Today (17th January 2017) sees the publication of the first State of Rural Services report to be published by Rural England.
It recognises that providing accessible and quality services to rural communities poses particular challenges given the geography of small and scattered settlements. And these difficulties are further compounded by the loss of economies of scale, additional travel required and the delivery costs involved.
However, innovation and good practice can address many challenges, often by working with local communities including through local (parish and town) councils. Also the report finds that having a sound evidence base about rural services is equally important.
According to Rural England (NALC is a stakeholder member of the group), this report has been produced in response to growing concerns about the state of knowledge. Policy makers and those delivering services need a proper understanding of the position and trends in order to take informed decisions. It is the aim of this report to inform policy debate and to assist policy making for the benefit of rural residents and businesses.
Cllr Sue Baxter, chairman of NALC, commented: “NALC welcomes the publication of this authoritative report on the state of rural england in 2016. England’s 10,000 parish councils play a huge and increasing role in these communities and would recognize the reports conclusions that access to services particularly transport and broadband are falling behind urban areas and that community volunteering including involvement in parish councils is key to the quality of rural life. NALC would call on the government to support and encourage this volunteering and ensure that the needs of rural areas are not overlooked as Brexit gains pace.”
Fore more information please read here