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Research tells us what we've always known

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 08, 2012

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In the warm afterglow of the Olympics, and with the somewhat unexpected spirit of the Paralympics still alive, many across the country have been able to take a step back from the worries of recession and the battle to do business.

The whole country has had a chance to reflect on the benefits of being British, and how proud we are of it.

There is a tangible sense of wellbeing, and a feeling that we have shown the rest of the world just what we are capable of.

Add a little sunshine, such as we are currently enjoying, and just for now, life seems OK.

That may not be such a rare feeling for us here in the Westcountry though.

New research shows that people living in the rural west are twice as likely as city dwellers to cherish where they live.

The study found that more than a third (36%) of people living in rural parts of the region "loved" their local area.

And to boot, no-one said they disliked it.

This was the only such result in research carried out all over the country.

By comparison, only 19% of those living in urban areas of the Westcountry said they "loved" their neighbourhood, while 10% said they hated it.

The findings come from a quarterly study into attitudes towards rural and urban life conducted by insurer NFU Mutual.

Considering the challenges of rural living posed by poor connectivity, rising fuel prices, scarcity of employment, and the still sky-high prices of housing, the findings might come as a surprise to some.

But we say the research proves just what we already knew.

The Westcountry is a fantastic place to live, to work, to do business, to walk, to run, to surf and to ride.

Those of us lucky enough to live here are right to love it and are quite rightly immensely proud of it.

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If supermarket bosses ever wanted to know how some dairy farmers feel they would do well to heed the words of Roger Jenkin.

He says the way supermarket chains treat their dairy suppliers is little short of disgraceful.

And he told a group of 40 farmers and agricultural industry professionals touring his brother's farm in Cornwall that some chains behaved like "legalised thieves".

Mr Jenkin is the West Cornwall dairy representative for the National Farmers' Union so he is a man who clearly has a grasp of what others are feeling.

"They can claim to be right behind their producers, but of course they are simply not," said Mr Jenkin, who himself farms near Helston.

His words will ring true with many Westcountry producers who have for years felt that they were getting the short end of the stick in any deal with large supermarkets. There is hope that the new dairy voluntary code of practice will bring a fairer balance to the relationship. But what farmers need is a fair price.

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