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Are young people priced out of the countryside?

11:19 UK time, Thursday, 4 March 2010

A lack of jobs and affordable housing is driving young people out of the countryside. What is the best way to tackle the problem?

The government's rural advocate Stuart Burgess found that "deep concerns" over work, training, housing, transport and social exclusion existed across the English countryside.

Dr Burgess has called for planning rules to be loosened and broadband access improved if rural communities are to survive. The government says it is working with its Commission for Rural Communities to address young people's needs.

Do you live in the countryside, what are your views on this report? Are you a young person who has been forced to leave the countryside? What measures should be taken to help vulnerable rural communities? Should planning restrictions be loosened?


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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    Yes. I currently live in Lancaster and I would love to move to a more rural area because I want to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle - having compost plots, growing my own produce and being able to collect rain water for my own supply. However I can only afford a cramped city house because the countryside rents are too high and there's no way I could get a mortgage for a country place. Even though my boyfriend and I both work full time, we're both professionally qualified and both hard working, we simply can't save enough for the deposit.

  • Comment number 4.

    No gas so we need to use heating oil, £6.40 a return bus ticket to our local town, £6.80 a day to park at the station and over £30 pounds return ticket to london yes living in rural kent is very expensive!

  • Comment number 5.

    The problem is that the countryside prides itself on it's farmer-based heritage and unfortunately, times have changed. Perhaps grants should be offered to re-develop delapidated barns and other disused farm buildings into hi-tech, environmentally friendly businesses.

  • Comment number 6.

    of course young people are being systemeticly cleared from there homes so the rich can have there weekend retreat,thats a fact.ever since thatcher denounced the end of society,its been the i'm alright jack pull the ladder up attitude.i've a great deal of sympathy for the young of the countryside and it's village life but ifear thats all they can expect is sympathy.sorry.

  • Comment number 7.

    In the country there is no work and unaffordable housing. In the cities badly paid work and unaffordable housing. This is no reason to kill our green belt. The root cause is ignorant, greedy and dysfunctional local councils and the government who stifle businesses by their financial demands, neglect infrastructure despite collecting huge taxes and through petty bureacracy driven by the nimby set impede the private building (in brown sites) of affordable housing.

  • Comment number 8.

    The decline in rural jobs has been part of a long term strategy to move people from the towns to the countryside. This is not really new news, just re-highlighting another of the many challenges to the rural way of life.

    There is a big disparity between the wages on offer for young people, and cost of living. In part this is because of greed on the part of estate agents and landlords who seem to equate 'rural' with 'loaded' and therefore charge enormous rents and fees.

    Not everyone in the rural areas is loaded. Not everyone drives 4X4s whilst wearing green wellies. Most people are just trying to make ends meet.

  • Comment number 9.

    It not just the young who are being priced out. My wife and bought our house just before the labout victory in the 90's when the prices in the Lakes were high but not ridiclous, and neither was the council tax. Now the house prices are silly, the council tax (for what we get) silly and although the services, fuel and utility cost have rocketed, the pay in rural ares (which has always been a low) simply has not kept pace meaning more and more of the older residents are leaving. My wife and I would love to have started a family, but with a morgage we simply could not afford it, so thanks Mr Brown and hopefully goodbye in a few months!

  • Comment number 10.

    It is a sad reflection of &, a reproach & disgrace of our Society, that housing & the means of living a decent life is beyond the reach of many people.

  • Comment number 11.

    I don't think it has anything to do with coming from the countryside just that country dwellers tend to have more of an affinity with their fields and things. Virtually all skilled people have to move to find appropriate jobs - and let's face it - very few of them are on farms.

  • Comment number 12.

    I live in Norfolk as a 22 year old, and personally am screaming to get away from the countryside into the cities because of the lack of jobs , lack of cosmopolitan life, lack of 'buzz'. The transport links are shocking, and overpriced; it is cheaper to drive in to Norwich and face the carparking hell than bus it in (though the train is better because of Young Persons card).

    I do love the countryside, and do love the peaceful life I have been brought up in but I haven't looked to see if I could afford a place to rent in Norfolk, because I don't want to live there anymore. I'm going to find my cheap housing and beautiful scenery over in Canada. Initial start up costs to get out there are high, but it is well worth the move.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    Andy Smith wrote: Perhaps grants should be offered to re-develop delapidated barns and other disused farm buildings into hi-tech, environmentally friendly businesses.

    This has been said for years but until the comumications and utility infrastructure is there to support a hi-tech eco friendly ecconomy unfortuantely it just a pie in the sky idea. As no one in their right mind would set up a tech business in an area with the services we have in the lake's!

  • Comment number 15.

    Problem is there are just too many people chasing too little space in this country, especially the SE corner.
    This is the root cause of most of our social and environmental ills. The only solution is population control. By force if necessary.

  • Comment number 16.

    I live in a large rural district & have worked in the housing sector for 30 years. I have 2 adult children. One works locally and lives at home. The other lives locally in private rented and travels daily to London for work. I definitely think public transport needs to be improved and the cost reduced. There are large towns near here that are virtually impossible to get to by public transport. You have to go to London and get a train out again!
    The bit that concerns me is 'loosening planning rules'. We have had a huge amount of development in this district in recent years, and much more in the offing. As both a resident and a housing professional my observation has been that all this development principally benefits the developers, private landlords and buyers moving in to the district from outside. All this has the effect of pushing prices up to the detriment of local people. There is no way my well educated and hard working children can afford to buy and renting is impossible unless you have a partner or share with someone else. Either way, unless you are on a fantastic salary, you need parental help with deposits etc.

  • Comment number 17.

    So after so many years, the government's just woken up to rural problems, eh.


    The big issue is immigration.

    Immigrants have been taking the rural jobs, and competing for housing in rural areas - whatever Evan Davies thinks.

