This isn’t a statement that I’ve taken a moral stance on the topic. It’s merely that being rural our broadband speed sometimes hits a truly amazing 4 meg but it’s never faster. That’s with us being on BTinfinity superfast broadband with fibre to our nearest cabinet. Given the nearest cabinet is at least two miles away, it isn’t going to get any better.
Actually, if you’re rural, (and that can merely mean you live a couple of miles outside town) you don’t expect fripperies like good broadband or good mobile reception in your home. I have upgraded to a smart phone, but it’s still on pay as you go and still lives switched off for weeks at a time. I did try downloading data on it when we were on holiday and I got free wifi. I gave up in disgust. Using google or the web on your phone struck me as like using one of those kiddy pianos, when you’ve got a concert grand in the other room.
It doesn’t matter too much because you don’t use data on a phone with pay as you go, the price is ridiculous, and as my phone costs me about £20 a year, I cannot imagine any company coming up with a contract that tempts me.
But it’s interesting to look at other issues there are for people living in rural areas.
Now you’d have thought that if you’re subsidising bus services, rural buses, with a more scattered population, would need more subsidies. But actually the opposite is true. In a paper by the Rural Services Network we read, “Local authorities in rural areas have far less funding available to support bus services. In 2017/18 such expenditure in predominantly rural areas was £6.72 per resident, compared with £31.93 in predominantly urban areas. Expenditure to cover concessionary bus fares was £13.48 (rural) and £25.54 (urban).
Now you have to ask why government thinks that the urban population needs nearly five times as much money per head spending on them as the rural population?
It’s much the same with social care. “Rural residents face an additional cost burden for adult social care provision. In 2017/18 they funded 76% of the cost of this through Council Tax. The urban comparator figure was 53%.”
It’s not as if rural residents earned more, “Average annual earnings in rural areas are £21,400, 10% lower than the England average of £23,700.”
Housing on the other hand is more expensive. “Average house prices are £44,000 higher in rural areas than urban areas.”
Don’t go hoping for a council house though. “Options for those on low-incomes seeking social rented housing are typically limited in small rural settlements. Only 8% of households in villages live in social housing compared to 19% in urban areas.”
Now I’m not going to say that it’s great in urban areas. I live near one. This country has an awful lot of towns that are run down and fighting to survive. Money has been bled out of them. Decent jobs have gone and have been replaced by poorly paid call centre work or other jobs where sixteen hours a week contracts seem to be regarded as almost acceptable.
I was thinking about this stuff when somebody directed me to the website
When you look at the voting districts who voted to remain, in the areas I know best, those who wanted to remain were the major cities, and the more prosperous districts. Those who wanted to leave are the rural districts and those towns which feel abandoned. It strikes me that the country is indeed split. But it’s not North-South or anything crude like that.
It’s the major metropolitan areas versus the rest.
” In those 30 cities, votes to Remain outnumbered those to Leave by over 900,000 (4,872,810 to 3,955,595 or 55.2% to 44.8%), while in the other voting areas, the votes to Leave outnumbered those to Remain by nearly 2.2 million (13,455,147 to 11,268,431, or 54.4% to 45.6%).”
Ignoring whether you believe in ‘leave’ or ‘remain’ something has to be done to deal with the basic level of inequality in this country. Major conurbations cannot continue to grab all the money. Instead of ‘trickle down’ economics we’ve had ‘trickle out’ economics. Where money has been poured into cities (Manchester and Liverpool have both benefited from serious spending and redevelopment, and they’re the two areas that seemed keen on remaining in the EU.) it’s been great for the people in those areas but the population in surrounding areas don’t seem to have seen the benefits. When we rebuild this country, we’ll probably have to rebuild our political class as well. No more party protégés parachuted in to seats they have no connection with whatsoever. Let local parties find local candidates who’ll stand up for local people and bring local problems to the table.
is interesting as well, looking at MPs, the way they voted, and the way their constituencies voted. I guess some are going to have to do some rapid talking to keep their seats.
But then, what to I know? Ask the dog.
As a reviewer said, “Like the other two books in this series, Jim Webster gives us a perspective of farm life we may not have appreciated. Some of the facts given will come as a shock to non-farming readers, but they do need to be read. Having said that, there are plenty of humorous anecdotes to make the book an enjoyable read.”