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Rural watchdog reacts to Government’s rural housing statement

Wednesday 25 Mar 2009 @ 14:19
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Commenting on Government’s formal response to Matthew Taylor’s ‘report ‘Living Working Countryside’, Dr. Stuart Burgess Chairman of the Commission for Rural Communities (CRC) and the Government’s Rural Advocate said: “We welcome the Government’s positive response and the hope this will be turned into practical action, resulting in more affordable homes and a welcome boost to rural employment. Maintaining the status quo will not preserve rural life, it will compromise its future.

“The lack of affordable rural housing continues to be the single most pressing problem faced by rural communities. It is continually brought to my attention wherever I go in rural England by people from all walks of life as the issue most deserving of Government’s attention.

“Matthew Taylor’s report highlights the need to provide affordable housing and jobs in rural areas to help create and maintain vibrant rural communities. In many rural areas it has now become almost impossible for the local postman, farm worker or teacher to be able to buy a home. Despite the recession and falling house prices, tighter lending and a requirement for higher deposits mean that for many rural people an affordable home remains a distant dream.

“The CRC supports changes to the national planning system which encourages a more positive approach from regional and local decision makers to providing affordable homes and jobs in rural areas. Over the next few months we will be helping take forward the Government’s response; working with regional and local bodies to help rural communities to grow and change in ways that will help sustain livelihoods, provide a chance for people from all backgrounds to live in rural areas, whilst maintaining the unique distinctiveness of individual places.” 

For further information contact Chris Wynne-Davies on 01242 534070

Notes to editors:

1 The CRC was established in April 2005 and became an independent body on 1October 2006 following the enactment of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. The role of the CRC is to provide well-informed, independent advice to government and ensure that policies reflect the real needs and circumstances of people livening and working in rural England. We give particular focus to tackling disadvantage and economic underperformance.

We have three key functions:
• Advocate: the voice for rural people, business and communities;
• Expert adviser: providing evidence-based, objective advice to government and others; and
• Independent watchdog: monitoring and reporting on the delivery of policies nationally, regionally and locally.

Further information about the CRC and its work can be found at: www.ruralcommunities.gov.uk

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