Rural Development Programme for England

11th August 2017

Fighting for fair funding for the South West has been the subject of continuous endeavour by all of Devon’s Conservative MPs. It is one which I have pursued with vigour since my first election win and I am delighted that this Government continues to recognise the necessity of investing in our rural economy, infrastructure and services.

Following a visit to Dartmoor in the past month, Rural Affairs Minister Lord Gardiner announced a £200 million boost for rural constituencies as part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). The funding is part of a £3.5 billion investment in rural economies devised to support the third of businesses in the UK which are based in the countryside. The grants will be available for business development, food processing and rural tourism infrastructure.

The current RDPE is expected to generate 6,750 new jobs and already more than 1,400 projects have been agreed which are expected to create over 2,300 jobs.

I welcome that part of the funding includes £30m specifically to improve rural broadband. The grant will encourage growth by helping provide broadband services at speeds of 30Mbps or faster where this is not available or planned. It will supplement existing investment in rural broadband by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Many businesses in my constituency will be able to apply for a share of a £45m to help rural businesses grow and invest in new equipment. For example, tourism is a vital part of our rural economy in Torridge & West Devon, and thousands of local people depend on it for their livelihoods. One of the specific focuses of this particular grant is to help tourism based businesses expand, diversify, and invest in new technology.

A further £120m has been made available for projects that improve farm productivity. Farming is a major industry in Devon, and is vital to our country’s economy, landscape, health and security.

Additionally, £6.6m will be available for animal health and welfare projects.

All projects agreed before we leave the EU will be guaranteed for their lifetime – providing stability and certainty while future support for farmers and rural communities is developed.

There has never been a better time to take advantage of Government supported opportunities to grow local businesses and I encourage my constituents to look into these opportunities by visiting;

Surgery Dates

Geoffrey holds regular surgeries. To book an appointment please click here or call 01822 612925.
Saturday 28th July
Bideford, Torrington
Saturday 8th September
Holsworthy, Tavistock