RSN SPARSE Rural meeting - 13 July 2015


Richard Kirlew (Church in Wales), Cllr Cameron Clark (Sevenoaks DC), Cllr Owen Bierley (West Lindsey), Cllr David Ireton (North Yorkshire), Cllr Pam Posnett (Melton), Cllr Ann Carter (Daventry), Cllr Michael Hicks (South Hams), Cllr Nick Daubney (King's Lynn & West Norfolk), Cllr Hilary Carrick (Cumbria), Cllr Jeremy Savage (South Norfolk), Cllr Carole Clarke (South Northamptonshire), Cllr Janet Duncton (West Sussex C C)

Officers: Graham Biggs (RSN), David Inman (RSN), Andy Dean (RSN), Brian Wilson (RSN)


Apologies for absence:

Cllr Alan Rhodes (Notts County Council), Cllr Ablewhite (Huntingdonshire), Helen Briggs (Chief Executive Rutland), Cllr Madge Shineton (Shropshire), Cllr Jane Mortimer (Scarborough), Cllr Liz Sneath (South Holland), Cllr Michael Wassell (Breckland), Cllr Neil Butters (Bath & North East Somerset), Cllr Paul Diviani (East Devon), Cllr Colin Law (Waveney), John Ward, District Treasurer (Chichester), Ian Knowles, Director of Resources (West Lindsey), Adam Norburn, Executive Director (Rugby), Cllr Steven Pugsley (West Somerset), Cllr Peter Bedford (Boston), Karen Symonds (Cornwall), Cllr John Pollard (Cornwall), John Birtwistle, Head of Policy (First Group), Cllr Jane Mortimer (Scarborough), Cllr Philip Sanders (West Devon Borough Council), Cllr Jane March (Tunbridge Wells), Cllr Adam Paynter (Cornwall), Cllr Gordon Nicolson OBE (Eden), Jean Hunter, Chief Executive (South Cambridgeshire), Cllr David Worden (North Devon), Cllr Roger Begy (Rutland), Cllr Roger Phillips (Herefordshire), Cllr Les Kew (Bath & North East Somerset)

To download the agenda for this meeting, click here
To download the minutes for this meeting, click here

1    Minutes of Previous main Meeting held 13 April 2015
(See Appendix A)
These were confirmed as a true record.

2    Minutes of Executive Meeting held 22 June 2015 (See Appendix B)
Noted with the actions recommended supported.

3    Fairer Funding Campaign
The Sparse SIG discussed in considerable detail the approach to the Fair Shares campaign which seeks a fair deal for rural local authorities in relation to central government funding.
It was decided that RSN lobbying would focus on a simple ask for the new government to deliver the funding redistribution it has already agreed in 2012 but which largely disappeared due to the effects of 'damping'. This amounts to a sum of £130 million across rural local authorities. This was less than 0.7% of the overall Settlement Funding Assessment.
This was in effect the 'ask' which had been set out in the Manifesto. We would be using
DCLG's own mechanisms and figures but the figures had been altered to take account of the subsequent austerity cuts.
The Rural Fair Share Campaign Group of MPs was meeting on the afternoon of the meeting and it was hoped they would agree that approach. Details will be sent out to member authorities of what this would mean to individual authorities if successful. It was recognised that this would be a short term position given the longer term likelihood of local authority funding models shifting away from "Revenue Support Grant" and towards business rate and other adjustments. RSN would investigate this and other potential changes, including any change to New Homes Bonus, in detail over the next 6 months to ensure the best distribution case for rural local authorities was in place. All local authority members were strongly encouraged to press their MPs to join – if they have not done so already -the Rural Fair Share Campaign Group within Parliament. A list would be provided. Members were asked take all opportunities to push the case for a fairer share of funding for rural areas – particularly via local MPs and at this autumn's party conferences.
It was decided where possible to try to present the case at the appropriate Party Conferences this year. It was suggested there was an opportunity at the Conservative Rural Affairs Fringe Meeting on Monday 5 October. Cllr Thornton would explore the position re the Lib Dem Conference.

4    Any other Business
RSN Rural Conference 2015
We are pleased to announce the launch of the Rural Conference 2015: Aspiration to Action...The Rural Manifesto. It is being held this year at Park Campus, Cheltenham on Tuesday 8 and Wednesday 9 September. For further details and to book your place at this prestigious conference please click on the link:



*** Meeting Ends***



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