A NEW report on rural life in North Yorkshire has revealed a high suicide rate in some remote areas, and major changes in the landscape.

The report, published by the Government Office for Yorkshire, aims to modernise delivery of rural services in the county.

Rural strategy team leader David Wilford said: "The new rural framework for North Yorkshire is about delivering better service, making access to funds easier, and building on work that's already started to help rural areas fulfil their potential."

The report focuses on the rural economy, the people who live and work in the county and the effect they have on the success of the area.

Key issues which have emerged include an ageing rural population compared with urban areas, high suicide rates, a widespread shortage of affordable housing and homelessness problems in villages, and a high rate of multiple deprivation in some areas.

The study has involved the Government Office, the Department for the Environtment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Countryside Agency, Yorkshire Forward and the Office for National Statistics.

Deloitte Consulting was appointed to carry out initial information gathering on socio-economic activity for the Government Office.

Mr Wilford said the Government Office was awaiting feedback on the report from Defra ministers, policy experts and the Local Government Association.

Priority themes are being developed which will provide a starting point for discussion.

The Government Office for Yorkshire wants further input for the new strategy and can be contacted at its headquarters - City House, New Station Street, Leeds LS1 4US. Phone 0113-283 5434.