A lack of affordable housing in rural areas, as recently raised by the Countryside Alliance, is only one of the many serious and difficult issues those living in Britain’s countryside face.

Three-and-a-half million countryside dwellers are surviving on low incomes, and one in six people in rural areas are living in what the Government defines as poverty.

A lack of employment, and rising fuel prices also impact on those in rural areas more heavily than their urban counterparts, having far less access to public transport.

In the current economic climate, people living in the countryside are being squeezed to breaking point by financial pressures, while also earning on average 20 per cent less than the national average.

We urge the Government not to lose sight of the needs of those living in rural areas and, particularly with the escalating cost of fuel, housing and food, urge those in financial need to use our free Turn2us service to check what support is available to them through welfare benefits and charitable grants. See www.turn2us.org.uk .

Malcolm M Tyndall, Director of Income Generation and Communications, Elizabeth Finn Care, Shepherd’s Bush Road, London W6 7NL.