Headlines: July 6th, 2010

Rural areas can make a big contribution to the economic recovery of the whole country according to the latest analysis from the Commission for Rural Communities. In its ‘State of the countryside’ report, published today, it also points to country people being in a good position to respond to the new local empowerment agenda.

Today’s report gives detailed evidence of the circumstances of people living and working in rural areas drawn from analysis of the latest official statistics. It is designed as a benchmark at a time of economic and political change and says rural England can make a significant contribution in three key areas.

On economic recovery it says high levels of entrepreneurship and apparent resilience to the recession in rural businesses underline the potential for rural economies to make a substantial contribution to a national return to growth. Rural people, it says, also have a strong sense of community and are more willing to participate in local decision-making and to share values and pull together with people in their area, than people living in urban environments. “This evidence indicates that rural people are in a strong position to respond positively to the new agenda around community-based activity and local empowerment,” the report says.

Finally it says rural land is still required for food production in an era of increasing concern about availability of supplies and growing interest in the local sourcing but there is also a desire for improved environmental quality, public enjoyment of the countryside and an imperative to mitigate climate change.