Igniting Hope for Rural England: A Clear Vision for Thriving Communities

As the nation prepares for a crucial General Election, we must address a crisis that threatens the heart of our country: the severe lack of affordable housing in rural England. Today, we are proud to kick off Rural Housing Week 2024 with “A Manifesto for Delivering Thriving Rural Communities Through Affordable Housing,” a comprehensive plan for tackling this pressing issue head-on.

Developed by leading experts in rural housing and backed by a coalition of influential organisations, this manifesto highlights the stark disparity between affordable housing in rural and urban areas. While 17% of urban housing is considered affordable, this figure drops to just 9% in our villages. This inequality undermines the fabric of rural communities and hinders economic growth and social cohesion.

The manifesto offers a range of practical policy solutions designed to bridge this gap and revitalise our countryside. These include adjusting planning thresholds for affordable homes, providing tax incentives for Rural Exception Sites, and establishing a dedicated annual fund of £2.6 million to support a national network of Rural Housing Enablers. By implementing these measures, we can accelerate the delivery of affordable homes in rural areas, ensuring that they are sustainable, accessible, and truly affordable for those in need.

Moreover, the manifesto recognises the growing problem of rural homelessness and calls for a tailored strategy to prevent and address this issue. By adapting homelessness prevention strategies to rural contexts, improving data collection, and introducing targeted support services, we can effectively tackle this hidden crisis and ensure that no one in our rural communities is left behind.

The impact of affordable rural housing extends far beyond the individual. Building just ten affordable homes can generate a £1.4 million boost to the local economy, support 26 jobs, and yield around £250,000 in net returns for the Treasury. These projects are not just about providing shelter; they are catalysts for vibrant, resilient communities that contribute to our national goals of green growth, nature recovery, and food security.

To underscore the urgency and importance of this manifesto, we have created an informative infographic that presents the key statistics and messages in an easy-to-understand format. We urge you to download, share, and discuss this infographic widely, using the hashtag #RuralHousingWeek, as we kick off this vital campaign. By sharing this infographic, you can help raise awareness about the critical need for affordable rural housing and inspire others to join our cause.

As political leaders, Members of Parliament, and policymakers, you have the power to shape the future of rural England. We urge you, regardless of party affiliation, to embrace the vision outlined in this manifesto and champion the cause of affordable rural housing. By working together, we can create a future where everyone, no matter where they live, has access to a safe, affordable home – the foundation of thriving communities.

We call upon you to read, support, and actively promote this manifesto in the lead-up to the General Election. Let us unite in our commitment to reviving rural England and ensuring that our villages remain vibrant, inclusive places of opportunity for generations to come.

Together, we can build a brighter future for rural England. The time to act is now. Download and share the manifesto and infographic today!

#RuralHousingWeek #RuralHousingManifesto

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