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 the Government’s response to the Environment Audit Committee’s scrutiny of its 25 Year Plan was published. Mary Creagh MP, chair of the Environment Audit Committee, criticised the Government for not making firm commitments to protect the environment after Brexit.
On Wednesday, Communities Secretary James Brokenshire outlined his plan to tackle the social problems linked to declining high streets such as crime, unemployment and loneliness at the Locality Convention in Bristol. He also announced a new Community Roadshow, during which he will travel across the country to learn about the work being done by community groups. Defra announced that Marian Spain, the Chief Executive of Plantlife International, has been appointed interim Chief Executive of Natural England, replacing James Cross.
On Monday the Transport Committee will hold a session on the health of the bus market, while the Housing, Communities and Local Government will hold a session on high streets and town centres in 2030, with witnesses including Ojay McDonald, Chief Executive of the Association of Town and City Management. That evening the APPG on policing and security will meet to discuss rural crime.
On Tuesday the Agriculture Bill continues the Public Bill Committee stage, while the Lords Committee on the Rural Economy will question the National Farmers’ Union, Tenant Farmers Association and the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission on the importance of the farming and agricultural sector to the modern rural economy. They will then hold a session with the Plunkett Foundation, Federation of Small Businesses and Rural Business Group on the role of SMEs in contributing to the rural economy and whether rural businesses, including community businesses, are getting the support they need from central government. Also on Tuesday, the Lords Committee on Intergenerational Fairness will hold a session on community assets.
On Thursday there will be an adjournment debate on community broadband schemes introduced by Stephen Kerr MP.
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