FROM its response to flash floods earlier this summer to collective action to maintain the provision of amenities and services, the resilience of Yorkshire’s rural communities is well-documented.
These are areas, as York-based Community First Yorkshire publishes its annual report, which have had to pull together because they recognise that the countryside barely registers on the national political agenda – the current general election campaign being a case in point.
And while much work is being done to combat rural isolation – issues like loneliness and mental health are now taken seriously because of their impact on the health and wellbeing of residents – it comes against a backdrop of funding cuts that has seen North Yorkshire County Council lose 40 per cent of its budget since 2010.
Yet, while the challenges facing urban authorities have been just as pronounced, the issues exercising political leaders in the key marginal seats – the cost of living, affordable housing and provision of reliable public transport – are just as pertinent to countryside communities.
The regret, however, is that the main parties don’t realise this – not one of them can claim to adequately represent the best interests of rural areas – as Jeremy Corbyn proposes a levy to be sanctioned against the owners of second homes if Labour come to power after December 12. As such, it is more important than ever that communities show solidarity when it comes to the protection of key services. The countryside is not an after-thought – it is a national asset – and all politicians need to recognise this.