Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Session 2007-08

21 February 2008

EFRA Committee refocuses its inquiry into "The potential of England's rural economy"

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee launched an inquiry into the potential of England's rural economy in July 2006 and received written submissions in October 2006. In June 2007, the Chairman appeared on You and Yours to discuss the inquiry and in November 2007 the Committee received a briefing on the rural economy from the Commission for Rural Communities.

In the light of Defra's new Public Service Agreement targets and Departmental Strategic Objectives, arising from the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007, the Committee has decided to refocus its inquiry to concentrate on Defra's objectives for the rural economy and the effectiveness of the architecture in place to deliver them.

The Committee is particularly interested in the Departmental Strategic Objective that refers to "Strong rural communities", which is broken down as follows:

Departmental Strategic Objective

Intermediate Outcome


Strong rural communities

Economic growth is supported in rural areas with the lowest levels of performance

Two key indicators: workplace earnings per worker per hour split (an indicator of labour productivity) by local authority district; and employment rate by local authority district

The evidenced needs of rural people and communities are addressed through mainstream public policy and delivery

Basket of LGPF [local government performance framework] indicators on educational attainment, social capital/quality of life, health and social care, employment and economy, housing affordability, and crime and ASB [antisocial behaviour]

The original written evidence that the Committee received addressed the rural delivery architecture, but that evidence was prepared before the "strong rural communities" objective was adopted by Defra. The Committee therefore invites those who submitted memoranda to submit additional evidence to address the inquiry's revised focus.

The deadline for the submission of refocused evidence is Thursday 20 March 2008. More information about the required format and length of the submissions is given below.


Submissions should be in Word or rich text format and sent by e-mail to efracom@parliament.uk. The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from.

Submissions must address the terms of reference. They should be as brief as possible, and no more than 1,500 words. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document must include an executive summary (no more than one page long).

Committees make public much of the evidence they receive during inquiries. If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk of the Committee to discuss this. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

Personal information, such as address and contact details, should be provided separately from the body of your submission. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, no public use should be made of the submission unless you have first obtained permission from the Committee.

For further details about this inquiry, please contact Joanna Dodd, Inquiry Manager, on 020 7219 3279.


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