To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to support efforts by local authorities and community groups to tackle issues experienced by people with dementia and their carers in rural areas, such as isolation, lack of transport, and lack of broadband.
The Government is committed to implementing the Dementia 2020 Challenge in full. We have supported dementia friendly initiatives and there are now over 2.2 million Dementia Friends and 225 Dementia Friendly communities in England, which cover a range of geographies including rural areas.
Local authorities and community groups in rural areas will be best placed to consider and respond to the needs of their communities, including people with dementia and their carers and taking into account such issues as transport needs and broadband. In 2016/17, English local authorities outside London received £265 million of funding to support socially necessary bus services and the Community Minibus Fund has provided over 300 local charities and community groups across England with over 400 minibuses to use for the benefit of their passengers. Improving broadband is also a high priority for the Government, including in rural areas. £1.7 billion of public money is being invested to support vital improvements in superfast broadband coverage across the UK.
We acknowledge that there is some evidence of increased cost of service delivery in rural sparse areas. This is why we provide specific funding for rural communities through the Rural Services Delivery grant which has provided £145.5 million for rural councils over the last two years.