Rural Related Politics - An RSN weekly review

21 September 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 
(14 September - 20 September)

On Monday 14th September, the Government announced a £40 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund, bringing forward funding for environmental charities to work on projects across England to restore nature and tackle climate change. New laws prohibiting social gatherings of more than six people also came into effect.

On Thursday 17th September, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock MP (Con) announced that 25 hospital A&Es will receive an additional £150 million to expand and upgrade, ensuring they have the physical space to treat patients, manage patient flow and improve infection control. The funding will expand waiting areas and increase the number of treatment cubicles, helping boost A&E capacity by providing additional space and reducing overcrowding. Projects aim to be completed by the start of next year, so that hospitals benefit from the upgrades during the peak of winter. The Government also announced a call to run a project to help address the digital divide in response to COVID-19. The call seeks to address two of the main ‘access’ issues associated with digital exclusion; that of having physical access to the internet, i.e. a device that will allow the user to access the internet, and the issue of data poverty. £91.5 million has also been allocated to 274 councils in England to help vulnerable people housed during the pandemic

On Friday 18th September, the Government published its adult social care winter plan 2020 to 2021, with ambitions for the sector and the challenges facing adult social care this winter. This sets out key actions for national bodies (Department of Health and Social Care), local systems (local authorities and NHS England) and adult social care providers. Further restrictions were also introduced across parts of North-West, Midlands and West Yorkshire to curb rising infection rates. Lancashire, Merseyside, Warrington and Halton have been escalated to areas of intervention, with new restrictions in Wolverhampton, Oadby and Wigston, and parts of Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale. Helen Whately MP (Con), Minister for Care, published a letter outlining the expectations of local authorities in relation to the adult social care winter plan.

On Sunday 20th September, the Government announced a new package to support and enforce self-isolation. People will be required by law to self-isolate from 28th September, supported by payment of £500 for those on lower incomes who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result.

This week in politics (21 September - 27 September)
  • On Monday 21st September, the Public Accounts Committee will host an oral evidence session on selecting towns for the Towns Fund.
  • On Tuesday 22nd September, in the House of Lords, there will be oral questions on further devolution in England with Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (Con). In the House of Commons, the Education Committee will host an oral evidence session on adult skills and lifelong learning.
  • On Wednesday 23rd September, in the House of Lords, the Public Services Committee will have an oral evidence session on public services: lessons from COVID-19.
  • On Thursday 24th September, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee will host an oral evidence session on broadband and the road to 5G.
  • On Friday 25th September in the House of Commons, there will be Private Members’ Bill on Internet Access (Children Eligible for Free School Meals) Bill: Second Reading with Siobhain McDonagh MP (Lab).

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