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Helping our local rural economies to grow


Government is determined that all parts of the country benefit from sustainable economic growth, but to achieve this it is imperative that the emerging Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) plan and deliver for local rural economies.

Rural economies form around 20% of Englands economy, and they employ around four and a half million workers. To help new and would-be LEPs harness rural growth and potential, the Commission for Rural Communities (CRC) has reviewed how previous economic partnerships dealt with rural economies.

Our report Recognising rural interests within Local Enterprise Partnerships released today suggests steps that local partnerships and central government can take to ensure rural areas contribute to and benefit from the drive to more local economic development.

The CRC wants to see the LEPs:

       ensure that their local rural interests are heard and represented;

       analyse data at the lowest (spatial) level and work to understand the characteristics of rural economies, the challenges of rural deprivation and the difficulties facing many rural communities and small towns; and

       make sure that rural interests are reflected in the development and implementation of all strategies, policies and programmes.

Crispin Moor, Executive Director, Commission for Rural Communities said We would like the new LEPs to show (for example, in their annual reports) how their work results in equitable and effective support for rural communities and businesses through their priorities, programmes and investments.

We are also calling on the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to champion the needs of rural LEPs and rural areas within LEPs and to monitor allocation of finance to ensure fair funding outcomes. We are asking Communities and Local Government (CLG) and Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to ensure the governments new Regional Growth Fund works to support rural economic growth. For example in supporting smaller-scale, and ongoing social, environmental and economic investments that achieve sustainable economic growth and wellbeing, and that are more typical of rural economies.

We also commend our report to local authorities and their partners and to all bodies concerned with strong rural economic development.

The report can be downloaded at

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