GORDON Brown’s annual spending review, announced on Monday, has been greeted with dismay by many countryside organisations for its miserliness in new funding for rural areas.
His grant to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) was the second lowest of any Government department – and will be accompanied, he claimed, with a reduction of 2,400 jobs, in proportion one of the highest.
This came in a week when a controversial new country code was announced and just a few weeks before the new Right To Roam legislation comes into force in parts of the Yorkshire Dales surrounded by a storm of controversy over alleged mistakes in planned rights of way.
Country Landowners and Business Association regional director Dorothy Fairburn commented: “Yet again the rural economy is the poor relation, receiving an increase in funding of less than half the average increase awarded to other departments.
“On the day that the new countryside code was launched and in the year that the Government’s flagship Countryside and Rights of Way Act opens up access land, it’s disappointing that there appears to be no new money to help the countryside cope with new public access to thousands of acres of land.”