No White Paper yet – No 10

17 April 1997

No White Paper yet – No 10

DOWNING Street has denied rumours that environment minister Michael Meacher has been asked to prepare a White Paper on rural issues.

Mr Meacher was reportedly asked by prime minister Tony Blair to prepare the document after the countryside march highlighted issues of rural concern.

The White Paper was to include topics ranging from health care and education to low farm incomes and rural poverty, reports in the Times and Daily Telegraph maintained.

But officials at the Prime Ministers office and the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions were quick to point out that suggestions of a White Paper by the end of the year were pure speculation.

NFUs head of environment and land use, Brian McLaughlin, questioned whether a White Paper alone was the best method of addressing the rural problems.

"White Papers take time to piece together and the industry needs a definitive statement on rural policy now."

Mr McLaughlin called on the government to end speculation and set out a clear and concise vision for the rural community.

of the future.

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