HC Deb 09 February 2004 vol 417 c1152W
Mr. Amess

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the progress her Department has made in implementing the Rural White Paper. [152617]

Alun Michael

The recent review of progress on implementation shows that considerable progress has been made on the programme set out in the Rural White Paper. The creation of Defra, with a clear remit for rural policy, and a Cabinet Committee on Rural regeneration has strengthened the rural agenda significantly.

Copies of the recent White Paper Review are available in the Library of the House. It show that the vision continues to command widespread support. Evidence from our Rural Research Centre—established by Defra and led by Birkbeck College—provides a clean and firm basis for refreshing our rural policy.

Progress in delivering the commitments in the Rural White Paper is set out at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/rural/ruralwp/timetable.htm. The present plan shows progress to 31 August 2003. An updated plan showing progress to 31 December 2003 will shortly be on the Defra website at the same address.

Details of the Rural White Paper Review can be seen at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/rural/rwpreview/ default. Htm

Further information about the Rural Research Centre is available at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/latest/2004/ruralwhite-0104.htm