Sunday, 02 December 2012 20:54

Rural fears ahead of Autumn Statement

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Rural fears ahead of Autumn Statement

RURAL residents are calling on the government to abandon its planned rise in fuel duty.

A freeze in fuel duty tops the rural wishlist as Chancellor George Osborne prepares to deliver his Autumn Statement on Wednesday (5 December).

Country dwellers are pessimistic about Chancellor's plans and six in 10 think the government doesn't take account of rural concerns.

People living in the countryside are appealing to George Osborne to ease the pressure on family finances and announce a freeze on the proposed fuel duty hike during his Autumn Statement.

Postponing January's 3p fuel duty rise would be the most popular rural move for the government, according to research commissioned insurer NFU Mutual.

Not only are fuel prices often higher in rural areas, but people living in the countryside are adversely affected by duty rises because they are more heavily dependent on personal transport.

Figures released in June show that countryside residents typically have to travel at least twice as far to reach their nearest shops and amenities as urban dwellers.

Other economic moves appearing on this Autumn Statement 'wish list' include a VAT cut, more apprenticeships and an increase in the winter fuel allowance.1

However, countryside residents aren't hopeful.

Nearly half of those surveyed (45%) believe they'll be worse off as a result of the Autumn Statement, while only 7% believe the changes will be to their benefit.

Along similar sentiments, nearly six in 10 country-dwellers (59 per cent) believe that the Government doesn't take account of rural concerns.

Recent research by NFU Mutual found rural attitudes towards 'jobs and the local economy' remained clearly negative, signalling worry among the rural community for the economic prospects of Britain's small towns and villages.

NFU Mutual personal finance specialist Sean McCann said: "These findings show the level of concern in the countryside about high fuel prices which continue to place pressure on household budgets.

"Most country people need a car to get to work or the shops but for those on low or fixed incomes, rising prices at the pump and few public transport alternatives has become a costly combination.

"The Chancellor's Autumn Statement is an ideal opportunity for the Government to show that it is listening."

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