Government pledge on rural services

THE Rural Services Network has welcomed a government promise to do more to support and manage the extra costs of delivering public services in the countryside.

The pledge was made by local government minister Brandon Lewis on 13 February 2013. It follows a campaign by the Rural Services Network for a fairer deal for rural local authorities.

Mr Lewis said he had already spoken to individual local authority leaders, councillors and other representatives. And he pledged that he would continue listening.

He said: "Because we are listening, we are going to do more to support rural areas and manage the extra costs of delivering services in those areas."

Mr Lewis also confirmed that he was open to having further discussions about the perceived disparity between rural and urban funding.

He said: "I have an open-door policy and am very happy to continue discussions, and I hope rural areas will be able to put together evidence -- perhaps through their Rural Services Network -- to back up some of their figures and prove their case."

To watch an extract from the debate, click on the video above. The full Hansard transcript from the House of Commons debate can be viewed here.

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