Changes to rural funding have been announced that aim to target money better to the needs of rural people and businesses.

The England Rural Development Programme is being updated, meaning that project-based schemes will not be rolled forward from the end of this year. The last date that new applications can be accepted for the Rural Enterprise Scheme, Processing and Marketing Grant, Vocational Training Scheme and the Energy Crops Producer Group Scheme, is June 30.

The new programme will continue to provide funding for social and economic development in rural areas, but with responsibility for delivery set to transfer from the Rural Development Service to England’s Regional Development Agencies. However, which body will introduce the new funding arrangements is yet to be decided.

The government will now launch a major public consultation exercise.