A rise in people ‘staycationing’, population movement away from urban areas and a greater focus on the green economy could all help deliver a £51 billion a year economic boost to rural areas.
A report commissioned by the LGA says these pandemic-related trends could help to ‘redefine’ rural and coastal communities in England.
However, it warns that disproportionately low wages in coastal and rural communities is making the cost of housing increasingly unaffordable for local workers.
The LGA is calling on the Government to improve digital connectivity, extend the public transport network to ensure more young people can access employment and training, and work to mitigate the impact of seasonal tourism on local housing costs.
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Chairman of the LGA’s People and Places Board, said: “Rural and coastal communities are places which have unique challenges from low income, seasonal working and poor connectivity but also significant opportunities which can be utilised as we recover from the pandemic.
“With a rise in homeworking, an unprecedented increase in ‘staycationing’ and greater appreciation for natural resources, there are significant changes taking place in the local economies of rural and coastal parts of the country.
“If the many people who want to make these changes permanent are supported to do so, and the appropriate investment is made in rural and coastal communities to leverage the associated economic opportunities, there is the potential for a substantial levelling up of rural areas’ prosperity.”