Clause 17 - Commission for Rural Communities

Part of Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:15 am on 23rd June 2005.

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Photo of Jim Knight Jim Knight Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity) 9:15 am, 23rd June 2005

As the Minister responsible for rural affairs, I regard it as my job within government to be the rural champion and seek to influence policy in   respect of its effect on rural areas. At the same time, however, the country wants to see that someone independent of Government is able to say to the Department of Health that community hospitals are, or are not, working in rural areas. I do not think, with all due respect, that local authorities coming together, perhaps through the Local Government Association’s rural committee, are going to be a powerful enough voice—listened to and respected by everyone who is sufficiently resourced—to do that.