The Island’s MP, Andrew Turner and leading Island Councillors are supporting a national campaign to redistribute funding from urban to rural areas.
The Rural Fair Share campaign aims to encourage the Government to address the disparity in funding between rural and urban areas. According to research by the Rural Services Network, an organisation set up to safeguard and improve services in English rural communities, the average rural resident earns less than a city dweller and pays £100 more council tax because the cost of delivering services is higher. Yet urban areas currently receive 50% higher government grant per head than rural ones. The Rural Fair Share campaign supports impartial, objective and needs based government policy to ensure fairness to all.
Mr Turner, who is a Parliamentary Patron of the Rural Fair Share Group, is supporting a national petition which will be presented in the House of Commons in October saying;
“As usual I will have a stand at the Garlic Festival next weekend (17th & 18th August) and I will be giving people the opportunity to sign the petition asking for fairer funding for rural areas like the Isle of Wight. It is totally unfair that more funding per head goes to cities than the countryside, so I am working with like-minded MPs of all parties who also represent rural constituencies to try to get the balance redressed.”
Leader of the Isle of Wight Council, Cllr Ian Stephens also endorsed the campaign:
“The Council is pleased to be working with our MP on this important campaign – we know it is significantly more expensive to deliver services in sparsely populated countryside areas. Although there is some limited recognition for this in the grant that comes from the Government it is inexplicable that cities still receive so much more funding per head than places like the Island. We will be working with the other parties on the Council to support this petition and the campaign over the summer.”
Speaking for the Conservative Group of Councillors, Chris Whitehouse (Newport West) said:
“This issue clearly crosses any political divide and is something that we can all support enthusiastically. This is an opportunity for the Isle of Wight to play its part in a national campaign; a positive outcome would benefit all of us. Even a relatively small redistribution of Government grant would be enormously helpful to the Island so I hope as many people as possible will sign the petition.”
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Due to Parliamentary rules the petition must be signed on paper, not on-line. The petition can be downloaded and printed from Andrew Turner’s website at www.islandmp.org and must be returned to him by 30th September to ensure that it can be handed in with other petitions from across the country.