Monday, 16 May 2011 09:07

Defra to improve access to ministers

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Defra to improve access to ministers

A NEW government network aims to give rural communities greater access to ministers and decision-makers.

Defra secretary Caroline Spelman said she hoped to encourage engagement with departmental decision making for farming and rural communities.

"Our new rural communities policy unit is building links with a wide range of organisations representing and supporting rural communities.".

A new rural and farming network would enable people from different parts of the country to advise ministers directly on rural issues, she added.

Mrs Spelman was responding to a question in the House of Commons on Thursday (12 May).

Graham Evans, MP for Weaver Vale, Cheshire, had asked for reassurance that people in the countryside would have the opportunity to influence rural policies.

Mrs Spelman replied by saying the Conservatives recognised the need to "put the rural heart of the country back at the centre of government".

MPs should be encouraged to persuade their constituents to engage with the new rural and farming network, she said.

"It will provide an opportunity for people to have direct access to Ministers, and I hope that every MP will take advantage of that."

The Rural and Farming Network will provide two-way communication between the government and those with broad rural interests.

Its aim is to provide a forum for the government and stakeholders to discuss issues and solutions to common concerns.

Initial expressions of interest from groups wishing to be recognised as members of the network are invited by 31 July 2011.

Full details about the network can be downloaded by clicking here (pdf document).

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