Friday, 26 January 2018 21:31

Politicians discuss rural vulnerability

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Politicians discuss rural vulnerability

MPs gathered in Westminster to discuss the issue of rural vulnerability and its impact on countryside communities.

Hosted by MPs Rebecca Pow and Phillip Dunne, the theme ‘Rural Vulnerability Matters’ was the focus of Rural Vulnerability Day on Thursday (25 January).

A range of organisations came together to share their experiences and highlight the impacts of rural vulnerability on rural communities and many rural people.

    See also: Rural elderly 'face social care crisis'

Issues such as healthcare, low wages, lack of affordable housing, lack of suitable housing and loneliness are prevalent all over the country.

But these challenges are often compounded by rural isolation and poor access to ever more centralised services leaving residents at risk.

Many people are having to cope with multiple impacts of these vulnerabilities, the Rural Services Network has warned.

    Annual event

In what is intended to be an annual event, the day saw the launch of a report into the ‘Issues Facing Providers of Social Care at Home to Older Residents in Rural England.’

The research was carried out by the Rural England think-tank – a community interest company which aims to provide independent research for policy makers.

The report found that as rural populations are more dispersed than urban ones it is significantly more expensive to provide them with the necessary social care services to meet their needs.

The lower population density in rural areas prevents economies of scale and the rural population is older than urban and is ageing much faster.

Rural England stakeholder group chairman Margaret Clarke CBE said the report highlighted worrying evidence about the poor provision of help for the rural elderly.

    Lack of access

Lack of access to home-based social care services had “severe consequences” for the health and wellbeing of an increasing number of elderly people in rural communities, she said.

Ms Pow described the day as “an important new date in the parliamentary calendar that helps to shine a light on the challenges facing rural areas.”

And she asked Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom to find time for a debate by MPs in Parliament on rural vulnerability to highlight the issue further.

Mrs Leadsom replied that “access to transport and other services can be difficult for many people living in rural areas, and of course the issue of loneliness can be more acute.”

She agreed that “it is right we look specifically at these issues” and was happy to support Ms Pow in her campaign.”

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