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Rural Areas

Volume 463: debated on Thursday 19 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of procedures in place in his Department for the rural proofing of new policies. (150831)

The Government as a whole ‘rural proof’ their policies and programmes. This involves considering their potential impact on rural areas and, where appropriate, adjusting them to meet the needs of rural people better.

We have established the Commission for Rural Communities (CRC) to be an adviser to Government on rural affairs and to independently monitor how policies are meeting rural needs. The CRC’s latest monitoring report, published in October 2006, includes encouraging evidence of rural proofing but also concludes that there is room for improvement. My Department is working with CRC and with other Government Departments to review the rural proofing process and will contribute to the next progress report later this year.