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Rural Related Politics - An RSN weekly review

14 December 2020

Below is an RSN review of last week's rural related politics as well as a look forward to the week ahead:


Last week in politics 
(7 December - 13 December)

On the 8th December, the Government launched new plans on how it will work with the construction sector to make sure public sector works are delivered more efficiently via the Construction Playbook, which include plans for new roads and railway lines to schools, hospitals and prisons. Housing programmes delivered by Homes England saw an overall decrease in starts and completions in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period last year, according to official statistics. Children’s Minister Vicky Ford MP (Con) also announced a multi-million pound investment in programmes aimed at reaching ‘hidden’ children and the creation of a national centre to improve early education and health services. The Government also published its response to a proposal for a new approach to building.

On 9th December, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick MP (Con) announced that business owners affected by the pandemic will be protected from eviction until the end of March 2021. Book clubs, walking groups and other community projects will be able to apply for a £4 million fund designed to help reduce loneliness in the coming months as part of The Local Connections Fund.

On 10th December, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock MP (Con) delivered a press conference revealing that ‘tens of thousands’ have had the vaccine in 73 hospitals across the UK. The programme will shortly be expanded to 10 more locations, and from this week vaccinations will occur in GP-led sites, and in care homes by Christmas. Homes England also announced that a new Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) will replace the current Delivery Partner Panel (DPP3). The DPS will change how Homes England procures housebuilders, increasing flexibility and introducing a new more proportionate approach to ensuring partners’ ability to deliver homes on sites. Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing Kelly Tolhurst MP (Con) also announced a new £46 million scheme to provide more effective and coordinated support for adults across England facing multiple disadvantages like homelessness and mental health issues. The Government also announced that projects that protect landscapes, connect people with nature and help create and retain thousands of green jobs across England have been awarded a share of almost £40 million. The Department of Health and Social Care announced it is investing £600 million to help eradicate the maintenance backlog in NHS hospitals enabling almost 1,800 projects across 178 trusts will tackle urgent maintenance issues by March 2021.

On 11th December, the Government confirmed that £31 million will be made available to repair damage caused by severe floods, including to coal tips, following storms across Wales earlier this year. Ryedale District Council and City of York Council have approved plans for a flood storage area in York to go ahead. The Government announced that targeted testing will be offered to children in north east London, Kent and Essex. A virtual engagement event launched this week for the Tenbury Wells community to find out about the proposed flood risk management scheme for their town. Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP (Con) also said that there is a “strong possibility” that the UK will fail to strike a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU, having agreed to an extension for talks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, with less than three weeks left till the end of the transition period.

This week in politics (14 December - 20 December)
  • On Monday 14th December, the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee will host an oral evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on homelessness and the private rented sector.
  • On Tuesday 15th December, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee will host an oral evidence debate on the Industrial Strategy for post-pandemic economic growth. In the House of Lords, there will be oral questions on a regional comprehensive economic partnership free trade agreement with Lord Howell of Guildford, as well as oral questions on the report by the Care Quality Commission: 'Out of Sight-Who Cares?'. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gaps in Support will also meet.
  • On Wednesday 16th December, there will be oral questions in the House of Lords on a National Bus Strategy for England with Lord Bradshaw (LibDem).

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