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Village deprivation is worsening – official

[Monday 14 April 2008]
Burnsall
Village deprivation is worsening – official

THOUSANDS of villages in England are suffering from growing economic and social deprivation, a situation which we at Daelnet have commented on many times over the years. But the difference now is this admission comes from an official Government report.

The results of a survey carried out for the newly created Department of Communities and Local Government – which many country folk have not even heard of, never mind benefitted from – has revealed that almost half the rural communities in England have become more “geographically deprived” in the past four years.

The decline is such a short period is staggering: 14,493 out of 32,439 have lost services, according to Dr Stuart Burgess, described as Gordon Brown’s “rural advocate.”

They have lost post offices, primary schools, doctors’ and dentists surgeries, pubs – now closing at a rate of four a week – and access to financial services like “hole in the wall” cash machines.

The report, released quietly last week without any official press announcements, is like to add to the growing uproar about the Government’s lack of interest in rural affairs – a situation likely to get much worse in coming months as the world economy verges on recession.

The Countryside Alliance has already joined the debate, saying that ministers have constantly ignored warnings about “the level of deprivation and the appalling decline in services.”

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