Rural Related Politics - An RSN weekly review

19 October 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 
(12 October - 18 October)

On Monday 12th October, Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP (Con) made a statement at a COVID-19 press conference where he set out how the Government will introduce a three tiered system of local COVID-19 alert levels in England.

On Tuesday 13th October, the Government announced that it is seeking views on new measures to boost the fishing industry, including how to increase the economic benefits from fishing activity to coastal communities. The Government also announced that clinically extremely vulnerable people in England will receive new guidance to help them reduce their risk from COVID-19, tailored to their local area, in line with new local COVID-19 alert levels.

On Wednesday 14th October, Scott Mann MP (Con) tabled a debate, asking whether the countryside is ready for the changes of more people considering living and working in rural and coastal communities. He argued that addressing the productivity gap is vital in ensuring that rural communities are safeguarded as we go about those changes. The Government also announced it is seeking views on proposals to extend the Warm Home Discount scheme to 2021 to 2022. Around a million pensioners across the UK could receive £140 off their fuel bills, as part of the Government’s efforts with energy firms to cut their costs. From 14th October, Liverpool City Region was placed onto the very high local COVID-19 alert level, meaning people must not socialise with anybody they do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting.

On Thursday 15th October, during the Business Statement, Scott Benton MP (Con) asked for a debate about the role that regional airports can play in boosting connectivity and levelling up local regions. Stephanie Peacock MP (Lab) also asked for a debate on the ‘scandal’ that out of the 61 towns chosen for the new Towns Fund, 60 were in Conservative constituencies, and Justin Madders MP (Lab) asked for a ministerial statement on the allocation of funding from the Towns Fund. Martin Vickers MP (Con) asked for a debate on the future of the high street. The Government also published its legislative aims for protecting access to cash, and called for views on key considerations for the future of the UK’s cash system. People will be able to get cashback from shops without needing to buy anything under new proposals to protect the UK’s cash system.

On Friday 16th October, Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP delivered a press conference in which e he stated that the COVID-19 situation is ‘worsening’ every day in Manchester, and if no agreement is reached, the Government would have to intervene to ‘save the lives of Manchester residents’, but said it would be easier to work with local Government leaders. While he disagreed with the prospect of a national lockdown, he refused to rule anything out. Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP (Con) announced that the investment management firm ARA Venn will manage the Government’s new £3 billion Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme which will help to finance affordable homes across England, including for social rent, affordable rent and shared ownership. The Government also launched the Export Growth Plan to help businesses in England ‘build back better’ following the pandemic. Roads Minister Baroness Vere (Con) announced £42 million to upgrade the A630 and level up northern transport infrastructure.

On Saturday 17th October, the Government announced £76 million in latest Culture Recovery Fund grants for 588 more arts organisations including comedy clubs, circuses, festivals, regional theatres and local museums. Lancashire moved from high local COVID-19 alert level to very high, meaning that people must not socialise with anybody they do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting. In addition, the following areas will move from medium local COVID-19 alert level to high:

  • London (all 32 boroughs and the City of London)
  • Elmbridge
  • Essex (area covered by Essex County Council only)
  • Barrow-in-Furness
  • York
  • North East Derbyshire
  • Erewash
  • Chesterfield

This means that people must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.

From 4am Sunday 18th October, people arriving in England from Italy were instructed to self-isolate.

This week in politics (19 October - 25 October)
  • On Monday 19th October, in the House of Commons the Public Accounts Committee will host an oral evidence session on the production and distribution of cash.
  • On Tuesday 20th October, in the House of Commons there will be a debate on remote education for pupils self-isolating during the COVID-19 outbreak with Siobhain McDonagh MP (Lab). There will also be a Westminster Hall debate on the role of colleges in a skills-led recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak with Peter Aldous MP (Con). The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee will have an oral evidence session on the evolution of devolution. The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee will host an oral evidence session on flooding.
  • On Wednesday 21st October, there will be a Westminster Hall debate on the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on schools in disadvantaged areas with Gordon Henderson MP (Con). The Treasury Committee will host an oral evidence session on the economic impact of COVID-19.
  • On Thursday 22nd October, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee will host an oral evidence session on levelling up local and regional structures and the delivery of economic growth.
  • On Friday 23rd October, there will be a second reading of the Local Authorities (Borrowing and Investment) Bill with Sir Christopher Chope MP (Con), who will also lead the second reading of the Local Roads (Investment) Bill.

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