North Wiltshire MP James Gray (Con) has been appointed a Parliamentary Patron of the Rural Fair Share campaign.
The campaign will lobby for equitable arrangements for rural communities. NHS funding inequities will be among the issues raised by cross-party MPs, and organisations, community groups, and individuals with an interest in rural welfare, Mr Gray has confirmed.
Commenting on the task head of the campaign, Mr Gray said: "The Rural Fair Share campaign supports impartial, objective, needs based policy which is equitable to all. It will also help Members of Parliament who represent the countryside to do a better job of making our case about the needs of rural areas."
Mr Gray is among the MPs who are sent the DDA Parliamentary Briefing Paper three times each year.
Among the issues highlighted so far this year by the DDA in its Parliamentary Briefing Paper are the need to resource rural doctors according to actual patient need (January), and the impact of medicines shortages in rural areas (June).
According to a 2011 report by the Rural Services Network, rural residents earn less, on average, than those in cities, pay council tax which is £100 higher per head, and see urban areas receive government grants fifty per cent higher per head than those in the countryside. This means people in the country earn less, pay higher council tax and then receive substantially less support for services. Delivering services in sparse, rural areas also tends to be more expensive, which can add to the burden.
The Rural Fair Share website is currently under development, but may be accessed via Mr Gray’s website, www.jamesgray.org.