Tory Rural Base Cools, Closes Labor Gap in Rural Stronghold
It seems that the Tories must now accept that even the prime minister’s internationally recognized performance during the Ukraine crisis is not enough to restore the party’s post-party polls. Any improvement – at one stage drawing level with labor – has been erased by a new party headline between last month’s economic outlook, the sage’s spring statement flop and the issuance of the first fine. At the moment, the growing national leadership of the Labor Party sees the local elections as a nightmare for them. A recent poll by the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) reveals that conservatives and labor are now almost neck and neck in the traditional rural center of the Tories. They are just leading the vote …
This is partly because the Tories have a normal base, as well as recent swing voters leaving the party for now. The number one problem in rural areas is affordable housing (69%), followed by better digital connectivity (35%) – faster broadband and better mobile signals. The majority of those surveyed said that young people’s chances of finding local employment have decreased in the last 5 years and a huge 79% think that the lack of affordable housing is driving young people away from the countryside. Residents oppose housing development …
Jonathan Roberts of the Country Land and Business Association tells Guido:
“It’s not about asking for more money – if anything, it’s about getting the government out of the way. We have a lot of unused old farm buildings that can be easily converted into modern workplaces to support local businesses – but it can take years to get planning permission. Many villages can afford five or ten new homes to support the local economy and provide local families with affordable housing, but applications for small development usually go out of hand. Vacations at your rural location are charged at 20% VAT, almost twice as much as many vacation destinations abroad. The list is almost endless.
“The government needs to show a little bit of ambition and stop considering the countryside as a museum. The rural economy is 18% less productive than the national average. Closing the gap adds £ 43bn to the economy, creating jobs and opportunities in some parts of the country that are often left behind. “
If the Tories lose the rural vote, they will lose the country. In short, the Tories are in deep trouble and have only two years to turn it around – less likely.
Data [PDF]: CLA_Survey_Polling_April_2022.