12 January 2001
Charity warns over rural housing

By FWi staff

PLEDGES made in the governments Rural White Paper will fail to address the lack of affordable homes in the countryside, a leading charity has warned.

The paper, released in November, claimed the government was committed to ensuring that rural housing needs were met and promised more resources.

Moira Constable, chief executive of the Rural Housing Trust, said the government had only agreed to restore money which it had previously cut.

Speaking at a seminar organised by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Ms Stewart said the housing issue had not been advanced at all.

“I dont think the Rural White Paper has done anything to dispel problems in housing terms,” she said.

“Five years ago government policies were producing more houses in villages than this paper will produce in 2004.”

The problem with the paper and government policy on affordable housing was that it was institutionally urban, she suggested.

“All housing policy in this country is geared to urban need.”

Local authorities often believed there was no problem in villages because people were only coming to their attention once they had moved to the town.

“I do feel there are too few people who realise at a local level that rural housing is important,” she said.