Secretary of State outlines Conservative broadband push at North Devon Show

Mr Paterson joined the Prime Minister at the North Devon Show

Mr Paterson joined the Prime Minister at the North Devon Show - Credit: Archant

Owen Paterson on ‘absolutely monster’ broadband, British farming and the badger cull

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Owen Paterson has highlighted his commitment to expanding broadband in rural areas.

Mr Paterson accompanied David Cameron to Wednesday’s North Devon Show, where he was quick to state that he believed broadband was ‘absolutely monster’.

“I can’t think of anything that we can do that would most help not just farming, but all activities in the countryside,” he said.

“It completely transforms the lives of elderly people. If you’re in a remote constituency and can’t get around you are massively disadvantaged, but if you have broadband, you can talk to your relative in Australia, you can do your shopping, you can keep in touch with news and current affairs.

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“Healthcare can be transformed by broadband – we are hard at it, but it is a huge project.”

Mr Paterson also reaffirmed his party’s aim to get people into farming.

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“There’s a pool of young talent out there who are keen to get into British farming and we want to make sure they stay here and don’t go abroad, so we need to make it attractive and we need to make it profitable.

“That means making sure that regulation is relevant and easy and doesn’t stop entrepreneurial activity.

“We want to make sure our CAP money is spent in a sensible manner so it benefits farmers directly and helps them develop a resilient, long-term industry.”

There was also an offer to Devon to be part of the badger culling pilot scheme next year in the light of discontent from local farmers, and the Secretary of State wants to see a Conservative majority government in 2015 to better implement policies.

“We are determined to grow the rural economy. We’re also looking at import substitution – 22% of the food eaten in this country is imported but could be grown here.”

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