The Government introduced the Rural Services Delivery Grant, previously ESSA (Efficiency Support for Services in Sparse Areas), to recognise the extra costs of delivering services in rural areas. For 20-21, it has been maintained at £81 Million. It is however distributed according to a government formula which allocates funding to the top quartile of local authorities on the ‘super-sparsity’ indicator which means that there are authorities delivering services in sparsely populated areas who do not receive RSDG. We fundamentally disagree with this government decision and have been campaigning with MHCLG for some time about this point as being unfair.
RSDG is to be discontinued as a separate grant under the Fair Funding Review (FFR) and “rolled-in” with the Needs Formula and re-distribution of retained Business Rates proposals. Therefore, in reality, the issue for the future is not about RSDG per-se but about the provisions to recognise rurality costs in the new formula.
We will continue to work with the Rural Fair Share Group of MP’s to campaign for fairer funding for rural areas.
This story in the Northern Echo, highlights the frustration of authorities such as Durham Council who are not eligible for funding from the RSDG pot according to the Government Formula.
The Northern Echo - County Durham missing out on ‘millions’ in rural cash
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