Introduction

The South West Rural Productivity Commission has been established as a partnership by four LEPs in the South West of England: The Heart of the South West (HotSW LEP), Dorset LEP, Swindon & Wiltshire (SWLEP), Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly (CIoS LEP) to explore the issues around rural productivity and growth. These south west LEPs recognise the importance of rural growth, productivity and prosperity being tackled alongside urban growth, to ensure that improvements impact on all parts of the economy.  

The commission has opened a call for evidence from both stakeholders and businesses and this form is designed to help you submit your evidence if you wish. Alternatively, you can email emma.buckman@heartofswlep.co.uk.  Please submit your response as soon as possible, but by the end of June at the latest.

The commission is seeking evidence in relation to a number of questions.  These are contained below.  They are not compulsory and you do not have to answer all the questions.  Please feel free to refer to reports or other sources of intelligence that you think may be useful, or provide us with examples demonstrating why something is a problem or an opportunity.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact emma.buckman@heartofswlep.co.uk

* 1. Your details

* 2. Your Location

* 3. What does the economy look like in rural areas? (key sectors, employment opportunities, innovation activity, productivity, people and ageing, housing, skills)

* 4. What are the opportunities for growth/productivity improvements in rural areas?

* 5. What are the barriers to growth/productivity improvements in rural areas?

* 6. How does the rural economy interact with the urban economy and how can this be optimised?  To what extent are market and coastal towns providing a 'hub' for their rural hinterlands?

* 7. What skills are needed in rural areas and do skills issues differ from urban areas?  Can you give examples where labour and skills have been a barrier to growth?

* 8. How do we ensure skills needs are met?

* 9. What are the implications of Brexit for the rural economy?

* 10. Is there evidence of innovative clusters in the rural economy? If so, how can these be identified, nurtured and replicated?

* 11. Drawing on our experience of delivering rural support programmes in the SW, what sort of interventions have been successful and what sort of interventions proved less effective?

* 12. What is the potential for businesses to 'scale-up' in the rural economy?  How do Local Enterprise Partnerships and government bodies identify these businesses and support them to grow?

* 13. Are there specific challenges for deeply rural areas  and how can economies be supported in deeply rural areas?

* 14. To what extent have rural areas been able to benefit from wider growth initiatives (e.g. Growth Deals, European Funding etc.)

* 15. Are there any other issues relating to rural growth/productivity that you would like to raise?

* 16. Would you like to share any documents with us?  If so, please upload here.

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* 17. Would you like to share any weblinks to evidence sources with us?  If so, please insert link here.

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