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22nd June 2009, 10:36am
Investigating the informal economy in rural areas
Riseholme Hall The hidden world of illicit entrepreneurs and criminal gangs operating in rural areas will be explored in a seminar at the University of Lincoln.

The University’s Riseholme campus will host the event, entitled ‘The Informal Economy and Illegal Forms of Enterprise’, on Wednesday 24 June.

The seminar has been organised by Dr Gerard McElwee, Reader in Rural Enterprise at the University’s Lincoln Business School. It is sponsored by the British Academy of Management and the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

It is estimated that the informal economy represents 12 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the UK – but some researchers believe the true figure is much higher.

Activities range from cash-in-hand trading and tax avoidance, through to the smuggling, production and sale of illegal drugs.

For the first time, a seminar will bring together experts in the subject to consider the full spectrum of illicit enterprise taking place in rural areas.

The Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police, Richard Crompton, will be among the guest speakers. Three of the country’s leading academics on the subject will also deliver talks.

Dr McElwee said: “There are lots of illicit activities that take place in rural areas, from subsidy fraud, environmental crime and the illegal sale of livestock through to drug dealing, prostitution and poaching. It is not simply people who might be regarded as Arthur Daley-type characters or hardened criminals who are engaged in it, many people are involved.”

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