RURAL areas of Yorkshire are in urgent need of a bigger share of Government funding for affordable housing, says the Country Land & Business Association - and that could mean bringing back council houses.
CLA regional director Dorothy Fairburn commented: "Almost every village used to have its council houses, but now they have all been sold off. The provision of affordable housing is essential to the survival of sustainable rural communities.
"Without it, young local people often have no alternative but to move away and key staff can't afford to move in to fill the new jobs which a more diversified rural economy creates, so draining the life-blood out of the countryside.
"Funding proposed by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott is concentrated in the South East in an ambitious building programme. We're concerned that the Housing Corporation's Rural Programme budget will be inadequate to meet the needs of rural areas. Not enough would come to Yorkshire.
"The situation is particularly bad in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the North York Moors, and anywhere close to Leeds or York where the price of houses is now out of reach for young people.
"The CLA has long campaigned for a diversified rural economy and the Government now supports this but it will all have been in vain if people can't afford to live near their place of work."