Rural businesses are key to South East

Rural businesses are key to South East

A new report by Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership highlights why the rural economy is vital to the growth and prosperity of the region.

The Rural Statement, produced in partnership with the LEP and key partners, was launched at Brinsbury College, West Sussex yesterday (7 July).

The report highlights the importance of the rural area to the future success of the Coast to Capital region, pointing out that the size of the rural economy with over 22% of businesses located there is vital to future prosperity and growth.

Julie Kapsalis, Coast to Capital board member and chair of its Rural Economy Committee, said: “The rural economy contributes £13bn or 27% of our area’s output annually.

“It’s the people who are the key asset to any economy and which attract so many businesses to locate here. Our rural residents tend to be highly skilled and qualified.

“They also tend to be more entrepreneurial with large numbers of home-based businesses and significantly higher rates of self-employment than in urban areas, although if female self-employment rates in rural areas were the same as male rates, there would be another 17,000 jobs.

“However, there are some issues which are holding back the sector; our rural businesses and resident populations are growing, driving the need for more housing and employment space.

“Poor transport connectivity, access to childcare and higher housing, inadequate broadband speeds and lack of suitable business premises are all major issues facing the rural economy and can make it difficult for some residents to access employment.”

Key points of the report included: