Press Release – Rural Productivity Plan
This morning George Osborne the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Liz Truss the Environment Secretary announced a new government initiative to revitalize and boost social vitality and economic growth in Rural Britain.
The Rural Productivity Plan sets out a string of measures to achieve this boost and bring the whole country together in its quest for growth under the ‘One Nation’ banner.
Rob Hindle, Director of Rural Solutions, welcomes the Rural Productivity Plan at all levels but in particular the enthusiasm shown for an increase in the availability of housing in rural areas. “The framework set in place by the coalition in 2012 under the NPPF was a sound basis for improving the availability of housing in rural England and this announcement takes that a stage further. However the government needs to persuade planning professionals, particularly in Local Authorities to acknowledge the changes that have been made and move away from outdated PPS1 and PPS7 policy thinking. Our business exists to deliver growth to rural business and vitality to rural communities and so we will do everything we can to support this initiative and help to ensure that the rural sector plays its part in the overall growth of the UK economy”.
The Key Areas in the Rural Productivity Plan
Planning and Housing
- Amending planning rules to allow Starter Homes to be built on Rural Exception Sites for the first time. This will allow local areas to allocate more sites for Starter Homes specifically for people who already live in the area, or have an existing family or employment connection to the area.
- Working with private sector providers to assess alternative solutions to deliver broadband further into rural areas.
- Setting a new ambition to provide high speed broadband to businesses in all Enterprise Zones in rural areas.
- Improving rural transport connections by feeding the views of rural stakeholders into the second Road Investment Strategy for 2020 to 2025.
- Improving connectivity by providing improved transport connections for businesses and passengers in local areas with fifteen brand new routes on the Regional Air Connectivity funding shortlist.
Education and Children
- Ensuring fairer funding for rural schools and work with schools and colleges that are currently underperforming or ‘coasting’ to ensure that, where appropriate, they are entering into collaborative arrangements and formal partnerships to raise standards.
- Encouraging rural Local Authorities and providers to make innovative early expressions of interest to deliver 30 hours of free childcare to working parents.
- Considering proposals for increased devolution of powers and greater freedoms to maximise economic growth in areas across the country that put in place strong and accountable local governance.
These steps will aim to boost productivity and ensure the countryside becomes an even more attractive place for people to live, work, start a business and bring up a family.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said: “For too long the British economy has been reliant on businesses based in our cities and towns. We want to create a One Nation economy that taps into the potential of all parts of our country. That means setting the right conditions for rural communities and businesses to thrive, investing in education and skills, improving rural infrastructure, and allowing rural villages to thrive and grow.”
Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss added: “Our rural areas could be generating billions more for the UK and providing many thousands of new jobs – this plan will make that a reality, unleashing the full potential of our countryside to create a true One Nation economy. We’re connecting the countryside to make it just as simple to run a business from Cornwall as it is in Camden. But it’s not just about transport and technology. Our plan will help us create thriving towns and villages where generations of families can open and expand their businesses, buy a home and educate their children at first class schools.”
To unleash the full potential of rural areas and improve the quality of life for people living in some of the most beautiful parts of the country, the government will deliver:
- Strong conditions for rural business growth – cutting red tape, including 20,000 farm inspections to be cut this Parliament, and cuts to corporation tax.
- Better mobile coverage – ensuring 98% indoor coverage for 4G by 2017.
- Modern transport connections – improving connectivity of rural areas including through the £15 billion Road Investment Strategy and the £38 billion rail investment programme.
- Access to Enterprise Zones in rural areas – giving 100% business rate discounts on businesses located within them, saving each company up to £275,000 over five years.
- High-quality education – raising standards through fairer funding and working with underperforming schools.
- Expanded apprenticeships in rural areas – tripling the number of food and farming apprenticeships from 6,000 to 18,000.
- Extensive, fast and reliable broadband – making superfast broadband available for 95% of UK premises by 2017 and working with providers to address challenges reaching the final 5%.
- Improved planning and better regulation for businesses – supporting delivery of Starter Homes on rural exception sites and reviewing the planning constraints affecting rural areas.
- More devolution of powers – calling on local areas to propose what further powers they would like to see handed to them.
- Housing for future generations – increasing the availability of housing in rural areas to ensure our villages thrive.
For the full Government paper, click here.
For further information contact Emma Darbyshire, PR & Marketing at Rural Solutions, Canalside House, Brewery Lane, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1DR. Tel: 01756 797501. email@example.com