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Devon MP calls for rural funding autonomy

Policy making is not well rural-proofed

February 10th 2023

Tagged: Rurality

By Ailsa Colquhoun

Selaine Saxby MP (Con, North Devon) has called for rural areas to have more funding autonomy in an article on rural-proofing Government policy.

In an article in political publication The House, she writes: “Distances and lack of connectivity impact on all parts of everyday life. Whether it is waiting for the circle of doom before being able to connect to the internet, or living miles away from shops, school or healthcare. The effects of these daily challenges drive down rural productivity and impacts the whole country.”

A report, Levelling Up the Rural Economy, estimates that the rural economy is 18 per cent less productive than the national average and closing the gap could be worth up to £43bn in England alone. The report was published by the produced by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Rural Business and the Rural Powerhouse.

Saxby says that the reality of rural life is that there are far too many left behind rural and coastal communities, often overlooked by government policies. She calls for two main changes:

  • Rurality should be a key part of decision-making in Westminster
  • Rural communities should have more control over local funding and decision making.

“Our policies need a rurality check before being released into the countryside,” she admits.