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Support call for rural areas

Released on 3 June 2005 News

Stratford-on-Avon District Council is backing a call to the government to give more support - including extra funding - to rural communities such as south Warwickshire. The district council is supporting a new rural manifesto issued by the Sparsity Partnership for Authorities Delivering Rural Services (SPARSE), a coalition of England's 55 most rural local authorities - including Stratford - which represents more than 5.5 million people.

"There is still a bias towards the cities, and it's high time ministers stopped this," said Cllr Trevor Russel, the district council's deputy leader.

"Rural areas like ours get a raw deal on council tax and local services compared with urban areas like London, which have it easy. We did get a one-off increase in this year's financial settlement, but unless future settlements are fairer to rural councils like ours, we will remain under severe pressure on spending and council tax.

"It is patently obvious that it costs councils like ours much more to provide services, and it is high time the government recognised this fact of life and compensated rural councils accordingly.

"We urgently need new thinking by ministers and an end to the unfair bias towards people living in urban areas, otherwise residents in this and other rural areas will, despite the best efforts of local councils, become increasingly second-class citizens in many respects."

The manifesto says that the local government funding formula still fails to address the extra cost of providing services to rural communities, and calls for urgent changes to make the funding regime fairer to rural councils so that it reflects spending needs away from the urban areas.

SPARSE also wants tax relief for mobile services such as libraries and banks, changes in the national deprivation indicators to take account of rural poverty, and more support for affordable housing.

Contact details

For further details contact
Councillor Cllr Trevor Russel
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House,
Church Street,
CV37 6HX

Tel: 01608 662514

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