RDC call on Government to ‘Think Rural’
30 November 2011
RDC has welcomed the Programme for Government which was presented to the Northern Ireland Assembly last week.
Tony McCusker RDC Chair said: “RDC welcomes the eagerly awaited draft Programme for Government (PfG) and we agree with the need for and the board thrust of the investment priorities around which budget proposals are based. We do believe however that there is an urgent need to take greater account of rural issues. The rural nature of Northern Ireland represents one if it’s key characteristics and should therefore inform strategic choices for economic growth and quality of life unique to the region.”
RDC acknowledges the important contribution of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development through the Rural Development Programme and it’s measures to tackle rural poverty and isolation.
RDC are concerned to note that the draft document has no direct reference to Rural Proofing which RDC believes is key to ensuring rural areas are treated fairly by all government departments.
Tony added: “The Programme for Government follows the announcement of the major Social Investment Fund which does contain a rural impact assessment but the identification of potential investment zones does not in our view adequately reflect rural circumstances. Rural communities account for 4 out of 10 people here and make a significant economic contribution to the region. Government policy should represent that reality.”
• RDC is an independent, non-profit taking organisation working since 1991 to promote positive and sustainable change helping to develop and regenerate rural areas for the better. RDC’s vision is for a living, working, sustainable, shared countryside. RDC has managed and administered over £50 million in funding to over 3,600 projects since 1991.
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