    And with increased population pressure - also due to immigrants - more and more people are moving to the countryside to escape our overcrowded, 'vibrant' multicultural cities.

    So the rural people are being hit by a double whammy.

    The irony is, many liberal pc brigadistas are happy to preach the virtues of multiculturalism and immigration, but they do move to the countryside - odd that. Billy Bragg, Hugh Denis, for example.

  • Comment number 18.

    Labour doesn't care about the country. As the country is traditionally conservative they see no need to help people in the country, as it will not generate them any votes.

    Also there is the perception by the left that everyone one in the country lives in a mansion house and bathes in the tears of the poor - despite the fact that the trade union movement started in the country.

    This can be seen by the differing reactions to the police handling of both the countryside alliance march to the G20 march. Apparently it was ok to beat the participants of the former but not the latter.

  • Comment number 19.

    As the world grows so do the complaints. We always want more but never want to give more!
    Where are all the 70million people in a few years meant to live?
    My question is this when do you think Slums will arrive in BRITAIN?? if we dont give land over to housing thats what will happen.

  • Comment number 20.

    The decline in rural areas is complex and multi-faceted but results in a steady exodus of young people from those rural areas and a influx of older people who see rural areas as a nice, quiet place to retire and are willing to pay a high price for housing which younger people born in those areas cannot easily afford.

  • Comment number 21.

    "The countyside is off limits to all but the few very rich people in Wales All the property have been bought, years ago as 2nd homes for short breaks?There are very few rural commuitys now because of this? all the country pubs and small business and post offices' have long gone in many areas' What jobs are left? the farmers Today with factory farming and such like , dont need many workers' if any ? there is only seasonal work for gangs' of Eastern european {Cheap} work force picking veg and fruit on min wage.

  • Comment number 22.

    The problem is that the countryside prides itself on it's farmer-based heritage and unfortunately, times have changed. Perhaps grants should be offered to re-develop delapidated barns and other disused farm buildings into hi-tech, environmentally friendly businesses.

    Where do you think your food is going to come from Andy when all the farms have been converted. Or maybe importing it by air /sea is environmentally friendly.

  • Comment number 23.

    "Are young being priced out of the countryside?" Sadly this is nothing new and has not been addressed by Government.

    Some young people living in rural communities find and love employment involved in local farming, conservation, animal care or country sports etc. But, unless accommodation comes with the job it's impossible for them to buy a home on income earned from that unless they have professional qualifications?

    Some young people are unsuited to above occupations, but want/need to live with, or near their families. They want to pursue other opportunities/jobs, but cannot afford to travel to other areas, or that travel is unreliable or unavailable too?

    More 'light/clean industry' and permanent work in rural communities should be subsidised by government. More share ownership schemes for housing too? There are architects, ignored by Government, who have designs that integrate with existing rural infrastructure.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    If there were jobs, but no housing, or housing but no jobs, there would be an obvious problem for people living in the countryside. However, as it now seems there are neither jobs nor houses there, the simplest solution is surely to move to towns, where there's a much better chance of finding both, along with better access to all services.
    Artificial measures to keep alive communities that have lost their reason to exist are rarely effective in the long term - this is true of isolated rural hamlets just as much as of former industrial areas.

  • Comment number 26.

    Well, yes, price is a factor. But poor internet and mobile phone connectivity and lack of other young people to socialise with is also a serious problem, since everyone just goes to university and never comes back.

    If you enjoy living out in the middle of no-where, with horrendously poor communications and enjoy being the only young person for MILES, then sure, go and live in the countryside!

    As for me, I'm never going back there. Ever. I'm hopefully moving into a flat in Stoke-on-trent next month. It might not be much, but it's better than living in the mind-numbingly boring countryside. I'll be near my friends, and I'll even be able to get a super-fast cable internet connection!! haha!!

  • Comment number 27.

    13. At 12:48pm on 04 Mar 2010, englandrise wrote:

    Rubbish, the exact same problems exist where ever you live North or South of the border. The main problem is, in solving the rural problem, you ruin the rural setting. Cheap housing takes the form of pastel shaded faux clad shoe boxes that completely jar with the rest of the scenery.

    The Barnett formula split is as such because in Scotland (for example)although there are less people, a higher percentage of them live away from main infrastructure nodes than in England. So it costs more to maintain communications, transport and services.

    Its got nothing to do with the rural housing/employment problem which is only going to get worse anyway due to the government's cack-handed handling of the economy. Another example of the city shafting the countryside.

  • Comment number 28.

    "The problem is that the countryside prides itself on it's farmer-based heritage and unfortunately, times have changed. Perhaps grants should be offered to re-develop delapidated barns and other disused farm buildings into hi-tech, environmentally friendly businesses"

    That does not solve the problem of young people born in the country, the only people who can afford these barn conversions are rich city types who want a weekend home in the country then complain about the smells and noises of the country.

  • Comment number 29.

    I grew up in the countryside, went to a rural Primary school and dearly wanted to be able to stay there, live there and work there. I quickly found that every house that came up for sale the price was gazumped by Townies. Retiring old people and highly paid City dwellers could always overtop my attempts to buy a house near where I had be brought up. In the end I had to move to a town and leave my preferrred home. As for building a home in the country, the planning office just laughed!
    The time was mid 1960's. Nothing really has changed in spite of the pious words spoken by a succession of Parliaments and Ministers.

  • Comment number 30.

    #2. So everyone that lives in social housing is guilty of "anti-social behaviour, verbal abuse, vandalism, theft, drug dealing/taking, littering, etc" are they? What a repugnant view you have of people less well off than yourself.

    The truth is it's people like you that are the problem. Forcing up property prices in pursuit of some ridiculous rural idyll, and thereby excluding the youngsters from their own communities by making it unaffordable to live there. Then blaming them for being poor!

  • Comment number 31.

