Tuesday 11th April 2017

SW Rural Productivity Commission calls for evidence from rural businesses and stakeholders

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, and are jointly calling for written evidence with the deadline of 19th May, and for expressions of interest to take part one of a series of evidence hearings in June.

The commission is set up to hear and review evidence from a range of sources and stakeholders, and aims to:

  • Frame the south west response to the Industrial Strategy and forthcoming DEFRA 25 year plans for ‘food, farming and fisheries’ and ‘environment’
  • Draw out the opportunities for the south west and individual LEPs to drive rural productivity improvements
  • Understand the wider economic functioning between rural and urban to identify opportunities to drive growth across the whole area
  • Secure Government support for specific initiatives in the 2017 autumn statement
  • Influence national and local policies where appropriate to improve rural productivity

The commission will report to the chairs of the four LEPs that have committed to the process, and it will be chaired by David Fursdon, Chair of the SW Rural and Farming Network and supported by nominated representatives from each LEP area (to be announced shortly).

The commission will collect and review evidence through the following process:

  • An open call for written evidence in April and May, with a deadline of 19th May
  • Formal evidence hearings in June across the four LEP areas (indicative dates 9, 20, 28 June; 6, 18 July)
  • Wider engagement and debate through social media throughout
  • Final report produced by the end of July

The process will start with a call for written evidence relating to research questions (see below). Please submit your written evidence to the secretariat of the commission, Emma Buckman, at: emma.buckman@heartofswlep.co.uk by the 19th May.

For more information heartofswlep.co.uk/projects/south-west-local-enterprise-partnerships-new-rural-productivity-commission-seeks-views-rural-businesses/click here