RURAL voters going to the local council polls this Thursday are being urged to consider their candidates' country credentials before placing their votes.
The Country Land and Business Association says that many candidates standing for the big parties simply spout the party line on many issues - and they are largely devoted to urban problems.
The CLA is offering some clues on how to sort out those who "know a gimmer from a gelding" from those who have little or no knowledge of how the countryside really work. The questions to ask are:
- Does he/she recognise that farm-diversification schemes need planning support?
- Are they committed to cutting red tape, the bane of all small rural business?
- Have they pledged to improve pitiful rural transport?
- If he/she in favour of boosting "green" rural tourism?
- If he/she for or against field sports?
- And how does he/she rate the importance of farming in the rural economy?
Says CLA North West Regional Director Douglas Chalmers: "Local elections are as important as general elections to rural communities. This is the one opportunity to elect those responsible for developing policy that affects you and your community."