    Not just the countryside, the city too...I live on the south coast and unless I move north of London, and away from my friends, family and life, I will never be able to afford a property of my own without someone in the family dying and me getting the inheritance, or what's left of it after tax.

    Such a terrible system that has allowed house prices to inflate massively above the rate of pay and price people out of getting what I see as a basic need, a home, just so people can make profit. I can't wait until the next property price crash.

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    We need to find some way of ensuring that someone who works in the country, such as a farmer, can afford to live where they work.

    The problem is that wealthy people who work in the towns & cities like to commute each day to their expensive country house, unsually in a very expensive 4x4, but with the two fold effect of driving up house prices and polluting the environment.

    Perhaps we need a tax relief system for people who actually work near where they live and a "super tax" for people who live in the country but work in the city.

  • Comment number 34.

    • I lived almost my entire life in rural Somerset and i can tell you that 13 years of Labour and their focus on the "Inner-cities" and the urban way of life have pretty much destroyed the rural aspects and life in this country. I have friends who are farmers who are struggling. Pensioners in remote villages stripped of their one bus a week. The closure of rural pubs post offices and other businesses.

    My personal view as someone from a rural back ground is that this government in its attempts to appease the city-folk have raped beyond repair the rural existence.

    Vast sums have been channelled into the cities, funding community centres, sports facilities etc, all for the benefit of people who frankly do not deserve them. Whilst those in the country have seem their funding reduced to cater for this.

    People from the city, with no clue or experience of life in the rural areas of this country have sought to impose their will, what with the outlawing of fox hunting (I don't care if you dislike this sport, it is a rural way of life and keeps vermin under control - Yes! Foxes are vermin) Unrealistic quotas, brought in by the EU and enforced by spineless government have seen farmers having to shoot their livestock as they can't afford them.

    I sincerely hope that the next government address this heinous wrong and ensure that those young who wish to remain in the country side are able to do so with better prospects and living conditions.

    13 years of focusing on the inner cities with little or no achievement, its time to focus your efforts on those in the country side.

  • Comment number 35.

    People working in cities shouldn't be living dozens of miles away in the countryside. It's unsustainable and is destroying our rural communities.

    People doing such should be ashamed.

    So many of our once great towns and villages have been converted into anonymous commuter estates, utterly lacking of any culture, because most the inhabitants never even see the town during the day. They don't really "live" in the town/village, they simply own a home there (thereby driving out people which actually do want to live in the town/village).

  • Comment number 36.

    It's partly a symptom of young people being priced out of houses everywhere as a result of a ludicrous debt-fuelled housing bubble, which may finally be showing some signs of correcting a little after a promising start but stuttering a bit last year. However, outside of the cities second home ownership has added an additional burden which needs addressing. Loosening the planning rules is not the solution; that'll just encourage more places to become urban, which is not what we need in this already over-developed country. In the areas with the worst issues with who owns the homes (e.g. national parks) quite often a lot of the now horrendously-priced housing was originally built as cheap housing for local workers (e.g. Glenridding in the Lake District was a mining village). Building more will just result in making a mess of the place and letting in the next tier of townies' second homes rather than helping the people actually from there to stay there.

  • Comment number 37.

    #17 - "The big issue is immigration."

    Not true. Tourism seems to be a bigger issue. Cumbria has some of the highest house prices and the lowest numbers of immigrants in the country. Increasing centralisation is also a big issue, with facilities getting more and more concentrated in cities, leaving the market towns that the surrounding villages rely on suffering.

  • Comment number 38.

    I am sick and tired about this endlessly repeated myth of the 'countryside'. We get it all, no services, no public transport, no jobs etc. etc.

    There are no jobs in the countryside because there is no work to be done. Farming is bankrupt and has been for over 100 years. Housing is so expensive because town people want to retire to an idylic place they have dreamed about for years (and has never existed). Try building new houses and newcomers scream about spoiling their view.

    What we need is a new positive approach that throws away all the old sacred cows.

    1 Forget farming, it only works with endless subsidies.

    2 Build new housing, if someone complains that their house price has fallen, tell them tough luck and stop them going to court.

    3 Encourage people to own cars, yes CARS, they are cheap, easy to use and NOWHERE IN THIS COUNTRY IS MORE THAN 15 MILES FROM A MOTORWAY!

    4 Tell people who moan that the countryside is our 'heritage' etc that they are living in a dream world, a buscuit-tin-lid-land that never existed.

    5 Stop all the yokelisation, this ONE COUNTRY not two. We all live side by side with no difference whatsoever in our needs, wants, aspirations.

    6 Open up the countryside to leisure activities. When my children were young we had to travel for miles to have picnics, activities, something to do. The country side is EMPTY, lets fill it up more with things young and old can do.

  • Comment number 39.

    To Post No 13 - Get a life!

    No-one is interested in hearing your foul racist bile. We are all children of the UK and should be fighting on the same side to ensure we ALL get a good deal from the government.

    Just to put you straight though, using your own figures for funding per head of population:

    * Northern Ireland £9,385 - (population 1.7m) = £16bn
    * Scotland £8,623 - (population 5m) = £43bn
    * Wales £8,139 - (population 3m) = £24bn
    * England £7,121 - (population 51m) = £363bn

    So, as you can see, England actually receives £320bn more than Scotland and when you consider much of this money is used for shared services (roads, transport, infrastructure etc) the English get a very good deal as most have access to these. I'll bet spending per head in England as a whole will be higher in Cornwall than in the Midlands for example, purely because there are less people and the roads, railways etc. all still have to be paid for. This is called fairness.

    Anyway, to answer the question, of course young people are being driven out of the countryside, due to townsfolk with good jobs buying up all the property at unaffordable prices. The way to resolve this is to relax the planning regulations and let people born and bred in the country build their own houses or re-use delapidated barns etc.

  • Comment number 40.

    This country as got so expensive, that only the unemployed can afford an home. Oh and bankers and politicians who can afford several each.

