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REPORT ON SERVICE PROVISION IN RURAL AREAS

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The Scottish executive today published a report which examines service provision in rural areas. ...
The Scottish executive today published a report which examines service provision in rural areas.

It reveals that people living in rural parts of Scotland have a high level of satisfaction with most services. Welcoming the publication of the report, minister for rural affairs Ross Finnie said:

'It is encouraging that rural residents had a high level of satisfaction with most services. One third of services covered by this survey - including post offices, electricity and water supplies, ambulance and fire services, and libraries - achieved satisfaction rates of 90 per cent or more.

'A further one third of services - including GPs, primary schools, police, and trades services - also rated highly, with satisfaction rates of between 80 per cent and 89 per cent.

'There is no room for complacency about service provision in rural areas - for instance, the study also revealed that some services had lower levels of satisfaction - particularly activities for teenagers and young children, and sports and leisure facilities. I believe that the Scottish executive can play a role in bringing communities and service providers together to explore innovative ways of providing services in rural areas.

'Progress is already being made in this area. I announced recently in the policy statement Rural Scotland: A new Approach that I have asked the Scottish National Rural Partnership to lead a working group to provide recommendations on ways in which services might be delivered differently in rural areas. I look forward to receiving their report later this year.'

BACKGROUND

1. The report, The Quality of Services in Rural Scotland, was written by System Three and is available from The Stationery Office, priced£10.

2. Other findings of the survey include:

A small number of 'core' services such as a shop, primary school, GP and community hall were seen as vital to maintaining a vibrant community. The importance of having a local grocery shop was highlighted, particularly for elderly people in rural areas who often do not own a car; and

Respondents were very pragmatic about what services could realistically be provided locally, and they are generally prepared to travel to services located elsewhere. Car-sharing arrangements to access services were common both amongst those with no car and those without daytime access to a car.

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