CRC Newsletter October 2012
Welcome to this newsletter from the Commission for Rural Communities.
Rural isolation report published
Last month, the CRC published its report ‘Social isolation experienced by older people in rural areas’. The report finds that the proportion of the population which is over retirement age is higher than in urban areas, and is rising. It compares the differences between the services provided to older people in rural areas compared to urban, concentrating on social care, transport and housing, and makes recommendations aimed at achieving a better balance between services in different areas. It also identifies a number of projects, initiated by local people, which have led to major improvements in services provided to them and suggests that the Government can help to emphasise and extend this kind of approach.
Commenting on the release of the report, the CRC’s Chairman, Dr Stuart Burgess, said
“The Government has stated a commitment to ensuring that issues of fairness for people in rural areas accessing individual services are taken into account when developing policy. This report highlights a number of crucial factors that the Government and others need to consider when rural proofing policies and services. Older people, regardless of where they live, should enjoy equal opportunity of access to services for equal needs.”
Other 2012-13 projects
Other CRC projects this year include a review of how rural interests are recognised by Local Enterprise Partnerships. A successful workshop was held recently, attracting nearly 50 people from LEPs, national and local organisations and Government Departments. Our intention is to publish a final report from this project in November. The CRC is also identifying rural micro-businesses which have continued to thrive during recessionary times, and will publish a report before the end of the financial year. The CRC will continue to be active over that period, and more details of these projects can be found in the CRC’s annual business plan.
Impending closure of the CRC
A vote took place in Parliament on 17 October that will lead to the closure of the Commission for Rural Communities on 31 March 2013. Defra and the CRC will work closely together to enable the orderly closure of the CRC over that period.
Defra is the rural department within Government, with Defra Ministers acting as rural champions – promoting the interests and needs of rural people, communities and businesses. The Government has created the Rural Communities Policy Unit (RCPU) to support Defra Ministers, acting as a centre of rural expertise. The RCPU strengthens Defra’s capacity to engage more effectively, and at an earlier stage, in the development of policy across Government, so that rural needs and opportunities are identified, and responded to, before decisions are made.
Commission for Rural Communities