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Ahead of the meeting the APPG had met to agree the key issues to raise and had sought information from a number of rural organisations. The document sent by the APPG to Steve Barclay is available here
Steve Barclay represents a rural constituency and was clearly aware, first hand, of the rural issues.
The issues raised at the meeting and in the APPG’s document related to (1) Rural Mobile Phone and Broadband Connectivity (discussion led by the APPG Chair Philip Dunne, MP who specifically raised the extraordinary quotes coming from BT for connections under the Universal Service Obligation ) (2) A Fair Share for rural communities of national resources for the provision of essential services, infrastructure and economic growth initiatives (discussion on GP access led by Greg Smith MP) and (3) Energy Infrastructure and Decorbonisation (discussion led by Jerome Mayhew MP). The need for the Government’s “Levelling Up” agenda to include rural areas was stressed throughout
The Chief Secretary confirmed that the Spending Review was likely to be announced mid November 2020 and the Treasury was working on a multi-year settlement at this stage
Philip Dunne said:
“This was a very useful meeting and we were particularly pleased to hear the Chief Secretary say that he was keen to continue working with the APPG. We all recognise the difficult financial situation the country faces but will continue to raise rural concerns with Ministers”
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