On Monday 7th September, the Government published a consultation paper setting out the its proposals for reforming local Government exit payments.
On Tuesday 8th September, an independent review was published examining the quality of local authority financial reporting and external audits. The Government also published its response to the discussion paper around making home ownership affordable. Anthony Mangnall MP (Con) asked whether the Government could provide further funding for the rural healthcare network as we enter winter, not only to ramp up testing, but to deal with undiagnosed cases and operations not undertaken. Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock MP (Con) responded that the NHS has set a goal of getting back to 95 percent of these elective operations and has put with it the funding to support this, ‘especially in rural communities’.
On Wednesday 9th September, HM Treasury announced that businesses in England required to close due to local lockdowns or targeted restrictions will now be able to receive grants worth up to £1,500 every three weeks. Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP (Con) also delivered a press conference confirming that, from Monday, the Government is introducing the ‘rule of six’, meaning that people in England will only be able to meet in groups of six, indoors and outdoors.
On Thursday 10th September, Fiona Bruce MP (Con) asked what more the Government can do to help rural businesses to promote their high-quality local produce. Victoria Prentis MP (Con) said that the Government are supporting initiatives to promote local produce, including through recent industry-led marketing campaigns.
On Friday 11th September, the Treasury Committee published the second report as part of its inquiry into the Economic Impact of COVID-19, entitled ‘The Challenges of Recovery’. The report focuses on the medium-term challenges of the pandemic, including supporting the recovery of consumer spending and minimising long-term unemployment increases. Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull were also moved to 'areas of intervention', with residents told not to meet with people from outside their households to control the spread of the virus.
On Saturday 12th September, Matt Warman MP (Con) announced that a quarter of a million rural homes and businesses across England have been given £22 million as part of the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme for rural areas.
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