Last week I announced in the House of Commons that Norfolk County Council are to be granted £412,400 from a £8.5 million pot of money from the government to support service provision in rural areas. Large rural areas like Norfolk have to deal with sparsity of population and that can make services, such as public transport and bin collections, considerably more expensive to administer than in cities and built up areas. This new money is part of a concerted effort by the Department for Communities and Local Government to recognise the issues of rural funding.
Since before the General Election I have pressed the importance of rebalancing the difference between rural and urban funding. We made this case when we won the extra money for our rural bus services a year ago. Areas like Norfolk can find themselves at a geographic disadvantage and the previous government’s narrow-minded approach to funding did nothing to help. This money is a clear statement from the government that the challenge for rural areas is recognised.