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Issue:- 26 April  2012

Rural economic growth remains fragile

INVESTMENT in agricultural and rural businesses could be lower over the next 12 months leading to restricted growth, according to a new survey by the CLA and Smiths Gore.

The Rural Economy Index examined more than 100 businesses in the countryside during the first quarter of 2012 to provide a snapshot of rural economic life for agricultural and non-agricultural sectors.

The survey found that while business confidence is increasing, with 85% reporting the same or higher sales in all sectors, lower levels of investment in a fragile rural economy remain a worrying factor for more than a quarter of both business types.

Rural businesses, such as property and tourism enterprises, reported higher confidence with almost one third feeling more optimistic than last year and 15% expecting to increase employment.

Agricultural businesses surveyed said that employment will remain stable, with 79% looking to maintain job numbers at the current level. 41% reported stable profits, with 34% anticipating higher profit margins.

CLA North Regional Director Dorothy Fairburn said:- "Rural areas were last to enter the recession and there are no significant signs of recovery yet. However, confidence is returning but it is slow and happening in a very fragile trading environment."  Miss Fairburn added:- "A lack of investment over the next 12 months could have a detrimental impact on business growth and the potential to diversify. The results from the Index highlight the need for the Government to implement its growth strategy as soon as possible."

Jason Beedell, Head of Research at Smiths Gore, said:- "The Index shows that a significant proportion of rural businesses are still experiencing challenging trading conditions with only about a third of businesses expecting a better 2012 than 2011.  Local and national government can take action to make doing business easier – such as the recent pro-development National Planning Policy Framework and reducing red tape. But we would like to see more action, especially from local government."

Spring Clean and Recycle

WITH winter long gone and Spring well and truly here, Palm Recycling is reminding Sefton residents, who get the urge to de-clutter whilst spring cleaning to take advantage of the weekly kerbside recycling service.  The clocks go forward, the nights get longer and we all get a little more motivated to do a bit of tidying up, but what might seem like rubbish can actually be recycled.

Gail Ormston, Promotions Officer with North West-based Palm Recycling said:- "Now is a good time to clear all sorts of clutter and unwanted items such as old magazines and out-of-date shopping catalogues, which can be put out for collection in the blue bag. Old clothes lurking from the 1980s, or even last year together with household textiles like curtains can be placed in the pink textiles collection bag and put out with your green box."

Ruairi Holyoake, Sefton Contract Manager, Palm Recycling, Palm, said:- "The recycling crews will take extra carrier bags of glass bottles and jars, paper and cans. Just put them out with your green box on collection day"

Gail added:- "Sefton residents are doing really well recycling over 40% of waste, however there is still more we could be doing with many more things recyclable through the weekly kerbside recycling service. Please don't be tempted to throw anything recyclable in the bin. If your recycling containers are full every week, please ring the Helpline on 0845 140 0845 to request an extra box and bags for your recycling, free of charge. If you are interested in recycling more, please ring the Helpline for advice."

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