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Soaring cost of country living

[Wednesday 1 December 2010]

Living in the countryside for a family of four is much more expensive than living in town, according to survey carried out by the York-based Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

For an urban couple with two children, to reach a basic living standard costs £29,700 but a similar family in the country would need a staggering £42,300 – way above the average earnings of people in more remote rural areas like the Yorkshire Dales.

The difference is largely explained by transport costs – another Government survey released this week suggest that average families are spending almost £50 a week on petrol or diesel for their cars – and for heating costs in areas where there is no mains gas supply.

The Rowntree Foundation, founded by the owners of the now Swiss-owned chocolate company, was the pioneer of social studies, coming up with the now widely used phrase “the submerged fifth” – the finding that at any one time in history, a fifth of the population live below the poverty line.

But modern studies of poverty tend to concentrate on the inner cities whereas rural poverty – particularly amongst old people who have no village shop or bus service – has largely been ignored in recent years.

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