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Rural health funding should be a priority for Government, new report concludes

Potential loss of EU funding is the tipping point

March 6th 2019

Tagged: Rurality

By Ailsa Colquhoun

Health funding in rural areas should reflect the older rural demographic, a new report has said.

Calling for a comprehensive strategy for rural areas in preparation for Brexit, rural service providers and users say that rural areas “simply cannot afford to wait any longer for politicians to take their concerns seriously and act on them”.

The report from the Rural Services Network, It’s time for a rural strategy, says that challenges to the sustainability of rural communities and service delivery in rural areas have been inadequately addressed by those in power for too long.

Rural Services Network chief executive, Graham Biggs says: “Fuelling concern further is the fear that the UK’s exit from the EU will serve to compound these existing challenges, and others, not least as in many respects the current model is heavily reliant on EU policies and funding streams.”

According to the RSN, 17 per cent (9.4 million) of England’s population live in rural areas – that is more people than in Greater London receiving less grant per head. For example, in 2018/19 urban authorities will receive 49.43 per cent (£123) per head in Settlement Funding Assessment grant more than their rural counterparts.

It calls for a new Government Rural Strategy to address issues such as broadband connectivity, funding after Brexit, the rural brain drain, housing and transport.

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