Rural housing, post office closures and poor transport can only be addressed if rural communities make their views hears, Jim Paice, shadow agricultural minister said at the YFC AGM in Blackpool this weekend (3 May).

Speaking to delegates at the Arac forums, Mr Paice urged the 20,000 YFC members across England and Wales to “speak up” and push for change.

“If you want to influence policy about the countryside, you need to get stuck in,” he said. “Use your local facilities, stick up for your views.

“If you don’t speak up, you have no right to complain about what’s being done.”

Concerns

His comments came during a break-out session where YFC members discussed their concerns over buying rural housing and the closure of pubs, post offices and local shops.

Mr Paice said it was vital young people showed their support and proved how vital their rural services were,

“It’s no use talking about the importance of your local post office and then not using it. You have got to put your actions where your mouth is.

“If you need information about what to do, go online, speak to local councillors and MPs. Politics isn’t just for old farts.”

Liberal Democrat

Tim, Liberal Democrat MP said it was important young farmers pushed the government into looking at the issue of affordable rural housing and the problem of second homes.

“We need to look at the balance without getting embittered about the rural/city divide,” he said.

“You can use combined strength of the YF to talk about and look at issues you want to see changed.”