March 10, 2020 @ 14:21 by Richard Dawson
New analysis of household spending in Britain’s rural communities reveals a gap of more than £3300 a year spent on everyday essentials like petrol and groceries compared to those living in towns and cities – the equivalent of £15.8 billion each year across the UK.
The findings come from BoilerJuice Connected and show that the cost of living in the British countryside has been rising at 29 per cent more than the average national rate.
BoilerJuice Connected is a new service that enables heating oil customers to digitally monitor their heating oil usage and arrange top-ups.
The research identified the 20 everyday items that rural households are most dependent on and calculated an overall inflation rate for them using a similar methodology to that used to measure the official Consumer Price Index inflation rate.
Extra spending on key items for country dwellers was mainly due to the costs of transport, petrol and domestic fuels, each of which affect residents of rural communities more because they are typically more dependent on cars, drive further and are less likely to be on the power grid.
Rural residents spend an extra £535 per year on petrol, diesel and motor oil and an extra £561 on cars and vans.
This trend mirrors recent ONS figures showing that productivity is lagging in a number of more rural UK regions, with Wales and Yorkshire struggling most to keep pace with the capital and the South East.
Lee Cowles, managing director of BoilerJuice, said: “Although living in the British countryside can be wonderful, for many, rural life is a financial challenge – particularly for those on lower incomes.
“Staying connected when you’re further away from urban hubs is part of the problem. For example, people in rural areas often have to travel further to get to the shops or go to work and tend to end up paying more for telephone and internet bills by missing out on deals and services.
“It is even more of a challenge for heating oil users in particular, because they get bills all in one go, cannot access energy monitoring tools like Smart Meters, and are exposed to spikes in the oil price.
“BoilerJuice Connected addresses this by smoothing out the costs over the year in monthly installations and allowing people to keep an eye on usage.”