Government's response is a smokescreen

For immediate release 

Tuesday 10 January 2017

The Rural Services Network [1] has called the Government’s response to an article in the Sunday Express [2] on Sunday 8 January “nothing more than a smokescreen designed to mask the real issue facing rural council tax payers”.

The article, based on the Rural Services Network's draft response to the Local Government Funding Settlement [3], 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%.

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."

Notes to Editors:

[1] The Rural Services Network is the only non-governmental organisation representing the interests of rural service providers and the communities that they serve. It involves currently some 154 Local Authorities and over 100 other service providers.

The Rural Services Network community networks exceeds 10,000 parish council contacts and over 3,000 local schools. It communicates weekly with around 50,000 through its newsletters and periodicals. For details, visit

[2] The Sunday Express article, Rural families face double blow of higher council tax and more public service cuts, can be seen at

[3] The government's provisional 2017 to 2018 local government finance settlement was published on Thursday (15 December). For full details, visit

Media contact:

Graham Biggs

T: 01588 674 922
M: 07966 790197

David Inman

T:01822 851370 / 01822 614530



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