Promises and Damascene Conversions ahead of the “Secret Hustings” somewhere in Exeter tonight.

As our economy faces serious crises, there seems to be no end to the fantasy promises being made by the two candidates. 

Anyone discussing Standards in Public Life? – Owl

From today’s Western Morning News:

Housing pressures in the South West and support for farmers have been highlighted as key issues by Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss as their campaign to lead the Conservative Party and the country brings them to the Westcountry.

Mr Sunak and Ms Truss will appear at a hustings event for Conservative Party members in Exeter today ahead of a national membership ballot which will determine who wins the keys to Number 10 Downing Street.

Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak said ahead of this evening’s hustings that as part of his plan for the South West he will announce measures to tackle the issue of housing and holiday homes – a concern he said had been raised by communities across the region.

In a campaign statement he said he would give local councils a greater say over holiday homes and tourist rental properties; ensure that rural areas have sufficient affordable housing; review short-term tourist accommodation and give local authorities the power to introduce a register of holiday lets.

Mr Sunak said he had been touring the Westcountry, meeting local Conservative associations. “I am getting my message out to Conservative members in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset because this region will have a critical say in who our next Prime Minister should be,” he said.

“A critical part of that plan is tackling the issue of uncontrolled property lets which prevent local people from getting onto the housing ladder. So I will amend planning policy to give local councils a greater say over proposals to convert primary homes into tourist rental properties, and I will press on with reviewing the effect of short-term lets on local residents – providing further powers to local authorities where these are needed. You will not be priced out of your home towns and villages on my watch.”

On Friday, in an interview with the party blog ConservativeHome, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss also talked about housing and stressed the importance of creating “low-tax investment zones which will also have a simpler planning system attached to them” and “more incentives at a local level to build houses”.

She said: “We need to think differently, and we also need different approaches in different parts of the country. What’s good in Cornwall is not necessarily good in London. In London, I support more building up of houses, allowing people to extend their houses upwards, using brownfield sites. In places like Cornwall, having more homes where people working in local industry can live and they’re attached to each other, like Bournville.”

Both leadership candidates have also outlined their positions on farming and food production.

South West Norfolk MP, Ms Truss has pledged to “unleash British food and farming” in order to improve the nation’s food security. The Tory leadership hopeful said she would “remove onerous EU regulations and red tape” if she becomes Prime Minister and promised to tackle labour shortages in farming, partly caused by post-Brexit freedom of movement restrictions, with a short-term expansion to the seasonal workers scheme.

Ms Truss, who is due to meet farmers on a campaign stop in the South West, said: “The pandemic and cost-of-living crisis have shown it is more vital than ever for us to ensure we have a high-quality and affordable supply of British food.”

Setting out his plans for farming, Richmond (Yorks) MP, Mr Sunak said that as Prime Minister he would maintain and boost domestic food production through a new UK food security target and also introduce a new ‘Buy Local’ target for the public sector.

“As an MP for a rural constituency, I understand how important it is to take care of our natural environment and those it supports. I will always back our farmers,” he said.

“The Common Agricultural Policy did nothing to deliver for farmers, farming and the environment. It was indefensible that 50% of the budget went to just 10% of the largest landowners. That is why I will drive forward the most significant reforms to farming in half a century. Not only that, recent events have demonstrated the importance of domestic food production and the national resilience that it gives us. I will put a renewed focus on it – and ensure that we are supporting our farmers to boost production.

“Whilst the opportunities are endless for UK agriculture, I know that farmers are concerned by some of the trade deals we have struck – including with Australia. I want to say to farmers that my Government will make you a priority in all future trade deals.”

Both have also outlined their vision for rural Britain in the Countryside Alliance’s membership magazine, My Countryside. Ms Truss told the rural campaign organisation’s members she wanted to “unleash the potential of our rural communities”, and “place planning powers in the hands of local people”, while Mr Sunak said that his “mission has always been to do things ‘for’ rural communities, not ‘to’ them.”

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