The rural rebellion

09:55 31 January 2013

Archant

Government to be tackled over funding gap between rural and urban areas.

Local MP Neil Parish is leading the fight to secure a fairer funding deal for rural areas.

He has secured a backbench business debate in a bid to persuade the Government to reconsider the 2013/14 Local Government Financial Settlement.

The Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton believes the current settlement “threatens to entrench the injustice suffered by rural areas by further widening the gap between the funding given to rural and urban councils”.

“It’s time the countryside got a fairer deal,” he told the Midweek Herald. “Rural Local Authorities have always had to deal with under-funding compared with their city neighbours. Urban councils already receive twice as much than rural councils like East Devon and Mid Devon District Councils in my constituency. This trend must be reversed.

“I hope that this debate will send a clear signal to the Minister of the strength of feeling from all sides of the House that rural services need to be properly funded.”

Mr Parish led a group of cross-party MPs in presenting the case for the debate to the Backbench Business Committee on Tuesday.

The debate will take place Monday, February 11, and is being supported by The Rural Fair Share Campaign.

Urban councils receive 50 per cent more per head than rural areas - despite evidence that many services are more expensive to deliver in sparsely populated areas.

In spite of a commitment by Eric Pickles in December 2011 to reduce the inequality, the most recent provisional settlement instead cuts support for rural councils.

The Rural Fair Share Campaign is calling on the government to do two things:

To amend the provisional settlement so that there is a modest reduction in the gap between rural and urban councils in the coming year;

For the Secretary of State to set out a plan to close the funding gap between rural and urban councils to no more than 40% by 2020.

The chairman of the Rural Fair Share Campaign, Graham Stuart MP, said: “The Department for Communities and Local Government promised in the summer that they would reduce the Rural Penalty – which sees urban councils receive 50 per cent more per head in grants than those in rural areas – but the proposed Local Government Financial Settlement only narrows the gap by 0.2 per cent.

“It’s great that Neil Parish has taken this up, got a parliamentary debate and we hope to use it to change the Government’s mind.”

0 comments

Other News Stories

09:00
Exmouth College Cadets visited Eurotech this week after the firm has bought each group member a pair of safety boots. The students are pictured with Eurotech MD David Douglas, other representatives of the Fire and Police service and Assistant Chief Fire Officer Trevor Stratford. Ref exe 5379-03-15SH. Photo Simon Horn

Cadets at Exmouth Community College have got some new equipment thanks to a town technology firm.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:00
Jon  Chalk (far right) travelled to Mauritius with Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service instructors Ben Williams and Joe Hassell

Jon Chalk, from Exmouth, has been helping train the Mauritius Fire and Rescue Service

Read more
Yesterday, 10:02

Several witnesses called police to report incident.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:00
Age Concern Exmouth home care team. Ref exe 5754-04-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

The new manager of Age Concern Exmouth’s home service says the key to its success is the personal service it provides to its clients.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 8°C

min temp: 7°C

Most Read News

Family Notices 24
Devon's trusted business finder