Government backs rural businesses

| February 6, 2009 | 0 Comments
Government backs rural businesses

The government has pledged its support for rural businesses during the recession.

Environment secretary Hilary Benn said he is determined to make sure rural businesses fully benefit from government support through the economic downturn.

“I will do everything in my power to ensure that the rural economy is at the heart of the decisions we take in government as we steer a course through the recession,” Mr Benn said yesterday.

One in four of all businesses are now based in rural areas, he said.

“Rural businesses play a vital role in our economy, and they will be even more important in future,” said Mr Benn.

He added: “Although they are rural in location, they are not local in their reach.

“Rural businesses are more likely to sell to national and export to international markets than their urban counterparts.

“Rural areas are home to around one million businesses, a quarter of England’s total, employing more than 5.5 million people and with a combined turnover of more than £300 billion a year.

“There are more businesses for every 10,000 people in rural areas than there are in urban areas.”

A report last year by Stuart Burgess, chairman of the Commission for Rural Communities, said the rural economy could be doubled to £700 billion if the government took appropriate action to encourage rural business growth.

Benn has appointed Burgess together with Regional Development Agencies to put together a strategy of support for the rural economy that will be presented to the National Economic Council.

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