Rural and Coastal Communities

People in rural and coastal areas should be able to work and live locally, to have access to a well-funded and integrated transport network and to have equal access to the new technology that is shaping modern life. This, however, is far from the current reality: a proliferation of second homes and holiday cottages means that there is a shortage of affordable homes for the people that make communities work – teachers, nurses, carers, agricultural workers, police officers, and shopkeepers, among among others; transport is usually limited to an expensive, infrequent and unreliable bus service; broadband and mobile services aren’t fit for purpose; and people have limited access to services. Our plan is to build thriving communities which are innovative, flexible, resilient and prepared for the future. We will:

  • Set up a £2 billion Rural Services Fund to enable the co-location of services in local hubs around existing local infrastructure.
  • Invest in bus services by:
    • Substantially increasing funding for buses, enabling local authorities to restore old routes and open new ones.
    • Supporting rural bus services and encouraging alternatives to conventional bus services where they are not viable.
    • Encouraging local authorities to use their new powers under the Bus Services Act, including franchising powers and repealing the rule preventing local councils from running their own bus companies.
    • Providing funding to accelerate the transition to electric buses.
  • Ensure that all households and businesses have access to superfast broadband (30Mbps download and 6Mbps upload).
  • Invest £2 billion in innovative solutions to ensure the provision of high-speed broadband across the UK, working with local authorities and providing grants to help areas replicate the success of existing community-led projects.
  • Invest in mobile data infrastructure and expand it to cover all homes.
  • Launch a National Fund for Coastal Change, to enable local authorities to properly manage their changing coastlines.
  • Reform planning to ensure developers are required to provide essential local infrastructure from affordable homes to schools, surgeries and roads alongside new home