MAJOR BOOST TO THE CAMPAIGN FOR A RURAL STRATEGY:
The Independent Food, Farming & Countryside Commission hosted by the RSA in its report launched on Tuesday 16th July ‘Our Future in the Land’ has added its voice to the calls by the RSN and the House of Lords Select Committee for a comprehensive Rural Strategy (more to follow)
Using 2016 population figures, the network has compared total direct resource funding per head of population for both rural and urban areas.
It undertook the calculation following the latest government funding announcement last month.
In 2017-18, predominantly rural areas received £162.24 in funding per head of population compared to £201.72 for urban areas.
This is equivalent to a 24.3% difference.
The difference will narrow slightly in 2018-19 following an increase in government funding for police across England and Wales.
Predominantly rural areas are expected to receive £167.01 per head of population in 2018-19 compared to £206.20 in predominantly urban areas.
This is equivalent to a 23.5% difference.
The Rural Services Network argues that central government has historically and systematically underfunded rural areas giving them less grant per head than urban areas.
This is despite the fact it costs more per head of population to provide important public services in sparsely populated areas where there are fewer residents.
Home secretary Amber Rudd announced a £450m increase in police funding across England and Wales on 19 December.
The funding was part of a comprehensive settlement for forces and counter terrorism policing.
Ms Rudd said her message to police forces was that the increased investment must mean an increase in the pace of reform.
“For too long embracing digital and increasing productivity have been tomorrow’s policing problems – now they are today’s necessities.
“The government is committed to meeting this challenge and we want policing to do the same.”
Ms Rudd said the government was protecting its grant to forces in cash terms and allowing police and crime commissioners to raise precept contributions by up to £1 a month per household.
Together, this meant force budgets would increase by up to £270m nationally.
Counter terrorism police funding would also increase by around £50m to £757m – a rise of 7%.
This was in recognition of the changing threat from terrorism and to ensure counter terrorism policing has the resources needed to respond and keep the public safe.
At a national level, £130m extra would be provided for priorities such as special grants to help forces meet unexpected costs.
Police forces would also be able to access a £175m police transformation fund to invest in reform and digitisation projects to benefit the whole policing system.
The Home Office has signalled its intention to repeat the same settlement for 2019-2020 provided there is substantial progress in police productivity and efficiency improvements.
The provisional police grant report for 2018-2019 which sets out the amount of grants proposed for the police in England and Wales is available here.
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