NFU responds to Levelling Up white paper

02 February 2022

Rural town surrounded by fields and trees

NFU President Minette Batters has responded to the release of the government’s Levelling Up white paper.

She said: “This white paper provides an important opportunity for rural areas to engage with the government and demonstrate everything they deliver for the country. More than 70% of the country is a farmed landscape – a landscape which is the beating heart of rural economies and which we all rely on, every day, for nutritious, affordable, sustainable food.

“If the government gets this right, it could help unlock the potential of rural communities to the benefit of the whole country; boosting climate-friendly food production, economic growth, rural tourism and opportunities for those living and working in the countryside.

“Britain is more than just towns and cities. For the government’s nationwide levelling up ambition to be successful, it must reach every part of the country on the most local level possible. This will help ensure that all parts of the country, no matter how small or remote, can benefit from progressive policies and investment in areas such as digital connectivity, transport, skills and public services.

“However, there remains multiple issues that the government needs to address if it is to fully level up the country. For example, many farmers still don’t have adequate fast and reliable broadband in order to run modern-day businesses. Investment in rural connectivity would revolutionise many farming businesses, boosting efficiency and productivity. 

“We will continue to work with the government throughout the development of the white paper and ahead of the upcoming rural proofing report to ensure that the value of rural areas and farm businesses are reflected in future policy.”

More information:

The white paper outlines a five year delay to the government’s manifesto promise of delivering broadband coverage across 100% of the country by 2025. It follows a recent report by the Public Accounts Committee which states they don’t think the government will meet its revised target of broadband coverage across 85% of the country by 2025.