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Rural Economy

Rural Economy

LEPS with rural geographies meet biannually to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing rural productivity and growth. These opportunities and challenges include housing, skills, transport and infrastructure.  LEPs participate in the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) roundtable group which meet to discuss key issues affecting rural communities including:

  • Connectivity
  • Rural economies & enterprise
  • Well-being & vulnerability


The food and drink sector feature consistently in rural areas and Ursula Lidbetter, Chair of Greater Lincolnshire LEP represents LEPs on the food and drink sector council. Ursula is Chief Executive of the Lincolnshire Co-operative, a consumer-owned business and one of the largest employers in Lincolnshire.


South West Rural Commission

Four South West LEPs: Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Dorset, Heart of the South West and Swindon and Wiltshire, commissioned an independent enquiry to identify opportunities to stimulate rural productivity and growth.

The commission was set up to hear and review evidence from a range of sources and stakeholders to frame the south west response to the Industrial Strategy and forthcoming DEFRA 25 year plans for ‘food, farming and fisheries’ and ‘environment’; Draw out opportunities to drive rural productivity improvements; Understand functioning between rural and urban distinctions; Secure Government support for specific initiatives in the autumn statement; Influence national and local policies where appropriate to improve rural productivity. The report and findings are available here

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