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Countryside poverty set to increase, says Newcastle University professor


Welfare cuts mean countryside poverty is set to increase in the next five years, a Newcastle University expert has predicted

Today, (Wednesday, 13 March) Professor Mark Shucksmith will say emerging challenges for rural England over the next five years include increasing poverty for working people, growing child poverty, social isolation amongst older people, unaffordable housing and increased fuel poverty.

The Director of the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal (NISR), is speaking at a meeting in Westminster Central Hall, organised jointly by NISR and the Commission for Rural Communities (CRC). Tackling rural disadvantage is the statutory responsibility of CRC, but after March this organisation will be abolished by Government. The meeting in Westminster today brings together many of the charities and other organisations concerned with rural disadvantage to discuss how to address these challenges in the future. It will be opened by the Minister of Rural Affairs, Richard Benyon MP.

“A particular concern for rural areas is the impact of the proposed cuts in welfare entitlements on working people, especially as they will no longer be increased in line with inflation,” said Professor Shucksmith, who is also Commissioner of the CRC. “Far from the popular perception of benefit recipients as workless and work-shy, more than two thirds of working-age recipients of benefits in rural England are in work already but getting by on low incomes, and this proportion is increasing. Many of these hard-working people in rural England will suffer further as a result of the cuts in welfare benefits and loss of public services.”

published on: 13 March 2013