Winning the Rural Vote: Focus on Unleashing Rural Economic Potential

Each week we are focusing on a different policy area within our ‘Winning the Rural Vote Campaign’ and this week we are exploring the Rural Economy.

The economic contribution of rural areas to the national fabric cannot be overstated. Despite facing unique challenges, these regions remain a bedrock of potential and resilience, contributing significantly to the Gross Value Added (GVA) and showcasing a diverse economic landscape beyond the traditional sectors of agriculture and tourism. As the next general election looms, the Winning The Rural Vote campaign turns its focus towards empowering Rural Economies, a critical step towards achieving national wealth and prosperity.

Recognising Rural Value

In 2021, rural England not only employed millions but also demonstrated a formidable economic presence, contributing more than a 15% share to the national economy. This achievement emphasises the need for governmental acknowledgment of rural areas as pivotal players in the economic domain. The campaign advocates for this recognition to be embedded across all strategies and programs, ensuring rural contributions are no longer sidelined but celebrated and leveraged for further growth.

Policy Solutions for a Thriving Rural Economy

We know however that wages earned in rural communities are below the national average, and productivity in rural areas is lower too. 

Winning The Rural Vote articulates a series of targeted policy solutions aimed at bolstering rural economies, recognising their indispensable role in the broader national framework:

  • Develop a support programme for SMEs and community entrepreneurs in rural areas, especially start ups and those wishing to grow.
  • Protect rural communities by ensuring that metrics used to devise strategies or programmes for growth (including skills) are not based on one size fits all thinking but reflect the disadvantage in rural economies within regions.
  • Develop diversification programmes to tackle the structural weaknesses of some rural economies which are over reliant on certain sectors such as the visitor economy. Provide opportunities for the growth of the green economy and supporting infrastructure, namely the national grid and digital and mobile connectivity.

A Call to Action

The Winning The Rural Vote campaign stands as a clarion call for reimagining rural contribution to national wealth. By advocating for targeted policy reforms and greater support for rural businesses, we aim to dismantle the barriers stifling rural economic growth. Our vision is clear: a future where rural areas are no longer peripheral to economic discussions but are central to our collective prosperity.

The imperative to spotlight and address the needs of rural economies has never been more critical. Through strategic recognition, targeted support, and inclusive policymaking, we can unlock a future where rural areas are no longer seen as the periphery of economic progress but as central to our collective prosperity and resilience.

Click on the chapters below to explore more context and data that bolster the Winning the Rural Vote campaign's requests

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