  • Comment number 41.

    I live in a commuter town (Braintree, Essex, UK) not far from London, very little of the population works in Braintree as there is no work, instead 90% (guestimate) of the population works in Chelmsford/London and places in between.

    As a result I'm being priced out of Braintree, Essex, UK.

    God help me if I ever tried to move to the countryside!

    "2. At 12:23pm on 04 Mar 2010, Sick of anti-social behaviour wrote:

    My view on this is that I don't want the countryside concreted over so the government can build more social (council) housing. I am trying to move to the countryside right now to get away from those sorts of people as I'm sick of the anti-social behaviour, verbal abuse, vandalism, theft, drug dealing/taking, littering, etc.

    The last thing I want is another estate full of these people being built near me."


    I (along with my family) rent a council house and frankly, I take offence to those remarks. Lets hope I don't get a private estate built near me...

  • Comment number 42.

    I feel partially sorry for the young people as they did not choose to live there - their parents did. However, they will just have to accept the facts and move on. I had to move to London to get a job. However one of the downsides of that is that I too am being priced out of London now. This is because I am considered too rich to obtain a council house/benefits and too poor to afford my own place. I feel that as a young person, who has always paid taxes and behaved herself, I have had to struggle financially. Whereas, those people who never work, get all the assistance.

  • Comment number 43.

    "The government's rural advocate Stuart Burgess found that "deep concerns" over work, training, housing, transport and social exclusion existed across the English countryside."

    Yet more irrefutable proof (as if any were needed) that Labour have been so hell-bent on their undemocratic programme of social engineering for the past thirteen years, that they haven't even spent the time looking at concerns of the voters.

    Strange how Labour claims to be interested now, just prior to a general election, isn't it? Still, as anyone who takes the slightest bit of interest in politics now knows full-well, Labour will promise the Earth before an election, and then fail to deliver on every single policy.

  • Comment number 44.

    I have been priced out of EVERYWHERE. At this rate, I soon won't be able to live in tree house.
    When will we have someone in power who can put a stop to this madness in house prices? It's not demand or the free market driving up prices, it's estate agents making figures out of thin air.

    When my father bought his house in 1960, it cost £4000: the average wage then was just £25 per week. So his house was the equivalent of 4 years pay. Today, the average house costs 7 or 8 years pay, or 15 years pay if you live in London. Our wages haven't gone up to match the cost of living in this country. This bubble needs to burst as quickly as possible, it cannot sustain itself, and anyone who has just bought a house prior to the burst will find themselves with a huge debt and a house worth 25% of what they've paid for it.

    Did you know we could each build our own house for as little as £50,000? That's all the materials/labour actually costs. If our town planners and councils actually let more of us buy land this could be feasible. Instead they're all in league with the big housing developers to screw us for as much as possible. The whole situation needs sorting out, instead of just letting the market run away with itself.

  • Comment number 45.

    I'm not sure the government should be doing very much about this at all. It's called market forces. History tells us that when governments try to interfere in them, it usually doesn't end well.

    Having said that, I can see that it's unhelpful when people buy second homes. I don't think it would do too much harm if council tax on second properties were to be increased to the point where it made a few people think twice.

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 47.

    "My view on this is that I don't want the countryside concreted over so the government can build more social (council) housing. I am trying to move to the countryside right now to get away from those sorts of people as I'm sick of the anti-social behaviour, verbal abuse, vandalism, theft, drug dealing/taking, littering, etc.

    The last thing I want is another estate full of these people being built near me"

    Pathetic. It people like that are making the countryside to expensive for young local born people to live. Its always a sad day when they move the cows out of barns and move the pigs in.

  • Comment number 48.

    Bernadette at HYS here. Hope you’re all finding this debate interesting. If you would like to listen to the government's rural advocate Stuart Burgess talking about the report on Today follow this link

  • Comment number 49.

    To all those who seem to think that this problem is the fault of the Labour government.

    This is a problem that has been plaguing the countryside for more than just 13 years. When I was in the Girl Guides some 45 years ago and used to go camping in the countryside, the locals were complaining of exactly the same things. As far as I can see there is no answer. You cannot stop people buying up second homes in the country (which puts the prices up beyond that which the locals can afford), and many farming communities are having to diversify in order to eek out an existance.

  • Comment number 50.

    I live in the countryside. My children have moved to the city. Nothing to do with housing etc, it's just more fun for a young person in a city. They'll probably move back to the country when they have families and good jobs.

  • Comment number 51.

    This is hardly a new issue. I am almost 50 and grew up in the countryside. I left to find work. I would love to move back but there's no way I can afford the property prices. I can count on one hand the number of people I went to school with who remained in the area. Don't know what the answer is but to blame Labour policies for the situation, as many are, is ridiculous.

  • Comment number 52.

    I'm not sure why people are insistent on blaming immigration for young people being priced out of the countryside. It is not immigrants who are driving up the house prices out of out of town areas, buying up all the £300k properties. When you hear about 10 immigrants living in one property trust me, they are not living in a 6 bedroom house. The owners of the countryside properties are not not immigrants, greedily raising the by 10k for every 1k they spend on it. Do you really think that someone earning less than minimum wage (a year) could afford the mortgage on a £300k house?

    We need more houses build to drive down price, but people don't want there house prices going down so they campaign against it. People who already own a home have a vested interest in there being no more houses built.

    Much of our economy was based on the invisible money generated by people artificially increasing the price of there homes, taking out loans on the artificial money.

  • Comment number 53.

    Meh, we're due a second round of house price drops over the next 18 months, so that should make property more affordable for the young. You can already see the evidence in the press, though the BBC persists with increasingly bizarre statistics and graphs to hide this from first time buyers.

  • Comment number 54.

    Migration from the countryside to the towns and cities in search of work is hardly a new issue. This has been happening for most of history throughout the world. Why does this generation think that a government can solve all their issues, especially when they complaint so much about paying tax. When are we going to learn to live without always wanting more.

