MAJOR BOOST TO THE CAMPAIGN FOR A RURAL STRATEGY:
The Independent Food, Farming & Countryside Commission hosted by the RSA in its report launched on Tuesday 16th July ‘Our Future in the Land’ has added its voice to the calls by the RSN and the House of Lords Select Committee for a comprehensive Rural Strategy (more to follow)
On Tuesday 4th, peers in the House of Lords debated the Government’s plans to encourage more people to use their local bus service. Baroness Vere of Norbiton raised the plight of isolated rural communities, noting that often for companies, it is not economically viable to operate regular bus services in rural areas. She noted that the Government have allocated £43 million from the Bus Services Operators Grant to rural local authorities to aid the problem.
On Wednesday 5th, MPs considered rising crime and antisocial behaviour in smaller towns and communities across the UK. Ruth George MP said that falling numbers of police and cuts to police stations have contributed to the rise in crime. Tracy Brabin MP noted that the policing challenge in cities, towns and rural areas is often different, but they should be treated in the same manner.
On Thursday 6th, MPs considered the Treasury Committee’s report on access to financial services. Colin Clark MP noted that rural parts of the country are being left with no banks or cash machines. He suggested that Post Offices are properly funded so that people can use them as banking hubs.
On Friday 7th, the Government announced a new joint ministerial appointment is being made for the Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry MP. The new position, which is shared between the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will boost the oversight of the Northern Powerhouse Minister’s role, ensuring that policies such as the Stronger Towns Fund and the Northern Powerhouse are essential parts of the Government’s Modern Industrial Strategy.
On Monday 10th, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Adult Social Care is holding an evidence session with Eleanor Smith MP.
On Tuesday 11th, peers will debate how to ensure that banks provide free withdrawals from current accounts at cash machines. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Environment also meets.
On Wednesday 12th, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee is holding an evidence session as part of its inquiry into rural broadband and digital only services. Rural Services Network CEO Graham Biggs will be giving evidence to the Committee. MPs will debate the Government response when the closure of the last local bank is proposed.
On Thursday 13th, there will be Westminster Hall debate on the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee report into high streets and town centres in 2030.
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