On Monday 26 the Public Accounts Committee heard evidence from Melanie Dawes from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on how her department was working to support the long-term future of local authorities. On 26 November as part of the Transport Select Committee’s ongoing inquiry into the health of the bus market, the Rail, Maritime and Transport workers’ union (RMT) provided a survey as evidence, showing that 72 per cent of bus workers believed their company prioritised profit over providing a service.
On Tuesday the Lords Rural Economy Committee firstly examined access to public transport in rural areas, then heard about the challenges facing police fighting rural crime. The Education Committee heard that funding pressures have caused standards in schooling to drop and that small schools have been hit hardest by changes to the government’s funding formula. The Lords Regenerating Seaside Towns Committee heard evidence on the design of future seaside developments and the health issues affecting those communities. Meanwhile, five small tech companies were each awarded £50,000 of government funding to tackle loneliness and rural isolation in Monmouthshire. On Wednesday 28 November, Environment Secretary Michael Gove MP gave evidence to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, admitting he fears the impact of a no deal Brexit on Britain’s food exporters. During Prime Minister’s Questions, Simon Hoare MP raised the safeguarding of rural cash machines, with the Prime Minister stressing that widespread free access to cash remains vital. She said Link is committed to maintaining this, and that this commitment will be monitored by the UK payment systems regulator.
On 29 November, the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee published the Government’s response to its report on land capital value. DEFRA launched a new anti-littering campaign in partnership with Keep Britain Tidy. Entitled ‘Keep it, Bin it’ the campaign calls for ‘an end to rubbish excuses for littering and encourages people to responsibly dispose of their litter.’ Elsewhere, the Government published the 2017 population and migration statistics for rural areas. The Statistical Digest of Rural Statistics was also published, outlining the social and economic make-up of those living in rural areas.
On Saturday 1 December, Parliament recognised the Communications Workers Union (CWU) Save our Post Office National Day of Action.
On Monday 3 December, the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee will convene to hear evidence from the chief executives of major high street brands. Later, the Transport Committee meets to hear evidence around the funding of local roads. Elsewhere, the APPG for Tech hosts an event centred around using tech to expand connectivity across the UK.
On Tuesday 4 December, the Lords Rural Economy Committee will convene firstly to hear evidence on how the prospects of young people living in rural areas can be improved. Elsewhere, the Economic Affairs Committee meets to hear evidence from charity representatives as part of the ongoing inquiry into social care funding in England. The Regenerating Seaside Towns Committee will also convene for an oral evidence session. Also on Tuesday, MPs will debate the impact of ATM closures on towns, high streets and rural areas.
On Thursday 6 December, the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement is due.
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