New Alzheimer’s drug – a breakthrough?

Because there are 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia, many of us know someone – often in our own families – who has or had dementia. We know what a ghastly disease it can be and one in four of us will suffer too.

We should, therefore, be pleased that Britain has emerged as a world leader in fighting dementia. Since 2010 the Prime Minister has doubled our investment in research and held the first-ever dedicated G8 event on dementia in 2013, securing greater global cooperating between leading nations.

Alzheimer’s Research is the leading charity in the UK working on this. In 2014 I invited them to Gloucester to share their progress so far. At a packed and open meeting the conclusion was that scientists felt they were close to real breakthroughs on ways of understanding and measuring the disease.

We live in hope that science can work out how dementia happens and what can prevent it, control it or at least slow it down. Last week we saw an announcement that may have began this breakthrough. This is my summary on the key points:

Alzheimer’s drug: What is solanezumab – and how does it work?

Scientists have welcomed the first evidence of a drug that can slow the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s disease.

The new drug is important as for decades there has been no progress on the treatment of Alzheimer’s, but results from the trials for solanezumab suggest the drug slows the onset of the disease.

Why are people excited about this?

Alzheimer’s disease mainly affects people over the age of 65 and is the most common form of dementia. There are more than 520,000 people in the UK with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.

The disease has so far proved incurable. Over the last ten years most drug studies focused on Alzheimer’s prevention or treatment have been discontinued amid disappointing results and high financial cost.

Eli Lilly, the US company behind solanezumab, even abandoned one of its own trials in 2012 over lack of progress.

Since existing drugs do not slow the deterioration of Alzheimer’s patients and there has been no progress in developing a treatment, the results of the solanezumab trials are good news.

So how effective is this new drug?

It’s certainly not a cure for Alzheimer’s. The drug was shown to slow memory loss in patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease when administered over the course of several years.

The trial results show that those who took the d rug for 3.5 years saw greater benefits than those who had taken it for only two years.

But the actual effects of the drug after this time seem unlikely to be discernable to the patient’s friends and family.

Further trials are needed.

How does it work?

Dr Doug Brown, the head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, says the drug is “able to reduce the sticky plaques of amyloid that build up in the brain” of Alzheimer’s patients.

Amyloids are abnormal proteins that can collect as deposits in parts of the body and are the most obvious physical manifestation of the disease.

In the case of Alzheimer’s patients they clump between nerve cells and damage the brain.

By tacking these, the drug could delay the onset of the disease.

And what comes next?

More trials and closer analysis of the data.

Results from further trials are expected in 2016, although the drug is unlikely to be available on the NHS for quite some time. We will still have to be patient, but solanezumab is big step in the right direction.

Category: Richard Graham

My exchange during the Welfare Reform and Work Bill debate Monday 20th July

Richard Graham Conservative, Gloucester 7:55 pm, 20th July 2015

Thank you for calling me to talk in this important debate, Madam Deputy Speaker. I shall start by focusing on one or two comments that Members made earlier and then return to a central issue—getting those with disabilities back into work.

The right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Frank Field) said that 3 million strivers will be hammered. I am a great fan of his—he is the Chairman of the Select Committee of which I am a member, and I am sorry he is not in the Chamber to hear this—but his gloom tonight was focused on two things. The first is the big problem of unity and what approach to take to welfare and work within his own party. The second is an underlying belief that the only way to help the poor is ultimately to increase benefits from taxpayers, and that the only way out of poverty is to grow a tax credits bill that is already, at £30 billion a year, far greater than in the similar populations of France or Germany, and is, in the words of the former Chancellor, previously the right hon. Member for Edinburgh South West,

“subsidising lower wages in a way that was never intended”

when it was first introduced by the Government of the right hon. Member for Birkenhead.

The reason why the right hon. Gentleman and his party are discombobulated on the issue is that they rightly feared a reduction in benefits before an increase in wages and did not expect that my party, the party of compassionate conservatism, would implement precisely that: a national living wage considerably above that mooted by their former leader, plus an expansion of the tax-free allowance which will take the amount one can earn without paying income tax to almost double by 2020 the £6,500 allowance of 2010. They know that higher wages, lower tax and less welfare is the right way forward, because there was no social justice in spending over £170 billion more than we received in tax revenues, leaving the interest on Labour’s debts alone—the interest alone—costing us more than the entire education budget. There is no social justice in spending more on benefits—on the interest on all that debt—than on helping our children with education and giving them the chance to attain and to go on to good jobs.

Some of Labour’s leadership candidates have realised that point and seen that there are no more sweeties in the sweet bag and no credible alternative to this overall philosophy of higher wages, lower tax and less welfare—

Unless one believes that living within one’s means is always for someone else and not for us, and one wishes to follow an anti-austerity programme that has led a country like Greece to the brink of disaster. That is a political option, but it is not one that the city of Gloucester would ever want this country to follow.

