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Boosting the countryside economy: more opinions

  • by JW

“This funding will help support and invigorate our rural economy.”

“This is a welcome start, but it still does not fully address the challenges faced by rural businesses.”


The UK government has committed funds to ‘level up’ rural areas:

Delivering for rural England – GOV.UK

Boosting the countryside economy – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Some have welcomed the promised investment:

Selaine Saxby, MP for North Devon, has welcomed funding for rural businesses such as farms, wedding venues and pubs that will benefit from up to £110 million of Government funding being allocated to support countryside communities across England… The funding will be invested in projects which will boost productivity and create rural job opportunities. These could include farm businesses looking to diversify by opening a farm shop, wedding venue or tourism facilities or improvements to village halls, pubs and other rural hubs for community uses. 

Selaine Saxby MP said: “I welcome this funding that will help support and invigorate our rural economy. This government support comes on top of the £1.2 million share prosperity funding announced in April for North Devon and the £2.6 million allocated to Devon County Council last month for the Future Farming Resilience programme. When we talk about levelling up Rural Britain it is vital that local councils play a major part in identifying and prioritising beneficial schemes and I look forward to seeing further action.”

£100m Fund to level up rural communities and businesses

But others don’t think it’s enough.

As reported by the Rural Services Network and Farming UK, the CLA is demanding that the new prime minister must go further than any previous administration and ‘truly level-up’ the rural economy:

The new government should include the rural economy at the ‘heart of government policy in these tough times’, the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has said. There is an 18 percent productivity gap between the rural economy and the national average following ‘years of neglect’. According to the rural organisation, closing this gap would add £43 billion to the UK economy.

The reasons for the countryside’s lower productivity are complex, but key contributors include poor digital connectivity, the planning system, bureaucracy and decades of underinvestment. Rural campaigners say measures such as a simpler tax regime and more investment in rural skills would help close the productivity gap. 

A new £110m support package announced last weekend to support rural businesses is ‘a welcome start’, but he said it “still does not fully address the challenges faced by rural businesses”.

New PM Liz Truss must ‘truly level-up’ the rural economy – FarmingUK News

New PM Liz Truss must ‘truly level-up’ the rural economy – Rural Services Network