Rural areas to be hit hard

Countryside communities will be hit hard by the latest round of government cuts, England’s largest rural network has warned.

The government’s finance settlement for local authorities fails to meet the needs of hard-pressed rural councils, said the Rural Services Network .

Network chief executive Graham Biggs said: “This settlement will hit countryside communities hard - and will see some services cut to the bone.”

A welcome £4m funding increase which takes the government’s rural services delivery grant to £15.5m would not be enough when spread across the country as a whole.

A government study which recognised the higher cost of delivering some rural services, should now be extended to cover all service areas, said Mr Biggs.

Mr Biggs said: ​“The Rural Services Network has long campaigned for fairer funding for rural areas which have long been underfunded and we will continue to do so.”

“Despite some additional funds, cuts to the overall grant for local authorities hit rural communities hard because they already start from a disadvantaged position.

“More importantly rural residents receive £153 less in government grant compared to urban areas and their council tax is on average £81 higher.

“We call on the Government to right the historic wrongs and provide a fair distribution of the settlement to rural residents.”

Rother Council is facing more cuts.