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How can Government departments work together to better support the rural economy? Lords ask BEIS and MHCLG

On Tuesday 11th December the House of Lords Select Committee on the Rural Economy will question Lord Henley, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS); and Jake Berry MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

The first session with Lord Henley will begin at 10am. The Committee will ask Lord Henley how rural areas be expected to maximise their contribution to UK productivity, as set out in the Industrial Strategy, when critical infrastructure such as digital and mobile connectivity and transport are lagging compared to urban areas.

Other questions the Committee are likely to ask include:

  • Should Local Industrial Strategies be rural proofed, and who by?
  • How do Local Industrial Strategies differ from Strategic Economic Plans and how are these two documents intended to interact with each other?
  • The Committee has heard that the performance of LEPs is patchy when it comes to delivering for rural areas. Are they the right body to lead on the development of Local Industrial Strategies?
  • Can you provide an overview of how BEIS' ‘place-based approach' for the industrial strategy will work in practice?

The second session with Jake Berry MP will begin at 10.45am. The Committee will ask what new initiatives MHCLG are supporting to help local economic growth and sustainability in rural areas and how it seeks to reflect the interests of rural economies in developing housing policy.

Other questions the Committee are likely to ask include:

  • How is MHCLG working with BEIS to ensure that LEPs take account of rural areas when fulfilling their role as the leads for Local Industrial Strategies?
  • What more can MHCLG be doing to empower rural communities that are less well-resourced?
  • How will the Shared Prosperity Fund work for rural areas?
  • Would having a cross-government document setting out the overarching, long-term strategic direction for rural areas (such as a Rural Strategy) be of benefit for MHCLG?

The evidence sessions will take place in Committee Room 1 of the House of Lords.

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