They say that DEFRA focuses too much on farming and agriculture and not enough on the environment or other aspects of rural life. It further recommends moving responsibility to the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government. It also says that budget cuts and the abolition of the Rural Policy Unit means that there is no ability to regulate Government policy.
Deprivation in rural areas is as bad or worse than many inner city areas but little or no budget is available to tackle it.
DEFRA’s response to this says it all, “Whether it is developing a new agricultural system outside the EU or safeguarding our countryside, the needs of our rural communities sit at the heart of everything we do.”
“We are continuing to champion rural affairs across government – driving forward high-speed broadband in the most hard to reach areas, increasing housing availability and supporting the creation of more than 6,000 jobs through our dedicated fund for rural businesses.”
There’s no mention of rural transport, bank and Post Office closures, health care or the increased isolation of our older residents. And 6,000 jobs across the UK is a drop in the ocean!