I turn briefly to the second part of my speech. The Chancellor promised in his Budget speech that we would always support the elderly, the vulnerable and the disabled.

Jeremy Quin Conservative, Horsham

Our hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, Southgate (Mr Burrowes) said that £30 billion a year is being spent on disability living allowance and on similar allowances. Does my hon. Friend agree that that is something all Government Members welcome?

Richard Graham Conservative, Gloucester

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to point out that the current welfare bill is unsustainable, but he is also right—I have seen him say this in Select Committee meetings—to say it is vital that we support the elderly, the vulnerable and the disabled. It is true that the Work programme has been far more successful for those on JSA than for those on ESA. The question therefore is: how do we help those people with disabilities who are currently not getting a job and not benefiting from the Work programme in the same way as those on JSA?

Some 61% of those in the ESA work-related action group say that they want to work and the evidence is that they do. I have heard from charities and from people with disabilities in my constituency how passionately they want to have the same working opportunities as the rest of us, so what can we do to help them? The Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, my hon. Friend the Member for North Swindon (Justin Tomlinson), in his role as the Minister for disabled people, has the ambitious task of halving the number of people with disabilities who are out of work. He will need some innovative thinking to help him, so let me make a couple of suggestions.

Philippa Whitford Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Health)

Should the hon. Gentleman not recognise that if these people want to work, it is the lack of support and the lack of jobs that is preventing them from getting into work. Why punish them by taking money away? It is like removing the crutches from someone who has just lost a leg before we give them the new limb. Let us get them into work—then they will not need the support.

Richard Graham Conservative, Gloucester

The hon. Lady raises a perfectly valid point. There is a philosophical difference here: do we take the difference between what they currently get on ESA and JSA and use that money to help give them the greater support that should get them into jobs, or do we just carry on as we are, knowing that the current programme is not that successful? We have to do something different. We have to do more in the Work programme to make it more likely that people with disabilities will get jobs. The jobs are there; all the statistics tell us that more jobs are available than there are people looking for them, but those with disabilities are not getting them at the moment. They need more help with resilience and confidence—the things that make a difference when people go to an interview. They need employers who understand, so the Disability Confident programme is important. They need—we need—providers to understand that they must do more to help, and in return we probably need to give more cash up front, rather than depending solely on payment by returns for those in the ESA category. We MPs need to do our bit. When we hold job fairs, how many of us focus on those on ESA? It is time to tilt our jobs fairs away from those on JSA and towards those with disabilities and on ESA. We can do that, with the help of the Department for Work and Pensions.

There is much to be done, and I believe Ministers are aware that when they review the Work programme they will have to innovate to make sure that those with disabilities and on ESA stand a better chance of winning jobs in a competitive marketplace. We need to do more to help employers realise the importance of this. All of us need to do more as Members to inspire our residents and our businesses to apply for those jobs and to help them win them. That will be vital in reducing the working age welfare cost from 13% of all public spending at the moment to a more reasonable figure.

Hannah Bardell Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Fair Work and Employment)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Richard Graham Conservative, Gloucester

I regret that there is no more time. Above all, we need to inspire those with disabilities into a job. The Leonard Cheshire Disability charity said:

“We believe that disabled people should have the freedom…to contribute economically and to participate fully in society.”

I believe that all of us agree with that. Now we must do our bit to make sure it happens.

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2015-07-20a.1256.0&s=speaker%3A24921+section%3Adebate#g1300.5

Category: Richard Graham

City MP supports the privatisation of the Green Investment Bank

Gloucester MP Richard Graham welcomes government plans to move the Green-Investment Bank to the private sector and do more to fund green initiatives.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid’s announced this week that he wanted to make GIB bigger and better by freeing it from constraints of Government ownership. The GIB would be free from limitations on borrowing money, and EU regulations on state aid.

City MP Richard Graham commented that “an independent GIB able to raise capital more cheaply and effectively and compete more widely is good news. I would love to see them financing more community projects like solar panels, marine energy and mini hydro in and around Gloucester and our county.

Richard added that “GIB is already committed to financing our waste to energy plant, which will resolve the issue of residual waste, which will provide energy for 25,000 homes. Now there should be more opportunities for interesting renewable energy ideas.

Lifting constraints on the GIB is a good example of the new government wasting no time in making a positive difference.”

Category: Richard Graham

My speech on the Reports into Investigatory Powers debate

Richard Graham Conservative, Gloucester 3:46 pm, 25th June 2015

It is a pleasure to speak in this debate and to follow the hon. and learned Member for Holborn and St Pancras (Keir Starmer), who brought to bear his experience of the absolutely vital nature of communications data to securing the prosecution of those who are serious threats to our nation. I thank him for that.

