Tackling the rural-urban divide

Julian Whittle leads on policy issues for Cumbria Chamber of Commerce and sits on Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership’s Rural Sector Panel.

We hear a lot about the North-South divide and how Boris Johnson’s new government will attempt to bridge it.

But what about the rural-urban divide?

It’s just as real, arguably more so.

Rural areas across the country face similar problems. They have more in common with each other than they have with their urban neighbours.

Housing for a start. Rural areas often struggle to meet demand for affordable homes for young people.

The idyll of country living appears to wealthy retirees and affluent commuters. Demand for a limited supply of property pushes prices beyond the reach of young people who are forced to move away.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes data for median house prices expressed as a multiple of median household earnings. The higher the multiple, the less affordable the housing.

The national average is 7.8, inflated by much higher m