In the midst of an incredibly difficult time for rural businesses, Buckinghamshire Business First and Ngage Solutions recently organised a briefing event with Greg Smith MP.
From Covid, Avian Flu and African Swine Fever to Brexit, post-EU regulations and labour shortages, and with an energy crisis and war in Ukraine affecting costs and commodities, there has seemingly been no end to the challenges facing the food and agriculture sector in recent years.
Supporting this sector could not be more important given that it is the one that:
- everyone depends upon to provide food (and food security)
- can actively address the climate crisis and manage the local environment to enhance our natural resources
- has significant growth potential, including the support it can give to the tourism sector
The agri-food sector was estimated to have produced GVA (gross value added) of £115 billion in 2020 – that’s 6% of the overall national GVA.
What can be done?
Events like our Business Briefings can play a big role in highlighting ongoing issues facing businesses, and crucially, raising the issues with the people who can take this message to policymakers at the heart of government.
It is clear that there are many challenges and opportunities, in addition to those mentioned above, with topics raised at the event including:
- Workforce – skills shortages, unemployment, migration
- Energy efficiency – solar panels and the benefits vs limitations
- HS2 – the oft-spoken-about effects
- UK economy – the economic outlook and how that will affect growth aspirations
- The threshold for VAT registration – there has been no increase since 2017, but it needs to be raised at least in line with inflation
What support is available to rural businesses?
Rural Ngage - the dedicated business support network for rural businesses
Rural Ngage is a new programme that provides organisations in the rural sector with support and funding advice.
We can join the dots to the right support and are committed to supporting all rural businesses with advice, guidance and opportunities for growth.
For instance, businesses at the briefing event also got an update on the Rural England Prosperity Fund from Claire Phillips, the Head of Strategy and Partnerships (Economic Growth and Regeneration) at Buckinghamshire Council.
Rural Ngage can support any businesses that are considering the submission of an application to this new funding stream.
Get involved with Rural Ngage:
- Sign up to receive regular newsletter updates
- Follow our social media channels (Facebook; Twitter)
- Attend an upcoming event
- Stay abreast of the support on offer from rural capital grant schemes
For more information on any of the above, or for support for your rural business, contact our Rural Business Development Manager Will Dallimore on 01494 927167.