'Rural penalty' marring country life

Countryside communities in England suffer from a "rural penalty" which the Government is not doing enough to address, a parliamentary report warned today.

'Rural penalty' marring country life. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA

Rural people face higher house prices and more expensive council tax bills, but receive less government funding for services like schools and suffer housing shortages and poor mobile phone and broadband coverage, said the report from the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

The committee branded the lower level of state funding for rural areas "deeply unfair" and warned that Government policies do not reflect the difficulties of providing services to populations who may be thinly spread over areas with relatively undeveloped infrastructure.