Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

GOVERNMENT'S 'RADICAL' RURAL WHITE PAPER TO BE PUBLISHED IN AUTUMN

  • Comment
Hansard 11 July: Column 684 ...
Hansard 11 July: Column 684

The long-awaited - and delayed - rural white paper is expected to be published in the autumn, environment minister Michael Meacher told MPs.

Replying to George Turner, Labour MP for North-west Norfolk, he said it would take into account 'the extremely good document' published by the rural group of Labour MPs, adding: 'It will be a wide-ranging, practical and ambitious paper covering the whole range of rural services: regeneration, access to services, new directions for agriculture, social exclusion, rural empowerment, conservation and recreation'.

He said regional development agencies, in pursuing rural development, had at their direct disposal the£29m rural programme and about£70m to be spent on rural areas from single regeration budget funds.

But Liberal Democrat spokesman Don Foster asked why some many of the government's regeneration initiatives had been underspent: the single regeneration budget underspent by£45m since 1997; the EU regional development fund by£0.25bn since 1994; and the new deal for communities spent only 2% of its budget in 1998-99, and less than half last year.

Mr Meacher replied: 'We are aware of the underspend, but we are working with local communities precisely to increase their capacity to utilise those funds. He has ignored the fact that the actual spend on countryside programmes will increase in the current three-year period from£128 million in 1998-99 to a projected£174m by 2001-02, which is an increase of almost 40%.

In addition, the minister of agriculture, fisheries and food announced the rural development plan, which includes a 60% increase and a degree of modulation for expenditure on the countryside.'

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.