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Rural society 'run to point of extinction'

PUBLISHED: 11:06 13 May 2008 | UPDATED: 08:25 28 March 2014

MAY 13, 2008: Rural society has been run to the point of extinction by a decade of “top-down” government, according to David Cameron.


In a speech yesterday he wooed country rural voters, promising to fight for farmers, rural post offices,


local schools, police stations, shops and libraries.

Prime


Minister Gordon Brown, he said, was more concerned with targets and


bureaucracy than listening to local people and common sense.

He


addressed an audience as part of the Campaign for the Protection of


Rural England (CPRE) debate on how agriculture will look in 2026.

“For


the last decade or so, in the name of modernisation, rationalisation


and efficiency we have been living under a regime of government by


management consultant and policy by powerpoint.”

He said that a


regime controlled by 'big' government had 'undermined the institutions


that make up society – family, neighbourhood and community'.

“Take


food and farming. Many British consumers want to back British farmers


by buying their produce, but often find it difficult because of


inadequate labelling.

"Food can be imported to Britain,


processed here, and subsequently labelled in a way that suggests it is


genuinely British. It is the proper job of government to ensure that


labelling is accurate and clear.

“But government is not only


failing to impose sensible new regulations that would protect the


countryside. They are even getting rid of existing ones.”

Mr Cameron also attacked the Government for failing to provide adequate regulation to protect farmers from big supermarkets.

“It’s


not exactly a relationship of equals. The supermarkets have been in the


habit of using their market power to squeeze the margins of those they


buy from.

"Delivering low prices through efficiencies is good


for customers and a good thing in general - particularly at a time when


the cost of living is going up. But doing so through abuse of market


power or, for example through hitting suppliers with in-year


retrospective discounts is not,” he said.


































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