According to the Liberal Democrats Party website the Liberal Democrats Party will try to achieve the following if they gain power at the 2010 general election:
The Liberal Democrats are the only party with the vision, commitment and political drive to deliver positive change which will in turn safe guard the future of our rural communities.
Affordable housing in rural areas – We will provide more homes for local people by increasing councils’ fiscal and planning powers over second homes and promoting schemes such as Equity Mortgage affordable homes.
First class public services in rural areas – We understand that the Post Office can be the hub of many small communities and we will invest £2 billion to ensure they stay open. We will launch a government review of broadband coverage and quality in remote areas. We will also seek EU permission to grant lower fuel taxes and a 50% discount on road tax in sparsely populated areas on all but the most polluting cars. We will also give councils’ greater powers to regulate bus services according to rural community needs.
A fair future for farming – We will ensure farmers and consumers get a fair price for food by creating a legally binding supermarket code enforced by an independent Food Trade Inspector. To ensure prompt farm payments, we will cut red tape by simplifying the application processes and raising the minimum threshold for payments to €100.
Save our waterways – We will give full weight to the social, economic and environmental importance of the waterway network in determining future grant levels for British Waterways. In order to reverse short term cuts arising from loss of Single Payment System income we will use contingency funds.
We will help farmers help the environment – We will accelerate the replacement of CAP production subsidies with payments for social goods, such as good environmental practice. We will also nurture the market for bioenergy through longer-term targets under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, a new assurance scheme to ensure bioenergy is sustainably produced and transported, and reform of existing woodland tax breaks.
I would be interested to hear both positive and negative views on Liberal Democrats Rural Affairs policies in the comments below?