A cautious welcome to the Government’s new rural initiative

This morning (Tuesday 6 June 2023), the Government announced details of its new initiative “Unleashing Rural Productivity”.  Whilst we have yet to see the detailed report, the RSN understands that plans include a boost for rural communities on housing, transport, digital connectivity and jobs.

RSN Chief Executive, Kerry Booth, is cautiously welcoming the announcement:

“It is good to finally see a joined-up approach across Government departments. We know that you cannot tackle the challenges facing our rural communities in isolation.  For example, it is not about building more homes.  We need the right kind of homes in the right places, supported by an infrastructure including transport, health and education.  All of this also needs to be delivered in a timely manner before the urban/rural gap becomes even greater.

“However, the crux of the problem remains one of fairer funding.  Historically rural local authorities have been underfunded by successive Governments.  This means that rural councils have less to spend to deliver services, when it costs more to do so in rural communities.  For example, something as simple as collecting the bins costs more as the refuse lorry travels so much further if its collecting from properties four miles apart rather than a terraced row of houses.

“We would now love to see these policy commitments followed up with a DHLUC commitment to fairly fund rural councils too as that would make a significant difference.”

Kerry addressed some of these issues during an interview on the BBC’s Farming Today programme with Anna Hill.

A link to the Government Press Release can be found here:


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