Final week for rural funding petition

RURAL residents have just one week left to get behind calls for a fairer rural funding deal for countryside communities.

The government is responsible for the funding formula for local authorities. This currently sees urban councils receive around 50% more funding per person than rural councils.

To address this, the Rural Services Network has helped set up a petition calling for the funding gap to be narrowed to 40% by 2020.

The petition runs until Monday 30 September, with rural local authorities keen for as many people as possible to add their signature to the campaign.

Brian Greenslade, leader of North Devon Council, said: "We desperately need government grants to be re-balanced in favour of rural authorities.

"North Devon Council is already having its current annual budget reduced from £12m to £10m by 2015/16. So we need action now to address this inequality in the future.

"We aren't asking for funding between urban and rural councils to be exactly even – just fairer."

Rural districts like North Devon are getting a raw deal from central government, with less money given per head, despite the fact that it costs more to deliver services in the countryside.

With the formula for government settlements set to be frozen until 2020, the network believes the funding gap must be more balanced, before communities face another six years of unfairness.

Copies of the petition can be downloaded from the Rural Services Network website, which also gives the address as to where they need to be returned.


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