Government pressed to give rural areas a 'fair deal' in central funding
Ministers are to be told to "make good on the long-standing promise" and end urban areas being given more local government cash than in the countryside.
Neil Parish, Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton, has secured a House of Commons debate calling on the Government to "correct this historic imbalance".
MPs in the rural South West have long complained the region suffers from a "rural penalty" that means urban authorities get 50% more cash from central Government than rural counterparts.
Mr Parish will argue residents in rural authorities, like Devon County Council, pay on average 15% more council tax and many public services are more expensive to deliver in sparsely populated rural areas.
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The local government financial settlement for 2014/15 is being frozen up until 2020 – meaning the disparity is locked in until the end of the decade.
The debate will take place next Thursday and is being supported by the Rural Fair Share Campaign.
Mr Parish, who sits on the rural affairs select committee, said: "Our message is simple. We are not asking the Government to throw away its gains in tackling the deficit by increasing spending. We support the Government in taking the tough decisions to tackle the budget deficit inherited from the last administration. A quarter of all public expenditure is accounted for by councils and this must be addressed.
"All we are asking from the Secretary of State is for him to make good on the longstanding promise to correct this historic imbalance and give rural local authorities their fair share of central government funding by closing the gap in funding between urban and rural authorities by 10% by 2020 by reducing urban funding by an extra one-quarter of 1% per year."
But both David Cameron and Nick Clegg have said they do not accept the claim, putting the party leaders on collision course with their backbenchers in rural constituencies.
Cornwall Liberal Democrat MPs Andrew George, Dan Rogerson and Stephen Gilbert MP are all promoting petitions to encourage central Government to give rural areas including Cornwall a "fair deal".
St Ives MP Mr George said last week: "Currently, Cornish residents earn less on average than those in the cities but pay council tax which is £75 more per head.
"However, urban and metropolitan councils receive Government grants of 50% per person more than those in rural areas."