GAZETTE COMMENT: Rural areas need support in order to stay viable

It is always a compelling argument to say that a particular service is costing taxpayers a certain amount of money per year, especially in an era of austerity and swingeing cuts.

For example, the latest row over the soon-to-be signed-off axeing of transport to school or college for post-16 transport will lead some to say, ‘why should I pay tax to send someone else’s children to school?’

However, these arguments always run into difficulties in north Northumberland and other rural parts of this vast and sparsely-populated county for the simple reason that the same rules don’t apply here as elsewhere.

In rural areas, there is never going to be the demand for services to make them commercially-viable from a private-sector point of view.

Without subsidising services, all you do is force more and more people to live in towns and cities and that leaves nobody to do quite important things like grow crops and raise livestock.

This goes far beyond the county council and all the way up to the Government who are the ones that decide where the money should go.