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Rural economies are part of the solution for Levelling Up

Rural economies are part of the solution for Levelling Up

29 March 2021

NICRE Briefing Paper

Levelling Up should include the nation’s rural economies and their contribution to the prosperity of communities, according to a Briefing Paper published by the National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise (NICRE).

What is the contribution of rural enterprise to Levelling Up and how can this be further enabled? argues that while rural economies are an element of the Levelling Up challenge, they can also be part of the solution for revitalising rural and non-rural areas. 

The scale, significance and potential of rural economies, as well as their role as incubators and catalysts for wider regional and national growth, require a new strategic focus on realising growth and innovation from all places, rather than only cities or specific sectors.

The paper concludes: “Enhancing enterprise performance in rural areas can not only contribute to improving prosperity and livelihoods in rural communities but can also help achieve national economic objectives, while addressing long-standing structural barriers that hinder economic performance and productivity.”

Six priorities for enabling the contribution

NICRE’s paper identifies six priorities for enabling the contribution of rural enterprise to Levelling Up:

  1. Address systemic barriers to growth in rural areas
  2. Invest inclusively and equitably across cities, towns and rural areas
  3. Strengthen local business networks and clusters
  4. Target skills and employment support to aid economic recovery and drive productivity
  5. Strengthen support for rural economies from economic development institutions
  6. Enable the adaptation and contribution of rural areas to net zero goals.