Parliamentary report suggests Welsh Government should do more to create a Rural Powerhouse

All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Report sets out £43bn Economic Blueprint to Revitalise Rural Economy in Wales and England
Westminster Palace

  • The Report concludes that no government in recent memory has had a program to unlock the economic and social potential of the countryside.
  • It sets out how to improve productivity in rural businesses, adding £43bn to the UK economy.
  • Evidence from over 50 stakeholders, including representatives from Wales, found that planning, tax, connectivity, skills, agricultural policy, and lack of ministerial direction is holding the rural economy back.
  • Welsh MPs formed part of the process: UK Government should act where responsibilities are reserved; Welsh Government must undertake responsibilities for devolved areas of government
  • CLA President, Mark Tufnell: ‘For too long, successive governments in England and Wales have ignored the potential of the rural economy and the prospects of the millions of people who live within it. The time to act is now.”

“This report’s implications for Wales are plain for all to see,” says Nigel Hollett, Director, CLA Cymru. “Agriculture, economic development, the planning regime, key areas in tax and connectivity are devolved. We call on the Welsh Government to review the report, take heed of the conclusions and apply the findings to action to make meaningful investment on the ground in Wales’ rural areas.”

London, 27th April 2022 – The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Rural Powerhouse has published a report on how to level up the rural economy. It follows one of the most comprehensive inquiries ever to be conducted by a parliamentary body into the health of the rural economy. The APPG took evidence from over 50 industry bodies, charities, campaign groups, companies, academics, and business leaders – including some with business interests in Wales.

The report concluded that no government in recent memory has had a program to unlock the economic and social potential of the countryside. This is equally true in Wales as it is in England. This has resulted in the fact that the rural economy is 18% less productive than the UK average. A gap that, if reduced, could add £43bn to the UK economy.

“The isolation of agriculture and rural affairs from the main thrust of economic development strategy has disadvantaged the rural economy,” Nigel Hollett adds. “The Common Agricultural Policy’s separation of agriculture from the rest of the economy at the farm-gate has no longer applied. It means government lead a holistic strategy to farming as the backbone of a highly diversified rural economy – involving food processing, retail, tourism and hospitality and increasingly an ever widening range of rural-based service enterprises.”

“The Welsh Government should review the impact of recent legislation and proposals affecting the agricultural profitability and the viability of rural tourist businesses. It must examine how the planning system can be improved to facilitate responsible development that revitalises rural communities. It needs to set a deadline and ensure mobile and broadband connectivity is complete. Above all, the Welsh Government must create a transparent and accessible process to enable Welsh rural businesses to gain investment support from the regional growth deals and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.”

You can read more detail about the APPG Report via the Home page.