Life in a rural community can be expensive. House prices are often unaffordable to many and out of reach of the average waged rural worker. Rents in many market towns and villages are disproportionate to Norfolk’s low wage economy. The cost of transport is a greater proportion of people’s expenditure whether that be for education, work or leisure. Revaluing Rural acknowledges these additional challenges and seeks to create a rural economy that works for all.
A Labour Norfolk will make improving connectivity key with a priority on increasing super-fast broadband provision and addressing mobile phone ‘not-spots’. For our economy to thrive, we need to ensure that our communication methods are not a hindrance to that progress. We’ve seen rail fares increase dramatically over recent years and the Council’s funding for public transport slashed. A convenient and affordable rural transport service must become a reality with a focus on trains as well as buses. A Labour led Norfolk will immediately review all bus routes in rural areas to look for opportunities to improve with increased funds being made available. Travelling by bus will be free for all children and young people up to the age of 18 in a Labour-led Norfolk.
Banks are closing at an alarming rate in Norfolk with many market towns being left without a service entirely. Labour Norfolk will request commitments from branches* to ensure banking services remain available in our market towns, utilising council owned premises where possible and establishing a Community Owned bank if necessary.
Norfolk County Council and its subsidiary trading company Norse have huge buying power. They are multi-million-pound organisations. A Labour Norfolk will adopt an aggressive local procurement approach, buying from and supporting Norfolk based businesses whenever possible. Selling services to Norfolk County Council is often cumbersome with payments slow and the procurement exercise a labyrinth. A Labour Norfolk will seek to simply this process to support a greater number of small and middle sized businesses in our county.
Adopt an aggressive ‘buy local’ approach using the buying power of Norfolk County Council to support local enterprises and small businesses
Review Council processes to make trading with Norfolk County Council easier and more convenient for small and medium sized businesses
Use the Council’s assets where possible to provide key services – e.g. a bank
Recognise that connectivity is key and support improvements to broadband provision, mobile phone signal
Create a more convenient and affordable rural transport network