Minister unveils £2.9m for West Country

Farm minister Jim Paice has announced a £2.9m investment that the government says will create more than 1,100 jobs in Devon and Somerset.

Mr Paice made the announcement during a rural roadshow visit to the region on Tuesday (28 August).

Devon and Somerset is one of five regions to benefit from a Rural Growth Network, set up to help rural areas overcome the barriers to economic growth.

The Devon and Somerset Rural Growth Network is expected to support over 400 businesses, helping to create over 1,100 jobs as local businesses get the support they need to grow.

The Earth Centre at Bicton, Devon, is just one of eleven “enterprise hubs” that the network will create in the two counties to provide advice and services to rural entrepreneurs.

Redundant farm buildings at Bicton will be transformed into around nine new work premises.

“Too often, problems like a shortage of work premises or the need to travel to a city for training are preventing entrepreneurs from realising their ambitions,” said Mr Paice.

“The Rural Growth Network will take down these barriers to growth and create new business opportunities.”

A programme to help local businesses will be launched by the International Institute for Management Development in conjunction with Exeter University and Clinton Devon Estates.

Other areas chosen to deliver Rural Growth Networks are Wiltshire, Cumbria, Durham and Northumberland, and Warwickshire.

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