The report warns that this poses a serious risk to the future of both agriculture and the wider rural economy, which would see rural communities ‘slip into a cycle of decline’ where young people move away because they cannot afford a home or earn a living.
This leads to a ‘hollowing-out’ of these communities, leaving them with an ageing population, the closure of schools and a loss of vital services such as public transport.
The paper warns that this vicious cycle has to be broken if the futures of both agriculture and rural communities are to be safeguarded.
It argues that it is long overdue for the Government to pay much more attention to rural voices than it has, and fund these communities properly.
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