Labour pledge to revive rural Britain

Shadow Defra secretary Rachael Maskell has pledged that a future Labour government will revitalise Britain's rural communities.

Ms Maskell made the promise in a speech to the Labour party's autumn conference in Liverpool on Sunday (25 September).

Labour was "ready now to revive rural communities, revive coastal communities, revive urban communities and revive our nation," she told delegates.

" Labour will revive rural communities through digitalisation, reaching all with broadband and mobile coverage so businesses are no longer restricted to urban settings."

This would also help a mobile workforce to relocate.

"Labour will revive rural communities by addressing the rural transport crisis, building the homes that local people need with better rural policing and public services."

On agriculture, Ms Maskell said it was important to recognise that the UK's trading relationship with the rest of Europe remained key.

"Crucially, how we trade will determine if rural Britain thrives or survives."

Highlighting rural Britain's ageing population, Ms Maskell added: "We need people to work the land and in food production."

Labour would expose all to the opportunities of rural life in high skilled farming jobs, technology, science and research, as well as rearing livestock and growing crops.

A Labour government would protect rural communities by ensuring the government's long term settlements hit the right balance between farming and environmental measures.

"We will defend and extend environmental protections but will not compromise production."

As well as backing British farming from "plough to plate," Ms Maskell said a Labour government would also revive coastal communities.

"I grew up in a coastal, semi-rural community and I know the importance of fishing to local economies," she said.

"Through ensuring our fish stock is sustainable and through maritime regeneration, we will secure a fair distribution of quotas to revive fishing communities."

Ms Maskell said: "Labour has listened and learnt, and Labour is now the Party with a fresh vision to revive our rural, coastal and urban communities."

The full speech can be downloaded here.

The Rural Services Network is an apolitical organisation. We will report the rural aspects of a keynote speech to the Tory party conference by Defra secretary Andrea Leadsom next week.


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