The Growth Belt

Small businesses and the self-employed help rural and coastal communities thrive across the United Kingdom. They provide local employment opportunities, drive innovation, and generate economic growth. From small-scale established family-owned businesses to start ups, the rural economy boasts a diverse array of firms. Rural enterprises are small businesses, producers and consumers and power the social life of their communities.

The rural economy is based on a bedrock of small business. It’s a common misconception that rural areas are sleepy hamlets with just a handful of residents. In reality, the rural economy is a complex and diverse ecosystem. However, despite the diversity, pois and ambition of rural enterprises, the productivity rate in rural areas is in decline.

Rural small businesses continue to face specific and often disproportionate infrastructural challenges compared to businesses based in urban areas. After decades of promises, poor digital connectivity and inadequate transport infrastructure continue to blight the prospects of small firms in rural and coastal areas. It is essential that policymakers recognise this and address the rural productivity gap, to create a more sustainable and resilient economy that benefits everyone, no matter how small or large their rural town is.

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