Headline statistics for Richmondshire in the Yorkshire Dales capture the reality of issues affecting rural communities, in a district that has seen its government grant reduced from £4.24m to £2.28m in five years.
And these issues, which include low incomes and a lack of well paid job opportunities, must be given due consideration by Whitehall politicians when allocating grant money to local authorities in rural areas, the deputy leader for North Yorkshire County Council said.
Latest figures show that the average household income of a family in Richmondshire is £22,100, with 32 per cent of the workforce is paid less than £7.65 an hour - the living wage.
The deputy leader of North Yorkshire County Council, Councillor Carl Les, who will be attending a summit organised by Richmondshire District Council and The Yorkshire Post to discuss the key issues affecting the area in Leyburn on Wednesday, said: “It’s not about blaming anyone but central government must recognise the fact that there are costs involved in supporting sparsely populated communities and whatever they are doing with their funding streams, they have to reflect on that. We don’t think inner cities don’t have to be supported as well; we’re not trying to be divisive, but they have to understand that we have issues too.”
The County Council is one of 90 that was recently chosen to take part in an inquiry by the Department for Communities and Local Government, and the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs, into the unique financial pressures which apply to councils serving predominantly rural areas.