News in Brief 28 September 2016

The latest edition of our regular News in Brief, with news, views, consultations and policy developments of interest to rural communities in our region.


The Government has been urged to go beyond its current pledge to maintain European spending agreed up until the date of the 2016 Autumn Statement on 23 November, after Brexit. The Rural Services Network, a coalition of organisations working to support rural communities, including the 38 Rural Community Councils, has written to Secretary of State Andrea Leadsom asking her to pledge to protect beyond 2020 rural development funding currently provided by the EU through projects such as LEADER. | RSNOnline, 6 September.

Housing and Planning

The new Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell, has used his first major policy speech to hint that the Government will shift their focus away from solely supporting home ownership as a means of increasing housing supply, and to warn developers that new policies that penalise them for not using land that has been granted planning permission are being considered. | Property Week, 15 September.


The Campaign for Better Transport has called on the Government to use the opportunity provided by the Bus Services Bill, which is currently making its way through Parliament, to reverse cuts made to public transport in rural areas over the last few years. Campaigners want to see changes made to the Bill that would impose a legal duty on local authorities to carry out local public transport assessments that consider the impact of transport cuts on whole communities rather than in isolation, and to encourage services such as healthcare and schools to have a greater role in public transport planning. | RSNOnline, 9 September.


The Care and Quality Commission is currently carrying out an inspection of the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust. They would like to hear from anyone who has used any of the Trust’s three main services - emergency ambulances, patient transport, and the NHS 111 phone line - in the last twelve months, and are particularly keen to hear from groups that are in regular contact with ambulance services such as older people, carers, those living with long-term health conditions, and those living with learning disability needs. Contact the CQC by phone (03000 616161), email ( or by completing an online survey.


North Yorkshire Police have launched Operations Woollen and Woodchip in a drive to target rural crime around the city of York. The two operations have identified 160 businesses and 230 farms sited on isolated industrial estates or in rural areas away from towns and villages. Farms and businesses will be offered free crime prevention packs and a security survey. | RSNOnline, 22 September.

Rural England, a company carrying out independent policy research, has launched the first of an annual series of in-depth reports into rural issues. The first report focuses on the topic of older people in rural communities, issues affected the vulnerability of older people, and the implications for policy of an ageing rural population. The comprehensive reports covers a range of subjects including health, fuel poverty, isolation and loneliness, and economic inequality. The report is available to download for free from the Rural England website. | Rural England report page.

Charity Governance and News

Individuals, groups and charities in Kirklees are now able to take advantage of a new group public liability insurance product designed specifically to cover the needs of those doing work in the community. The new product, offered by Kirklees Council in partnership with Eastwood and Partners, can be tailored to your needs and can include public liability and safeguarding insurance. Read more on the Kirklees Council website.

Politics, Government and campaigns

Labour’s Shadow Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary, Rachael Maskell, has pledge that the next Labour government will “revive rural communities”. Speaking at the party’s annual conference in Liverpool on Sunday, Ms Maskell said that Labour policies on a range of issues such as digital infrastructure, housing, agriculture, transport and the environment would help to address problems such as rural unemployment, low incomes, food security, and an ageing and increasingly isolated rural population. | RSNOnline, 26 September | Download the full speech here

Local Government

Harrogate Borough Council are consulting on priorities for the 2017/18 Budget. The deadline for responses, which will help determine spending priorities in the next financial year, is Monday 17 October. | Harrogate Borough Council Budget Consultation


The September 2016 edition of the Statistical Digest of Rural England has been published. The Digest provides 155 pages of detailed statistics on a wide range of subjects. Alongside it, the Quarterly Rural Economic Bulletin is a short document highlighting key statistical comparisons between rural and urban areas. The September edition will be published soon; all editions of the two documents are available via the following links | Statistical Digest of Rural England | Quarterly Rural Economic Bulletin.

Other consultations

Durham University are carrying out a research project, supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, into the state of the third sector in northern England and are asking all voluntary and community organisations, however large or small, to help by completing their short survey. The final report will be available in Spring 2017 and it is hoped will prove a useful resource to all community organisations in the region. | Online survey link.