Rural areas are vanguards for society
In a parliamentary debate on 17 April, Rory Stewart MP called on the government to recognise rural communities as drivers of economic growth and vanguards for a high quality of life in the 21st century.
Rory pressed the government to give rural communities freedom not money. He said that First Responders should be given discretion to treat children. He called for a VAT rebate for the Air Ambulance. And he urged government to understand what communities can do for themselves.
Above all, Rory called for more infrastructure investment in rural communities, in particular on broadband and mobile provision.
Richard Benyon, Minister for the Natural Environment, responded with praise for the “wonderful work” of rural communities in Penrith and the Border to roll out broadband.
Rory said: “We should see rural communities not as victims but as the vanguards of Britain; as miraculous places that produce things that other parts of the country do not. We can provide an image for the 21st century on how to live in rural areas, and we no longer need to present ourselves as victims.”
He added: “We have real needs in rural communities but we cannot simply demand more and more money for fear that we begin to be seen as a charity case, dividing the countryside from the towns and the cities. We need broadband and mobile infrastructure and we need the community to be given freedom and responsibility. Then we can be an example for the 21st century.”