The National Rural Conference 2024

The Rural Services Network (RSN) is thrilled to announce the National Rural Conference 2024, taking place from 16th to 19th September. This virtual event, accessible via Zoom, is the premier gathering for senior officers, members, policymakers, and rural service professionals.
Further information and booking details can be found here

Prime Minster says rural communities must be funded fairly

As the Prime Minster marked one year in office last week, he publicly acknowledged that rural communities deserve fairness in the way they are funded.

Fellow Conservative MP, Simon Hoare (North Devon) asked the Prime Minster during a debate in the House of Commons, if the government will use the forthcoming Autumn Statement to address the inequalities in funding between rural and urban areas. 

Mr Hoare said:

“Like me, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has the honour and privilege of representing a rural constituency. I am sure that he, like I, occasionally feels a certain degree of frustration that although progress has been made in this area, the rubric of funding formulae for things such as the Environment Agency, local government, the police and education still fails to adequately reflect the difficulties and challenges of delivering public services in rural areas. Will my right hon. Friend the Chancellor and the wider Government use the opportunities of the autumn statement and the forthcoming Budget to explore those issues further and make the delivery of services better for the Prime Minister’s constituents and mine?”

In response, Mr Sunak said:

“I thank my hon. Friend for raising that important issue on behalf of his and my constituents. It is vital that we have the same high-quality services in rural areas as in our towns and cities. I am pleased to tell him that we are providing £95 million through the rural services delivery grant to help rural councils achieve exactly that. We are currently reviewing the police funding formula. I remember working with him to ensure that the national funding formula for schools takes account of the different characteristics of schools and their pupils. We will continue to keep all those things under review. I agree with him entirely: our rural communities must be given the same funding and public services as everyone else in our country.”

RSN Chief Executive, Kerry Booth, is cautiously welcoming the Prime Minister’s comments:

“It is heartening to see the Prime Minister is recognising the nearly 10million people who live in rural areas but who are currently discriminated against due to unfair funding formulas.

“The RSN was instrumental in bringing about the £95m rural services delivery grant Mr Sunak refers to, and we hope he is open to more constructive conversations about fairer funding for our rural communities going forward.  The current system means that urban councils get 38% more in Government Funded Spending Power than rural councils per head. This is clearly unjust and rural communities deserve a fairer solution”.

The Chancellor, Jeremey Hunt, will deliver his Autumn Statement on Thursday 22 November with experts predicting he will announce a rise in fuel duty.


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