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Rural voters lose faith in Westminster

The UK public have little faith in Westminster to deliver positive change for people living in rural communities, reveals a YouGov survey.

Only one in 25 people believes this year's general election will have a positive impact on rural communities, the poll found.

Nearly 70% of the public do not think that politicians care about affordable housing in rural areas, according to the survey.

The poll was commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and the rural housing association Hastoe.

Just 4% of people think the forthcoming general election on 7 May will have a positive effect on people living in rural communities.

Almost half of the 2,110 respondents thought that the election would have no impact.

The survey also reinforced suggestions that there is a dearth of affordable rural homes, with 59% of rural respondents stating that there was a lack of affordable homes in their communities.

Furthermore, two thirds of rural-based respondents – and two thirds of all respondents – did not think that politicians care about the issue of providing affordable housing in rural areas.

The survey sought the public's views on solutions for increasing rural affordable housing.

The most popular option was an increase in public funding, while 28% also saw greater community engagement as central to any significant solutions.

The survey was commissioned by CPRE and Hastoe to support an event in parliament on Tuesday (13 January) to launch a partnership between the two organisations.

CPRE chief executive Shaun Spiers said: "Housing is increasingly unaffordable in many English villages, and building lots of market housing won't change that.

He added: "We need well-planned, high quality social housing that fits in with the village and provides homes for those living or working in the community.

"Whoever is elected in May must do much more to subsidise social housing and ensure that appropriate sites are available.

"The alternative is to see villages become exclusively the preserve of well-off home workers, rather than living, mixed communities."

Hastoe Group chief executive Sue Chalkley said the poll results underlined the messages that the housing association was receiving "all the time" from rural communities.

"They recognise the link between the lack of affordable homes, the difficulty their children are having in finding an affordable home and the social and economic viability of their village.

"It is vital for developers to work in partnership with local people to build beautiful and energy efficient homes that are a legacy to the community and a source of pride.

"CPRE and Hastoe are keen to do what we can to ensure rural communities have the right kind of homes to protect their future and that of generations to come."


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