Cornwall calls for action to help ‘level up’ rural areas

Cornwall Council has urged the government to harness the potential of rural areas in its plans to ‘level up’ struggling parts of the country.

In a new report by the New Local Government Network (NLGN), the leader of Cornwall Council, Cllr Julian German argues that ‘tapping into the distinctive potential of rural areas is long overdue’.

The report – Land of Opportunity – calls for a stronger, rebalanced national economy with a UK Shared Prosperity Fund which minimises regional equalities.

It also calls for the creation of a new Rural Social Mobility Fund to help areas which are ‘susceptible to social inequality and low social mobility’.

‘By concentrating funding to rural and peripheral localities with the specific aim of harnessing local assets, innovations, and institutions, funds can stay within communities to effect sustainable growth and improve the life chances and opportunities of residents,’ the report states.

In addition, it also urges Whitehall to devolve employment and skills funding to rural areas

‘The government should provide rural and peripheral councils with devolved powers and funding so that they can work with partners to deliver support for individuals and employers under a single, joint service. Not only will this help people attain better skills and gain employment, but it will also create huge fiscal benefits in savings,’ the report adds.

The report also calls for the creation of a 21st Century Rural Commission to examine the ‘challenges’ with delivering public services in local communities.

‘Harnessing the opportunity of rural areas like Cornwall must be a key part of levelling up all parts of the UK,’ added Cllr German.

‘Unlocking a new economy that delivers prosperity for the whole country must begin with understanding the missed opportunities associated with treating rural areas as just a peripheral concern.

‘We need to reframe our view of rural areas, not as hinterlands to which benefits are hoped to trickle down, not as an afterthought when it comes to investment and opportunities, but as places to build resilient local economies and communities that contribute to the UK economy.’

Photo Credit – TimHill (Pixabay)

Jamie Hailstone
Senior reporter - NewStart


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