North Devon MP Nick Harvey has warned bus services, care services and social workers could be affected if cuts to local government funding continue.
At a debate in Parliament today, Mr Harvey, Liberal Democratic MP for North Devon, said funding disparity between rural and urban areas was "simply no longer tolerable".
The government's funding formula for local authorities means urban councils currently receive around 50% more money per person than rural councils.
Mr Harvey highlighted that North Devon Council’s government grant has been halved since 2010, and the council’s total budget has been cut by a third since 2010, from £15 million to £10 million.
The former Armed Forces Minister said: “At a time when local governments are being squeezed to unprecedented levels, the Government is giving no thought to the current funding settlement, which ‘locks in’ unfairness until 2020.
“Unless urgent action is taken to get rid of the disparity, North Devon is going to end up with far fewer social workers, buses and care services for vulnerable children. It is unacceptable.”
He also said that by 2015/16 Devon County Council will have lost around 60% of its grant from Government in four financial years.
“Rural-dwellers are receiving half as much local government funding as people in cities,” he said.
“How on earth can the Government justify this gap? North Devon residents will – rightly - no longer put up with this unfairness while watching their public services erode.
“Each person in North Devon pays on average £102 more in council tax than those in urban areas. It is simply not right that the poorest people in the country pay such a huge amount towards increasingly thinner local services, and I will continue to fight this in Westminster.”
North Devon Council leader Brian Greenslade said he hoped the House of Commons debate showed the government that funding in rural areas needs rebalancing.
He said: “We added our weight to the rural fair share campaign as North Devon is one of those areas which gets a raw funding deal from government.
“Not only do we receive less money per person here than urban areas, but as a consequence we generally pay more in council tax.”
Funding for local authorities is worked out through a central government formula.
Currently urban areas get 50 per cent more per person than those in rural areas.
A national rural fair share campaign, supported by North Devon Council and Mr Harvey, is challenging that formula and asking for the gap to be reduced to less than 40 per cent by 2020.
Councillor David Worden, lead member for rural services at North Devon Council, has been collecting signatures for a petition to support the campaign.
He said: “For the last two months, I've been out across North Devon, raising awareness of the campaign and collecting signatures to show the strength of feeling here.
“I hope this leads to a result which means rural areas like North Devon get a fairer funding deal in the future."
Around 1,500 signatures across North Devon have been collected in support of the campaign.
Mr Harvey will present them to parliament at the end of the month.