Tuesday, 05 November 2013 12:57

VIDEO: Rural rebellion over 'unfair' funding

Written by  Ruralcity Media
VIDEO: Rural rebellion over 'unfair' funding

MORE than 25 MPs attended parliament to present petitions calling on the government to grant fairer funding for rural areas.

The petitions were delivered on Monday, 4 November.

MP Graham Stuart said rural residents earned less than people in cities yet paid £76 per head more council taxes than people in cities.

Urban areas received 50% more per head in government grant – despite the higher cost of delivering many rural services, said Mr Stuart, founder of the Rural Fair Share Campaign.

"We are calling on the Government to make a change; all we ask for is a rural fair share," added the Conservative MP for Beverley and Holderness.

The petition calls on the government to reduce rural penalty by at least 10% by 2020.

In total, voters in some 119 constituencies have had similar petitions submitted to the House of Commons, although not all MPs presented their petitions in person.

Other MPs presenting petitions included Sir Nick Harvey (LibDem, North Devon), who said his constituents were "heartily sickened by this injustice".

The list of MPs presenting petitions reads like a Tory backbench rebellion.

It includes:

Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire)
Liam Fox (North Somerset)
Edward Garnier (Harborough)
Daniel Kawczynski (Shrewsbury and Atcham)
Andrea Leadsom (South Northamptonshire)
Ian Liddell-Grainger (Bridgwater and West Somerset)
Damian Hinds (East Hampshire)
Julian Lewis (New Forest East)
Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall)
Ann McIntosh (Thirsk & Malton)
Brooks Newmark (Braintree)
Sarah Newton (Truro and Falmouth)
Stephen O'Brien (Eddisbury)
Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton)
Priti Patel (Witham)
Stephen Phillips (Sleaford and North Hykeham),
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative, North East Somerset)
David Ruffley (Bury St Edmunds)
John Whittingdale (Maldon)
Sarah Wollaston (Totnes)

Mr Rees-Mogg said: "The petitioners of North East Somerset echo Margaret Thatcher when she went to Europe and said: 'We want our money back.'"

Liberal Democrat MPs presenting petitions included Annette Brooke (Mid Dorset and North Poole), Stephen Gilbert (St Austell and Newquay) and Alan Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed).

Sir Alan said: "I wish to present this important petition from my constituency, much of which comprises the most sparsely populated area of England.

"It suffers from being linked with a unitary authority and therefore has an even worse rural penalty in some of its rural areas."

Labour MP Roberta Blackman-Woods (City of Durham), said she too was handing in a petition from her constituency.

She added: "Although my constituency is the City of Durham, it has a large rural area and, critically, is part of Durham county council, a large rural authority that wants its rural fair share."

The government has pledged to listen to rural concerns and meet with representatives of the Rural Fair Shares Group and the Rural Services Network over the issue.

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