Posted by: secretperson | March 3, 2008

Rural England Ignored!

There are two reports on the BBC site today one news story and one analysis piece both on the problems in rural areas.

In the first, the News report it talks about rural England. A report from the Rural Services Network which represents various groups (local authorities, businesses and charities) has spoken of problems ignored in rural England. These include rural poverty and the lack of services (Post Offices have been in the news recently). This is no surprise from a government who see the inner city poor as deserving Labour voting cases and the countryside as somewhere the inner city poor need more access to, full of Tory voting fox-hunters.

Also figures from the government’s very own Commission for Rural Communities show that there are as many as 928,000 rural households living in poverty (government official definition) in England. I am sure there are many more poor people in inner cities, but if these rural poor also are living miles from access to services such as shops, schools and healthcare provision they are disadvantaged in other, less measurable ways. There is probably less crime though.

The second article by Jeremy Cooke talks about rural Britain. (I may get a bit Britology Watch here).

However as I guess this piece is a reaction to the reports, is this the right word to use? In one sense yes, problems in rural areas will be similar across Britain. But this is a devolved matter, so the solutions may not be the same. We have no reports on how the Scottish or Welsh executives are dealing with rural problems. The RSN and CRC are speaking about England. The article mentions 4 Britain or British and no England.

It also uses the figure 980,000 living in poverty. Compare that to the 928,000 for England alone. Has he rounded to 930,000 and made a typo? Or does England, with 85% of the population of the UK have 95% of the rural poor. I was under the impression that England was more urbanised than Wales (I can find back up for this) certainly and probably Scotland too. In fact the cost of providing rural services is often given as a reason Wales deserves more than England under the Barnett formula.

Unless we have been contiuously lied to that Wales is poorer and more rural than England, I suspect Mr Cooke has got confused with his figures.



  1. What is ENGLAND’S RURAL POPULATION??? No one seems to know the answer to that but everyone does other stuff about the rural pop. in England but no one seems to know the actual population total! Can someone please answer that question for me, PLEASE!!!

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