Mary Creagh MP, Labour's Shadow Environment Secretary, today announced details of Labour’s review of the future challenges facing rural Britain.
The Tory-led Government’s recent attempt to sell-off England’s public forests led to renewed interest in the countryside with over half a million people signing a petition against the plans.
Labour’s policy review will look at Britain’s relationship with the natural world but also at the challenges facing rural communities from affordable housing, rising living costs, the future of farming and ‘green’ jobs.
The working group will inform the wider policy review being undertaken by Labour Leader Ed Miliband MP.
The ‘How do we protect Rural Britain?’ review will cover:
Promoting innovation and growth in the rural economy, including the creation of new sustainable industries, quality jobs for young people and the management of our natural resources (economy).
Strengthening rural communities and providing effective local services (community).
Ensuring fairness and opportunities for all families, especially young people and those facing the squeeze from rising living costs, fuel prices and food costs (Families and social inclusion).
Feeding Britain - food security and promoting a modern, competitive farming and food sector (Food and farming).
Our relationship with the natural world - valuing nature and wildlife, making them more accessible for all (Natural environment).
A wide range of experts and politicians have agreed to advise Labour’s Environment team on an independent and non-partisan basis, including Sir John Harman (former Chair of the Environment Agency), Peter Kendall (President of the National Farmers’ Union), Mike Clarke (Chief Executive, RSPB), Francis O’Grady (Deputy General Secretary of the TUC) and Nigel Titchen (President of Prospect) and Christine Tacon (Managing Director, Co-operative Farms).
Mary Creagh MP said:
"Everyone knows how hard it is for families to make ends meet with rising living costs and concerns about jobs. But these challenges are even more daunting in market towns and rural communities.
"Rural growth and the creation of new green jobs are essential if we want to see a lasting recovery for all. That is why we are asking not just how we protect rural Britain but also what future do we want for the countryside."