Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The Rural Idyll?

A recent report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has calculated that a single person needs to earn £15,600 just to get by if they live in a rural town. That increases to £17,900 a year if they live in a village and onto £18,600 if they live in a hamlet or in the remote countryside. The interesting thing is that a person living in an urban area needs £14,400 a year to meet the minimum.

Why the extra cost? It's a variety factors; those in rural areas see thier cost of living hit by having to own a car, higher energy bills from less energy effiecent homes and as we are all too well aware, often forced into using expensive fuels.

That means people need to be earning £8.89 an hour just to get buy - well above the average minimum wage.

What does this mean for our countryside? Often it means falling roll numbers in schools, it means local people are priced out of the housing market forcing them into urban areas, it can even mean families are faced with making a choice between heating and eating in the Winter months.

I'll be looking more in depth at hidden rural poverty over the coming months.