Rural families spend £3k more on essentials

Rural households spend about £3000 more per year than their urban counterparts on essentials, suggests a study.

Inflation when it comes to goods and services in rural areas is also rising twice the average national rate, according to the survey.

Heating firm BoilerJuice, which commissioned the research, said the rural cost of petrol and other liquid fuels were among those which had increased most in 2017.

They were followed by the cost of pet food, vehicle repairs and electricity, said researchers.

BoilerJuice managing director Lee Cowles said inflation was hitting rural areas hard.

Rural households are spending an extra £80 a year on landline telephone bills – often because poor mobile phone coverage is poor outside towns and cities.

Mr Cowles said: “This year has been tough for country households, seeing severe inflation rates for petrol and liquid fuels.”

He added: “It is so severe that inflation is now hitting rural households up to 73% harder than urban ones because of their reliance on essentials such as petrol, electricity, heating oil and groceries.

“The British countryside is a great place to live but for too many people country life is challenging, particularly for those on lower incomes.”

In the past year, some 43% of rural households had struggled to afford their heating oil, said Mr Cowles.

More should be done to shield the poorest families from the worst effects of rising prices, he added.

Many areas are already working to alleviate fuel poverty.

In south-west England, for example, a partnership between the the Community Council for Somerset amd AF Affinity offers savings every time people fill up their oil tanks thanks

Nine other counties offer a similar service – including Oxford, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Buckinghamshire, Durham, Devon and Northumberland.

AG Affiniity general manager Louis Clabburn "Fuel syndicates allow homeowners to make significant savings on their heating oil as we are able to bulk buy oil at better prices.”

Community Council chief executive Keeley Rudd said: “We are delighted to be able to offer existing and new members a more flexible way of paying for their oil."

LPG supplier Calor, which works in partnership with the Rural Services Network, also works hard to alleviate fuel poverty - including through easy payment plans.

Calor also runs a special scheme giving off grid communities the chance to win funding for projects that will improve local life.


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