Rural Economy Spotlight

Facilitated by your membership of the Rural Services Network highlighting a selection of current rural economic development news, issues and opportunities


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June 2017

The dates for the 2017 RSN Rural Conference have been announced as Tuesday 5th and Wednesday 6th September. Taking place in Cheltenham, this increasingly popular conference will focus on the infrastructure for success needed in the rural areas of England to create economic success in the post-Brexit world.
You can find out more and book a ticket via this link.

Restricting access to migrant workers once the UK leaves the EU would negatively impact the profitability, efficiency and viability of more than half of rural businesses, according a new survey by the CLA.

New analysis of rural firms in the English regions shows rural businesses to be significantly more likely to be profitable than businesses in urban areas. A report based on this analysis has been published by the Centre for Rural Economy and Newcastle University Business School, entitled 'Small Rural Firms in English Regions:
Analysis and Key findings from UK Longitudinal Small Business Survey, 2015' (March 2017). This is available online via this link. The executive summary to the report states the following:

On 3 May 2017, the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee of the House of Lords published its report which investigates the implications of Brexit for UK agriculture and food, particularly the implications of leaving the EU's Common Agriculture Policy and the Single Market. Key findings include:

The £20m Community Branch Fund – for Post Offices with no other suitable retailer within half a mile – is now open for applications. These Post Office branches or Outreach and Satellite services play a particularly vital role in the local community. The Community Branch Fund offers investment for sub-postmasters to support the growth of their Post Office business and help to underpin the long term viability of their business.

june-17Over £1.6 million of funds are secured in the Winchester, Eastleigh, East Hampshire and Havant local authority areas for projects that create jobs, help businesses to grow, and benefit the rural economy. These funds are available under the LEADER scheme which is available to local businesses, communities, farmers, foresters and land managers. Some of the latest funded projects include:

Updates on the Brexit timetable, reports published and other relevant information from government are available via this link. You can also sign up to receive updates direct.

Grants between £50,000 and £300,000 are available to community businesses in England to help them progress towards self sufficiency. The £10 million Community Business Fund from Power to Change opened on 7 June and will close on 5 July 2017.
Community businesses are run by local people for local people. They can revive local assets, protect the services people rely on, and address local needs. There are many types of community business. What they all have in common is that they are inclusive and give decision making power to local people and that the profits they generate flow back into the community to deliver positive local impact.
You can find out more here.

Official statistics concerning rural England are published regularly by Defra. The latest May 2017 edition of the "Statistical Digest of Rural England" contains a wide range of useful statistics and is available via this link. These cover:

The government offers grants to support the wider use of electric and hybrid vehicles via the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). This includes:

March 2017

LEADER programmes making a real difference
This edition of the Rural Economy Spotlight includes a special feature which highlights a range of case studies from Leader programmes around the country. You will find this at the end of the Spotlight. Many thanks to all those who have contributed.

National Enterprise Network (NEN) and the Rural Services Network (RSN) have entered into a partnership to seek and maintain a clear view of business needs and opportunities in the rural areas of England. As part of this partnership we are planning four short surveys a year across the enterprise support organisations within NEN in order to understand and measure the views of those servicing rural businesses.
The 22 enterprise support organisations responding to the first survey carried out in February 2017 served over 3700 rural businesses over the previous 12 months. By far the most common issue considered to be facing rural businesses was broadband and mobile connectivity.

Ahead of the Opposition Day debate held in the Commons Chamber on 17 January 2017, a useful briefing paper was produced on the effect of the UK leaving the EU on the rural economy. The paper set out an overview of the issues expected to be debated and can be found via this link.
You can read all of Parliament's analysis of how leaving the EU will affect different policy areas in the UK here.

A new report by the World Economic Forum and the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor focuses on a hidden aspect of European innovation – intrapreneurship.
Professor Mark Hart, of the Enterprise Research Centre at Aston Business School and co-author from Global Entrepreneurship Monitor said "While the UK's relatively high levels of start-up activity by European standards are often lauded this research shows that the entrepreneurial capacity of the nation goes way beyond new venture creation and is more important in terms of the future growth trajectory of existing businesses".

Helping businesses flourish in BroadlandCatherine Morris-Gretton, Communications Officer at Broadland District Council writes:
Broadland District Council covers an administrative area that includes some of the hinterlands of Norwich city along with some remote rural communities touching the Broads and North Norfolk. Working to the maxim that our communities need to be at the heart of everything we do, our Business Support Team are kept busy by a wide variety of small and medium businesses to achieve one of the key ambitions of delivering economic success in the district. The diversity of the business supported can be seen in the brief overviews below:

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Influence in Westminster
The Rural Services APPG supported by RSN provides an excellent opportunity to put issues of the moment in front of MPs in the heart of Westminster and to seek to influence national debate. If you have any views on key topics which should be covered in future APPGs please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Keep Calm and Join Up!
Chambers of Trade - RSN exists to enable the issues facing the rural areas of England to be identified, information and good practice to be shared and government to be challenged to address the needs and build on the opportunities which abound in rural areas. We have a number of Chambers of Trade, Commerce and Local Business Networks who are members of RSN and currently receive our bulletins. If there is a business organisation in your area who you think would find our bulletins useful, please pass this bulletin onto them and ask them to contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with their contact details so we can ensure they are included in future distributions.


Future Editions ffairfshareisharesharerural services areas
If you have any suggestions as to future content for the Rural Economy Spotlight or would like to submit a short article for inclusion please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Economy Observatory

Economy Observatory ffairfshareisharesharerural services areas
The Observatory section on the Economy looks at all elements of the rural economy such as employment, small businesses and wage levels to build a picture of the impact on rural communities.
For analysis and comment on key rural economy issues, click here

Economic Profiling

Economic Profiling Service ffairfshareisharesharerural services areas
The Economic Profiling Service provides an analysis of key economic measures.  It is intended to inform the user as to a chosen local authority's relative economic health and sustainability.  Previous analyses have focussed on the vulnerability of local authority's to ongoing public sector expenditure cuts, and on deriving insight from JSA claimant count ratios.  It is intended as a user driven device for informing and comparison, thus if data sets are available that can provide comparative information for our member authorities, we would be pleased to react to these needs.
To view the Economic Profiling analysis click here

Neighbourhood planning

Neighbourhood Planning ffairfshareisharesharerural services areas
Tailored local information for Neighbourhood Planning available
A successful neighbourhood plan must be based on evidence and an understanding of the place they relate to. Communities need to gather a range of evidence and local knowledge before writing their plan. RSN has collated a selection of evidence, which may be useful to communities in starting to shape their evidence base. This is tailored to each local authority area and is available via this link.


BEIS Research
The former Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), now part of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), usefully collects all its research reports into one location on its website. All reports can be accessed via this link.

Pocket Book

Monthly Pocket Databank
The 'Pocket databank' is a monthly HM Treasury statistical publication, containing major economic indicators and series for both domestic and international economies. The databank, designed to be a quick and concise reference source, can be accessed here

Housing archive website

Economy Spotlight Archive
For an archive of the quarterly Rural Economic Spotlight newsletters which provides a selection of current rural economic development news, issues and opportunitiess click here.

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Contact Housing & Economy
Andy Dean
Assistant Director
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
07872 373191