Suffolk gets less funding according to Rural Services Network

Published:
06:00 25 May 2022



Rural areas of Suffolk receive less government money than more built-up parts of the country, meaning local authorities rely on council tax revenue to balance the books, new figures have revealed.

Data from the Rural Services Network revealed that parts of Suffolk receive less than half the government funding per capita compared to the amount for people living in towns.

This year Babergh residents have received just £307 of government funding per capita. In Southend-on-Sea, people received £370. While in Manchester, residents received £642. And in Westminster, £692.

Figures for the rest of the county are similar.

Andrew Stringer, leader of the Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent opposition group on Suffolk County Council, said a lack of government money was holding the county back.


Councilor Andrew Stringer
– Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“It’s not fair that 100 miles from where I’m sitting you have a town where you can easily hop on a bus and use a debit card to travel wherever you want on a communal basis, in the village where I’m sitting here now that there are no more buses,” he said.

“There is a huge inequality here in terms of quality and service.

“Rural communities have survived on far less than heavily urban communities for decades. That means we’re pretty efficient with the money we get, but it means we’re held back.

“We could thrive even more than we are if we received enough funding”

Nationally, statistics show that this year most rural parts of the country are receiving £303 of government funding per capita, while most urban areas are receiving £424, leaving a 40% shortfall .

This shortfall is partly compensated by an increase in the housing tax for rural residents. This year residents have paid an average of £104 more council tax than people in more urban areas.


Professor Janet Dwyer from the University of Gloucestershire

Professor Janet Dwyer from the University of Gloucestershire
– Credit: University of Gloucestershire

Janet Dwyer, professor of rural policy at the University of Gloucestershire, said: “Local authorities with large rural hinterlands lose out when it comes to service delivery through central government taxation for local service management. for the people.

“The system is biased against rural areas and you have to accept that some things cost more in rural areas to get the same level of provisions and that has to factor into the calculations.”

A spokesman for the Department of Levelling, Housing and Communities said: ‘We have provided rural area specific support worth £85m in the latest local government regulation, recognizing that there is often has additional costs to the campaign.

“The government is committed to ensuring that funding allocations to councils are based on an up-to-date assessment of their needs and resources.

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