Will the King's Speech meet the needs of rural communities?

Kerry Booth, Chief Executive of the Rural Services Network reflects on the King's Speech, due to take place today. 

This is the first King's Speech since King Charles became monarch.  It marks the start of the Parliamentary year and is likely to be the last before the next General election.

With 40% of constituencies being rural, this is likely to be a key battleground for the political parties, and it doesn’t come soon enough!  Rural communities have long had their needs ignored by Government that often focuses on a ‘one size fits all policy’.  This approach doesn’t take into account the needs of rural communities or provide solutions to meet those needs. 

We are at a moment in time where rural public services are underfunded, and expensive to provide, houses are unaffordable for local people, public transport provision is patchy and the rural economy is not getting the support it needs to grow and prosper, as digital and mobile connectivity lags behind that of the rest of the country.

We would love to see the following principles applied throughout the provisions of the King's Speech:

  • An approach that considers the different challenges rural areas face, and solutions to target those challenges
  • Policy that has been designed to meet the needs of rural areas
  • The right data, collected at the right level, to enable policy makers to measure the success of policy decisions from both a rural and urban perspective

It will be interesting to see the detail of the King's Speech and we will be reporting back on potential implications for rural areas.

We have put together our asks for rural communities of the political parties ahead of the General Election, due in the coming months. You can read more about our Rural Roadmap at this link.