Rural Related Politics - An RSN weekly review

16 November 2020

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 
(9 November - 15 November)

On Monday 9th November, Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP (Con) delivered a press conference confirming that Pfizer and BioNTech have published positive efficacy results from Phase 3 studies of their potential COVID-19 vaccine, showing it to be more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants. Having been tested on 43,500 people, the Government has ordered 40 million doses, enough for a third of the population.

On Tuesday 10th November, Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Gillian Keegan MP (Con) launched a call for evidence seeking views on how to ensure post-16 qualifications at level 2 and below – excluding GCSEs – can support more people to progress into further study or employment. The Department for Transport has announced £60 million funding for the A361, linking Devon with the rest of the UK. Ofsted has published a second report into the impact of the pandemic, which found that children who were hardest hit by school closures and restrictions have regressed in some basic skills and learning.

On Wednesday 11th November, the Environment Agency announced that a further section of the £30 million Burton-upon-Trent flood defence project has been opened to the public, and is seeking new members to join the South West Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC). Legislation setting out how farmers and land managers in England will be rewarded in future with public money for ‘public goods’ passed into law. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick MP (Con) has also announced that restaurants, pubs and cafes will get automatic freedoms to?provide takeaway services for another year. Homes England also announced that the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund Forward Funding has passed £1.8 billion since its launch in 2017, helping to accelerate the delivery of almost 175,000 homes outside of London.

On Thursday 12th November, the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee heard evidence from witnesses as part of their inquiry into the spending review and local government finance. The Government also launched a new Green Jobs Taskforce to support the creation of two million skilled jobs to ‘build back greener’ and reach net zero emissions by 2050. HM Treasury has announced a £1 million tax break to stimulate investment in UK manufacturing and to support business confidence is to be extended. Secretary of State of Business Alok Sharma MP (Con) also delivered a press conference in which he announced that the Government will be distributing £2.2 billion to local authorities to allow them to make vital grant payments to businesses that have been affected by the second lockdown.

On Friday 13th November, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden MP (Con) confirmed that the COVID-19 Community Support Fund (CCSF) has been fully allocated, with 8,250 small and medium organisations receiving a share of £200 million. Small businesses in England have also received £2.2 billion from the Government to help them through the current period of national restrictions.

On Saturday 14th November, the Government announced the creation of more jobs under new plans to kickstart a green economic recovery, alongside greater protections for England’s landscapes and the creation of new national parks.

This week in politics (16 November - 22 November)
  • On Monday 16th November, there will be oral questions with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
  • On Tuesday 17th November, there will be topical questions with the Department for Health and Social Care. There will also be a Westminster Hall debate on support for SMEs and the net zero target with Kevin Hollinrake MP (Con). The Health and Social Care Committee will consider oral evidence around issues of workforce burnout and resilience in the NHS and social care. The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee will host an oral evidence session on the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and workers. The All-Party Parliamentary Group for District Councils will meet to discuss local government finance and specifically how Government and districts can work together to deliver growth and local recovery. The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Broadband will also meet, with guest speaker Julian Knight MP (Con), Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.
  • On Wednesday 18th November, the Environmental Audit Committee will host an oral evidence session on the energy efficiency of existing homes. The All-Party Parliamentary Group for County Councils will meet to discuss a briefing on the financial position of county and unitary councils ahead of the upcoming Spending Review.

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