must benefit fully from new policy initiatives.  Meeting rural needs must not be seen as solely an issue for Defra: rather, it is one for all Whitehall departments and agencies.

This Manifesto focuses on eleven policy topics which should be seen as linked with each other and which taken together can help deliver sustainable rural communities.

We call, in particular, upon an incoming Government to:

Sub Categories

The planning system

PlanningThe Rural Services Network wants to see positive planning which allows rural communities to adapt and thrive.  This must offer policies that reflect local circumstances and provide a workable planning system, which both engages and gains the trust of rural communities.

To view the RSN calls to Government click here

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Affordable housing

Affordable HousingThe Rural Services Network wants rural communities to remain places where people from a range of age groups and backgrounds can live.  Housing (un)affordability is a key concern and there is an urgent need for more affordable homes to meet rural community needs.

To view the RSN calls to Government click here

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Local government funding

Fairer FundingThe way Government distributes grant funding to local authorities across England means rural people end up paying higher Council Tax bills than urban people, yet still have less money available to fund local services and so receive fewer of them.  This is fundamentally unfair.  The system should take full account of higher service delivery costs in rural areas.

To view the RSN calls to Government click here

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Public transport

Public TransportThe Rural Services Network sees public transport as critical because its paucity is a key cause of rural disadvantage and isolation.  The subsidy that so many rural bus routes depend upon is under threat.  Innovative solutions will help, but funding can’t be overlooked.

To view the RSN calls to Government click here

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Access to health facilities

HealthThe Rural Services Network wants to see rural communities provided with access to high quality health care services, delivered locally wherever that is possible and effective.  This should reflect the ageing demographic of rural populations.

To view the RSN calls to Government click here

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Older people’s services

ElderlyRural areas are home to a high and growing share of the older population.  This has positive aspects, but will also put pressure on public services such as health, social care and transport.  Policies must plan now for this trend and address high rural delivery costs.

To view the RSN calls to Government click here

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Tackling fuel poverty

Fuel PovertyRural areas have a high proportion of households in fuel poverty, with many off the mains gas network or living in solid wall homes.  Advice to help fuel poor households must reach rural communities and policies like the Energy Company Obligation need revising to meet rural needs.

To view the RSN calls to Government click here

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Viable village services

Village ServicesThe Rural Services Network believes that local services – such as village shops, pubs and post offices – are at the heart of functioning communities, as well as offering a lifeline to many vulnerable residents.  Their steady erosion needs to be addressed and reversed.

To view the RSN calls to Government click here

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Broadband and mobile connectivity

BroadbandThe Rural Services Network wants all rural businesses and communities to share in the opportunities available with a fast broadband connection.  Public sector programmes should set more ambitious targets and focus investment on places which are being left behind.

To view the RSN calls to Government click here

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The rural economy

EconomyRural economies are a significant part of the national economy and have considerable potential, if also some weaknesses.  It is vital that grant programmes and business support programmes reach into and benefit rural areas if their potential is to be realised.

To view the RSN calls to Government click here

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Rural proofing

Rural ProofingThe Rural Services Network wants to see all Government policy making being subject to rural proofing, so sufficient early thought is given to how those policies will benefit rural communities and so any unintended rural consequences can be identified.

To view the RSN calls to Government click here

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Full copy - The Rural Services Manifesto

Manifesto 2015 to 2020 webA full copy of The Rural Services Network Manifesto can be downloaded by clicking on this link

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Brexit module

Brexit
For information about the full implications and the repercussions on rural areas click here
 


BBC Countryfile Magazine

Countryfile magazine
For the latest issue of BBC Countryfile magazine, click here
 


funding module website

Fairer Funding
For our Fairer Funding campaign information click here
 


local-government

Observatory
For analysis and comment on key rural services, click here.
 


govuk2

Local Authority pages
To access tailored information on your local authority, click here
 


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Parliamentary Group
For the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Rural Services, click here.
 


Our Events

Our Events
For Rural Services Network events and notable dates, click here.
 


Our Events

Rural studies archive
For our Commission for Rural Communities archive, click here.