Page last updated at 05:01 GMT, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 06:01 UK

Experiences of rural life

Affordable housing, low wages and migration by city dwellers are issues blighting the UK's rural communities, a report has said.

People living in the countryside have been sharing their experiences of rural life.

MARCUS CONRAD, 36, CARRICK, TRURO

I recently retrained as a teacher and will start my first job at a primary school in Kerrier, Cornwall in September.

I currently live with my parents in Carrick, where I'm registered on an affordable housing association scheme. I've been registered for four years.

It would take about an hour to get to work from where I live at the moment. The price of fuel at the moment would mean it would cost a lot for me to drive in to work every day. That would be expensive for me and bad for the environment.

All of the housing around here is out of my price range. A lot of people, some from London, seem to be buying second homes which has pushed the price up.

There are fewer jobs in rural areas, whereas in a city there are about 30 schools to choose from. In Cornwall the schools are more spread out.

Most people I know are multi-skilled. They have a couple of jobs - someone might lecture and do freelance work, for example. It's harder to survive.

LINDA BREMNER, AYLMERTON, NORFOLK

I work part-time in a local supermarket. I'm 60-years-old but have to work part-time just to pay the bills. I work 28 hours a week. I can't afford to retire completely yet. My partner, who is the same age, works between 16 and 20 hours a week.

I still have to work, otherwise I couldn't afford to live.

All the jobs in the area are minimum wage. If you went to the nearest city, Norwich, you'd get more, but it would take time to get there as it's about 20 miles away. And it costs to get there - you have to drive because there are no bus services here.

You need to have a car because otherwise you wouldn't go anywhere. My partner and I both need a car to get to work.

I have lived here for seven years. I'll probably have to work until I'm 65, and then maybe we will sell our house and go somewhere smaller.

It's lovely here - it's safe and there is a low crime rate. But you pay for these benefits.

CLIFF BLAKEN, 70, CHEPSTOW

My wife and I live in a three-bedroom house which I've lived in since 1961.

We're finding it more and more difficult to pay the bills. However, each month our bills are paid and we aren't going into debt.

We keep the cost down by doing little things, like closing the doors and shutting the heating down wherever possible.

I have been declared epileptic, so I've had to give up driving which has been a blessing in disguise because we couldn't have afforded the cost of fuel as it stands at the moment.

We'd like to live in a bungalow, but we couldn't afford to go anywhere. All the bungalows around here are too expensive.

I bought my house for 2,000 and it has been valued at about 175,000, but once you include the arrangement fees and legal costs we couldn't afford to buy another place.



SEE ALSO
Poverty 'blights 1m rural homes'
03 Mar 08 |  England

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