Spilsby tax help plea amid dire warnings from countryside group

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RURAL communities in the Spilsby area face impoverishment through soaring fuel costs, poor transportation and a lack of access to services.

Following warnings from the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) that the rural economy is being brought to a grinding halt, a local councillor has criticised the current taxation system.

East Lindsey District Councillor for the rural ward of Halton Holegate Coun Julia Pears said: “Fuel costs are a substantial problem for rural areas.

“It affects health, it affects education and it traps people in their homes.

“There is no equivalence of opportunities between people living in rural areas and those in cities.

“We need to change the fuel taxation system to make it fairer to isolated communities.”

Fuel prices have risen steeply, putting a heavy burden on communities reliant on transport for their livelihood and to access basic commodities.

Following Lincolnshire County Council’s budget reduction, already limited subsidised transport services have been further cut.

Elderly people dependent on such networks will face it increasingly difficult to access vital services including health care.

Young people from rural communities hoping to continue their post-16 education will also find themselves disadvantaged.

The abolishment of Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) to assist students from low income families and the cancellation of subsidised travel for post 16s will make education significantly more expensive to pursue.

Coun Pears said: “There are more NEETS (not in education employment or training) in rural areas and if they cannot get to college they remain trapped within the poverty cycle.”

Businesses will also find it more and more costly to provide their services at competitive prices.

CLA East Midlands spokesman Andrew Shirley said: “Government must accept that it is in danger of pricing the countryside out of business and the CLA’s job is to point out that the inevitable repercussions will be felt by the whole economy and for a very long time.”

“We need to address rising fuel price, reconsider raising rail fares above inflation and invest in rural transport networks, not reduce them.

“Only then can the countryside play the part that it is so eager to play, and help get the UK back on its feet.”