A RURAL coalition is urging the government to address long-standing inequalities and to support rural England's economic recovery from Covid-19.

The coalition of 13 leading rural organisations has published Rebuilding Rural: Growing Back Better, setting out its priorities for a successful recovery by seizing the potential social and economic opportunities across rural England.

Rural areas are home to 9.3 million people – more than Greater London – but they have long faced the challenges of sparsity, remoteness, poor connectivity and 'a history of unequal funding and patchy service delivery', says the coalition.

Some communities which are heavily dependent on tourism and seasonal work are now at risk of being left further behind, they add.

Chairman of the rural coalition, Margaret Clark, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has brought into focus a number of rural vulnerabilities.

"How we plan for building back better offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address these issues but also to unlock the potential of rural areas to make a significant contribution to the nation’s economic recovery and ensure no one is left behind.”

The coalition is calling for the government to set out its vision for rural England providing opportunity for all, a more resilient rural economy and capitalising on opportunities for green rural growth, whilst helping to deliver the nation’s net zero emissions target.

The full Rebuilding Rural: Growing Back Better is available at: acre.org.uk/cms/resources/rural-coalition-rebuilding-rural-final-digital-version.pdf.