Rural Economy Grant scheme

Torridge and West Devon’s MP, Geoffrey Cox has backed a new scheme which will allow businesses in rural England to benefit from a new £60 million grant scheme.

Entrepreneurs in rural areas will be able to use grants which could be worth more than £1 million each, to grow their businesses through the Rural Economy Grant scheme.

Geoffrey Cox MP, who has long campaigned for investment in rural businesses said,

“Businesses in rural England can play a significant part in helping to rebuild the nation’s finances. With this Government’s investment, businessmen and farmers in Torridge and West Devon now have the chance to turn their most ambitious and innovative business plans into a reality – boosting profits, supporting a thriving rural economy and improving the natural environment.”

Mr Cox has previously sat on the DEFRA select Committee which lobbied for more investment in rural areas like Devon. Under this new scheme, farmers will be able to apply for grants to improve animal health and welfare and improve soil nutrients and water management. To help rural and farming businesses take up new opportunities in the growing tourism industry, they can also apply for funding for accommodation and visitor services and activities. Grant support is also available to improve the competitiveness, productivity and environmental efficiency of the forestry sector.

The Rural Economy Grant scheme will prioritize support for small businesses in Rural Growth Networks, a £15 million pilot project to help rural areas overcome barriers to growth, such as a lack of suitable premises, and poor provision of infrastructure such as superfast broadband and mobile networks.

This scheme is part of Defra’s £100 million investment in the Rural Development Programme for England, which was announced in the Rural Economy Growth Review in November 2011. Defra has already allocated £20 million to the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme, and the £20 million Skills and Knowledge Transfer Network will be open for applications later this year.