'Families living in the countryside must bring in £13,740 a year — or £264 a week — more than those living in the city just to get by, Money Mail research has found.
Higher fuel costs, cash machine charges, energy bills and insurance are among the hidden extra costs that mean a rural family with two working parents needs to earn almost 40 per cent more than those living in a town.
Today, a rural family with two young children must receive £50,540 to live comfortably.
This includes the cost of childcare, running a car, heating and a host of hidden extras.
In reality, most country households earn far less than this — on average, just £40,000.
And that is if both parents are working, but many families make do with just one income.
By contrast a family living in a town needs £36,500 to live well — according to the Centre For Social Policy Research. ‘People in the countryside are being clobbered with rising insurance, lower wages and the gradual disappearance of rural shops, forcing them to travel further for even simple items,’ says Barney White-Spunner, executive chairman of campaign group the Countryside Alliance.
‘The countryside isn’t all Downton Abbey — many people are really struggling to get by, yet get little or no relief from the Government.’
NO MAINS ELECTRICITY
An estimated 1.6 million rural households are not connected to the mains gas network. Instead, many must rely on costly heating oil, which has jumped in price by 10 per cent in just one year.
This fuel has to be delivered by a tanker, and homeowners must also pay for storage costs on their land.
The average family in the country forks out £57 more a month on energy bills than one living in a town.
HIGHER PETROL BILLS
Travel costs can pile on an extra £288 a month to rural families’ bills.
Lower government subsidies mean public transport is less frequent in the countryside and often costs far more than in towns.
A car is essential for most, but the cost of fuel is also much higher — figures show rural families must pay an extra 4p a litre for diesel — which could add an extra £13 a month to fuel bills.
There are also fears that plans to introduce ‘black box’ devices — installed by insurers to monitor your driving — could ramp up country motorists’ premiums because it penalises drivers on winding roads.
50 PER CENT INSURANCE RISE
Home insurance premiums for all have climbed by an average of 14 per cent over the past year, according to the AA.
But those in many rural areas affected by flooding have soared by more than 50 per cent.
Some of these homeowners face excesses of £10,000. This is because insurers are increasingly wary about offering flood insurance because a government agreement to boost flood defences is about to run out. Excesses this high can make it difficult for people to get a mortgage.
Unusual properties, such as Britain’s 60,000 thatched cottages, have also seen premiums rise by 30 per cent more than ordinary homes.
BANK BRANCHES AXED
Many families face long journeys to visit a bank.
Over the past year, banks have shut 180 branches — the majority in the countryside.
This leaves rural customers unable to get face-to-face advice if they have money troubles.
They might also be forced to pay up to £2 a time to take their money from cashpoints because there is no longer a free one available.
Rural families are being hammered by a host of other rip-off charges.
Some 15 per cent of rural homes struggle to watch TV online because broadband speeds are too slow and so are forced to pay more to get the fastest speed possible.
And if their phone or internet company does not cover their region, homeowners face a further charge.
For example, Orange make customers living outside its cover area stump up an extra £10 a month on top of its usual bills for some packages.'
the last two decades has seen more and more people flee to the sticks.Personally always seen this as a play on cheap oil.Can see life getting a lot tougher for people who live the rural dream and work in a city an hour away.
This post has been edited by Zanu Bob: 12 April 2012 - 08:36 AM