Country mouse on the cost of rural living

These days, it’s hard to talk to anyone on the telephone. Businesses prefer the sterile silence of the internet and their websites when dealing with their customers. Bad news is easier to impart that way. And so it was that I discovered that the car-worth only £750-could be insured for a staggering £3,200 per annum. Despite the silence, I swore, not in anger, but in pity.

The pity is that my son, who is taking his driving test, will need a car to get him anywhere from his home in rural Hampshire.

The pity is that, if he were a girl, the premium would be half as much; the pity is that nobody, most of all boys, living in the countryside can afford to insure a car. The pity is that they then can’t get a job unless they’re blessed by living adjacent to a rare bus stop and rarer service in the countryside.

But it’s not only the youngsters who are under the cosh. The price of petrol has reached £1.34 a litre, and the local shops go out of business on a daily basis, forcing people to go to towns for their provisions. If those who live in the countryside can’t afford to travel, they can’t exist.