With the new National Insurance rates hitting pay packets, inflation set to hit 10% this year and more eye watering energy price rises to come, many people are feeling the pinch.

This is particularly true for rural areas like ours.

Many homes are either on oil heating or prepaid meters.

The former requires a hefty and increasingly expensive bulk buy payment, while the energy companies charge even more for the latter.

Wiltshire also sits in the area with the highest standing charges for electricity prices.

So we are paying more, even if we are cutting back on usage.

The cost of filling up at the pumps has soared.

While I enjoy getting around on my electric bike when I can, using a car is essential in rural areas as time is a precious commodity and cycling is often not practical for longer distance commutes to work, the school run or weekly shop.

In too many areas, public transport is also not an option.

The fact that the Government is ignoring their own Conservative run Wiltshire Council's bid for our share of the extra bus funding has not helped either.

Meanwhile: our Farmers continue to struggle against cheap imports from countries with lower animal welfare and environmental standards, the Water companies happily dump sewage in our rivers, the Energy companies make staggering profits, the speculative House builders concrete over our greenfield wherever they want and our ambulance waiting times for emergency responses are the worst in the country.

This Tory Government seems to forgotten about its rural heartlands and is taking us for granted.

Perhaps that is why the Lib Dems swept the Conservatives out of power in neighbouring Somerset’s first Unitary Council elections and also swept to power in far away, rural Westmoreland?

I suspect already nervous Conservative MPs in areas like ours will have even more to think about when the votes of the Tiverton and Honiton by-election are counted.

Rural communities like ours are refusing to be ignored and demand better than we are getting.

Dr Brian Mathew

Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet member for the Environment

& Wiltshire Councillor for Box & Colerne