The Shadow Environment Secretary Luke Pollard MP was in Gloucestershire to listen to local residents as part of Labour’s Rural England Policy Review.
Alongside Metro Mayor Dan Norris, the MP met local people at Poplar Farm in Latteridge, Iron Acton.
At the dairy farm, they discussed how rural communities have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and what can be done to help them to recover. The conversation covered fighting for high food standards and protecting family farms, as well as the transport, education and crime challenges of living in the countryside.
Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer asked Mr Pollard to lead this Review with the first stage reporting in September.
Luke Pollard MP said: “It’s really important to listen to a wide range of different voices – because no party can claim to represent the country, if it doesn’t represent the countryside. This Tory government has taken voters in rural areas like these for granted. Rural poverty, isolation and crime are all on the rise. Years of austerity have weakened rural housing, jobs, public services and transport. Many communities have lost their last shop, pub or post office. But we want to ensure rural England is the best place in the world to grow up in and the best place to grow old in.”
Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “It’s a pleasure to welcome Luke to Gloucestershire. I’m delighted to be hosting this discussion about what our rural communities need to thrive. I know our area is amazing and it’s great to show it off to a senior MP. Our cider and cheese is particularly top notch and I hope Luke gets to try some. But as someone who lives in a rural community I know too, that there are challenges, like dodgy broadband which is why I’ve commissioned an urgent report into this – as well as making sure people have transport in place to get to work and school, plus having an affordable place to call home.”