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Rural Economy

The Issue

Our research shows small, rural businesses are at a disadvantage compared to those in urban areas, especially with regards to infrastructure:

  • Telecoms: 63 per cent suffer with the speed of their broadband connection.
    Only 23 per cent of rural businesses are satisfied with their mobile coverage levels.
  • Just 7 per cent of rural businesses believe the road network has improved in recent years.
  • Reductions in bus services are often focussed in rural communities.

Action FSB have taken

  • We’re lobbying the Government to deliver a minimum, guaranteed 10Mbps broadband speed for all business consumers, including those in rural areas.
  • We want the Government to invest, maintain and upgrade UK roads.
  • We’re calling for the Government to ‘rural-proof’ all policy, legislation and planning guidance, so rural businesses aren’t disadvantaged.
  • We want the Government to prioritise jobs and growth in rural areas.

Our Goal

We want the UK rural economy to be revitalised. Businesses based in the countryside need to be able to move quickly and easily to their suppliers and customers, without unnecessary costs of time or money. Small businesses are unfairly penalised by having inadequate broadband connections, which can prevent growth and investment. A strategic Government-led approach to boost jobs and growth in rural areas would see small businesses thrive.

Achievements in...



  • More resources were targeted towards the local road network at the 2016 Budget.
  • A Universal Service Obligation for broadband was enacted in the Digital Economy Bill.
  • In December 2014 the Government announced a deal with mobile operators to improve coverage levels in rural areas.
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  • Small businesses in remote, rural areas are often subject to unfair and disproportionate delivery charges.

  • We were central in the creation of new guidelines that should ensure businesses and customers are not discriminated against because of their location, while not imposing extra burdens on couriers or online sellers.

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