The Rt Hon Michael Gove has today (24th Jan) through written statement announced that he proposes to increase the Rural Services Delivery Grant by £15million for 2024/2025 resulting in a total of £110 Million.
The Rural Services Network has long campaigned for fair funding for rural areas and welcomes the increase to this grant.
The statement reads:
“The Government has listened to the sector's consultation responses and recognises the specific challenges and difficulties local councils can face serving dispersed populations in rural areas. I am therefore announcing my intention to provide a significant increase in funding delivered through the Rural Services Delivery Grant. I am announcing a £15 million increase to the grant in 2024-25. This is an increase of over 15% making available a total of £110 million next year. This is the largest cash increase in the Rural Services Delivery Grant since 2018-19 and the second successive year of above-inflation increases.”
The provisional Local Government Finance Settlement for 2024/2025 had meant that:
The Rural Services Network is the national champion for rural services and has been working with its member councils and MPs to raise awareness of the unfair funding of rural councils.
While this increase is welcome, it does not however solve the problem for rural councils of the years of underfunding by successive Governments.
In addition, not all rural councils are eligible for the Rural Services Delivery Grant, and yet they face the additional costs of providing services to their sparsely populated communities.
Kerry Booth, Chief Executive of the Rural Services Network said:
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