RURAL AREAS COULD BE HIT WORST
BY IMPENDING SPENDING CUTS
Graham Biggs, the Chief Executive of the Rural Services Network has written to David Cameron to warn the government that rural areas could fare badly in the forthcoming cuts in public spending. Whilst having no illusions about the need to reduce the deficit Mr Biggs has argued in his letter that though rural areas must face their fair share of cuts the emphasis needs to be on " fair share".
Mr Biggs tells the Prime Minister that government funding formulae – across the public services – has ill-served rural areas and that a pro rata reduction in funding will hit rural areas harder. There are also higher costs in rural living.“Rural residents pay at least as much, and often much more, than their urban counterparts (by way of council tax), but receive significantly fewer services,” he writes. More of the disposable income for rural residents is spent in accessing services and this hits people on lower incomes worst. He goes on to write that research into the effects of rurality on the costs of service provision is needed and the affects of demographic change should be taken into account including the rising numbers of older people in rural communities.
The letter can be read in full at rsnonline here
_____posted May 17th 2010_____