Government announces £200m funding for rural broadband and farm productivity

The government is making available £200 million in rural grants to support broadband and investment in new farm facilities and machinery.

Image: Putneypics (CC BY 2.0)
Image: Putneypics (CC BY 2.0)

Announcing the latest round of Rural Development Programme funding, rural affairs minister Lord Gardiner said: "This funding will make sure businesses in remote locations can get online, help farmers install cutting-edge technology, create new tourist hotspots and bring high quality jobs to rural communities across the country."

This round of funding will include:

  • £30m to improve rural broadband, supplementing existing Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport investment in this area;
  • £45m to help rural businesses grow and invest in new equipment;
  • £120m for projects that improve farm productivity, including woodland management equipment, creating on-farm reservoirs and using water more efficiently.

The first grant funding, for reservoirs and forestry equipment, is due to open for applications from today (Monday 31 July), while funding for broadband, rural business support, on-farm food processing, arable and horticultural productivity and resource efficiency will be made available later in the year.

A Defra statement added: "All projects agreed before we leave the EU will be guaranteed for their lifetime, providing stability and certainty while future support for farmers and rural communities is developed."

For further information on the funding programme, see here.

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