Rural Poverty (Wiltshire)

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 24th March 2003.

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Photo of Andrew Murrison Andrew Murrison Conservative, Westbury

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of rural poverty in Wiltshire; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Alun Michael Alun Michael Minister of State (Rural Affairs), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We do not have data on rural poverty at the county level although local authorities may have undertaken work on poverty in their area. In England as a whole fewer rural households than urban households are below 60 per cent. of average household income which is accepted as a normal poverty indicator.

The average (median) income is approximately £18,000 per annum, so the 60 per cent. level is approximately £10,800. Figure 1 compares urban and rural levels of income-poverty.

Figure 1. Households in income poverty
Rural Urban
Number of households 5,918,756 15,202,778
Household income less than 60 per cent. of the median 1,347,399 4,031,904
Total (percentage) 23.2 26.5


Countryside Agency, (2002) "The state of the countryside 2002", Countryside Agency, Cheltenham.

In 2001, 1 per cent. of rural wards in the South West had an average household income of below £15,000 per year, compared with 7 per cent. of urban wards.

Figure 2. Average (mean) household income, 2001
Percentage of wards with household income:
Less than £15,000 £15,000-£20,000 £20,000-£25,000 £25,000-£30,000 Above £30,000
South West
Rural 1 27 39 24 8
Urban 7 42 33 12 5
All England
Rural 2 20 29 27 22
Urban 9 28 26 19 18


Countryside Agency, (2002), "The state of the countryside 2002: South West", Countryside Agency, Cheltenham

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