Rural Related Politics - An RSN weekly review

27 July 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 
(20 July - 26 July)

On Monday 20th July, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, Gillian Keegan MP (Con), published strategic guidance for the financial year 2020-2021. This gives a steer concerning the Government’s priorities for the remainder of the year in the areas of apprenticeships and technical education reform. During Topical Questions, Karl McCartney MP (Con) argued that for a mainly rural constituencies such as his, the effective management of change for local government reform and devolution is critically important to all ?businesses and individuals.

On Tuesday 21st July, as part of the ongoing inquiry into flooding in England, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee called for further evidence which will help MPs to fully scrutinize the effectiveness of current approaches to managing flood risk.  This follows after last week, when the Government published its new long term plan to tackle the risks of flooding and coastal erosion. During a debate on the BBC, Fay Jones MP (Con) raised concerns of recent BBC programming that portrays farming and the agriculture sector as either ‘twee and backward’ or ‘environment-wrecking vandalism’.

On Wednesday 22nd July, Matt Warman MP (Con), Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital Infrastructure, issued a statement supporting the deployment of 5G and extending mobile coverage. He said that the Government is satisfied that the proposed reforms are necessary to support ambitions for the deployment of 5G and extending mobile coverage, particularly in rural areas, where mobile coverage tends to lag behind more urban areas. Also on Wednesday, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Forest of Dean District Council and Lancaster City Council joined the coastal concordat for England to coordinate the separate processes for coastal development consents in England. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs also published a report detailing how farmers are participating in Government-funded groups to create close-knit, greener communities across England. During a debate on socio-economic inequality, Jerome Mayhew MP (Con) argued that rural poverty is easy to overlook in picturesque areas that other people associate with holidays and a slower pace of life, but it is ‘every bit as hard and destructive’ for those affected. He asked what action the Government is taking to address rural deprivation. Secretary of State for International Trade and Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss MP (Con) answered that the Government wants ‘everybody’ across the country to benefit from the levelling-up agenda of investing more in transport infrastructure and dealing with educational inequality. Ministers therefore ‘recognise that deprived rural areas can face additional ?barriers to opportunity’. She assured the House that the Equality Hub will analyse the data and look at where that inequality of opportunity is, so that departments can take measures to address them.

Face coverings must be worn in additional enclosed public spaces from 24th July in England. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP (Con) also announced £200,000 towards?research into developing an innovative antenna prototype for rail gantries, helping to reduce internet blackouts on the commute. Also on Friday, the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee launched a new sub-inquiry into ‘Levelling up - local and regional structures and the delivery of economic growth’, as part of its ‘super inquiry’ into Post-Pandemic Economic Growth. The Committee will look at how local and regional government structures in England (including the role of powerhouses, local enterprise partnerships and growth hubs, city and regional mayoralties, and councils) could be reformed or better equipped to deliver growth locally.

Parliament rose for summer recess on Wednesday 22nd July. It will resume on Tuesday 1st September.

This week in politics (27 July - 2 August)
  • In the House of Lords on Monday 27th July, there will be oral questions on the Government plans for further devolution of power and decision-making in England with Lord Shipley (LD).
  • On Wednesday 29th July in the House of Lords, there will be a Draft Town and Country Planning orders and regulations session with Lord Greenhalgh (Con).

Parliament rose for summer recess on Wednesday 22nd July. It will resume on Tuesday 1st September.

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