CLA President in Cumbria for launch of Rural Statement

07 November 2013

Mr Cotterell joined Owen Paterson, the newly appointed Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, at a village near Sedbergh which is one of the first to be given funding to connect more than 500 homes and businesses to a superfast fibre optic broadband service.

Speaking about the new Rural Statement, which underlines the Government's drive for rural businesses to overcome barriers to growth, Mr Cotterell said he was pleased Defra has recognised the importance of broadband as a driver for rural economic growth.

He said: "A fast and reliable internet connection is crucial for rural businesses to be able to compete with their urban-based counterparts. The process for rolling–out broadband to rural areas has been far too slow so I am pleased to see the Government has recognised this and is tackling this issue."      

Mr Cotterell also welcomed Mr Paterson's commitment to "rural proofing" Government policies.

He said: "Policies drawn up in Westminster can have little relevance and even be detrimental to those living and working in the countryside. I was encouraged to hear Mr Paterson speak about rural proofing Government policies to ensure they meet the needs of rural businesses and communities."