No rural community left behind: our recommendations for the next government

GRCC and other members of the ACRE Network have put together a set of policy recommendations for the incoming government - a sort of manifesto for rural communities.

No Rural Community Left Behind.  Our recommenations for the next government.  Acre Network Logo

The document, called 'No Rural Community Left Behind', contains 32 recommendations, grouped into four key themes:

  • Proactively "rural proofing" domestic policy
  • Investing in services, infrastructure, and affordable housing
  • Supporting community-led action
  • Enabling rural communities to be part of, and benefit from, the transition to Net Zero

GRCC CEO Barbara Piranty said "We know how difficult it is for rural communities to survive without adequate affordable housing, transport links, and health and care services where they need them. It's vital that the next government 'rural proofs' its strategic plans, policies, and delivery to ensure that rural communities can become and remain truly sustainable."

The policies in the document include proposals for electricity to be priced at the same cost per KWh as mains gas for people who are not on the gas grid, a tax on second homes to be ploughed into building new rural social homes, setting up a rural social investment fund for health and wellbeing, and starting a rural green investment fund for community energy.

Jeremy Leggett, ACRE’s Policy Adviser, said “9.7 million people live in the English countryside, equivalent to the population of London. But more often than not, they don’t get the same attention from the government as their counterparts in the city. And people are starting to recognise this – whether it be disgruntled farmers protesting for the first time about cheap imports, young families given notice to leave their rental property to make way for another Airbnb letting, local businesses flooded again in Worcestershire, or pensioners unable to make their way to hospital because there’s no local clinics or public transport.  

"We believe lots can be done to close this gap, from creating a new statutory advisory body charged with requiring government departments to appraise the impact of policies on rural dwellers, to funding much more community-led housing, and supporting villages to develop plans so they can become more resilient to climate change.”

The full report can be downloaded from the ACRE website here.