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Cabinet minister to visit Herefordshire
10:20am Saturday 2nd February 2013 in News
THE Government's Environment Secretary has chosen Hereford to launch a £20m training programme for rural businesses – subsidising opportunities for 90,000 people nationwide.
On Monday, Owen Paterson will outline Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) plans to meet 70% of training costs on certain business, management and IT courses.
The Herefordshire College of Technology’s campus at Holme Lacy will host the launch, and be one of the colleges delivering subsidised training to help farmers, foresters and horticulturalists to grow their businesses.
“For too long the needs of rural business people have been overlooked,” said Mr Paterson. “Those days are over.”
Mr Paterson is also set to meet the leaders behind Hereford’s ‘Fast Start’ broadband initiative - a project that will connect 140, 000 homes in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire with ‘superfast’ broadband.
A process, insists Mr Paterson, that has the potential to revolutionise rural areas and open up countless business opportunities.
One of just 17 DEFRA ‘Rural Roadshows’ – aimed at discovering how to best support rural growth and jobs – it will provide a rare opportunity for Herefordshire community leaders to help shape government policy.
Christine Hope, chair of Herefordshire Rural Hubs Partnership, said: “We are looking forward to meeting the Secretary of State for the first time, and having an opportunity to discuss the issues affecting our community.”
For more on the visit, see Thursday's Hereford Times.