RSN briefs Gove on Rural Unfair Funding

Yesterday afternoon Kerry Booth, RSN Chief Executive, was alongside a group of Council Leaders who met with Rt Hon Michael Gove MP to talk about the Local Government Funding Formula and the unfair funding of rural councils. 

Kerry set the scene with a short presentation on the impact for rural councils of the unfair funding, with urban councils receiving 38% more in Government Funded Spending Power per head compared to rural councils, and the subsequent impact on rural council tax which has increased over the years to balance out that lack of funding.  Rural residents are now in the unfair position of having to pay on average 20% more in council tax compared to those in urban areas per head.

Kerry also explained that the Government changed the way the formula was allocated in 2013/2014 which would have resulted in improvements for rural councils but that process was frozen through damping, which has never been unwound resulting in urban councils receiving millions more per year than the Government’s own formula says they should.

The meeting came about through Chris Loder MP, a Dorset MP who had raised key points in respect of rural councils in Government debates and Rt Hon Michael Gove invited him to meet to discuss the issue.

Council Leaders on the call were able to share the impact of this unfair funding for their areas.

The RSN is asking Government for the following key actions:

  • The existing formula should be applied in full from 2024/25 without damping, and with the amount for rural areas increased to reflect inflation
  • The Needs and Resources Review should conclude in the first 12 months of the next Spending Review period

Discussions and work to influence Government on this key issue for rural communities will continue in the coming months.


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