Rural network supports warning over childcare costs

For immediate release

13 May 2014

Responding to findings that rural families pay £600 more per year in childcare costs than their urban counterparts [1], Rural Services Network [2] chief executive Graham Biggs said: 

"The cost of living is rapidly becoming unaffordable for young families in the countryside.

“Rural residents already pay more council tax in return for fewer services than their urban counterparts due to much less government funding.

“People already have to travel further in the countryside to access vital services - including nurseries, schools and healthcare - than they do in our larger towns and cities.

“Coupled with a lack of affordable rural housing, this latest study is further evidence that suggests families and their children are being priced out of the countryside.”


Media contact:
Graham Biggs
Rural Services Network
T:  01588 674 922
M: 07966 790197


1. The finding is contained in the Countryside Living Index, published by NFU Mutual on Tuesday, 13 May 2014. The index compares quality of life in rural vs. urban locations and includes an audit of childcare costs and availability. It reveals that average prices for weekly care of an infant are 6.3% higher in rural areas than in urban locations (£202 vs £190 per week). For details, contact Will Howell, Media Relations Executive, NFU Mutual. Tel: 01789 202044. Email:

2. The Rural Services Network is a group of more than 200 organisations working together to improve the delivery of rural services across England. The two operating arms of the network are the Sparsity Partnership for Authorities Delivering Rural Services (SPARSE) and the Rural Services Partnership. Further information and a full list of members are available at

3. The Rural Services Network seeks to establish best practice across the spectrum of rural service provision. The network has representation across the complete range of rural services, including local authorities, public bodies, businesses, charities and voluntary groups. We are devoted to safeguarding and improving services in rural communities across England. We are the only national network specifically focusing on this vital aspect of rural life.

4. The Rural Services Network exists to ensure services delivered to the communities of predominantly and significantly rural England are as strong and as effective as possible. The term 'predominately rural' refers to counties and Local Authority districts with at least 50 percent of their population living in rural settlements (ie. rural towns, villages, hamlets and dispersed dwellings) as identified in the Office for National Statistics' rural definition, and including larger market towns as identified in the Defra classification of Local Authority districts. The term 'significant rural' refers to those Local Authorities who are between 25% and 50% rural under the same classification. The rural definition and classification were devised by the Rural Evidence Research Centre (RERC) at Birkbeck College. Further information on these can be found on the RERC website at


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