More than 30 MPs and peers have written to the Prime Minister calling for a new government-wide effort to unlock the potential of the rural economy.
Parliamentarians from across the political spectrum are urging Boris Johnson to take a range of actions to realize the potential of rural communities.
It follows a recent report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Rural Powerhouse, which conducted a year-long survey of the health of the rural economy.
The report, titled ‘Leveling up the rural economy’, sets out 27 measures to unlock the economic potential of the British countryside.
The cross-party group of MPs and peers has urged the UK government to dramatically increase its ambition for prosperity in the countryside.
In the new letter, coordinated by MP for York Outer Julian Sturdy, the parliamentarians said: ‘85% of rural businesses are not engaged in agriculture or forestry, and they often face structural barriers to their success .
“Given that 23% of all businesses in England are based in the countryside (and many more in the other three countries), it is clear that removing these barriers could generate considerable economic growth, for the benefit of their communities. local and country. in its entirety.”
In a separate letter to Mr 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.”
CLA President Mark Tufnell said the country can no longer afford to ignore the potential of the rural economy and the prospects of the millions of people who live there.
He warned that the cost of living crisis was compounded by the obstacles facing rural businesses.
“Rural businesses are poised to grow, creating good jobs and opportunities for people from all walks of life – but a lack of government interest is holding them back.
“The policies needed to generate new economic growth are neither expensive nor complex – they only require political will.”
He added: ‘It is time for Downing Street to show ambition and deliver measures designed explicitly to spread opportunity and prosperity in rural Britain.’
Federation of Small Business Advocacy Chair Tina McKenzie explained that rural businesses cover a wide range of sectors and industries.
“During the lockdown we also saw a new wave of home-based start-ups that have now taken off, many of which started life as a hobby,” she said.
“All of these thriving businesses based in rural areas are a vital part of the economy that needs to be nurtured.”