Rural businesses struggle with lack of public infrastructure and skilled labour

Sky News details how small businesses in rural areas are struggling with a lack of public infrastructure and a shortage of skilled labour, according to a new report

The British Chambers of Commerce says the rural-urban divide continues to exist between firms in the UK.

The news comes from a survey of more than 900 small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and small business platform Xero.

Just over half of SMEs in business, retail or industrial parks said they were not satisfied with public transport provision, and this rose to 79% in rural or countryside areas. This compared with 42% in towns, villages and high streets.

There was also a divide when it came to broadband connectivity - 75% of SMEs overall said their area had reliable broadband, 82% in urban areas but only 56% in rural areas.

A number of SMEs also highlighted problems recruiting suitably-skilled workers.

Alex Veitch, director of policy and public affairs at the BCC, said:

"Our research highlights the rural-urban divide that continues to exist between firms across the UK, with rural businesses generally reporting higher levels of dissatisfaction with the quality and availability of local resources.

"High-quality public infrastructure and access to a skilled labour force are both key to the success of a business, in particular SMEs, and today's findings indicate that rural businesses are at a significant disadvantage.

"Government must urgently prioritise the development of public infrastructure.

"Such investment will not only enable local and small businesses to adapt and thrive, it will also create jobs and inject money into local economies across the UK."

Full article:

Sky News - Rural businesses struggle with lack of public infrastructure and skilled labour


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