Government's response is a smokescreen

The Rural Services Network has called the Government's response to a Sunday newspaper article "nothing more than a smokescreen designed to mask the real issue facing rural council tax payers".

The article – Rural families face double blow of higher council tax and more public service cuts – was published in the Sunday Express on Sunday (8 January).

Based on the Rural Services Network's draft response to the Local Government Funding Settlement, pointed out that rural areas will lose more than 31% of central government funding under the government's four year settlement while urban areas will lose much less at 22%.

    See also: Rural dismay at funding settlement

This will leave rural residents paying significantly more in council tax than their urban counterparts (from lower wages) whilst receiving fewer services.

The Government in response commented: "The Government recognises that urban areas have a higher amount of funding per head, but the gap has been falling year-on-year and will continue to fall."

Rural Services Network chief executive Graham Biggs said: "The Government includes council tax in its definition of spending power. It is wrong to expect rural residents to pay more than those in urban areas."

Mr Biggs added: "The Government funding of local government services, under the current proposals, is, as we say, reducing by 31% in rural areas compared to 22% in urban.

"The Government should not try to disguise the truth of their proposals or that they will lead to crippling cuts to frontline services in rural areas."


Sign up to our newsletter to receive all the latest news and updates.