Countryside Alliance Executive Chairman Barney White-Spunner writes: Today’s Daily Telegraph carries a piece by Chancellor George Osborne and Environment Secretary Liz Truss in which they reveal a “Rural Productivity Plan” which is intended to bring about a wholesale boost for our countryside across planning, infrastructure, education, transport and local government. Read the piece, “With our plan, the countryside can become Britain’s engine of growth” here. The shopping list contained in the report is to be welcomed as it features several of our campaigning priorities from broadband and mobile coverage to transport and affordable housing.  It has long been our concern that rural life has been the poor relation when it comes to government spending, and recognition that a growing rural population is crying out for infrastructure can only be a good thing. Taking action as the Chancellor suggests has the potential to see the rural economy contribute to GB plc as it has always wanted to, and we look forward to helping and supporting these plans.

Whilst these promises are easy to make, they are going to take much determination to deliver and we now want to see swift action at all levels. Promises have been made for some long time, especially on the vitally important issues of broadband and affordable housing. We all now need to get behind today’s very welcome initiatives and do all we can, working with the government, to give them substance.

It is right that the Chancellor and the Environment Secretary recognise that rural life is at a crucial stage – this is something we hear daily from our supporters. A marker has been set down by government and we must now work together to ensure that our communities and enterprises continue to be prioritised and that the plans bear fruit.

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