  • Comment number 55.

    This NEW problem has been happening since the industrial revolution.

    Deftly spotted Nu-Lab! Quick off the mark as always!

    The reasons are simple, mechanisation and the increase of size of farm means fewer are needed to labour. Labouring is not a job many people want, they want inside warm, dry, comfy, offices at better rates of pay. Quite reasonably really!

    Large farms, improved crops (improved by selective breeding, which is – genetically modifying the crops), mechanisation are more efficient and we want cheap food. Therefore, as machines are cheaper than people in the long run, fewer people!

    Faster internet will be nice for those with a home in which to use it! But without decent public transport it is a pointless vote catching exercise! Hang on there isn’t an election in the offing is there?

  • Comment number 56.

    Houses, whether in the town or countryside, are now way above the affordability of the local average wage.

    Those of us that bought up to say 2003 are lucky but if I have to move than I could not afford anything like my current home. My place (home and a roof over my head) is now probably 12 times my current salary if I had to purchase it whereas it was about 6 times my salary in 2002.

    House prices have rocketed to the unaffordable values through the past 10 years and whether it is existing stock or new build start at a minimum cost of 8 times national average salary.

    Whatever governments do, the builders will not build affordable (circa 5-6 times national average salary) in order for key workers to purchase. When they do the buy-to-let carpetbaggers gazump the first time buyer. As has been stated, the rich purchase their weekend country retreat which also forces up the prices.

    Building social (council or housing association) homes only occurs within towns an not in the countryside. I feel sorry for those struggling to raise a deposit whilst living in rented accommodation (housing association or private landlords) as the rents are on par with mortgage payments (at 5% interest).

    Whichever government gets in should provide:-
    - No council tax exemptions for second/third/etc homes.
    - A scheme whereby key UK workers (including those working on the land) can get their own affordable housing local to their employment.
    - Houses cannot be vacant for a set number of weeks in the year (part of my local council wants people to contact them over vacant properties). If they are vacant for say four months then someone from the housing waiting list should have the opportunity to move in with the council taking charge of the occupation.

    The nearest farm to my property has not been lived in for 12 months and the landlord is quite happy to leave it to fall down. That landlord is getting money from a farmer to use the land but the 5-6 bedroom property would benefit from some money spent on it which will allow a family on the housing waiting list to move in. I am sure it will never happen though which is a shame.

    Politicians and landlords are in the mentality from the 1980's of "me, me, me" and "I'm alright Jack".



  • Comment number 57.

    You can't move in the country for herds of cows beching out noxious gases. It's just like London.

  • Comment number 58.

    Why is this considered a new issue? Surely people have been leaving the countryside to find jobs in the cities since industrialisation! Don't think we can blame the current government for this one...

  • Comment number 59.

    Looks like the government are now looking at what they swept under the carpet 12 years ago. Finding anything to occupy them from from the big issues and make it look like they are doing something - must be an election coming up...

  • Comment number 60.

    I live in Poole Dorset where most of the best, seaside properties are bought as second homes, retirement homes by rich Londoners or in the case of Sandbanks, by the glitterati with prices in millions of pounds.
    It's bad enough that the vast majority of young people growing up around here could never aspire to have the kind of wealth that these buyers have, but what makes it worse is that rich people spoil it for everyone else.
    I don't want Poole to become a retirement town.
    It has become clear to me that the root of the problem is disparity of wealth, the stupid and unecesary sums paid to people in the financial sector, and the huge range of salries within all organisations- too many years of percentage pay increase perhaps. Time to even things up a bit methinks, and create a level playing field. Remove the whole concept of inheritance, ban private schools, increase the minimum wage, tax all income over £100k pa at 75% and ban the vile idea of buy- to- let. How have people become so base as to think it's ok effectively make people work for their benefit by paying a big proportion of their income to them as rent?
    If the few won't change there is no future for any of us.

  • Comment number 61.

    Like many city dwellers, I'd love to live in the country, but a combination of artificially low interest rates and NIMBY planning regulations make this unattainable. The one thing we must not have is positive discrimination. Just because someone was born in the country doesn't entitle them to a better quality of life than the rest of us.
    Things change. Firstly, the government can't go on rewarding debtors and punishing savers for ever, so the housing bubble will eventually burst. Secondly, there is actually plenty of room for more houses, it just requires courageous planning decisions. For example, there is clearly a surplus of dairy farms (since they are always complaing about the price of milk) - why not allow them to sell some land off for housing?

  • Comment number 62.

    I was raised in a rural village and went to the village school, the sort where you were all in the one classroom and given differentiated tasks, and the teacher lived in a house that was part of the building. Now I live in a town, albeit near enough to the edge to get into fields (and have occasional whiffs of a 'fine agricultural smell' when they've been muck spreading).

    There were good things and bad things about village life. Everyone knew your business... but two youths were stopped by neighbours when they were spotted strolling down the road with my parents' lawnmower! The bus service was infequent and expensive even then, and getting to university in the nearest city was an exercise in logistics each day, careful planning required and a good few sprints from bus station to campus to catch lecturers just about to open their mouths.

    Would I go back? Maybe... but dearly beloved is more of a 'townie' and I don't think he'd be happy. Not quite sure what he'd miss, not the peace and quiet - hedgehogs mating make just as much noise as a passing ambulance, and if you've ever heard a vixen's cry you never forget it.

  • Comment number 63.

