Press Office


Newcastle University hosts Westminster debate on rural contribution to national economic growth


Newcastle University’s Centre for Rural Economy will host a panel event at which leading academic and policy experts will discuss the topic Re-imagining the rural: Are we neglecting the rural contribution to national economic growth?

Being held on Tuesday 1 April 2014, 6.00-8.30pm, at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, 12 Great George Street, Parliament Square, SW1P 3AD, the debate is co-hosted by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Confirmed panellists are:


The debate will be chaired by Elinor Goodman, former chair of the Affordable Rural Housing Commission and presenter on Radio 4’s The Week in Westminster. David Fursdon, a senior member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and presently Chair of the South West Chamber of Rural Enterprise, will provide opening remarks.


Guy Garrod, Director of the Centre for Rural Economy at Newcastle University, said: “This event gives us the possibility to discuss how to maximise rural Britain’s economic potential, especially coming just two weeks after Budget 2014, and at the start of the final 12 months of this Parliament.

"While ‘growth’ is the buzzword of the moment, the potential contribution made by the rural economy is at best overlooked, and at worst actively neglected. Against the backdrop of the flooding that has ravaged many rural communities in recent months, there could not be a more timely opportunity to highlight the contribution they usually make to the British economy.

"Since its creation in 1992 the Centre for Rural Economy has updated the picture of rural economies and societies. We have led the way in changing the image of the ‘rural’ away from something that has not moved with the times into that which has its own rich sources of dynamism beyond agricultural development.

"The Centre has played a significant role in developing the infrastructure for rural policy, including the establishment of Defra and, in Europe, the shaping of the Common Agricultural Policy. Our internationally-renowned research into sustainable rural economies and societies was recognised with the award of a Queen’s Anniversary Prize last year."

published on: 26 March 2014