With the closing date for registrations looming (30 August 2019) book now to attend our National Rural Conference, (in association with the CCRI), in Cheltenham on 3rd & 4th September) here. The keynote speaker for the conference is the Rt Hon Lord Foster of Bath, Chair of the House of Lords Select Committee on the Rural Economy.
On Monday 29 October the Chancellor delivered his Autumn Budget speech. Of particular note he announced extra funding for the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF), bringing the total to £37 billion. This will be spent on improving roads across the UK and the rollout of full-fibre broadband nationwide. Specifically, £200 million is allocated to the NPIF to implement full-fibre internet in rural locations. The Chancellor noted that high streets are ‘under pressure like never before’ and allocated £675 million to create a high street fund for councils to support the future of British high streets as well as announcing a consultation on how to modernise planning rules to facilitate the transformation of the high street. £420 million was also allocated to fix potholes across the country. There was £900 million worth of business rates relief for small businesses meaning that independent businesses worth £51,000 or less will have their business rates cut by one third equalling savings of up to £8,000. Finally, he pledged £10 million extra funding for air ambulances and £650 million to improve social care.
On Wednesday 31 October, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee heard evidence from Secretary of State Michael Gove MP and Minister George Eustice MP. Gove assured the Committee that any post-Brexit trade deal would not lower standards for imported food. Elsewhere, Local Government Minister Rishi Sunak MP delivered a speech at the National Association of Local Councils conference during which he highlighted the importance of parish councils. On
Thursday 1 November, Sports Minister Tracey Crouch resigned in protest at the Government’s delay in cutting the minimum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs). This follows the Chancellor’s announcement in the Budget that the cut in stakes from £100 to £2 would come into effect in October 2019, six months later than initially suggested.
On Tuesday 6 November the House of Lords Rural Economy Committee is to hold an oral evidence session focused on access to affordable housing in rural areas. Later, the Intergenerational Fairness and Provision Lords Committee will also hold an oral evidence session. During the afternoon the House of Lords Regenerating Seaside Towns and Communities Committee will hear evidence on how best to support seaside towns.
Parliament is in recess from Wednesday 7 and will return on Monday 12 November.
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