Politicians and civil servants are reluctant to help rural areas because they view farming as a ‘lifestyle choice’, according to an industry leader.
Sue Pritchard, director of the RSA Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, said she had put together God’s Lone Country, a 12-minute film which challenges the romanticised imagery associated with the countryside, to show policy-makers what life in rural Britain is really like.
Speaking at a meeting about the future of county farms held by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Agroecology in Parliament this week (April 29), she said: “One of the reasons we made the film was because we wanted to show a much broader version of life in rural Britain than I sometimes hear talked about when I am sitting here in Westminster and Whitehall.
“There is a view that people in the countryside are living in idyllic villages, that all farmers are driving Range Rovers and frankly, if you live there, you are making a bit of a lifestyle choice, so it is down to you.
“That is so clearly not helpful.”
Ms Pritchard also suggested Government could do much more to help people living in rural areas if the political will was there.
“As we have seen in the last couple of years, it is possible to find significant sums of money, billions of pounds in fact, to invest in things which Governments think are important,” she said.
“Frankly, the overspend on HS2 and Crossrail alone could fund a massive investment in the county farms estate.
“This is about choice and what we think matters to us as a country.”