Amongst the so-called “bonfire of the quangos” the government said it was going to abolish in the interests of saving money is the Commission for Rural Communities (the CRC). To be precise, although some of the activities currently dealt with by the CRC will continue when those matters are transferred over and absorbed into the Department for Farming, Environment and Rural Affairs, the office and function of the chairman, otherwise known as the “Rural Advocate”, will not.
Should this concern us, those who have an interest in later life issues? According to some coalition government Conservative and Lib-Dem MPs, it should: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/coalition-mps-condemn-abolition-of-rural-advocate-2309911.html
Examples are given of interventions by the Rural Advocate in the past which have brought about a change in government policy. Interventions mentioned include matters specific to rural areas relating to transport, to housing, and to broadband access. None are exclusive to those in later life. But, equally, they do affect those of us in later life.
For each of the nine regional Later Life Fora around the country (the West Midlands Later Life Forum being but one of them), it is easy to identify with and, perhaps, become too narrowly-focussed upon urban issues. The simple fact that many of the issues and problems those of us in later life are or anticipate experiencing are geographically more concentrated in our cities and larger towns makes for a more ready identification. Too easily, in bringing attention to trying to resolve them, it may lead us to think we are “dealing with the problem”. But, as the past interventions by the Rural Advocate have demonstrated, this can be very far from the case.
According to the cited newspaper report, perhaps we might want to chivvy up our own MPs with a view to ensuring that this independent spokesman and watchdog is not abolished. Those of us in later life, and not only those of us living in rural areas, are the better for his existence and his advocacy on our behalf.