Rural Related Politics - An RSN weekly review

22 June 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 
(15 June - 21 June)

On Monday 15th June, Marion Fellows (SNP) tabled a debate asking what steps are being taken to support the sustainability of the post office network.

On Tuesday 16th June, Tim Farron (LD) argued in a debate about public passenger transport, that rural, more isolated communities must be included in the Government’s refusal to ‘leave communities behind’.

During Prime Minister’s engagements on Wednesday 17th June, Selaine Saxby (Con) said that COVID-19 has underlined the importance of improving broadband infrastructure, and that extending the existing relief on business rates for new full-fibre infrastructure could see the release of the investment needed to level up rural areas.

On Thursday 18th June, during the second reading of the Parliamentary Constituencies Bill, John Spellar (Lab) raised the issue of ‘local identity for rural areas and small towns’, and the effect of identity on neighbourhoods and communities in conurbations.

COVID-19 update

During a debate on Free School Meals, Tim Farron (LD) argued that for free school meal vouchers in rural communities, there are issues around accessibility to supermarkets for which families have a voucher.

On Tuesday 16th June, Chris Loder (Con) tabled a debate on what steps the Government is taking to support the recovery of businesses in rural areas and market towns during the COVID-19 outbreak. He asked the minister to meet him to look at how they can support initiatives to boost the local economy including virtual high streets and collaborating to improve accessibility of local brands to those who may not be able to get to the town.

On Friday 19th June, the Government announced it is extending measures to prevent struggling high street businesses from eviction over the summer. Education Minister Gavin Williamson also announced a £1 billion COVID-19 ‘catch-up’ package to tackle the impact of lost teaching time as plans continue for a full return to education from September. £650 million will be shared across state primary and secondary schools over the 2020/21 academic year.

This week in politics (22 June - 28 June)
  • On Monday 22nd June, in the House of Commons there will be an Adjournment on BBC regional politics coverage with Neil Parish (Con). The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee will also host an oral evidence session on the progress on devolution in England. In the House of Lords, there will be oral questions on ensuring seaside resorts can respond to any increased demand for holidays in this country with Lord McNally (LD).
  • On Tuesday 23rd June, in the House of Lords there will be oral questions on reducing the amount of illegal fly-tipping, particularly in rural areas with Lord Trefgarne (Con).
  • On Wednesday 24th June, the Transport Committee will have an oral evidence session on COVID-19 and the implications for transport. In the House of Lords, there will be oral questions on ensuring school closures do not have an unequal impact on the education outcomes of the most disadvantaged pupils in English schools with Lord Blunkett (Lab). The Public Services Committee will also have an oral evidence session on public services and lessons from COVID-19.
  • On Thursday 25th June in the House of Commons, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Department will host topical questions.

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