Higher transport costs in rural areas mean families living in the countryside are spending £2,700 more a year on living costs than households in the city, official figures reveal.
Households spend an extra £19 a week on transport in rural parts of the UK compared to families in urban areas, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
It means those living in rural communities including Devon and Cornwall, where a car is essential, have to find around an extra £983 a year to get around.
MPs and countryside campaigners last night called for Chancellor George Osborne to offer financial help to rural motorists and commuters in today's autumn financial statement. One move the Chancellor is tipped to make is postponing January's planned 3p rise in fuel duty.
The wish-list also includes extending a taxpayer-funded 5p cut to fuel duty, available on the Isles of Scilly, to the rural mainland. The ONS annual Family Spending report revealed a family's weekly spending was £510.50 per week in the countryside – £52.20 higher than expenditure in urban areas. The rural-urban divide equates to £2,714 over a year, underlining the higher cost of living in remote parts of Britain.
Andrew George, St Ives MP, said: "We do not want to get to a situation where the countryside is a place that is the exclusive preserve of the better off." Anne McIntosh MP, chairman of the Environment Select Committee, added: "These figures confirm my worst fears about rural transport."