The article notes that while escaping to the countryside seems to offer an attractive alternative to city dwellers in terms of pollution, poverty, living costs, high rents and COVID-19 infection rates, rural England has also seen big cuts to public infrastructure and services.
Furthermore, rural housing has its own affordability crisis, and high poverty levels, which may be ‘hidden’, but are still prevalence within market towns.
The journalist points to disconnectedness as a driver of inequality, as one in five households in rural areas live more than two and a half miles from a GP, according to a recent research paper into the geographies of austerity and food banking in rural England and Wales.
The article maintains that ‘pitting city versus shire’ in a fight over diminishing local government funding is not a good basis for an ambitious national, locally-led, COVID-19 recovery strategy, nor a way to heal the divisions of Brexit in Britain.
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