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Rural England gets less and pays more

Rural England pays higher council tax and receives less government funding compared with urban communities, a study by the Rural Service Network (RSN) has found. The statistics suggest rural councils get approximately 50% less government grants and run fewer public services, yet households in those areas pay around £100 more per year in council tax.

Predominantly rural authorities received on average £324 funding per head, whilst predominantly urban authorities received £487. Additionally, council tax is almost 21% higher in rural areas.

The RSN is calling for the Local Government Resource Review to examine the current system and to make it fairer.

RSN chairman Roger Begy said: “This rural penalty means council tax payers in the countryside are forced to pay more, but receive less by way of public services in areas where earnings levels are much lower than the national average.

“When combined with the additional costs of providing services in rural areas this puts residents in rural communities at a significant disadvantage when compared to people that live in urban areas.”

However, a spokesperson for the Department for Communities said: “As we continue to deliver the most significant shift in power from officials in London to elected local councils in a generation, including proposals to allow councils to keep their own business rates, councils will gain unprecedented freedoms over how to prioritise their money.”

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