The National Rural Conference 2024

The Rural Services Network (RSN) is thrilled to announce the National Rural Conference 2024, taking place from 16th to 19th September. This virtual event, accessible via Zoom, is the premier gathering for senior officers, members, policymakers, and rural service professionals.
Further information and booking details can be found here

Shropshire Council motion on Rural Fair Funding and levelling up

Shropshire Council debated a motion on 25th February which set out details of the imbalance of funding between rural and urban councils

The motion asked the Council to instruct the Leader and the Chief Executive to write to the Prime Minister/Chancellor/SoS MHCLG seeking a commitment that the levelling up agenda should be widened to include Shropshire and other rural Shire Counties; and that the Government should commit to and deliver a fairer funding settlement for Council services and infrastructure requirements.

Read the full motion below:

The following motion has been received from Councillor Gwylim Butler and is supported by Councillors Cecilia Motley, Peggy Mullock, Paul Wynn, Christian Lea, Les Winwood, Michael Wood, David Turner, Paul Milner, Joyce Barrow, Tom Biggins, Gerald Deakin, William Parr, Dan Morris, Nick Hignett, Roy Aldcroft, Robert Tindall and Rob Gittins.

Successive governments have allowed a serious funding imbalance to develop between rural authorities and their urban and metropolitan counterparts.  Despite Governments’ recognition of the higher cost of delivering services in rural areas, this imbalance has been allowed to increase year on year.  Rural Services Network - which has a wide membership of rural authorities and has long championed fairer funding settlements for rural areas – has analysed the present government’s Provisional funding settlement 2021/22 and calculates that rural residents, when compared with urban:

Will still be paying over £96 per head more in Council tax

Receive some 61% (£107) per head less  from Settlement Funding Assessment (SFA general grant)

Get £11 less per head in specific social care costs, despite a higher proportion or elderly rural residents

Suffer a 16% gap compared with urban of the new social care grants

Excluding council tax, receive over £112 (42% per head) less in Government Funded Spending Power

As a result, Principal Councils serving rural areas, when compared with urban authorities have to cope with less government grant per head of population; are required to pay more per head of population in Council tax from lower rural incomes;  fund more of their essential services through Council Tax (69.29% compared to 55.80%) and yet receive fewer services which are often more expensive to access.

Prior to the Covid pandemic we note that this government was committed to deliver a fairer funding formula for local government and embark on a levelling up agenda, which was primarily aimed at raising funding levels  for underfunded regions in the north of the country.

Shropshire residents feel strongly that sparse rural authorities such as ours should also benefit from the levelling up agenda to reduce the current unfair funding disparities between urban  and rural authorities and ensure the delivery of equitable funding settlements throughout the country.  We seek equality of outcomes and funding for the people and economy of Shropshire; and reduced reliance on Council tax to compensate for inadequate government support.

“This Council therefore instructs the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive to write to the Prime Minister/Chancellor/SoS MHCLG seeking a commitment that the levelling up agenda should be widened to include Shropshire and other rural Shire Counties; and that the Government should commit to and deliver a fairer funding settlement for Council services and infrastructure requirements.”

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