Countryside inflation ‘higher than average’

The impact of inflation is much tougher on those who live in the countryside, new research has indicated.

Learning to cope with strains o…

The impact of inflation is much tougher on those who live in the countryside, new research has indicated.

Learning to cope with strains on the cost of living is a challenge people have faced up and down the country as prices have risen faster than incomes and many of those trying to do this have been balancing the cost of everyday living with trying to pay off debt.

Insurer NFU Mutual has calculated that essential goods and services cost 32,000 a year more in rural areas on average, with the effective 'rural inflation' rate being 7.7 per cent in the last 12 months, compared with the average Consumer Prices Index rate of 4.3 per cent.

Examples of this include the higher cost of heating oil, which is used by many living in remote areas as an alternative to gas.

Others include the greater impact of higher car fuel prices on those who have further to drive to get to the shops and the lack of high-speed broadband services in some areas, which make it harder to take advantage of cheaper internet shopping options.

And goods cost more in the shops, even items like fruit, fish or cheese.

This is bad news for those whose disposable incomes are limited, NFU chairman Richard Percy noted.

He stated: "While there are clearly lots of people who pay this ‘countryside premium' willingly and can well afford to do so, we can not lose sight of the fact that there are also many others in rural areas who don't enjoy the luxury of being able to move to cheaper areas and are struggling to make ends meet."

Recent research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies revealed that in the three years to 2011 the typical British household became seven per cent poorer.

It found that this trend had come on the back of low growth in the previous few years, meaning people were five per cent worse off last year than they were in 2004.

By Joe White

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