In a significant move towards addressing the longstanding disparities in rural communities, the Rural Services Network (RSN) successfully launched the 'Winning the Rural Vote’ campaign in Parliament last week.
The campaign, led by RSN Chair Councillor Roger Phillips and Chief Executive Kerry Booth, garnered the attention and support of rural MPs and the Minister for Enterprise, Markets and Small Business Kevin Hollinrake MP who attended the launch and shared his views with the audience on the importance of small businesses in rural areas, to the wider economy.
The manifesto asks in key policy areas for rural communities, arrive at a critical juncture, with rural public services facing chronic underfunding and high operational costs. The challenges are multifaceted: housing remains prohibitively expensive for residents earning local wages, public transport services are inconsistent and often inadequate, and the rural economy struggles to thrive amidst insufficient support. Moreover, the digital divide continues to widen, as rural areas lag in connectivity, further impeding their developmental trajectory.
However, the RSN firmly believes that this narrative can and must change. The 'Winning the Rural Vote’ campaign is not just a call for recognition but a clarion call for decisive, transformative action. It underscores the immense potential of rural areas, areas that could flourish exponentially with the right blend of policy intervention, financial investment, and strategic support.
The launch in Parliament is not the culmination but the commencement of a concerted campaign to reshape the rural landscape. With the backing of MPs and the collective voice of the rural populace, the RSN envisions a future where rural communities are no longer the outliers of progress but integral, thriving components of the nation.
As the conversation around Rural Fair Funding and Winning the Rural Vote gains momentum, the message is clear: the time for overlooking rural areas is over. With 40% of constituencies rural, now is the moment for bold, decisive action that will not only bridge the urban-rural divide but also unlock the untapped potential of rural Britain.
The Rural Service Network stands at the forefront of this transformative journey. Together, we aim to craft a future where rural prosperity is not just an aspiration but a tangible, achievable reality.
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