The UK is in a cost-of-living crisis. Inflation is currently at 9.9% and is expected to climb higher. Energy prices are soaring, leading to a considerable financial squeeze on consumers and businesses alike. Rural areas face inherent inequalities such as sparsity which makes the cost of living more expensive on average, as well as being less productive with lower wages and higher house prices.
The inquiry will look at the impact of the cost-of-living crisis in rural areas to consider if rural areas are disproportionately affected by the economic situation, as well as considering what the longer-term political consequences will be for rural areas, and what steps can be taken to mitigate the impacts.
The APPG will seek both oral and written evidence which will feed into a report to be published in early 2023 and will investigate four key themes:
- General impact on business and consumer
The CLA has a broad range of members with incredibly varied enterprises across all aspects of the rural economy, and we will be strongly encouraging as many of our members as possible to submit evidence to this very important new inquiry
This new inquiry follows the highly influential report published earlier this year by the APPG: Levelling Up The Rural Economy: an inquiry into rural productivity, which collated evidence from over 50 industry bodies, charities, companies, campaign groups, academics and business leaders. The report produced 27 key recommendations for policy makers to unlock £43bn GVA in the rural economy and to close the 18% productivity gap compared to the national average.
The APPG encourages all stakeholders in the rural economy to contribute in order to produce the most detailed and comprehensive report into countryside businesses and rural communities yet.
Julian Sturdy MP (York Outer), co-chair of the APPG said: “This inquiry couldn’t be more timely. To understand the true effects of the cost-of-living crisis on rural communities, we need to hear from businesses and individuals alike. I strongly encourage anyone with any interest in the countryside, its businesses and communities to submit evidence to this report to ensure we build the most accurate picture possible to present to the Government.”
Lord Cameron of Dillington, co-chair of the APPG added: “The government initially left out the needs of the countryside in their plan to level up the country. We must do everything we can to make sure that rural communities are not ignored by policy makers this time, as we face increasing hardships for rural businesses and families.”
The government initially left out the needs of the countryside in their plan to level up the country. We must do everything we can to make sure that rural communities are not ignored by policy makers this time
The CLA, which represents 28,000 farmers, land managers and rural businesses in England and Wales is supporting the inquiry.
Mark Tufnell, President of the Country Land and Business Association said: “Rural businesses and communities have faced many crises over the last few years. During the pandemic, it was the rural economy which successfully kept the nation fed during a time of unprecedented challenges."
Mark continued: “With the subsequent cost-of-living crisis still developing, with increased fuel, fertiliser, energy and food prices all still rising, the time is now to investigate the real impact that these challenges are having on not just businesses but for everybody who’s life is tied to the countryside. Mark closes by issuing a call to action for CLA members to take part in the inquiry by saying: “The CLA has a broad range of members with incredibly varied enterprises across all aspects of the rural economy, and we will be strongly encouraging as many of our members as possible to submit evidence to this very important new inquiry.”
To submit evidence, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate the area(s) you wish to answer. The closing date for evidence is 25th November 2022.