    This topic occurs with monotonous regularity. Yes, less well off people (generally younger people) are prevented from living where they want by better off people moving into an area they perceive as a nice place to live. Get over it. This is true in rural situations, in city centres, and in attractive suburban areas. It is only relatively recently that people have believed they have a right to move out of mummy and daddy's rural thatched cottage/Chelsea apartment/5-bed detached Surrey House etc and move in directly next door. The young always start in the 'poxy' areas of town, the poor areas, the undesirable areas and work their way up (as their parents did).
    Nevertheless the countryside is still overpopulated compared to the towns and cities in terms of provision of jobs. As more and more rural businesses can be conducted with fewer people and more machines there will be less employment possibilities to support incommers.
    Changing the mindset of people who think they need to live in towns is a different topic altogether - but one that needs consideration. Given electronic communication systems currently available there is very little need for a significant number of businesses to congregate in towns and cities. They could operate equally well (and more pleasantly for their staff) in rural locations and help to remove road congestion and commuting problems.

  • Comment number 64.

    Andy Smith:

    Re-develop barnes and other farm buildings ? That's been going on for years and would hardly constitute 'social housing'

    Small housing estates would be better - note the work 'small' - and would be more affordable to those less well off

  • Comment number 65.

    It's only natural as the countryside houses tend to be larger and more luxurious than the average townhouse. Added to which if affordable housing is planned in the area the local residents refuse it due to "reducing the character of the area". Sorry but you can't have it both ways.

    It's not only the young priced out of these areas. I'm 31 and single so not considered to be "young" yet I can barely afford a small terraced house in town due to being taxed to hilt to provide benefits for every other demographic.

  • Comment number 66.

    44 Graphis

    "Did you know we could each build our own house for as little as £50,000? That's all the materials/labour actually costs. If our town planners and councils actually let more of us buy land this could be feasible. Instead they're all in league with the big housing developers to screw us for as much as possible. The whole situation needs sorting out, instead of just letting the market run away with itself. "

    Well put. There is something very fishy about the government's housing policies. They are committed to adding huge amounts of new housing, to provide accommodation for the growing population - the result of the immigration they've encouraged.

    And they've ensured that the people who really do well out of it are the big housebuilders, property developers etc.

    The rest of the population, and the environment, bear the negative consequences.

    There are many solutions to the rural economic crisis, and a major one would be to encourage small-scale, local housing, built by local companies or individuals, for local people.

    But that's not what will happen. Instead, the politicians' friends in the construction industry will get to build huge swathes of poorly constructed, identikit suburban sprawl, and people will carry on migrating from the big cities to the 'countryside', to complain about the noise and smells, and whinge that the whole place is getting a bit too built up.

  • Comment number 67.

    Great, so even though I earn a reasonable wage I can't afford to live in decent area in a town or city, and now I can't afford to move into the rural countryside for a better life. I guess i'll end up in some sink estate where house prices remain at reasonable levels due to high crime.

    Do we not think there is a serious problem when young adults on reasonable incomes can't afford a reasonable house/flat in a reasonable area? My parents continue to profit from a massive property price boom that saw their 4 bed house rocket from the buying price of £125K 17 years ago to it's current approximate value of £500K. My generation has been well and truly shafted with regard to buying property, unless the average wage is suddenly going to start increasing by 200%?

    My girlfriend and I earn about £40K a year between us, yet it currently doesn't look like we're going to be able to afford a reasonable sized house in, around or just outside of London where we'ved both lived all our lives. Unless we want to start a family in a 1 bed flat, our alternative is to buy somewhere further north and a little more rural...but it now seems that plan has been scuppered if this report is accurate.

    What are we to do??

  • Comment number 68.

    I agree with post 3.

    Buying in the countryside in the South East would be hard even for the older generation.

    However, I think young people (and even the not so young) are being priced out of everywhere particularly in the South East where I am. The simple fact seems to be, if you don't have rich parents you're looking at being in your mid 30s before you can even think about buying. This is made harder by people buying up the 'cheaper' housing as an investment denying younger people the chance to buy a family place they can call their own.

    To save the required tens of thousands of pounds for a mortgage is near impossible when the rents are so high for even a tiny place (and, indeed are more expensive than mortgage repayments.)

  • Comment number 69.

    Too many townies have an idyllic view of the countryside. It's not all Midsommer Murders,James Herriot land. It's noisy and dirty, all those farm animals and farm machinery you see. Narrow roads, poor shopping, virtually no public transport and the house prices are ridiculous. All those townies buying up the property, driving to the nearest supermarket for their shopping, rural depopulation had got worse in the last 30 years.
    Increased mechanisation and bigger farms means less employment for locals.
    Councils forced to sell their housing stock, the legislation doesn't allow them to build more, free market in housing, large numbers of homeless.
    Our political classes doctrinaire adherence to free market ideology ensures rural depopulation.

  • Comment number 70.

    This has been going on for hundreds of years, anyone trying to blame this, or any, government hasn't got a clue what they're talking about.

    There are far too many factors contributing to this problem that it is also unlikely that any government will be able to reverse the trend very quickly.

    Industrialisation caused the loss of the vast majority of rural employment opportunities in the early 1800s and every technological advancement we've made since has lead to a further reduction in the jobs available. This caused many people living in rural areas, especially the young people, to leave for the cities where they hoped they'd be able to find work.

    The fact that the vast majority of our rural areas are owned by a handful of individuals, the Monarchy, MoD, National Trust and other groups means that there is also a lack of suitable space to allow rural areas to grow in order to accommodate any extra domestic, retail, business and community buildings that are needed to support an increased population.

    Then we've got the National Parks and Greenbelt that have had unsustainably stringent regulations regarding what can be built, how it can be built and where it can be built in many of the rural areas that have wanted to expand over the past fifty years. While we all want to protect our countryside the balance between conservation and progress has been too far on the conservation side for far too long, talk to anyone who lives and works in a National Park and they'll be able to bore you at length about the near infinite number of forms they have to fill in to be able to make even the most minor changes to their property while building something new is almost impossible.
    Instead of protecting the National Parks from destruction the policy seems to have been to keep them stuck in a time warp, almost like a living museum, for far too long. While this makes these areas great to visit for those of us who live in cities it is making it virtually impossible for enough housing to be built in order to accommodate the natural growth of these areas while also blocking business opportunities and therefore jobs.

