Election candidates urged to commit to fairer rural policies

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As figures across the political spectrum take to the airwaves to announce spending commitments on a range of issues, members of the Rural Coalition are calling on future MPs to factor in the needs of rural communities in their spending plans.

A statement issued by the Coalition today says the new Government must address the inequality in funding and delivery between urban and rural areas, recognising the additional costs and challenges in providing services in rural areas, including social care, local government, education, the NHS and emergency services.

Key facts include:

1.   In 2019/20 urban local authorities received 66 per cent more - £119 per resident more - in funding than rural authorities

2.   In 2017/18 rural residents funded 76 per cent of the cost of adult social care in their areas through their Council Tax, compared to 53 per cent of urban residents

3.   Average house prices in rural areas are £44,000 higher than in urban areas (2017). The cheapest 25 per cent house prices are nearly 8 and a half times greater than the lower quartile annual earning (2016).

4.   11 per cent of rural domestic and commercial premises are unable to access a basic broadband download speed of 10 Megabits per second and 4G mobile signals are only possible inside 42 per cent of rural premises.

Other areas requiring urgent attention noted in the Coalition’s statement include tackling the rural affordable housing crisis, supporting social action and volunteering by rural communities, and providing the proper infrastructure and support for rural business - including accessible training and support for rural high streets.