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Rural Related Politics - An RSN weekly review

11 January 2021

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 
(4 January - 10 January)

On Monday 4th January, the Prime Minister announced a national lockdown and instructed people to stay at home to ‘control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives’.

On Tuesday 5th January, the Chancellor announced that businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are to receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000.

On Wednesday 6th January, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson MP (Con) made a statement to Parliament on the closure of education settings during national lockdown. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP (Con) announced that Coventry and Oxford could become the first parts of the UK to run all-electric bus services. The Government also updated its guidance for the owners and operators of beach, countryside and coastal destinations during COVID-19.

On Thursday 7th January, Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP (Con) gave a statement at the COVID-19 press conference, stating how the Government will reach the target of offering a slot for vaccination by 15th of February for the 15 million people identified most at risk in the UK. In a statement, the Social Mobility Commission outlined its concerns over contingency plans for pupils affected by the global COVID pandemic, arguing that the Education Secretary should put extra funding in place to let pupils resit this school year. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP (Con) also announced that millions of leaseholders will be given the right to extend their lease by a maximum term of 990 years at zero ground rent.

On Friday 8th January, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) authorised the Moderna vaccine for UK use. The UK has ordered 17 million doses of the vaccine, which will be rolled out from the spring. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick MP (Con) also announced extra support to help protect rough sleepers and renters from the effects of COVID-19, alongside an additional £10 million in funding for councils in England to redouble their efforts to help accommodate all those currently sleeping rough and ensure they are registered with a GP.

On Sunday 10th January, the Government announced that community testing will be expanded across all local authorities in England to test people without symptoms. Passengers arriving from all international destinations will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result before departing for England.

This week in politics (11 January - 17 January)
  • On Monday 11th January, the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee will host an evidence session on the future of high streets after COVID-19, with evidence from witnesses including the Centre for Cities, Federation of Small Businesses, Social Market Foundation and District Councils Network.
  • On Tuesday 12th January, there will be oral questions on Health and Social Care, and the Health and Social Care Committee will host an oral evidence session on workforce burnout and resilience in the NHS and social care. There will also be oral questions on the reliance of the economy and society on the use of technology for the provision of essential services. The COVID-19 Committee will host an oral evidence session on living online and the long-term impact on wellbeing.
  • On Wednesday 13th January, there will be a Ten-Minute Rule Motion on COVID-19 Financial Assistance and the Gaps in Support, with Tracy Brabin MP (Lab). There will be an adjournment on support for small business during the COVID-19 outbreak with Christine Jardine MP (LibDem), and a Westminster Hall debate on support for pupils' education during school closures with Matt Western MP (Lab).
  • On Thursday 14th January there will be a Westminster Hall debate on The Towns Fund with Paul Bristow MP (Con). The Public Accounts Committee will have an oral evidence around managing flood risks, and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coastal Communities will also meet.
  • On Friday 15th January there will be a Private Members' Bill on Internet Access around Children Eligible for Free School Meals with Siobhain McDonagh MP (Lab).

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