Cost of living crisis will push more into rural poverty

New research discussed by the Centre for Rural Economy at Newcastle University shows that many rural households already experiencing poverty and financial vulnerability in Britain will be hardest hit by increases in energy costs.
The new measures announced by the Chancellor will still leave many more rural households in fuel poverty.

Whilst rural areas are often imagined to be less prone to poverty, research by the Financial Conduct Authority showed that 54% of rural dwellers were financially vulnerable in 2018, and analysis of the British Household Panel Survey found that in the two decades before the financial crisis 50% of households in rural Britain experienced poverty at some point.

The Centre for Rural Economys' 2021 Rural Lives study explored hidden poverty and financial vulnerability in rural Britain more deeply, finding that many rural dwellers face fuel poverty, higher costs of living, insecure employment and lack of access to services as these are centralised and digitalized. The state’s welfare systems are poorly adapted to rural circumstances, with lower rates of benefit take-up and additional obstacles to those in towns.

Fuel poverty is particularly prevalent in rural areas because many properties are not connected to mains gas, therefore having to rely on more expensive and less regulated sources such as oil and LPG or less efficient electric heating systems.  Houses tend to be older and poorly insulated, and difficult and costly to retrofit with insulation. Furthermore, poor households in rural areas are more likely to live in private rented houses, than in urban areas where social housing is more available. On top of this, rural households incur higher transport costs in travelling to access services and employment, often with no public transport available.

- The full article from the Centre for Rural Economy can be found here

The implications of the rise in cost of living in rural communities has also been reported by ITV

It's not just the rocketing energy prices they fear but also that high fuel prices are a big issue, as many rely on cars to access local services.

They also get lower wages so are also feeling the squeeze of rapid inflation, as ITV News Social Affairs Correspondent Sarah Corker reports below:


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