Petition for your fair share urge West Somerset Council

This is The West Country: RON Bridle, Martin Dewdney and Mandy Chilcott with the petitions. PHOTO: Steve Guscott RON Bridle, Martin Dewdney and Mandy Chilcott with the petitions. PHOTO: Steve Guscott

WEST Somerset Council are urging residents to sign a petition trying to bring rural councils more funding.

The campaign is seeing rural councils across the country trying to get signatures to push a debate in the Houses of Parliament so fairer funding is given to rural councils and areas.

It is organised by the Rural Fair Share Group, a group of around 100 parliamentarians from all political parties representing rural areas across England, trying to encourage the Government to address the disparity in funding between rural and urban areas.

It has brought together members from both Houses of Parliament, along with organisations, community groups and individuals concerned about the welfare of rural communities.

Councillor Mandy Chilcott said: “We’re really keen for everyone to get involved and we hope we can count on everyone’s support and thank those who have already signed.

“It’s something which is really important to our area but many people don’t know a lot about. I was shocked when I found out how much less funding rural councils got.”

According to a report by the Rural Services Network, rural residents earn less on average than those in cities, pay council tax which is £100 higher per head, and see urban areas receive Government grants 50 per cent higher per head than those in the countryside.

Cllr Chilcott added: “It’s essential the budget gap is narrowed. Although nothing is guaranteed, we have to at least try.

“The Rural Penalty sees urban area receive around 50 per cent more grant per head than rural councils, even though services cost more to deliver to rural areas.

“If we are successful, any extra money we receive is going to assist the local area and help to improve it and the economy. There are so many great things we can do for West Somerset with any extra money and that is what we want to achieve.”

If you would like to see a Fairer Share for rural areas then you can show your support by singing the Rural Fair Share Petition which will be presented to the House of Commons in support of a debate on the issue this autumn.

The petition needs at least 100,000 signatures countrywide, so every signature counts.

Petitions can be found around the area this week from Friday, September 20 until Friday, September 27.

Locations of petitions include: Minehead, Williton and Watchet Libraries, the Minehead Town Council Office, West Somerset District Council Offices in Minehead and Williton, Carhampton General Stores and Post Office, Fitness Station Gym, Minehead; The Post Office in Dulverton.

This Friday and Saturday there will also be petitions to sign in and around the Regal Theatre area of Minehead from 10am to 1pm.

They will be in blue A4 folders with Rural Share Petition written clearly on the front.

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