MP for Penrith calls on PM to support rural economy

An MP for Cumbria, along with more than 30 other MPs and peers, has written to the Prime Minister asking him to support the rural economy.

Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, joined the group who wrote to Johnson asking him to present a new white paper designed to grow the rural economy, following the release of a major new report by a multi-stakeholder group.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Rural Business and the Rural Powerhouse released a report last week outlining how £43billion could be added to the UK economy.

The report, titled ‘Leveling up the rural economy’, sets out 27 clear steps to unlock the economic potential of the countryside, adding up to £43billion in gross value added (GVA).

Now MPs and peers from across the political spectrum are calling on Johnson to lead a government-wide effort to unlock business potential in rural communities.

Hudson said: “The government needs to start being ambitious for the rural economy.

“I want to see Penrith and The Border thrive.

“I want it to be a place where people can afford to live, get a good job and achieve their aspirations.

“Penrith and The Border is one of the most rural parts of the country, and we are a hugely enterprising group, but with, but too often, the specific needs of areas like ours are overlooked in national policy-making.

“85% of rural businesses are not engaged in agriculture or forestry, and they often face structural barriers to success.

“Given that 23% of all businesses in England are based in the countryside, and many more in the other three UK countries, it is clear that removing these barriers could generate considerable economic growth, for the good of their local communities. and the country as a whole. »

In a separate letter to Johnson, the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) and the Federation of Small Businesses added their support for major government reform.

The letter said: “We are deeply ambitious for rural Britain.

“The countryside is not a museum, it is an economic power in its own right.

“We believe in the extraordinary potential of rural communities to create opportunity and prosperity for everyone, regardless of background or circumstance.”

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