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Spelmans recognition of rural neglect is welcome, says CLA


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The CLA today (4 January 2012) welcomed Secretary of State Caroline Spelman’s recognition that in many cases the countryside has been abandoned by government.

Writing for a national newspaper website, Mrs Spelman admitted that rural communities and businesses have been “left on their own to try to find solutions to the problems they face” such as difficulties in getting adequate broadband connections, and that an urban-rural divide exists.

CLA President Harry Cotterell said: “The CLA has been saying this for many years, so it is heartening a government minister finally acknowledges the depth of inequality between urban and rural areas.

“The measures to help the rural economy, announced by the Chancellor in November, were a good start but still more needs to be done to ensure fairness for rural communities and businesses with a commitment to providing fast broadband for all and affordable housing for rural workers and to scrapping empty property business rates.”

On the announcement of a “rural hotline”, the CLA President added: “Openness is important across government. We look forward to seeing what the Rural and Farming Networks will achieve.

“It is vital that with issues such as Common Agricultural Policy Reform the Government not only listens to what land managers have to say but also puts its full weight behind the needs of farming.”


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