Rural communities up and down the country set to benefit from funding

The Government has announced £110 million funding for communities allocated under the Rural England Prosperity Fund

Communities across rural England are set to benefit from £110 million in local authority funding to support rural business and community groups, it has been announced on the 7th April.

Eligible local authorities in England will receive the funding, which they can invest in initiatives such as farm diversification, projects to boost rural tourism, and community infrastructure projects including electric vehicle charging stations. The funding will also help people start up local businesses to supercharge growth and create employment opportunities for rural areas.

The Rural England Prosperity Fund is a rural top-up to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund which is £2.6 billion of new funding for local investment to support levelling up across the UK. It marks a change from previous EU funds, aimed to allowing England to take back control of its own growth investment and giving local leaders a greater say in where funding is best spent.

Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey said:

"Driving investment in rural areas is a vital part of our vision for levelling up the country. The new Rural Prosperity Fund replaces the bureaucratic EU funding system - allowing us to work closely with local leaders to direct funding where it is most needed to close the rural productivity gap, create job opportunities and protect the English countryside.

This confirmed spending will allow local authorities to deliver on their plans to level up businesses and communities in rural areas from today, in line with their residents’ priorities."

Country Land and Business President Mark Tufnell said:

"The rural economy is 19% less productive than the national average, but reducing this gap could add up to £43 billion to the economy.  This funding is an important step in unlocking the vast potential of rural businesses, and will give startups as well as existing enterprises the support they need to grow.

We strongly encourage Local Authorities to work closely with rural entrepreneurs to maximise the opportunities the Rural England Prosperity Fund presents, identifying every possible opportunity to generate economic growth – creating good jobs and strengthening our communities in the process."

Across rural England, the money will be spent on two key areas:

  • Communities and place: projects to improve community facilities such as green spaces and boost access to arts and culture to grow local tourism economies.

  • Supporting local business: projects to support agricultural businesses looking to expand their remit, and rural businesses looking to launch or grow their products and services.

Rural England Prosperity Fund allocates £110 million between 2023 and 2025.

Defra is in contact with each of the eligible local authorities to confirm their allocated funding, and they can begin to deliver on their plans over the coming weeks.

Full article:

GOV.UK - Rural communities up and down the country set to benefit from funding to support rural business and create jobs

Chief Executive of the Rural Services Network Kerry Booth, says:

"The Rural Services Network welcomes investment from the Government into the rural economy which is reported to be 19% less productive than the national average. 

There are concerns however that capital only nature of the fund, demonstrates a misunderstanding of what is needed to support activity in rural areas. Local authorities are being called upon to devise and deliver bids under the Rural England Prosperity Fund, yet many rural local authorities lack the staffing capacity to deliver, due to consistent government underfunding in revenue support funding. The government currently unfairly distributes revenue core funding to rural local authorities with urban authorities receiving some 38% MORE in Government Funded Spending Power per head compared to rural residents."


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