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On Saturday 26th, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy launched a research programme that could one day see robots used in the UK care system to support existing staff. £34 million has been announced to fund research into developing robots to fulfil tasks such as helping an elderly person up after a fall and raising the alarm, delivering food to an older person at mealtimes, and even ensuring they take crucial medication at the correct time.
On Monday 28th, MPs debated the newly announced Shared Rural Network. Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan MP gave the opening remarks, detailing the new agreement: ‘I am therefore pleased to inform the House that last week the Government announced support for a shared rural network programme, subject to binding legal agreement being concluded. The proposal has been brought to Government by the four UK mobile network operators—EE, Vodafone, 3 and O2—and sets out their ambition to collectively increase 4G mobile coverage throughout the United Kingdom to 95% by 2025.’ She noted that she was ‘having conversations to make sure that local authority infrastructure such as hospitals and schools can also be sued to increase connectivity in these communities.’
On Tuesday 29th, the Department for Transport announced a £2 million investment to make buses more accessible for disabled passengers. Working with the Real Time Information Group, the Government aims to support good practice in the use of communications technology on public transport. The funding will help to ensure that passengers can board more buses with greater confidence. It coincides with the launch of the ‘It’s everyone’s journey’ campaign, the first stage of a new Government backed initiative to improve disabled people’s experiences when using public transport.
On Friday 1st, the Government announced £35 million of funding to support rural businesses. As a result, grants of up to £750,000 available to rural firms to boost productivity and create local jobs. The Government’s Growth Programme, opens for expressions of interest on Monday 4 November, provides grants for rural start-ups and businesses to purchase equipment and machinery to grow their business or open up opportunities for tourism.
On Monday 4th, MPs will vote to elect a new Speaker of the House. Separately, MPs will debate special educational needs and disabilities in Suffolk. The discussion will likely widen to cover other rural areas.
Parliament will be dissolved on 5th November.
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