THE hard-pressed rural community in Taunton Deane has a new backer fighting its corner.

MP Rebecca Pow has been appointed a Parliamentary Patron of the Rural Fair Share Campaign.

The campaign calls on the government to deliver a fairer deal for countryside communities.

Rural local authorities receive 50% less funding per person than urban councils. People in rural areas also pay on average £81 more in council tax per person per year than their urban counterparts – despite receiving a lower level of public services.

The campaign is made up of a cross-party group of Parliamentarians, fighting for fairer funding for services across rural England.

Rebecca said: “Rural areas receive about £154 less per person in government grant than urban areas – even though it costs more to deliver public services in the countryside.

“Rural local authorities struggle more as a consequence and have to restrict public services while charging residents a higher than average council tax.”

Campaign chairman, Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart, added: “Rebecca Pow has done an excellent job in representing rural constituents and standing up for a fairer deal. I have been really impressed at how passionately they have championed this issue.

“We are not arguing for more government spending overall but for a fair allocation of funding within the spending envelope. When money is tight it is more important, rather than less important, for funding allocations to be fair.”

The Rural Services Network, which represents more than 120 rural local authorities supporting the Rural Fair Share campaign, said the future of many countryside communities was under threat.

Rural Services Network chief executive Graham Biggs MBE, said: “Rural areas are being asked to make cuts in public spending that are similar to cuts in urban areas – even though countryside communities are already worse off in the first place.

“We appreciate that urban areas are struggling too and they are very vocal about their cuts – but they start from a higher base and in a generally stronger position. The government must consider that the situation in rural areas is getting worse.”