MPs to discuss 'unique' needs of rural areas amid rising costs

MPs will consider whether the support made available to those in harder-to-reach areas is sufficient.

Inquiry launched to look at cost of living support for rural communities in Scotland iStock

The impact of the cost of living crisis on rural communities in Scotland is to be considered by MPs.

Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee is launching an inquiry on Friday into whether the financial support given by the UK Government is sufficient to meet the needs of households.

It comes as energy bills rise and inflation continues to climb, putting pressure on household budgets.

Concerns have been raised over the impact of the crisis on rural communities, who are expected to pay higher transport and weekly food costs.

Almost two-thirds of households in rural areas are also not connected to the gas grid.

It means families and businesses are instead turning to alternative fuels, such as liquified natural gas, which is not controlled in the same way as mains gas or electricity.

Pete Wishart, chairman of the committee, explained that the inquiry will aim to explore whether the UK Government support meets the “specific and unique” needs of rural communities.

“The perfect storm of the cost of living is hitting Scotland with ever-spiralling heating bills, transport costs and decline of public services,” he said.

“Both the UK and Scottish governments have stepped in and announced initiatives and funding to help ease the burden.

“Our intention for this inquiry is to explore whether the UK Government’s support meets the specific and unique needs of our rural communities.

“From larger homes leaking heat, to being off-grid with the costs of heating fuel not being covered by the Energy Price Guarantee, we need to make sure that rural communities are not left behind in cost of living support.

“We will be carefully examining these points and our committee encourages anyone with views, especially those living in rural areas in Scotland, to submit a written response to inform our inquiry.”

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