Research shows 70% of Countryside Alliance members and supporters state that digital infrastructure/connectivity is the key to unlocking the potential of the rural economy.

The research comes as part of the Countryside Alliances submission of evidence to the House of Lords inquiry into the rural economy. The special House of Lords Select Committee is examining all aspects of the rural economy in order to make recommendations to the Government early next year.

Over 1,000 members and supporters took part in the Countryside Alliance’s online survey to help shape the evidence submitted. This is the first time that a parliamentary inquiry has considered such a broad range of rural issues at any one time and it is hoped that this will help improve the lives of those who live and work in the countryside.

Countryside Alliance Head of Policy, Sarah Lee, commented: “The results from our online survey highlight what we already knew, that digital connectivity is crucial to the rural economy and yet is still lacking in many areas. The Countryside Alliance has long campaigned on this issue and will continue to make sure that rural broadband and mobile coverage is as accessible in the countryside as water and electricity.

“We are extremely grateful to all those who took part in the survey. These results have helped to make our evidence to the Committee as strong as possible and provided case studies from across the country. We now look to the House of Lords Committee to press government on why the countryside is being held back economically due to lack of digital connectivity and take forward our suggestions for improvement.”

Ends

Notes to Editor:

Please see below how the issues highlighted by the House of Lords Committee ranked in order of importance.

Highest importance

  1. 70% Digital infrastructure
  2. 60% Provision of services
  3. 50% Support for local amenities
  4. 49% Rural businesses and investment
  5. 48% Rural housing and planning policy
  6. 48% Transport Connections
  7. 44% Employment and skills
  8. 40% National and local government policy and devolution
  9. 38% Rural deprivation and isolation
  10. 33% Demographic challenges

Lowest importance