On Saturday 18, Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright announced £62 million investment into high streets around the UK. The new funding will be used to bring old buildings back into use and turn them into offices, housing and creative spaces.
On Wednesday 22, the Transport Committee published its report into the health of the bus market in England outside of London. It found that a ‘lack of co-ordinated government policy’ and ‘squeezed funding’ for local authorities is driving a decline in bus use. Elsewhere, MPs discussed the prevalence of suicide within farming communities in rural areas. Chris Davies MP highlighted that suicide rates among farmers are one of the highest of any occupation. It was emphasised by several MPs that feelings of isolation can be compounded by working alone and living in rural areas.
On Thursday 23, Bim Afolami MP asked the Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright about what his department is doing to improve access to cash machines in rural areas. Wright responded to say that the Government had achieved its initial objective of 95 per cent of the country being covered by superfast broadband and is now focusing on installing full fibre connections. Elsewhere, MPs in the House of Commons debated excessive speeding and driving bans. Susan Elan Jones MP called for more policing on rural roads and referenced a recent report from the Institute of Advanced Motorists that found most fatal crashes occur in rural areas. The report also noted that drivers either wanted, or were ambivalent about, a reduction to the default 60 mph limit on rural roads, with fewer than one in five objecting to a reduction.
On Tuesday 28, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee is launching an inquiry into rural broadband and digital only services. The inquiry will examine the Government’s current proposals and delivery of digital connectivity to rural areas.
Parliament is in recess next week and will not be sitting.
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