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DGS a 'silver economic lining' for rural communities suffering from 'cost-of-living premium'

A new report by a cross-party group of MPs has warned that government neglect has created a 'cost of living rural premium'.

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Rural Business explored the cost-of-living crisis in the countryside and investigated the extent of the 'rural premium'.

Evidence from more than 25 industry bodies revealed that rural communities spend 10-20% more on everyday items like fuel, despite wages being 7.5% lower than their urban counterparts.

The evidence reinforced the economic importance brought to remote rural areas each year as a result of driven grouse shooting.

Mark Tufnell, president of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), said the depth of hardship seen across the countryside could have been mitigated."Successive governments have turned a blind eye to the vulnerability of the rural economy - while outdated policies have damaged the financial resilience of individuals, families and businesses.

"We desperately need a robust and ambitious plan for the rural economy; not only to protect these communities from economic shocks, but to unlock their enormous potential.

"Unless we stop treating the countryside like an afterthought, people will continue to suffer, and so will our economy."

In previous seasons where grouse shooting has been hit by poor numbers the economic impact has been felt hard by rural upland businesses and communities across the north.

Hotels, pubs, restaurants, game dealers, contractors and other ancillary businesses have lost much-needed revenue due to the lack of grouse shooting customers that can run into the tens of millions.

Co-chair of the inquiry, York Outer MP Julian Sturdy, said the latest report showed 'without question' that those living and working in rural areas had been "left at a serious disadvantage".

He said: "Government needs to now show it is ambitious for the rural economy, and work across departments to develop a serious set of policies that will grow the economy."


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