Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Article excerpt

STAND by for the socio-economic cleansing of the shires. In its submission for the government's forthcoming White Paper on rural affairs, the select committee on environment, transport and regional affairs has come up with the wheeze of banning executive homes in the countryside. The committee, chaired by Andrew Bennett, Labour MP for Denton and Reddish, envisages a future in which the only homes allowed to be built in the countryside would be reserved strictly for local people.

The Prime Minister was quite right when he declared that beyond the problems in livestock farming there is no crisis in the countryside. Why, then, are members of his party intent on trying to create one? If you want rural areas where high unemployment and a sense of hopelessness reign, there is no surer means of bringing them about than by a ban on executive homes.

When well heeled commuters move to the country they bring with them wealth, and demand in return only a small plot of land or a disused agricultural building for conversion; when local youngsters eschew the offer of employment in cities in favour of staying in their native villages they demand a home and a job to boot. …

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