This nationwide growth initiative was mentioned by the Chancellor in November 2011 to go hand in hand with its urban counterpart. The intention is to create hubs that draw benefit from tax incentives, relaxed planning and super-fast broadband that will, as a result, become the catalyst for new companies to spring into being in the countryside. The Government is right when Caroline Spelman says: “Lots of people who live in the countryside would like to work in the countryside”, but if only they really understood what this means. It requires brave entrepreneurs to take the plunge in making this a reality in a lending environment that is austere to say the least! Working in the ‘real’ countryside is not about working in hubs that will have to be established in areas that will be questionable in terms of their ‘rurality’. One of the great benefits to working in the countryside is what this can say about a business and those who work for it. It must bring lifestyle as well as business benefits to those that make the decision to set up in a rural location and there is a long way to go in educating the market about the great potential that lies in the countryside for a competitive and balanced 21st century Britain. Our worry is that REZs do not bring the attention to detail that is required to put the needs and advantages of working in the countryside forward. Enterprise zones have been tried in the 80’s and 90’s to little effect and, although honourable in intent, it is inevitable a more esoteric approach will be required than simply adding the word ‘rural’!

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