The Rural Services Network, as part of its #rememberrural campaign for the December 12th General Election, calls on the Government to recognise the importance of Rural Towns to the overall wellbeing of the Communities they serve. Government needs to create a special “Rural Towns Funding Stream” within all funds allocated to support so called “Left - Behind Towns” so as to ensure that rural towns and their High Streets are not left yet further behind.
Rural Towns serve communities across their whole rural hinterlands, often across a radius of 10’s of miles across rural roads. Towns and their hinterland parishes are encouraged to work together to support the essential needs for the economic, social and health wellbeing of the residents and businesses of both the town and the hinterland.
Towns are the hub providing retail, medical, recreational and business support to the whole area with the next nearest town often miles and miles away. The Government announced the first 100 communities to benefit from the towns fund based on various criteria including productivity, deprivation and investment opportunities but rural areas may not have the critical mass or funding to compete on a level playing field with urban towns in national funding competitions – hence the RSN’s call for a bespoke allocation for rural towns in each funding package.
The RSN also asks the “Future of the High Street Task Force” which is currently hard at work to ensure they investigate and report on the special issues facing rural towns and the opportunity to support them in a better, more focussed way, than has previously been the case.
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