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Country-Dwellers Hit by High Cost of Living

The cost of a range of 21 goods and services commonly used by homeowners, including fuel and grocery bills as well as household maintenance and vehicle repair costs, was found to be £5,992 a year for people living in rural areas.

This compares to a UK average of £3,986, according to research from NFU Mutual, the insurance company.
Further, the cost of living in rural areas is rising at twice the national average, the company said.

While the price of the ‘basket’ of 21 goods has risen by 4.3 per cent across the UK over the last year, it has risen by 7.7 per cent for people living in the countryside, NFU Mutual said using data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The company said that steep rural inflation is “hitting families hard”.

Rural living costs more than urban living because the price of petrol and fuel is higher in the countryside, largely because it costs more transport the goods to out-of-the-way areas.

People in the countryside also tend to spend more on petrol because they drive further. Homes in the countryside also tend to be older and less-well insulated than urban homes, leading to higher heating costs. More houses in the countryside are also heated using expensive heating oil rather than mains gas.

NFU Mutual found that countryside households spend an average of £30.37 a week on petrol for their cars, compared to £20.60 a week for people who live in towns.

Food was found to cost between 5 per cent and 10 per cent more in the countryside than in conurbations, with meat, tea and coffee seeing the biggest difference in price compared to urban areas.

Tim Price, rural affairs spokesman at NFU Mutual, said: “Our findings clearly show that people living in the countryside are being hit very hard by rises in essentials, such as petrol, heating oil and fuel.”

Mr Price said that people who heat their homes using heating oil can face bills up to four times higher.
Brian Madderson, the chairman of RMI Petrol, which represents petrol forecourts, said that people in rural areas are being “disadvantaged” by the higher cost of fuel in the countryside.

However there is a silver lining for rural dwellers.

Despite the rising cost of living, NFU Mutual found that people who live in the countryside are happier and less stressed than people who live in cities.

Date: 03/07/2012
Author: James Hall

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