Rising costs are causing serious and widespread problems for rural businesses in parts of England which is curtailing their ability to invest and grow, according to a major new survey from the National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise (NICRE).
Two-thirds of rural firms in the North East, South West and West Midlands – increasing to 69% of businesses in more remote areas, and 82% in the hospitality sector – report that rising costs have significantly impacted cash flow over the last year, with four out of 10 of them reducing, cancelling or postponing investment.
But, as in the Covid-19 pandemic, the survey showed that rural firms have been particularly resilient with 41% increasing their turnover, compared to 35% of urban businesses, and 18% decreasing their turnover, compared to a quarter of urban businesses.
The findings from NICRE’s The cost-of-doing-business crisis: rural impacts and adaptation is the first State of Rural Enterprise Report published from its second large-scale business survey carried out over the summer and led by ERC,
The report has been welcomed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Country Land and Business Association (CLA).
The findings from the report, and forthcoming ones on environment impacts, skills and labour availability and rural opportunities, were presented at NICRE’s The State of Rural Enterprise: Adapting and Innovating through Change at The Shard this week.