Rural communities must move away from the subsidy culture which has sustained them for decades if they are to continue to survive and prosper, a report published today has warned.
A 20-month inquiry into country life - one of the most comprehensive conducted - has concluded that the future viability of rural Britain must rest less on subsidies and grants and more on the capitalisation of rural communities.
The inquiry, carried out by the Carnegie Commission for Rural Community Development, brought together a 28-strong group of international experts ranging from former NFU president Sir Ben Gill to former Northern Foods chairman Lord Christopher Haskins. The commission published its first progress report today, with a final report containing firm recommendations, to be published early next year.
The investigation discovered that members of rural communities expressed a desire to be free from a dependence on outside funding, grants and subsidies.
The report said the disappearance of farming subsidies made asserting the independence of rural communities all the more pressing.