Azara Blog: Rural people are allegedly worse off

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Date published: 2010/11/28

The BBC says:

People in rural areas need to take home up to 20% more than those in urban areas in order to reach an acceptable living standard, according to a report.

The Commission for Rural Communities said someone in a remote village needed £18,600 a year to get by, compared with £14,400 for an urban dweller.
The report cited transport and fuel as the main extra cost burdens.

A team from Loughborough University that calculates the Joseph Rowntree Foundation's minimum income standard index carried out the research for the CRC.

This index is based on what items people think households need to be able to afford to achieve a minimum acceptable living standard.

Yet again the BBC publishes what amounts to a press release for a special interest pressure group, this time the Commission for Rural Communities (to be abolished, at least). First and foremost, nobody forces anyone to live in a "remote village". Of course if you want to be a farmer then you would (normally) live in a rural area, but nobody is forced to be a farmer. And other people have little reason to have to live in a rural area other than that they choose to, probably because they think it is cheaper (in spite of what this report alleges, using its strictly theoretical "minimum income standard index"), and/or because they want a quieter lifestyle, which is obviously valued by them but which this report completely ignores.

Urban areas are continually forced to subsidise rural areas, for no particular reason. Given this subsidy, rural living is not really "sustainable". And people in rural areas often go to some effort to keep out other people from those rural areas (as happened recently south of Cambridge when a proposed housing development at Hinxton was widely opposed by the rural middle class), which would make their villages more "sustainable". All in all, this kind of bleating by the Commission for Rural Communities should just be ignored.

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