Hereford Times Article - Housing and the Rural Economy

Published on: 4th March 2021

Image of Bishop Richard Jackson standing besides an apple tree

"For every 100,000 people, 36% more affordable homes are built in towns and cities compared to rural areas"

Did you know that for every 100,000 people, 36% more affordable homes are built in towns and cities compared to rural areas? Urban and more populated areas all-too-often take priority over rural, but more people live in rural communities than in Greater London. A recent report, towards a greener Green Book process, has revealed that government spending per person on public infrastructure is 44% higher for urban areas than it is for rural areas that include no major cities. For decades rural communities have faced inadequate investment in essential public services like transport, affordable housing and measures aimed at economic growth.

This is a matter of social justice.  So often poverty and lack of opportunity in rural areas are hidden, but none the less real. Our rural countryside may be a lovely place to live, but you cannot eat scenery! If we are to ‘build back better’ after COVID, it is important that resources be shared to create a genuine level playing field.  After just over a year in Hereford, I know how entrepreneurial and resilient the people of this county are.  We must not be forgotten in future government decisions on investment.

Justice is a fundamental Christian principle.  It is not quite the same as fairness.  I often say to people that if the world were strictly fair, every bad thing that happened to them would have to be their fault!  Fortunately, life is a bit more mysterious than that. Justice is about ensuring that everyone has equal access to resources.  It about making sure that no one is disadvantaged because of the colour of his or her skin or whether he or she were born in the wrong place, or the wrong country.  I think most of us still have a sense of justice.  The best of us have risen above our own personal concerns to strive for it.  I still see that passion in the younger generation, often cruelly caricatured as snowflakes. Young people have been at the heart of the climate action movement, #metoo and Black Lives Matter.  In a real sense, the young are a social conscience for old fogies like me. They are passionate and see the world as it could be and ask why not? They are most likely to be affected economically by the fallout from COVID – So those of us who have power and influence owe it to them to ensure they get justice too.




Powered by Church Edit