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The British countryside is painted either as a rustic idyll or a boring surrogate for the enjoyment of city life, depending upon your taste. For me it was always the latter. I was born and brought up in Somerset, and from about as early as I can remember I wished to escape.

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This was generally passed on to me in terms of having kids: “you will not want to bring kids up in the city”. And in general, economic outcomes do tend to be better for those living in rural locations than for those living in cities. 15% of households in rural locations reside in relative hardship, for instance, compared to 22% in city locations.

Yet one of the lessons from the Brexit referendum was the level to which stats can belie reality. The pre-referendum duration now seems like ancient history, however Britain in the very first half of 2016 was said to be on the ‘road to healing’ after a long economic crisis. News broadcasts were filled with good cheer about the ‘record number of people’ in work, and so on.

Certainly, a striking phenomenon in the aftermath of the referendum was the wave of liberal journalists voyaging to the north of England in a manner similar to 1930s depression-era composing finding, in fact, that numerous of their fellow countrymen were leading unhappy and unfulfilling lives. If anybody had bothered to look, they would have seen this had been true all along.</p

Engish Village

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This attitude is decades out of date, if it was ever precise in the very first location. A 2017 joint report by the Regional Government Association and Public Health England notes that “within even the most upscale [rural] locations, there can be genuine hardship, deprivation, disease and inequalities”, in particular due to seasonal work and poor access to services.

In Scotland almost a quarter of post workplaces have closed since 2002. Rural neighborhoods experience poorer gain access to to even apparently universal services: while 98% of the city population live within 4 kilometres of a GP surgical treatment, the figure is 80 per cent for those living in rural locations. Additionally, just 55% of rural households live within eight kilometres of a medical facility, compared to 97% of city households.

Yet in rural locations broadband is often patchy during the time it’s taken to compose this post my Somerset broadband has actually dropped off two times, for ten minutes at a time. According to Ofcom, rural broadband speeds come in at around 13.7 Mbps, which is more than 3 times slower than city locations.

Portrait of an English Village

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Internet gain access to is just one consider identifying the chances offered to people. Opportunity also associates with a university education. In the town I grew up in, unless a position in the family business awaited as soon as you completed school, to get a well-paying job you had to leave. When youths choose to spend their most productive years in other places it speeds up the decrease of rural economies.

Individuals aged 45 years and above now comprise over half of those living in rural locations in city locations it is more detailed to 40%. Much of these older locals depend on public transport, which has actually suffered extreme cuts in rural locations over the last few years due to the unprofitability of out-of-the-way services.

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Last year Somerset County Council announced it would be ditching Saturday Park and Trip services in Taunton, and Webberbus, one of Somerset’s greatest bus operators, collapsed totally in 2016, resulting in the disappearance of 24 services across the county. Provider like these are a lifeline for the elderly, who rely on regional buses to go to stores and gain access to services without them they’re isolated.

For something, particular kinds of drugs particularly marijuana were even more prevalent in the corner of Somerset I grew up in than when I relocated to Nottingham in my early twenties, a city that was apparently the ‘weapon crime capital’ of the UK. Additionally, over the last few years there have been reports of drug gangs progressively targeting rural neighborhoods to improve earnings.

Perhaps because there is less to do in the countryside, particularly in winter season, the usage of leisure drugs has a more apparent appeal. The West Country smokes more marijuana than anywhere else in the UK. Marijuana growers also appear to choose rural to city locations, with 55,166 plant seizures in the north west in 2017 compared to 19,397 in London.

The air is less contaminated than in the city. Criminal activity rates are lower. And while the sense of regional neighborhood fetishised by outsiders may be overemphasized, in lots of locations, for better or even worse (you know everybody, however everybody understands you), it does exist. Yet this idyllic view of cleaner, safer countryside neighborhoods overlooks a darker side.

Educational achievement among disadvantaged kids is far even worse in rural and seaside locations London boroughs control the Social Movement Commission’s list of schools in which poorer pupils achieve the very best outcomes. And for those without a university education, London life at least uses the remote possibility of an internship to get a foot in the door at a company.

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In typical with the country’s ‘left behind’ towns, up to now precious little interest has actually been revealed in exploring the deprivations of the British countryside. Turn on a tv and rural life is illustrated as an agreeable and relaxing Eden green fields and stunning country lanes confined by hedges and songbirds where one can hunt in the early morning, fish in the afternoon, and take a trip to a neighboring retail park on the weekend, to paraphrase Marx.

Rural neighborhoods have their own share of social issues; the concept of the ‘distressed’ central city versus ‘our green and enjoyable land’ is hopelessly old. I need to know like lots of youths I made the reverse journey to the one generally illustrated in pop culture: I fled to London to escape.