Election special – Rural Economy

With a General Election looming on 7 May, we asked the political parties to set out their policies on eight key rural issues that affect the countryside in 2015. Here we ask - how will you stimulate the rural economy? 

Gloucestershire floods

How will you stimulate the rural economy? 


We are investing in improved infrastructure such as broadband and transport links as well as working to boost mobile phone signals. This is unlocking the huge potential for growth in the countryside, where entrepreneurial activity is outstripping many parts of the UK.


We need to shift economic power from large, private companies and central government towards small businesses, social enterprise and cooperatives with emphasis on local food production and the creation of green jobs through, e.g. renewable energy initiatives.


We will raise the minimum wage to £8 an hour, introduce tax incentives for firms to pay the living wage, boost apprenticeships and cut business rates for small firms. We will cut income tax through a lower 10p starting rate of tax and introduce a 50p top rate of tax.


We need to support young people, investment in transport, broadband and business support. We need to build on the regional growth fund and give more power locally to make decisions.


Superfast broadband and 4G mobile data would open doors for rural businesses to reach far beyond the local area. We would reduce the burden of business rates and lower the cost of fuel through cuts to fuel duty.


Rural Scotland has huge potential. Our rural development programme provides crucial support for Scottish farming, food production, rural communities and the environment, and is worth £1.3 billion over the next six years.


To deregulate the burdens placed on farming and other small businesses by EU legislation. We want to see much wider delivery of broadband into rural areas. We would amend National Planning Policy Framework to protect scenic areas and stimulate local tourism. 

Read the responses to all eight key issues.