Lib Dem Countryside Charter would boost rural economy and tackle problems of second homes

Liberal Democrats have set out a package of measure to help rural areas thrive.

The plans set out by Nick Clegg in a Countryside Charter will create more than 300,000 new jobs and ensure people living in rural areas have access to the facilities they need to prosper.

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The Charter includes measures to improve high speed internet provisions in rural areas, keep local services open and secure the future of the farming industry.

The Countryside Charter includes plans to:

  • Close the gap between urban and rural areas in high speed broadband and internet provision
  • Protect funding for essential local services and facilities by giving councils the power to double council tax on second homes
  • Give rural firms the transport infrastructure they need to grow and compete in global markets
  • Secure the future of the farming industry
  • Boost rural tourism
  • Help rural businesses grow and expand by continuing to improve the planning system
  • Prioritise rural housing
  • Help young people in rural areas develop their skills
  • Make rural communities safer
  • Support our fishing communities

Commenting Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg said:

“Rural areas play a large part in Britain’s economy with the rural economy worth £210bn. The Liberal Democrats want to unlock this potential so rural areas and the rest of the UK can thrive.

“In order to prosper, rural areas need good local services, appropriate infrastructure and more housing.

“Only the Liberal Democrats will create a stronger economy and fairer society where everyone and every part of the UK can reach its full potential.”

Norman Lamb said,

"I know how many people in North Norfolk live in communities that have been affected by high levels of second home ownership.  It can have a devastating impact on village life, with pubs and shops closing and local services lost.  We have to make sure that, where people own second homes, they pay their fair share back into the community and I am delighted that the Lib Dems would give councils the power to double council tax for second homes."

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