The ‘Rural’ in the ‘Region’: Towards an Inclusive Regional Policy for the North East
This chapter draws the example of the rural north of England, which examines the prospects for an invigorated relationship between rural policy and regional development and argues for further institutional reforms to improve the co-ordination of public policy for rural areas at the regional, national and European levels. It considers the nature of rural need and social exclusion, which explores the challenges and strengths of the region's rural areas and discuss the new thinking and new institutions required to deliver a truly inclusive regional policy which brings benefits across the region's territory. The new Labour Government has sometimes been accused of being too metropolitan-oriented and unsympathetic to rural concerns. In a House of Commons debate on rural life, Opposition MPs repeatedly made the claim that "the countryside is under siege" and that the Government "doesn't understand" rural issues. Counter urbanisation and the urban-rural shift in employment are drawing rural areas into regional patterns of growth and social change.