The Rural England Prosperity Fund is a capital grant programme integrated into the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and supports activities that specifically address the particular challenges faced by rural areas

What is the Rural England Prosperity Fund?

The Rural England Prosperity Fund (otherwise referred to as "Rural Fund") is a capital grant programme integrated into the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and supports activities that specifically address the particular challenges faced by rural areas*, detailed below.

Rural areas often face specific challenges including:

  • lower productivity rates
  • poorer connectivity
  • poorer access to key services

Aims of the Fund

The Rural Fund objectives sit within the UKSPF investment priorities for:

  • Supporting Local Business.
  • Community and Place.

They also relate to two of the Levelling Up White Paper Missions:

  • Mission 1 – Living standards.
  • Mission 9 – Pride in place.

The Fund supports the aims of the government’s Levelling Up White Paper and Future Farming Programme and funds capital projects for micro (less than 10 employees) and small businesses (less than 50 employees) which will help to improve productivity and strengthen the rural economy in West Yorkshire.

West Yorkshire has been allocated £2,567,501 million as part of the Fund, to provide capital grant funding (investment in buildings, plant, equipment and machinery) of up to £50,000 across three themes;

  • Business development– implementation of new innovative technologies, processes, or equipment to improve productivity and competitiveness providing benefits to the wider rural economy. This includes supporting new and existing rural businesses to develop new products and facilities that will be of wider benefit to the local economy. This includes farm businesses looking to diversify income streams.
  • Food processing– as for business development but also implement automation by micro and small food processing businesses.
  • Visitor economy / tourism infrastructure– support a mix of business and community infrastructure projects to benefit the local economy.

Small businesses in rural areas, in West Yorkshire, may also be selected on the basis of contributing to net zero and meeting nature recovery objectives. These include:

  • the UK’s commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
  • wider environmental considerations, such as resilience to natural hazards.
  • the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan which set out our goals for improving the environment, within a generation, and leaving it in a better state than we found it.

West Yorkshire and the Combined Authority

In West Yorkshire, the Rural England Prosperity Fund is led by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. The UK-wide programme aligns with the Mayors’ values to support local businesses, to be a champion for our regional economy, to empower our communities, towns, and cities to thrive, and to drive economic growth and innovation to enable good jobs.

*Rural areas are:

  • towns, villages, and hamlets with populations below 10,000 and the wider countryside.
  • market or ‘hub towns’ with populations of up to 30,000 that serve their surrounding rural areas as centres of employment and in providing services.
  • Eligible areas for the Rural Fund can be identified using DEFRA’s ‘Magic Maps’ tool.

Amounts Available

Grant support of between £10,000 and £50,000 is available for eligible projects at intervention rates ranging from 40% to 100%, depending on the nature of the proposed project as detailed below.

Type of project

Maximum % contribution 

Minimum project cost

Commercial, profit-making projects (including investment in capital equipment, buildings, and tourist attractions)

  40% (up to)


Generates some income to offset costs but is not intended to make a profit (for example small buildings providing tourist information)

  80% (up to)


Generates no income (for example free tourist attractions, landmarks, and nature-based solutions)

 100% (up to)


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