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The Queen's speech should have been full of 'goodies' for rural voters if last year's Rural White Paper had been an...
The Queen's speech should have been full of 'goodies' for rural voters if last year's Rural White Paper had been any indicator, claimed Radio 4's Farming Today programme.

But there was not much on offer. The only proposal from the white paper which might get a passing reference was rate relief for village shops which, in any case, went out for consultation earlier this year.

Environment secretary John Gummer is keen to give parish councils more of a say and there could be some arrangement whereby district and county councils have to consult the parishes on certain matters.

In the light of the Cullen Report into the Dunblane tragedy, home secretary Michael Howard wants to introduce controls on firearms quickly. Both the National Farmers Union and the Country Landowners Association will ensure this does not interfere too much with farmers and landowners using rifles and shotguns to control pests.

And there are still Bills with rural implications rumbling on from the current session. The Channel Tunnel Rail Link Bill goes back to the Lords next week. Farmers' interests will be arguing that where promoters want land for the route they should have it on a lease rather than buying it outright.
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