Over 30 MPs and peers have written to the prime minister calling for a new government-wide effort to unlock the potential of the rural economy.
Parliamentarians from across the political divide are urging Boris Johnson to spearhead a set of actions to realise the potential of rural communities.
It follows a recent report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Rural Powerhouse, which held a year-long inquiry into the health of the rural economy.
The report, entitled ‘Levelling Up The Rural Economy’, set out 27 measures to unlock the economic potential of the British countryside.
The cross-party group of MPs and peers urged the UK government to dramatically increase its ambition for the prosperity in the countryside.
In the new letter, coordinated by York Outer MP Julian Sturdy, parliamentarians said: “85% of rural businesses are not engaged in farming or forestry, and they often face structural barriers to their success.
"Given 23% of all businesses in England are based in the countryside (with many more in the other three nations), it is clear that the removal of those barriers could yield considerable economic growth, for the betterment of their local communities and the country as a whole.”
In a separate letter to Mr Johnson, the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) and the Federation of Small Businesses added their support for major government reform.
The letter said: “We are deeply ambitious for rural Britain. The countryside is not a museum, it is an economic powerhouse in its own right.
"We believe in the extraordinary potential of rural communities to create opportunity and prosperity for everyone, irrespective of their background or circumstance.”
CLA President Mark Tufnell said the country could no longer afford to ignore the potential of the rural economy and the prospects of the millions of people who lived within it.
He warned that the cost of living crisis was made worse by the barriers rural businesses faced.
"Rural businesses are ready to expand, creating good jobs and opportunities for people from all walks of life – but a lack of interest from government is holding them back.
"The policies necessary to generate new economic growth are not expensive or complex – they only require political will.”
He added: “It’s time for Downing Street to show some ambition, and bring forward measures designed explicitly to spread opportunity and prosperity across rural Britain.”
Federation of Small Businesses advocacy chair, Tina McKenzie explained that rural businesses spanned a vast range of sectors and industries.
"During lockdown we also saw a new wave of home-based start-ups that have now taken off, many of which began life as a hobby," she said.
"All of these flourishing businesses based in rural areas are a vital part of the economy that must be nurtured.”