A new report published today that we have commissioned finds that unlocking the digital potential of rural areas across the UK could add £112 to 26.4bn annually in Gross Value Added (GVA) – equivalent to 4 to 8.8 per cent - to the rural economy and at least £15bn to rural business turnover each year.

The annual GVA for South West, Eastern and South East regions would see the biggest increases from greater digital adoption, whilst increased business turnover would be highest amongst rural microbusinesses (£9.4bn a year), followed by £4.6bn for small businesses, £700m for medium-sized businesses and £200m for large businesses.

This report is very welcome. The internet has the potential to ensure the countryside can flourish in a way that combines preserving the environment with economic dynamism. Digital technology can open opportunities, build skills and connect rural businesses to global markets.
Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: "This report is very welcome. The internet has the potential to ensure the countryside can flourish in a way that combines preserving the environment with economic dynamism. Digital technology can open opportunities, build skills and connect rural businesses to global markets".

To unlock the billions of pounds additional GVA from greater digital adoption in rural areas, Rural England and SRUC outline a number of recommendations for the public and private sectors, including streamlining digital support services for rural businesses, creating Digital Enterprise Hubs in rural areas and a greater focus on training and skills development.

"Embracing digital technology not only benefits the economy; it also allows rural communities to combine great quality of life with access to global opportunities," said Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon. "We are working to play our part in helping achieve the report's ambitions through programmes such as Amazon Academy events and webinars, where last year we helped hundreds of rural businesses learn how to go digital."


Have your say on how to unlock the digital potential of rural Britain

Rural England, and SRUC have launched a consultation today on how to boost the UK digital economy and level the urban-rural divide.

The report is part of a series of initiatives we have rolled out to help unlock the digital potential of rural parts of the country. Last year, we held an Amazon Academy at the Rural Entrepreneur's Show, dedicated to helping rural SMEs boost their revenue, productivity and exports through e-commerce. We also sponsor the Rural Business Awards to help shine a spotlight on the best of rural business entrepreneurship and innovation.

To see the full report visit: https://ruralengland.org/unlocking-the-digital-potential-of-rural-areas-research/