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Venue: The LGA, 18 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3HZ
Date: Monday, 2nd of December 2019
Time: 11.00 am – 12.30 pm
|Cllr Daniel Cribbin||Daventry District Council|
|Cllr Malcolm Leeding||Oxfordshire Association of Local Councils|
|Cllr Mark Whittington||Lincolnshire County Council|
|Cllr Owen Bierley||West Lindsey District Council|
|Cllr Robert Heseltine||North Yorkshire County Council|
|Cllr Roger Phillips||Herefordshire Council|
|Cllr Sue Tucker||Scarborough Borough Council|
|Cllr Trevor Thorne||Northumberland County Council|
|Colin Baldwin||Suffolk County Council|
|Gwilym Butler||Shropshire Council|
|Marina Di Salvatore||West Lindsey District Council|
|Revd Richard Kirlew||Sherborne Deanery Rural Chaplaincy|
|Brian Pickles||East Riding of Yorkshire Council|
|Chris Stanton||Guildford Borough Council|
|Cllr Andrew Proctor||Norfolk County Council|
|Cllr Lawrie Stratford||Oxfordshire County Council|
|Cllr Lee Chapman||Shropshire Council|
|Cllr Martin Gannon||Gateshead Council|
|Cllr Peter Tattersley||Braintree District Council|
|Cllr Sarah Butikofer||North Norfolk District Council|
|Emma Keating Clark||Stroud District Council|
|Gary Powell||Teignbridge District Council|
|Glen Garrod||Lincolnshire County Council|
|Janet Smith||East Riding of Yorkshire Council|
|John Longden||Pub is the Hub|
|Kate Kennally||Cornwall Council|
|Laure Fergusson||East Riding of Yorkshire Council|
|Liz Morgan||Northumberland County Council|
|Monica Fogarty||Warwickshire County Council|
|Pam Howard||English Rural Housing Association|
|Peter Thornton||South Lakeland District Council|
|Richard Webb||North Yorkshire County Council|
|Sue Cooper||South Oxfordshire & Vale of White Horse District Councils|
|Sue Sanderson||Cumbria County Council|
|Timothy Williams||East Riding of Yorkshire Council|
3.1. Graham Biggs introduced the item. He emphasised the template document produced so far by the RSN was not in itself any form of strategy. Each of the service topics that had been mentioned required far more depth and texture. A series of meetings were now taking place. Many of the meetings were seeking to unearth that depth and texture.
3.2. On the 8th of October the Lords had debated the government response to the Lords Select Committee proposals. 90%+ of the Lords who had spoken were in favour of the Government being persuaded to prepare a cross-departmental and funded bespoke Rural Strategy with local delivery at its heart. Many of the remarks made which had been catalogued by RSN officers as well as all the evidence collected by the Select Committee assisted in adding much of the depth sought.
3.3. Work was also taking place cataloguing the views expressed in past debates by existing MPs who were likely to be returned. As new MPs emerged from the 12th of December poll the cataloguing would be extended to what those individuals had referred to as their particular interests. The work was building up the operation.
3.4. The big question that eventually needed answering was – should RSN itself be attempting to build up an illustrative Rural Strategy of its own or should it instead be producing a really widened version of the template document?
3.5. As Parliament settled after the Election it was intended to have a meeting with the Lords involved in the Select Committee to agree the tactics going forward so as to ensure that government is constantly made aware that the issues had ‘not gone away’.
3.6. The following was considered:
3.6.1. Were there any significant Rural Social Care, Health and Loneliness issues not yet referred to?
The meeting asked that reference be made to:
(a) the degree of rural suicide, particularly in farming areas;
(b) the county lines and drugs issue and how this was playing out as a police issue as well as being a health and wellbeing issue.
3.6.2. Do we need to highlight Public Health Issues more (funding allocations and generally)?
The meeting considered this was very necessary.
3.6.3. How do we link our issues on Social Care and Public Health to the NHS 10-year plan?
It was felt there was no choice but to do this as it was considered that the Government would fail to pick up on, and respond to, the specific rural issues involved. This should be work carried out in tandem with the National Centre for Rural Health and Care.
3.6.4. Are there any particular rural issues relating to specific medical conditions and issues affecting carers which need to be reviewed?
It was felt the RSN should ask for evidence from the organisations who were members of the RSP to assist in this area.
3.6.5. Which areas of this subject should the RSN prioritise and what further “evidence” is available or should be sought to support the case?
The meeting felt the following points should be made:
(a) The volunteer capacity was undoubtedly thinning, and presumptions should not be made about its continued sustainability.
(b) The RSN, working with RSP member the Institute for Economic Development, was intending to review (rural proof) each of the relevant Local Industrial Strategies in order to consider if the evidence base and follow up funding programmes etc. were proportionate for their rural areas.
(c) Government should be encouraging housing providers and developers to be looking to provide homes for life – adaptable properties, retirement bungalows.
3.7. The preventative work undertaken by firefighters should become more strategic and that extended work should be supported by wider funding. Members asked that Fire Chiefs should present to an APPG meeting on this topic in the new Parliament.
3.8. Climate change considerations should start to progress, and more strategic thinking should be taking place as to the role rural areas should be supported to play in relation to this issue.
3.9. Members wished to emphasise that as an essential part of the Rural Strategy consideration of a more level playing field in respect of grant settlement was necessary. The two things were totally interlinked.
3.10. Arising from this, officers were asked to establish:
(a) Throughout the term of the Parliament, how much of the extra billion pounds per year for social care costs, proposed by Conservatives, would go in ‘pounds per head’ terms to rural and urban areas? And what impact would it have on Council Tax?
(b) Should Pixel be asked to provide an analysis of the January Provisional Settlement? Is the gap between urban and rural support actually widening yet further?
(c) There was concern that data at the necessary local level was not available in many cases - making rural proofing impossible in practice.
(d) It was felt that RSN should, if possible, review the Social Care Green Paper when it was published. There was concern that extra costs (and policy issues more generally) from proposals for rural areas should be properly identified;
(e) It was also felt that, if available, any detail on the way local authorities were being forced to slim down the length of care visits should be collated. Comparison between the average lengths of visits in rural areas against the average in urban areas might demonstrate the rural problem.
There was no other business.
The next meeting of this group is scheduled for the 6th April 2020.
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