“Councils in country have far less to spend on elderly than those in cities”

“Councils in rural areas like Dorset have five times less than to spend on care of the elderly than those in cities, new analysis reveals.

The study by the Salvation Army warns that areas with lower house prices are unable to properly fund social care, because they cannot raise enough from council tax and business rates.

Experts said the findings were evidence of a “dementia lottery” which meant the chance of receiving help were a matter of geography.

The analysis suggests that typically councils in Dorset would have around £5,762 a head to spend on elderly care – while those in Lambeth in London could have more than £31,000 at their disposal.

Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Somerset, East Sussex, Staffordshire, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire were among other areas with the most limited resources, according to the analysis.

All the councils which fared best were in London.

The trends also show an increasing gulf, with “spending power” in rural councils falling, while it is rising in urban areas.

The organisation said it was now having to subsidise places in its own care homes, to the tune of an average £302 per person were week.

Lieut-Colonel Dean Pallant, of The Salvation Army, said: “Rural local authorities have been set up to fail with this flawed formula and it urgently needs revision.

“People are living longer and the population is ageing, the adult social care bill is rising but the local authority funding streams aren’t enough to cover the demand, especially in areas where there are not many businesses or people to tax.”

“The Government must prioritise its spending and properly fund adult social care. …”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/18/councils-country-have-far-less-spend-elderly-cities/

Glover Review of National Parks and AONBs – interim findings

Some quotes:

“… The message from all this work has been vigorous and clear. We should not be satisfied with what we have at the moment. It falls short of what can be achieved, what the people of our country want and what the government says it expects in the 25-year plan for the environment.

Some of this failure comes from the fact that our protected landscapes have
not been given the tools, the funding and the direction to do the job we should now expect of them. I want to praise the commitment of those who work to protect our landscapes today. Everywhere I’ve been I’ve seen energy,
enthusiasm and examples of success.

Supporting schools, youth ranger schemes, farm clusters, joint working with
all sorts of organisations, tourism, planning and design, backing local
businesses, coping with the complexities of local and central government –
things like this happen every day, not much thanks is given for them and yet
much of it is done well, for relatively small sums.

But all this impressive effort is not achieving anything like as much as it could.

We need to reignite the fire and vision which brought this system into being in 1949. We need our finest landscapes to be places of natural beauty which look up and outwards to the nation they serve.

In essence, our review will ask not ‘what do protected landscapes need?’, but “what does the nation need from them today?’….

We think that AONBs should be strengthened, with increased funding, new purposes and a greater voice on development. We have been impressed by what they often achieve now through partnership working.

We believe there is a very strong case for increasing funding to AONBs. We will make proposals in our final review.

– We have been asked to give our view on the potential for new designations. We will set this out in our final report.”

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/817608/landscapes-review-interim-findings-july2019.pdf

“Rural domestic abusers being protected by countryside culture”

“Rural women enduring domestic abuse are half as likely as urban victims to report their suffering and are being failed by authorities with perpetrators shielded by countryside culture, a report says.

Abusers are protected by the isolation of the countryside and traditional patriarchal attitudes, says the report from the National Rural Crime Network. It is the first study of its kind and finds that close-knit rural communities can facilitate abuse which can last, on average, 25% longer than in urban areas.

Some abusers move their partners from urban areas, where detection is more likely, to rural areas.

The report, published on Wednesday, says: “Rurality and isolation are used as a weapon by abusers. Financial control, removal from friends, isolation from family are all well-understood tools of abuse.”

It continues: “We have revealed a traditional society where women (and it is mostly women) are subjugated, abused and controlled, not just by an individual abuser, but de facto by very the communities in which they live, too often left unsupported and unprotected. This is not at all unique to rural areas, but it is very significant, and change is slow.”

Abusers exploiting isolation is a common theme in the report. One woman said: “My partner used to deliberately drive off to work with the kids’ car seats in his car, which meant I could not go anywhere safely because I was stuck in the cottage with the kids … it was just another way he isolated me and kept me from interacting with anyone else.”

The National Rural Crime Network is funded largely by police forces and their police and crime commissioners, to improve public safety in rural areas.

