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Is Defra taking the rural economy seriously? Lords to ask Michael Gove


The House of Lords Select Committee on the Rural Economy has heard multiple times over the course of its inquiry, that rural policy is not taken seriously enough across Government, and that this prevents the rural economy from reaching its full potential.

In its final evidence session On Tuesday 22nd January, the Committee will question Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs, about the Government's vision for the rural economy.

The Committee will probe Defra on what it is doing to support a thriving rural economy, including its approaches to rural policy and the effectiveness of its “rural proofing” checks on new policies.

The evidence session will begin at 11.30am in Committee Room 1 of the House of Lords. Other questions the Committee are likely to ask include:

  • How can rural proofing be made more effective, accountable and transparent?
  • Defra has been criticised for paying too little attention to rural affairs compared to the time and resources it dedicates to agricultural and environmental issues. Is that a fair criticism?
  • How is Defra working with MHCLG to ensure that Local Enterprise Partnerships deliver for rural economies, particularly in their anticipated role leading on delivery of the Shared Prosperity Fund?
  • How is Defra working with DCMS to ensure that hard-to-reach areas are prioritised for full fibre roll out and 5G mobile connections?

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