Meacher signals rural white paper
PLANS are being drawn up for a powerful countryside cabinet committee as part of moves to demonstrate to the rural lobby that their concerns are being taken seriously.
John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, and the Agriculture Minister, Dr Jack Cunningham, have held discussions about forming such a committee. Plans to give rural issues more credence at Cabinet level follow the success of the Countryside March which saw almost 300,000 rural people converge on London.
A new rural white paper could be published by the end of the year which is expected to cover a number of areas including declining farm incomes, greenfield development, school closures, the scarcity of medical services, poor public transport and the country way of life, environment minister Michael Meacher said.
The consultation document would offer a “new vision” of rural Britain. It is billed as “a direct and detailed response” to concerns expressed by the London countryside rally on 1 March.
- Labours new deal for rural Britain, FWi, yesterday (13 April) Click here
- Financial Times 14/04/98 page 7
- The Independent 14/04/98 page 7
- The Guardian 14/04/98 page 5