The ACRE Network General Election asks
by Richard Quallington, Executive Director

We believe the 2019 UK General Election comes at a turning point for the future of rural communities in the UK. We ask all candidates to commit themselves to helping the next Government develop policies towards rural people and rural communities that are both positive and forward looking.

ACRE is an active member of the Rural Coalition. The Rural Coalition brings together rural groups such as the Country Landowners’ Association, the Rural Services Network, CPRE and many other key rural organisations.

The ACRE Network also collaborates closely with its equivalent rural community networks in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on rural issues that affect the whole of the UK

We ask candidates in the 2019 general election to support rural people and communities everywhere.

If elected, by using your best endeavours to champion the interests of rural communities at all levels. Our priorities are set out on the ACRE asks summary GE19 sheet.

Throughout England, by signing-up to the five commitments identified by the Rural Coalition for England

  • Recognise that ‘rural’ is more than agriculture and the natural environment
  • Make rural proofing a fundamental part of policy development and delivery
  • Deliver a fair deal for rural communities in policies and funding
  • Devolve decision-making, funding and delivery to the most appropriate local levels.
  • Involve rural communities in planning and delivering solutions

For the UK as a whole, by pressing for a comprehensive overhaul of the UK’s rural policy, and the institutional arrangements by which it is delivered, including:

  • Acknowledge that rural communities throughout the UK, and the 17% - 35% of the population (varies due to definition in each nation) who live in them, are entitled to the same active consideration as those who live in urban areas.
  • Commit to ensuring that nobody living in a rural area should be unreasonably disadvantaged by where they live compared to their peers in urban areas.
  • Understand that rural policy must include rural development, services and access as well as agriculture and the natural environment and that future rural policy must reflect this.
  • Make it a priority for the next UK Government to enable the four UK nations to prepare comprehensive rural strategies or plans, in whatever form is appropriate, that reflect the particular opportunities and challenges for rural communities in their countries.
  • Ensure that the four UK nations are able to fairly allocate resources necessary to implement these rural strategies or plans.
  • Commit to defining clearly what aspects of rural policy fall to the devolved administrations and establish a comprehensive cross-Whitehall England Rural Strategy, and governance arrangements, for England.