  • Comment number 71.

    With the UK already carved up by robber barons, nothing has changed.
    Unless we take back the land, the wealthy will continue to "look after" it for us - courtesy of the National Trust, of course.

  • Comment number 72.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 73.

    I live in Cornwall and yes employment and housing issues are a constant concern.

    Then there are those who wish to have a retreat into the countryside.

  • Comment number 74.

    "Sick of anti-social behaviour" wrote:
    "I am trying to move to the countryside right now to get away from those sorts of people as I'm sick of the anti-social behaviour, verbal abuse, vandalism, theft, drug dealing/taking, littering, etc."

    For your information, those of us who were born in the countryside, grew up in the countryside and want to stay here actually have a lot more respect for it than you give us credit for. What we want is the option to stay where we grew up instead of being priced out.

  • Comment number 75.

    Surely the answer to this is simple. Change the law so that you cannot own a property in designated areas without being resident in it. This would stop spiv city boys using their bonuses to buy up country properties then using them solely for the occasional weekend. Rental properties could then be registered with the local council and must demonstrate that they have real bona fide tenants for at least 75% of the year. This problem is a function of the wealthy buying up propeties for occasional use at proces that the local community simply cannot afford.

  • Comment number 76.

    People who own land should be allowed to build on it to construct a house for owner occupaton like you can in spain.

    All the planners seem to be achieving is keeping beautiful countryside for the rich to enjoy.

  • Comment number 77.

    Sick of anti-social behaviour wrote:
    My view on this is that I don't want the countryside concreted over so the government can build more social (council) housing. I am trying to move to the countryside right now to get away from those sorts of people as I'm sick of the anti-social behaviour, verbal abuse, vandalism, theft, drug dealing/taking, littering, etc.
    The last thing I want is another estate full of these people being built near me.

    I live in the countryside. I was born and raised in the countryside. I live in social housing in my village which is a brand new development.
    The last thing we need is arrogant, high horsed snobbish townies coming over and wrecking the peace we enjoy here. If that is your attitude then stay where you are, we don't need you wrecking our country way of life.

  • Comment number 78.

    So many of you are saying the young cannot afford to live in the countryside. Well who was it exactly that sold these houses at high prices in the first place ? Who priced the young out of the area ?

    And as for older people moving to countryside, are they mad, so many houses round my way where cut off for days at a time during the snow. Really good if you need doctor or ambulance or medication is it not.

    Just goes to show the older generation are not as intelligent as they think they are. Oh but of course I forgot, they are not living there during the winter are they, what a waste of housing.

  • Comment number 79.

    17. At 12:51pm on 04 Mar 2010, Apple-Eater wrote:
    “Immigrants have been taking the rural jobs, and competing for housing in rural areas - whatever Evan Davies thinks.”

    I don't suppose it even occured to you that maybe Evan Davies did some good solid research before he filmed the BBC programme 'The Day the Immigrants Left'? I guess it's far easier to carry on perpetuating the immigration myth and branding any evidence to the contrary as 'propoganda' becuase it doesn't agree with your own perceived view. Far easier to do this than challenge your own opinions.

    Immigrants that work in rural areas do very low paid jobs, such as fruit picking. The 'indigenous' population (as is the popular term now) , largley don't want these jobs, and even if they did they wouldn't be able to afford a house on the wages. Many immigrants will rent (paid for by themselfs and not the state) small bedsits while they work. This is not some made up story but fact (based on evidence such as produced by Evan Davies) whether you like it or not.

    Rural housing is no longer cheap because reasonabley well off people who made lots of money from their city/town houses during the property price boom can afford a bigger place in the country to live, or a second home or holiday let. That's exactly what's happened in places such as Cornwall and the Lake District. So please, spare me the tired old 'it's the immigrants!' rants.

  • Comment number 80.

    The majority of people are going to live in towns - that's where the jobs are, and it's more environmnetally friendly to live close to work.

    People wanting to move to the country for a more 'eco-friendly' lifestyle are fine, as long as they are going to work close to their home. If they have a 'zero emissions' house, but have to drive 40 miles each way to work, it sort of defeats the object...

    As fuel prices continue to rise, this will become even more important.

    Also, the government needs to invest heavily in the train network - new stations in small towns, re-open branch lines, and build bigger (& cheaper) car parks for the stations that already exist so people can get to the stations to use them.

  • Comment number 81.

    In fairness, it's not just pricing driving the young out of the countryside. The bright lights of the big cities have been drawling kids out of the countryside for years, and poor phone reception and utterly awful internet coverage are only worsening the feeling of being 'cut off' from where it's all happening in the countryside.

    You could give the homes away, and most youngsters would still want to spend their twenties in a big city.

  • Comment number 82.

    If you're worried about sink estates being built near you in the countryside, I can assure you retired Londoners are the biggest threat.

    If you own a cockerel who likes to crow, expect a visit from the police with their complaints that the bird is crowing at 'anti-social' hours...

  • Comment number 83.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 84.

    Since my first post, and reading others' I looked at originators of this report: about what BBC describe as "are the young being priced out of the countryside"?

    Commission for Rural Communities or 'CRC' instigated this report? If you want another reason to be angry about lack of rural work/education/business/home opportunities etc., go to this site, and get more more angry!

    Go to this site and enter into search: funding .. OMG? So much money/grants for CRS available for all the HIGHLY paid EXECUTIVES, ADVISERS etc.

    There is so much money to be made commissioning reports about rural community problems, that there is no money left to help rural communities?

  • Comment number 85.

