Rural Related Politics - An RSN weekly review

9 November 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 
(2 November - 8 November)

On Monday 2nd November, Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP (Con) delivered a statement to the House of Commons on the new lockdown measures in England. From Thursday until 2nd December, in England, people are only be permitted to leave home for specific reasons, including:

  • For education;
  • For work, if you cannot work from home;
  • For exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household or on your own, or with one person from another household or support bubble;
  • For medical reasons, appointments and to escape injury and harm;
  • To shop for food and essentials;
  • And to provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer.

He also confirmed that non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues and the personal care sector would have to close. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport also published a six-month progress report on the Libraries Taskforce, setting out the work it has done in promoting public libraries to the public and to decision-makers.

On Tuesday 3rd November, the Department for Transport published a summary of progress on The Inclusive Transport Strategy, as part of its efforts to achieving equal access for disabled people on public transport. The Environment Agency and Durham Constabulary have joined forces in a rural crime crackdown. The Government announced that it is extending extra welfare support for self-employed for a further six months. The Rural Payments Agency published the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) entitlement values and greening rates that provide help to the farming industry.

On Wednesday 4th November, Public Health England announced that it is asking for feedback from employers and front-line workers to inform the development of the Community Health and Wellbeing Worker apprenticeship standard. The Government also published new guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable on keeping safe under new national restrictions. Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma MP (Con) also announced £134 million to enable clean growth projects develop new technologies. The Government published advice on accessing green spaces safely.

On Thursday 5th November, Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP (Con) delivered a televised press conference alongside Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, where he reiterated the recent lockdown measures. Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP (Con) also announced a five-month extension of the furlough scheme into spring 2021. Natural England has launched The Nature Recovery Network (NRN) Delivery Partnership, bringing Government, conservationists, businesses, farmers and landowners together to drive forward the delivery of an England-wide network for nature. The Government published the latest edition of the Statistical Digest of Rural England. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP (Con) announced that evictions for renters will not be enforced whilst national restrictions are in place.

On Saturday 7th November, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced the latest round of funding for cultural and heritage sites as part of the Culture Recovery Fund, with 70 per cent awarded outside London.

On Sunday 8th November, the Government announced a new £170 million COVID-19 Winter Grant Scheme, with at least 80 per cent earmarked to support with food and bills, to cover the period to the end of March 2021. Local Authorities will receive the funding at the beginning of December 2020.

This week in politics (9 November - 15 November)
  • On Monday 9th November, the Public Accounts Committee will host an oral evidence session on improving broadband, and the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee will consider the future of the planning system in England. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on housing and care for older people will meet.
  • On Tuesday 10th November, there will be a Westminster Hall debate on support for SMEs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Economic Affairs Committee will host an oral evidence session on Employment and COVID-19. The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Broadband, ‘Left-Behind’ Neighbourhoods and for Coastal Communities will meet.
  • On Wednesday 11th November, there will be a Westminster Hall debate on support for the economy in the North of England. The Transport Committee will host an oral evidence session on whether trains are fit for the future. In the House of Lords, Baroness Randerson (Lib Dem) will host oral questions on improving rural bus services.
  • On Thursday 12th November, the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee will host an oral evidence session on The Spending Review and Local Government Finance. Lord Greaves (Lib Dem) has tabled a debate on the consequences of Government policies in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic on their levelling up agenda in England.

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