Labour minister boosts Mole’s campaign

IPSWICH: Labour’s Chris Mole had more heavyweight backing when environment secretary Hilary Benn joined him on a canvassing session on Nacton Road and the Ravenswood estate.

Mr Benn came to Ipswich yesterday after the launch of his party’s rural manifesto on the Norfolk Broads.

And he insisted that Labour – which often struggles to attract votes in the countryside – had answers to many rural problems.

He said: “We want go give rural communities the opportunity to develop. We support schemes to protect local pubs and shops and make it more difficult to close them and turn them into executive homes.”

Mr Benn was keen to allow local authorities to ease planning restrictions to make it easier to build affordable homes in rural areas.

He said: “You have to make it possible for people to live in these communities – there have to be homes that are affordable for the teacher at the local village school or the shopkeeper.”

And Mr Benn said it was vital that the government’s scheme to expand broadband to rural areas was promoted.

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