Share |
The truths they don't want you to read....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The real cost of living

Fascinating analysis by the Joseph Rowantree Foundation and the Commission for Rural Communities on the cost of living in rural areas.

Anyone who lives outside the big towns will know that the financial impact of rurality is quite severe, and that costs are loaded on individuals and public services.

Assuming life in the Western Isles needs 20% more income to give a standard of life equivalent to the cities, and on the basis that actual income levels are 66% of the Scottish average, then income per head in the Western Isles needs to rise by 81% for us to be on a par with Glasgow or Edinburgh.

The real failure of all Governments - Westminster and Holyrood - is that income levels in the Western Isles have not risen over the past decades, and that economic decline has been allowed to continue with seemingly no interest in reversing depopulation and poverty.

Perhaps the Council should grab hold of these statistics and use them as a big stick to beat Holyrood to argue that sparsity of population has now been better quantified and that further support is necessary to keep schools and communities alive and active.

Let's hear the outcry from our elected representatives.......


Anonymous said...

Just one small point, Angus. From that article:

'I would be extremely keen to see budgets transferred to, say, Cornwall County Council and for different local areas to experiment with different schemes.'

Are you content with the notion that centralized budgets should be transferred to this Council (this particular Council) for them to 'experiment' with ?

Angus said...

Experimentation would almost certainly be bad. I'd rather see clear plans than a 'hope for the best' attitude.

The rebalancing of power & money between local and central Government is, however, long overdue.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:17
They would have a field day with the town centre. I wonder how many paving slabs they could buy........

Foot-loose said...

For information, over 90% of CnES budget comes from central govt (taxation) and not from local council tax (the highest in Scotland). "He who pays the piper, plays ...". Who's for dancing? School closures? A different outcome to the decision of the Comhairle, now awaited.

Anonymous said...


Indeed so - re the budget %. But read the report synopsis. In particular:

'So I think what it shows is that we need to take a very decentralised approach to tackling poverty, to welfare and to getting people back to work.'

I don't think they're talking here about the funding for those matters which are currently the preserve of local government but of a redistribution of matters which are traditionally for central government. (Edinburgh or London.)

Anonymous said...

"standard of life equivalent to the cities"

That is pretty debatable. Although obviously rural poverty can be pretty bad at least most people are safe from drugs, alcohol, knife crime, feral youth, street gangs, air pollution, grafiti etc. The bus services in the WI are incredibly cheap, albeit infrequent, the sports centre particularly with the scheme is incredibly cheap and it's great not to have to triple lock your front door.

The downsides are of course that food and fuel is more expensive.