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Weekly Rural News Digest
Monday, 11 December, 2017

‘A rural consultant at your fingertips’

Rural firms need help to embrace digital skills

11 December 2017
FOUR in five rural businesses are embracing the digital economy – but many say lack of training and skills is hampering their growth.

Warning over cash machine closures

8 December 2017
Consumer group Which? has warned that widespread ATM closures could leave people without cash.

Drink-driving ‘highest in rural areas’

7 December 2017
Lack of public transport could be behind a high rate of drink-driving in rural areas.

MP hits out over NHS service charges

6 December 2017
FORMER Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has hit out at NHS England bosses for not backing down on proposed service charges.

‘Write to your MP over hospital transport’

4 December 2017
RURAL people are being asked to write to their MPs and call for a review of non-emergency patient transport services.

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EARLIER NEWS:

Rural Services Network demands fairer rural funding
The Rural Services Network is calling on the government to ensure rural communities receive fairer funding.

ANALYSIS: Why rural post offices are essential
Despite changing lifestyles, rural communities clearly value post offices, says Brian Wilson.

Rural places among worst for social mobility
Rural areas are among the worst performing when it comes to social mobility, says a government report.

Bank announces 259 branch closures
The Royal Bank of Scotland group has announced it is closing 259 branches – many in rural areas.

Urgent call for hospital transport review
Older people are facing huge difficulties getting to routine hospital appointments, warns Age UK, which is urging people to write to their MPs.

Ongoing funding ‘vital’ for rural post offices
Continued government funding for post offices is vital to maintain essential rural services, says Citizens Advice.

ANALYSIS: Can we stop a rural debt spiral?
How many rural people are in a ‘debt trap’? And what can be done about it? Jessica Sellick investigates.

Council’s plea for fairer rural funding
North Yorkshire County Council has become the latest council to renew calls for the government to give long-term fairer funding to rural areas.

£417k funding for rural arts initiative
A PROJECT to bring arts and dance to rural communities has received a further £417,000 in government funding.

Rural watchdog badly missed, warns network
Government policies continue to fail communities in sparsely populated areas, the Rural Services Network has warned.

Chancellor urged to keep pubs afloat
MPs have called on the Government for a Budget they say would help keep pubs rural in business.

Concern over rural policing levels
Concerns over rural policing levels have been raised with Chancellor Philip Hammond ahead of this week’s Budget.

County councils call for fairer funding
County councils have called for a new deal to end the “postcode lottery” of government funding for rural areas.

Decline in services threatens rural life – report
Rural life is in decline because countryside pubs, schools and post offices are closing, says a study.

Rural residents urged to build own homes
RURAL communities are being encouraged to take the lead on developing affordable homes in Northumberland.

Broadband boost for rural communities
A pioneering superfast broadband project is benefiting rural communities in North Yorkshire.

Prince’s rural fund helps family farms
Farmers increasingly rely on outside income to make a living, warns a rural fund founded by Prince Charles.

ANALYSIS: Can we really improve rural policing?
What more can be done to get ‘rural’ on the policing agenda? Jessica Sellick investigates.

Commission’s goal is to improve rural life
AN independent high-profile commission aims to improve life for rural communities after the UK leaves the European Union.

Project seeks to reduce rural flood risk
A £1.2m project aims to trail low-cost ways to reduce the risk of flash floods in rural communities.

Countryside is good for you – study
SPENDING time in the countryside is better for your brain than spending time in the city, says a study.

How research affects food and farming
RURAL researchers will visit two farmers’ markets to talk about food and farming – and how their work affects the products we buy.

Biofuel ‘could heat rural homes’
Many rural homes could be heated by vegetable oil within the next five years, claims an industry report.

Government to consult on community transport rules
The government is expected to consult on its controversial interpretation of rules affecting rural community transport providers this autumn.

Council plan to tackle rural fuel poverty
A major project to tackle rural fuel poverty is to be funded by one of England’s largest county councils.

Novel approach maintains rural roadsides
A county council is minimising verge growth on rural roadsides – and saving money at the same time.

Pledge to speed up mobile coverage
The government has pledged to speed up the rollout of faster mobile and broadband services to rural areas.

Connectivity ‘must be rural priority’
Better digital connectivity is needed to stimulate rural growth and productivity, says a report.

7% increase in fly-tipping incidents
Fly-tipping incidents have soared by 7% over the past year – excluding cases on private land.

Councils fight for fairer funding
COUNCIL leaders travelled to parliament to highlight the need for fairer rural funding.

Rural housing hub project launched
A NEW initiative aims to help rural communities develop and manage their own housing project.

Rural areas want ‘economic voice’
Northumberland County Council is spearheading a new initiative to ensure rural areas have a voice in the UK’s economic future.

Rural homelessness – an invisible issue?
What can be done to prevent and relieve homelessness in rural areas? Jessica Sellick investigates.

£20,000 ‘Golden hello” for rural GPs
TRAINEE doctors are to receive £20,000 to work in rural communities struggling to recruit GPs.

Wellbeing and the countryside exhibition
A new exhibition explores the relationships between wellbeing and the countryside.

Royal encouragement for rural homes
The Princess Royal is to deliver a keynote conference speech on affordable rural housing.

Villagers take over rural petrol station
A group of rural residents have taken over their local petrol station in a bid to save it from closure.

Rural MP slams government on broadband
Former Lib-Dem leader Tim Farron criticises the government for failing rural people on broadband.

Internet giant spurs rural jobs growth
INTERNET giant Amazon is helping Britain’s rural businesses double their growth, finds a survey.

Special week targets rural crime
POLICE, councillors and local residents team for a special week of action against rural crime.

Focus on broadband reliability, not speed
RURAL broadband provision should focus on reliable connections rather than speed, says a report.

Council bid to combat rural isolation
A RURAL council has launched a special group to combat loneliness in the countryside.

Need rises for affordable rural homes
THE need for more affordable rural homes continues to rise, the Rural Services Network has warned.

Rural homes ‘20% more expensive’
Buying a house in the countryside costs 20% than it does in a town or city, according to the latest figures.

Concern over shortage of rural firefighters
A shortage of rural firefighters has triggered a number of recruitment drives to fill vacancies in village fire stations.

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ABOUT THE RURAL SERVICES NETWORK
The Rural Services Network is a group of over 250 service providers and local authorities working to establish best practice across the spectrum of rural service provision. The network has representation across the range of rural services.
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Calor – Our Energy PartnerCalor Gas Ltd is the RSN’s energy partner and the UK’s leading supplier of bulk and bottled LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) – a low carbon, low cost energy solution for rural homes and businesses. Calor LPG plays a vital role in meeting the countryside’s diverse energy requirements and is used in thousands of applications across many different sectors. And we don’t just supply LPG; we are continually innovating and investing in new technologies to bring the next generation of energy efficient and renewable appliances to the rural market. Fuelling the British countryside since 1935, we offer unmatched service and customer support. Visit www.calor.co.uk or call 0800 181 4530. Alternatively, email Holly Jago at hjago@calor.co.uk.
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FirstFirst is RSN’s public transport partner
First provides bus and rail services linking local communities throughout England. Working in partnership with local authority colleagues, First is at the forefront of innovative local transport solutions to improve mobility, and to provide access to local services and opportunities. First is keen to work with local authorities and other bodies to explore opportunities to grow public transport use. For details of the services we offer, and of our knowledge and expertise in the provision of local bus, express coach, demand responsive transport and local and national rail services, please see our websitewww.firstgroup.com or email us directly atrural.services@firstgroup.com.