Friday, 15 July 2016 16:58

Brexit has 'major' rural implications

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Brexit has 'major' rural implications

LEAVING the European Union has major implications for England's countryside communities, the Rural Services Network has warned.

Safeguarding the future of rural services – and those that provide them – would be essential following the decision to leave the EU, said the network.

Immediate issues included promoting the case for a period of financial stability following the referendum and no further funding reductions, it added.

The network issued the warning in a Brexit Statement on Friday (15 July).

Network chair Cecilia Motley said: "Local authorities and other service providers have an essential role in supporting local economies.

"It has never been more important to have a strong network of local authorities, private partners and voluntary organisations providing services to rural people, communities and businesses."

Councillor Motley said the network would continue seeking fairer funding for rural authorities and make the strongest case possible against any proposed funding reductions as a result of Brexit.

The network was also seeking urgent clarification over planned reforms relating to business rates retention.

Councillor Motley said: "The Brexit decision creates uncertainty and local services could be seriously damaged if that uncertainty starts to affect business rate yields."

There was also an urgent need for clarity over EU structural funds, Common Agricultural Policy payments and the policy and regulatory impact of leaving the EU.

The network was keen to ensure that local government had a seat at the negotiating table as the UK prepared for Brexit talks with its EU neighbours.

Councillor Motley said: "Rural local authorities meet most of the growth related expenditure and this will remain critical at a time of economic uncertainty."

As Brexit took place, the network was keen to ensure that any powers and funding returned from Brussels reached England's shire areas rather than residing in Westminster.

Councillor Motley said: "Power needs to flow from Westminster, with a significant reduction in bureaucracy, giving a real say to local people at the most appropriate level of governance."

Brexit meant there was also an opportunity to place county, unitary and district authorities at the forefront of the devolution and public service reform debate.

Councillor Motley said: "Changing dynamics in Westminster present an opportunity to put forward alternative models for devolution to rural areas."

Network members had raised concerns over the one-size-fits all approach to elected mayors, she added.

"There is now a period for the government to reconsider this approach where our members feel this governance model is not appropriate for their areas."

People in this conversation

  • Guest (Tom Reid)


    There's no reason for this government, composed of staunch believers in the free market, to provide anything other than marginal support for agriculture in this country. Why should they - they're ideologically opposed to State intervention.
    They will quite happily let inefficient producers go to the wall, and - tragically - we all know what happens when farmers, who typically have access to fire arms, feel the pinch.
    I trust that no one who was at risk of losing their subsidy voted Leave!!

    from United Kingdom
  • Guest (Eddie Gaines)


    I believe this populist vote for Brexit will severely damage rural economy more than any other thing. Even farmers are divided on whether Subsidies are needed with one farmer saying to me "happy to give up subsidies as it is keeping many inefficient farms operating" - no doubt these would be quickly gobbled up by the bigger farming units - but what of the families associated with these smaller farms - many of which whole families are tied to the business. Also rural garages may also suffer badly

  • Guest (Peter Carrell)


    Yes, there will be short term uncertainty, but we now have the freedom to manage our own affairs and with the proper leadership there is no reason why the British government should not continue to provide the support previously given under EU aid. What is missing about the Brexit result is optimism and determination to succeed. What we once subscribed to the EU will be available for internal distribution. It is now time to stop moaning and, instead, be bold.

  • Guest (Peter Charlton)


    I agree with Peter Carrell. It was not EU money that was subsidising the British farmer, it was our money in the first place. There is a big brighter new world out there. Believe in yourselves and believe in our Country once again. Stop being defeatists.

  • Guest (Tom Reid)


    So, I guess that means the Peters have no understanding of economics, neoliberal conservatism or the future of agriculture in this country.
    As forthe comment about leadership! Laughable.
    Rose tinted specs. Such a blind perspective.

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