Who cares about rural England's disadvantaged now?

This paper by CRPR Associate, Dr Gordon Morris, looks at the implications of the closure of the Commission for Rural Communities for disadvantaged people and places of rural England.

Abstract

For more than 100 years, non-landed and non-Establishment interests in rural England were represented by a succession of three quasi-independent government bodies (quangos) whose roles embraced, to varying degrees, policy, practice, and advocacy. These were the Development/Rural Development Commission, the Countryside Agency, and the Commission for Rural Communities (CRC).

In 2013 the British government closed the CRC, and absorbed aspects of its responsibilities into the civil service. This paper explores the implications of the change for the disadvantaged people and places of rural England whose interests the CRC was created to represent. First, by way of context, the histories of the three quangos and the main farming and landed sector membership groups are described. In order to inform the discussion the views of the latter were sought (unsuccessfully), together with the opinions of people involved in one or more of the quangos, and, or, the civil service successor unit. These are presented and discussed.  Conclusions relating to consequential “gaps” in independent policy and research are drawn.

The aim is to stimulate discussion about the implications for rural England of closing the CRC, for it is possible that the loss of this small organization may have unexpected long-term consequences. The eventual significance of this decision has yet to be determined.

Download the report here.

16 February 2015

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