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 Colin Breed Colin Breed Shadow Minister, Environment, Food & Rural Affairs 9:15 am, 23rd June 2005

The voice of the people, through their elected representatives, would drown out that of the Government. The people’s is the strong voice, and the voice that we are supposedly representing. The setting up of the rural advocate is rather strange, because we have a department of rural affairs. One might imagine that Ministers in the department of rural affairs might be advocates for rural communities and advocates in Government, recognising that they have the distinctive role of including that voice in Government policy. Apparently, they do not. They do not feel able to do that work, and they feel that it should be shunted to somebody else who is far more able to do the job for which the whole department was set up.