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Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Posted by Parveen Hassan
| 08:56
Conservative women are leading the way to make rural funding fairer. Nus Ghani, along with 59 other MPs representing rural constituencies, has written to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, The Rt Hon. Greg Clark MP, to call for local government funding to be fairer to rural communities.

The letter underlined the inequitable current settlement, which sees “Local authorities in urban areas currently receive around 45% (£130.99) per head more in central government grant than their rural counterparts. Yet rural residents pay, on average, £81 more in council tax than those who live in cities.

“Overall, therefore, rural residents pay more in tax, receive fewer services and, on average, earn less than those in urban areas. This situation is inequitable.”

The letter highlights that the Government has itself recognised that the current method of distributing funding is unfair to rural areas. The MPs further point out, following the Chancellor’s recent announcement that local government finance will start to be based on the local retention of business rates, that they will be looking at the new system closely to ensure that rural areas are able to compete on a level playing field with their urban counterparts.

The letter concludes by requesting that the Secretary of State meets with the MPs “in advance of the provisional local government finance settlement to discuss how it can fairly reflect rural needs.”

Nus added: “Rural voices must be heard and I am pleased to join with my colleagues in calling on the Government to ensure fairness for rural communities. I look forward to having the opportunity to discuss this further with the Secretary of State, and my neighbouring MP, Greg Clark.”