The report says that traditional, patriarchal communities control and subjugate women. “Rural communities are still dominated by men and follow a set of age-old, protected and unwritten principles.

“Men tend to hold the rural positions of power – head of the household, landowner, landlord, policeman, farmer. This patriarchal society makes women more vulnerable to coercion and control, prevented from speaking out and accessing support.”

Some cases have led to murder, such as that of Lance Hart, 57, who shot dead his wife Claire, 50, and daughter Charlotte, 19, in Spalding, Lincolnshire, in 2016, before killing himself. Claire Hart suffered years of controlling behaviour without the authorities realising and was killed after leaving her abusive husband.

One caseworker in County Durham said of the people suffering: “Many of them are in such a stressful situation they have shut down from any kind of rational thinking. It’s like all their effort goes into survival mode or protection for the kids … The longer it goes on the less likely they are to see the dangers.”

Escape is harder than in urban Britain because of shrinking resources and cuts to public services, the report says. “The availability of public services in rural areas more generally is on the decline, limiting the support networks and escape routes available to victims.

“A recently evidenced reduction in rural GP practices and challenges of effective broadband are good examples. This equally extends to services like buses and trains, whereby it remains very difficult (and getting worse) to travel within rural areas without a private vehicle. Abusers use this to limit victims’ movements, rendering already inaccessible services all but impossible to contact. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jul/17/rural-domestic-abusers-being-protected-by-countryside-culture?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Rural broadband still a dream for many – and will remain one

Shelve that dream of running an internet-based company in many parts of rural East Devon.

“The company awarded the publicly-subsidised contract to deliver superfast broadband to thousands of rural homes in Devon and Somerset has been given a deadline to come up with a rescue plan for the programme.

Last September, Gigaclear admitted the project was facing significant delays and was two years behind schedule.

Connecting Devon and Somerset, the organisation in charge of the whole project, stopped paying Gigaclear nine months ago.

It has told the firm it must come up with acceptable plans by the end of July to fulfill the contract.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-devon-48664146

Vouchers up to £350 available to upgrade poor broadband services in Devon

“If you currently experience broadband speeds of less than 2 Megabits per second (Mbps), the Better Broadband Voucher Scheme may be able to help you access a basic broadband service that will offer download speeds of at least 10 Mbps.

The Better Broadband Voucher Scheme, developed by the UK government, provides a voucher worth up to £350 for basic broadband installation to homes and businesses that will not benefit from superfast broadband within the next twelve months. …”

To see if you qualify, see here:

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Fat cat mobile phone companies want £600m from the government to cover country

Mobile phone companies make large profits. They do not want to spend their money on coverage, it goes to bonuses and dividends. They want all of us taxpayers to dig further into our pockets to provide them with bigger profits from wider coverage.

“Mobile operators want ministers to invest more than £600m to tackle poor phone signals in the countryside.

O2, Three UK, BT’s EE and Vodafone want backing for their plan to invest jointly in a single rural network that would give the four operators 95% coverage.

Only 66% of the country enjoys full coverage, so millions of people and thousands of businesses have to grapple with patchy signals or total black spots.

The mobile giants are willing to invest £533m to stamp out “partial not spots”, where one or more operators cannot provide a signal. That would bring national coverage up to 88% through a barter system, where they would share access to each other’s masts.

In return, they want the exchequer to foot the bill for 95% coverage. That includes spending about £620m over 20 years on areas with no signal, and £6m on opening up the Emergency Services Network used by police and ambulance workers.

Operators have told ministers those costs could fall by £90m if planning rules around issues such as mast heights were relaxed.”

Source: Sunday Times (pay wall)

“Rewild a quarter of UK to fight climate crisis, campaigners urge”

Rewilding would (according to the Environment Secretary) focus on:

Native woodlands
Salt marshes
Peat bogs
Ponds and lakes
Meadows and grasslands

all of which we have in abundance in East Devon.

Perhaps it is now time to revive the idea of a Jurassic Coast National Park (West Dorset would be an already-enthusiastic partner) which was squashed by the previous council because they feared losing their cosy relationship with housing developers …

And, as part of our climate emergency, make rewilding an integral part of all future neighbourhood, district and Greater Exeter development plans.