Graham Stuart, MP for Beverley and Holderness and Chairman of the Rural Fair Share Campaign, this week led a delegation of MPs to meet the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark, about local government funding for rural areas.
This follows sixty MPs from different parties co-signing a letter to Greg Clark in October, which called for a fairer distribution of the local government funding settlement for rural areas.
Under this year’s settlement, urban councils receive around 45% more funding per resident than their urban counterparts. At the same time, rural residents pay on average £81 more in council tax.
The Rural Fair Share Campaign is calling for £130 million to be redistributed to rural councils in the forthcoming Local Government Finance Settlement.
This is the amount the Government still owes rural local authorities after it agreed to alter its funding formula in 2012 and give greater weighting to sparsity.
Speaking after the meeting, Graham said: “I was pleased to lead a group of rural MPs to see the Secretary of State this week and to make clear to him that the current settlement is not fair on our rural constituents.
“Rural people on average earn less, pay more in tax and yet receive fewer services than those that live in cities.
“Rural councils have been given a raw deal for years. At a time of public spending reductions, it is more important to have fairer funding, not less, as rural councils are starting from a lower level of service provision.
“I am grateful to the Secretary of State for giving his time to meet rural MPs and to discuss this vital issue.
“I now call on the Government to deliver a substantial increase in the funding for rural councils in the upcoming settlement, so that the continued unfairness on rural areas can be tackled.”
Notes to Editors
1. The Rural Fair Share Campaign, chaired by Graham Stuart MP, is a cross-party group of MPs, who support an impartial, objective, needs-based approach to local government funding.
The campaign aims to reduce the rural penalty, which sees urban councils receive approximately 45% more funding per head than rural councils. Further information about the campaign can be found on its website at www.ruralfairshare.org.uk.