    We are all being priced out of houses and jobs at the moment.
    The only ones to be able to afford to live in the country are MPs and Millionaires.
    MPs have the luxury of having thier mortgage paid by the tax payer and to carry out any modernisation.
    If life gets too tough they can buy that second house in London.
    Not forgetting MPs have their council tax paid by the tax payer so all is a bed of roses for the guys and gals in the Commons.
    Moral of the story. Become a MP get every thing paid for and when you get voted out in the next election you will get the golden good bye.
    Of course there is the added perk of becoming a consultant and lobby your mates who did get voted in, or borrow from the party to set your self set up in your business with no interest payments.

  • Comment number 86.

    New HYS system - same old thought policing.

    Comment deleted for pointing out that it's government funding for England (or the lack of it) that is leading to problems in the English countryside.

    Yes I'm talking about the English countryside - the subject of the original report.


    * Northern Ireland £9,385 - (population 1.7m) = £16bn
    * Scotland £8,623 - (population 5m) = £43bn
    * Wales £8,139 - (population 3m) = £24bn
    * England £7,121 - (population 51m) = £363bn

    That might be what you call "fairness" James, but I think it's treating the English as fourth class citizens in their own country. If we're a "United Kingdom" we should get equal or at least close to being equal funding.

  • Comment number 87.

    #44 "It's not demand or the free market driving up prices, it's estate agents making figures out of thin air."

    No, it is demand and the free market.

    If people didn't want the houses, and weren't able to buy them, no one would buy them, and the prices would go down.

    The problem is that there are too few houses, and it's too hard for people to build their own houses.

    It doesn't cost much at all to build a reasonable house, but there are too many planning rules & building regulations to make it practical for the average person. This gives the big companies a virtual monopoly, meaning they can control pricing and supply.

    Let people build houses for their own use with minimal regulation, and the problem will pretty much vanish in a couple of years.

  • Comment number 88.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 89.

    One way out of this dilemma is to look for entrepreneurial openings in the country.

  • Comment number 90.

    Yes. Look at parts of Wales and Norfolk for example. In Wales locals in some areas are unable to compete with rich outsiders in the housing market, the result is empty weekend/summer properties vacant 9 months of the year. In Norfolk at lot of Londoners sold up there, made money on the sale and bought top houses in Norfolk compared to what they had in London pound for pound. The results, the house prices in the county increased well beyond the local wages in the area.

  • Comment number 91.

    Let's not beat about the bush; The young are being priced out of EVERYWHERE.

  • Comment number 92.

    Just click the links in the question. The 'Commission for Rural Communities' = 'CRC' are well-funded and are obliged to report as they will continue to be highly paid to report until the cows come home?

    I don't live in the 'countryside' nor a city. But do KNOW and understand that our British farmers are being undermined by weasel-worded labeled meat via supermarket imports?

    Stop it now. Imported meat is not British just because it's being manipulated or industrialised in Britain?

  • Comment number 93.

    We moved to rural Herefordshire in order to enjoy a peaceful, tranquil, retirement. Because of the pressure on housing, the Govt is planning that 5000 more houses must be built in Herefordshire, and, in some cases, the plans entail building on existing farmland.

    I sympathise with young rural residents who can't afford a house, but houses are in short supply throughout England, not just in rural areas. It seems crazy to damage our ability to feed our people, whilst ruining our environment, in order to house a constantly expanding population. It would make much more sense to take steps to encourage a reduction in the population. We live in one of the most densely populated countries in the world, and we can't continue to consume the world's resources at the current rate. How about limiting immigration, whilst encouraging emmigration ?

  • Comment number 94.

    More houses in the countryside - No, no, no! The countryside is not an urban amenity and it is more than just an agricultural resource or what one goes through to get to another town. It is our country. Leave it alone. Save the Green Belt and no building on greenfield land. Get it?

  • Comment number 95.

    Young people aren't being priced out, they just can't be bothered to save and want everything now.

    If they tried saving and stopped moaning they might be able to buy a house.

  • Comment number 96.

    I live in the country and no my parents aren't farmers (this seems to be the job everyone thinks country people do) and have suffered as a result of infrequent, unreliable and expensive public transport to a very limited number of destinations that stops at 6pm. This has meant being late for jobs, unable to get there/back etc due to cancelled buses, ones that just don't turn up and ridiculous timetables. I am trying very hard to move to london however this is also a problem as the unpaod internships I need to get the careers I want are impossible to get as I live too far away for employers to pay my expenses. Therefore I can't get a job in London due to the distance and lack of experience I have and can't get one at home due to lack of yes there is a problem

  • Comment number 97.

    The "Government's Rural Advocate"? Who he? Another useless non job. More MPs who understood the needs of rural society, rather than the usual lawyers and PR wonks, would be helpful.

  • Comment number 98.

    #38. "1 Forget farming, it only works with endless subsidies."

    Erm, in case you aren't aware WE NEED TO EAT! Food doesn't magically appear in supermarkets, you know, and a pretty large chunk of our basic foodstuffs are produced in this country, particularly short life products like milk. Farming may not be econmically significant but why do so many people seem to forget that it exists for rather more important reasons than that - we need it to survive. This ignorant attitude is the reason the countryside is being so badly damaged, both physically and socially.

  • Comment number 99.

    #95. "At 3:53pm on 04 Mar 2010, Keith5485 wrote:

    Young people aren't being priced out, they just can't be bothered to save and want everything now.

    If they tried saving and stopped moaning they might be able to buy a house."

    Please look at the average rural house price to the average rural wage before making such inaccurate statements.

  • Comment number 100.

    There are hundreds of thousands of empty properties across the UK, some of which have been MT for decades. I suggest that, if any property is left empty by the owners for more than 5 yrs then, except in special circumstances, the Local Authority/Social Housing Association be allowed to compulsory purchase it for the going rate and use it for social housing. This should include houses and individual or blocks of flats. Why look to build so many new houses when there are existing ones that are just left MT? It would also cut property purchase as a pure investment vehicle and houses/flats will return to what they are meant for - living in. This would help stabilise prices too as purchases would be made purely for homes, not speculation.


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