Lords to quiz two government departments on plans to create a stronger rural economy

31 August 2018


Over two evidence sessions on Tuesday 4th September, the House of Lords Select Committee on the Rural Economy will ask representatives from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MCHLG) how their departments are tackling the distinctive challenges facing rural areas.

Amongst these challenges are skills shortages, lack of access to training and poor productivity. With previous witnesses having told the Committee that BEIS needed to place more of a focus on rural business, the Committee will ask BEIS how it plans to implement the Industrial Strategy in rural areas and ensure that the rural economy is not left behind.

The Committee will begin taking evidence at 2.45pm and will question:

  • Sam Lister, Director, Industrial Strategy, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • Joe Manning, Deputy Director, Local Industrial Strategies, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

In the second session the Committee will ask the witnesses whether MHCLG is paying enough attention to the needs of rural areas, how it is ensuring that housing and planning policy reflects rural priorities, and how it works with local government in rural areas to deliver its objectives.

Giving evidence at 3.45pm will be:

  • Simon Gallagher - Director of Planning, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
  • Joe Tuke – Director of Local Government Policy, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

The evidence session will be held in Committee room 2A in the House of Lords. Questions the Committee are likely to ask include:

  • What are the potential and opportunities for rural business and what action is being taken to realise these?
  • Does the Industrial Strategy adequately consider rural businesses? Should it not have a more targeted approach to the distinctive challenges facing rural areas?
  • How will Local Industrial Strategies differ from City Deals, Sector Deals and Growth Deals? Why are there no ‘Rural Deals’?
  • What are the current policy priorities for rural affordable housing?
  • How are local authorities engaged when rural proofing policies?
  • What is the level of coordination with Defra in the delivery of EU Structural Funds to support rural businesses and communities?

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