A multi-stakeholder group of MPs and peers have launched a new survey that wants to explore ways to boost the UK’s rural economy after the pandemic.
The survey will explore why rural productivity is 18% lower than the national average and identify solutions to help bridge the gap.
The all-party parliamentary group for rural business will focus on digital connectivity, the planning system, land use, rural skills and the tax system.
The APPG is looking for written evidence from the rural economy, including the agricultural sector, and will organize oral evidence sessions throughout the year.
MP Julian Sturdy, who will co-chair the inquiry, said it was “essential” to understand why this productivity disparity existed between urban and rural areas.
“There are over 500,000 rural businesses in England and Wales, and together they form the backbone of the rural economy,” he explained.
“We encourage rural organizations and businesses to communicate with their ideas. “
Lord Cameron of Dillington, who is the co-chair of the APPG, said leveling the country was a “key part” of the government’s agenda.
“As we emerge from the global pandemic, we must find new ways to create jobs and prosperity – ensuring that opportunities are found in all rural communities.
“It is important that we hear from those who live and work in these rural areas so that we can find out what more can be done to develop the rural economy.
The Country Land & Business Association (CLA), which represents 28,000 farmers and rural businesses in England and Wales, is supporting the survey.
He said closing the rural productivity gap would add £ 43 billion to the UK economy, in turn creating hundreds of thousands of skilled jobs.
Mark Bridgeman, President of CLA, said: “The reasons for declining campaign productivity are complex.
“The main contributors are poor digital connectivity, outdated planning systems, unnecessary bureaucracy and decades of underinvestment.
“But none of these can be improved without political commitment.”