Bishop of Bath and Wells voices concern over rural life

Image caption, Bishop Peter took part in the debate on the Housing and the Spending Review

The Bishop of Bath and Wells is warning that rural families in the West Country risk becoming impoverished.

The Right Reverend Peter Price told the House of Lords communities face closure of schools, shops and village pubs.

Speaking on Thursday, Bishop Peter said the unregulated sale of second homes in rural communities meant there was no homes for skilled local trades people.

"How will the farm workers, carpenters, plumbers and builders be able to buy or rent houses?," he said.

'No flexibility'

"If we upset or end up destroying our community how can we make the government's Big Society?"

Bishop Peter added that none of the councils in Somerset had reached its affordable housing targets according to a Shelter report.

"The highest in the Shelter ranking met 28% of the target, while the lowest met a mere nine percent," he said during the debate on Housing and the Spending Review.

"The decision to end the council house for life will be a real problem in rural areas, where there is simply not the flexibility and availability of housing for people to move on in a way that they can in urban areas.

"All this leads to the ebbing away of community, with the closure of schools, village shops and pubs, and much else besides," he added.

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