HC Deb 20 May 2002 vol 386 c104W
Mr. Breed

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason no information relating to the banking regulations was passed to the Countryside Agency for its Rural Proofing report; and if he will make a statement. [57460]

Ruth Kelly

The Treasury was happy to work with the Countryside Agency to produce its Rural Proofing report, and provided relevant information on how the Treasury had considered the rural dimension on new policies, where that did not pre-empt policy in the process of development. The Treasury takes Rural Proofing very seriously and has appointed a full-time secondee from the Countryside Agency to rural proof the 2002 Spending Review. That commitment is well demonstrated in the area of banking, where the "Universal Bank", a project on which the Treasury has been closely involved, is planned to make bank accounts accessible to all at post office counters by April 2003. This will be of particular benefit to those living in rural areas, where post offices are far more numerous thank bank branches: 93.5 per cent. of households in rural England live within 2 km of a post office.

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