Re-starting the economy in rural areas

… with an in-built advantage: space.

If rural business can be re-opened – subject to the appropriate social distancing and hygiene measures, and with the right support framework – they could provide an early boost to the national economy.

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From the latest RuSource Briefing:

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COVID-19: Re-starting the economy in rural areas

Rural areas have an in-built advantage: space. If rural business can be re-opened – subject to the appropriate social distancing and hygiene measures, and with the right support framework, they could provide an early boost to the national economy.

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Here’s the opening and headings from the report itself:

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COVID-19: Re-starting the economy in rural areas

The rural economy offers in-built opportunities

According to the latest official figures, the rural economy in England alone contributes nearly £261 billion to the national economy. Based on VisitBritain figures, we estimate that domestic tourism spending in UK rural areas accounted for £73bn in 2019.

Like the rest of the country, rural areas have been hard-hit by coronavirus, with the tourism sector particularly blighted. Rural tourism accounts for around 80% of domestic tourism, and recent VisitBritain estimates1 suggest it will see its revenues fall by £17.6bn this year as a result of COVID-19 control measures. This is almost a third more than the estimated impact on tourism of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in 2001, after inflation.

And yet, rural areas have an in-built advantage: space. If rural business can be re-opened – subject to the appropriate social distancing and hygiene measures, and with the right support framework, they could provide an early boost to the national economy.

The food supply chain – agriculture, horticulture, food processing and retail – has continued to function in the period of lockdown. We’ve seen some local food networks flourish, but we’ve also seen real hardship among those businesses that served the food service market, especially in the dairy sector. Business agility, based on a mixture of technology and skills supported by access to finance, has made a big difference.

This is an opportunity worth grasping in a context where the latest forecast from the Office for Budgetary Responsibility (OBR)2 points to a reduction of 35% in GDP for the 2nd quarter of 2020, a reduction in GDP of 13% by the end of the year as the lockdown eases, and an extra 2 million unemployed as a result of the outbreak.

1. A risk-based approach to the early re-opening of the rural economy

2. Economic support needs to match the gradual return to normal

3. Short- and medium-term: building resilience into rural economies

www.cla.org.uk/sites/default/files/CLAbrief_COVID_rural_restarting_FINAL.pdf

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With the full report here:

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Click to access CLAbrief_COVID_rural_restarting_FINAL.pdf

 

 

 

 

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