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Opinion - What is the true cost of Government cuts to rural communities?

As Governments continue to cut costs throughout various industries, Ben Briggs looks into the true cost of these cuts and the effect lack of appropriate deterrent can have on rural communities.

Ben   Briggs

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Ben   Briggs
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Grime and punishment

 

"In this so called age of austerity, councils and police forces are coming under more and more pressure to cut costs as Governments look to balance the books.


"This is nothing new, but we seem to be entering a time when the true extent of the cuts and their impact on communities is becoming clearer.


"This is particularly relevant for rural communities which, potentially, were at the bottom of the priority list even before the penny pinching began.


"One case in point is the fact many council tips now charge people to use them. Long predicted but its impact now being felt, fly-tippers are dumping larger and larger loads of rubbish in field gateways or in rural laybys rather than paying to use the tip.


"With many people having a lack of respect for the workings of the countryside to begin with, blighting the landscape is probably of little concern.


"And once the damage has been done and a farmer faces footing the clean-up bill, who is going to catch the perpetrators? Even if the council or depleted rural police force manages to chase them down, many farmers probably feel there is little hope of justice being done.


"There is also a major issue in that if those responsible are caught and fined, the scale of the fine is often so little there is really no deterrent for them not to do it again.


"It is a similar case with incidents of livestock worrying when, if the owners are caught, the punishment never really seems to be befitting of the crime and the scourge continues.


"For farmers to feel like part of the solution, it is crucial for councils and police to have the appropriate powers to dish out punishments which act as a genuine deterrent to those who blight rural areas.

 

"Without this and without pressure from rural organisations, the sense of being cut adrift from a raft of seemingly urban-centric bodies will only heighten."

 


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