People in countryside hit with higher bills

PUBLISHED: 00:00 15 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:19 17 February 2020

People living in rural East Anglia face higher bills, according to a new report

People living in rural East Anglia face higher bills, according to a new report

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People living in rural East Anglia could be spending thousands more on household essentials than others in the UK, according to a new report.

The report said that groceries, electricity and petrol cost rural households £3,300 more than the national average.

The report, commissioned by heating oil firm BoilerJuice Connected, also found that the cost of living was rising a third faster in the countryside.

This is because rural households tend to spend more on heating fuel, diesel and petrol.

Andrew Stringer, Suffolk Green Party spokesman for housing and economic development, said: "This all points to those living in rural areas having several challenges to living sustainably, lack of public transport and heating and transport technologies locking us in to financially and environmentally costly choices.

"This is why all layers of government should grant fund households transitioning away from fossil fuels, we know it has to be done and the earlier we do it, the quicker we save money and help the environment.

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Mr Stringer, who lives rurally, said: "Renewable energy is now among the cheapest form of energy generation, we need to harness this opportunity to lift people out of huge energy costs, if you are spending more than £30.00 per week to heat your home and fuel your car you are spending too much."

In Suffolk, 40% of the population are classified as living rurally. While in Norfolk more than 10% of households cannot afford to keep the home warm enough.

Rik Martin, development manager for Community Action Norfolk, said: "It's not the cost, but the consequences that concern me. It is the increases in loneliness and isolation and mental health issues that result from lack of funds and opportunity. The loss of family support and care that result when lack of affordable homes drive family further away, and the difficulties of accessing family and friends and health care when there are only two buses per week.

"Whilst we work with communities to deliver local support, more local activities there is much more to do and we need more investment and a greater commitment to make a difference to those most affected."

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