Defra will be bringing together rural evidence and statistics from government departments and the Office for National Statistics to ensure policies deliver for families and businesses based in the countryside.
The move is part of a series of measures announced in the government’s response to the Lord Cameron Review on Rural Proofing today which will make sure the needs of people living in rural areas are taken properly into account in decision making, and that its residents are given the same opportunities as those based in cities.
By ensuring government departments fully understand rural issues, we are able to better protect the services delivered for rural communities, as well as boosting productivity in the countryside.
An online evidence hub, announced by the Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss, will help the almost ten million people who live in the English countryside by providing crucial insight, such as the fact that flexible, home-working is more prevalent in rural than in urban areas, and tends to involve higher skilled, higher wage roles.
Along with making evidence more freely available, other measures to boost productivity and increase opportunities in rural areas in the response to the Lord Cameron Review today include:
- a new ‘rural ambassador’ role operating across government departments
- ministers representing rural issues on ‘task forces’ which operate across government on identified priority issues including housing and broadband
- the development of improved guidance on ‘rural proofing’ and sharing research and evidence expertise to ensure rural needs are considered in the development of all policies
- a Cabinet Office led oversight for rural proofing across government
Commenting on the government’s response to Lord Cameron’s recommendations on rural proofing, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said:
Lord Cameron’s report is clear. Rural proofing means all government departments making rural issues a core policy consideration.
That’s why we are putting new rural proofing guidance, evidence and oversight in place and why Defra’s Ministers will continue to champion rural communities across government.
We are working to ensure people living in rural areas have access to the same opportunities as those in towns and cities.
I would like to thank Lord Cameron and his team for their hard work on this review. The steps we are taking will boost rural productivity and ensure the needs of the countryside are heard loud and clear across government.
Commenting on the government response and the role of the Cabinet Office in protecting rural services through rural proofing policy, Lord Cameron of Dillington added:
On behalf of the review team and myself, I welcome the publication of the government’s response to our review of rural proofing. I particularly welcome the positive action outlined in the response, especially the Cabinet Office led oversight role for rural proofing across government, and the possibilities of future departmental training. I will be watching future developments with interest.
The measures outlined in the response to the Lord Cameron Review build on the government’s first ever Rural Productivity Plan, which was launched this summer to boost the rural economy by improving infrastructure and connectivity, investing in education and skills and simplifying planning laws for rural businesses and communities.
By making our statistics more accessible, and getting a clearer picture of both the opportunities and barriers facing people in the countryside, we can further support this, rural-proof our policies and take advantage of the huge amount of potential in our rural areas. Already there are half a million businesses operating in rural areas, and we are seeing net internal migration from urban to rural areas, including of highly skilled people attracted by the excellent quality of life on offer.
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- Last year Defra asked Lord Cameron of Dillington to undertake anindependent review of rural proofing activity within Defra and across government departments.
- The government’s response to the Lord Cameron Review on Rural Proofing has been published today.
- In England 9.3 million people live in rural areas; virtually all policies impact upon rural communities and ‘rural proofing’ helps achieve good economic, environmental and social solutions that contribute to growth.
- Rural proofing is integral to the policy making cycle. It requires us to make sure that the needs and interests of rural people, communities and businesses in England are properly considered. This applies to the development and implementation of all policies and programmes. For central government, rural proofing means assessing policy options to be sure we get the fairest solutions in rural areas.
- Our latest Statistical Digest of Rural England includes information on a wide range of social and economic policy areas.
- For further information please contact Defra’s News and External Communications office on 020 7238 1542.