The homework for this debate was “A Question of Trust”, the Anderson report; and “Privacy and Security”, the ISC’s report. The third bit, the report by the Royal United Services Institute, has not come out yet, so we are having the debate before all the homework is available to us.

I want to focus on the element of threat covered in the Anderson report. His remit was to focus on the threats, the capabilities required to deal with them, the safeguards on privacy, the challenges of technology, and issues relating to transparency and oversight. Two of those five issues relate to threat. Interestingly, the responses by groups and organisations interested in this subject—I have read at least two, including one from Liberty and one from Big Brother Watch—hardly alluded to the threat element at all; they focused entirely, and perhaps understandably, on privacy. To some extent, Mr Anderson gave them some cover for that, because, to quote him directly,

“claims of exceptional or unprecedented threat levels—particularly if relied upon for the purposes of curbing well-established liberties—should be approached with scepticism.”

However, he did not go on to spell out what those well-established liberties were, particularly in relation to the internet and communications data, which are still new to our society. He went on to ask what are the uniform views of the law enforcement community.

The Government could help him in establishing what those views are. The Minister might well want to comment on that.

The threat is of course enormous, and it is not just terrorism, alarming as that is. Members have alluded to at least two other elements: they include internet pornography and, perhaps most emotionally, the whole business of sexual exploitation of children. It is hard to believe that after everything that has happened in Rotherham, with all the reports on that, and in other cities across our land, anyone could imagine that that threat is not serious.

I therefore share to some extent the amazement of Lord Carlile, the Liberal Democrat peer, who, after a decade as the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, was shocked when his own party leader vetoed the Communications Data Bill in the last Parliament. He implied that the veto was a political decision rather than one based on the merits of the case. I hope that the Minister, who is perhaps not renowned for his libertarian instincts, but who is renowned for his staunch support of the liberties of our people, will touch on how vital that Bill is as part of our armoury to face the threats.

There is a lot of agreement between the Anderson report and the Intelligence and Security Committee’s report. First, on the complexity of the existing number of laws, when my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve) says that the laws are virtually incomprehensible, it is surely time for a single, united Bill. When my right hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mark Field) says that he has his own concerns as a member of the ISC about the way in which different agencies might be able to “arbitrage” between different Bills, I think we can all agree that the Government are surely entitled to conclude that it is time for one overriding umbrella Bill.

Secondly, the two reports were not exactly the same on the issue of reform of the commission system, but it seems to me that everyone agrees that it would be simpler and clearer to have a single commissioner with overall responsibility.

There was a difference of opinion on warrants and whether they should be subject to judicial authority or continue to be the responsibility of Ministers. Mr Anderson raised two interesting points. The first was that, whatever the system is, it must have public confidence. I am not really aware that the current system does not have public confidence, but perhaps that should be explored. Secondly, he intimated that a system of judicial responsibility would make co-operation with US technology companies easier. I had not heard that before. It seems slightly improbable, but perhaps the Minister will comment on it, because it is clearly an important issue.

Thirdly, the Anderson report—and possibly the ISC report—mentioned the domestic right of appeal. I am sure that the Minister will want to say something about that. Instinctively, I feel that it is a good idea, and others probably do, too.

There was less agreement between the reports on some of the other elements. I have touched on the Communications Data Bill. Clearly there is a need to make a strong operational case, but none of us should be in any doubt about the critical role that such data

play in the prosecution of serious threats. I hope that elements of the Bill will be incorporated into the eventual law.

There was also a question mark over whether the framework for interception of external communications needs to be compliant with the European convention on human rights. That is an interesting question in itself and in relation to other activities the Government are pursuing. The Minister might want to comment on that.

There were areas of agreement in the two reports we were invited to study that the Government can take forward. There were some queries of the Government’s own responses, which they may wish to mull over and respond to. Mr Anderson also raised other question marks and issues that will need to be considered further before the final Bill emerges.

There is clearly a significant lobby group focused on liberty issues, which we all understand and all think are important. However, I want to finish by emphasising that, when we consider the details of the new law, the new commissioner, the right of appeal, the collection of third party data and so on, I hope that this House and the Minister will bear it in mind that, if a terrorist blows someone or something up, or if young girls are groomed, exploited and damaged, it is not the libertarians who will clean up the pieces, but the families of those physically or mentally scarred, the emergency services and the communities around them. It is that threat that our agencies strive against. Our task—balancing the privacy, carrying the quiet majority with us—is surely to give our agencies the tools to do the job. Those tools, by common consent, are currently not in the best shape, and in reshaping them let us never forget the vital task for which we must design them.

Category: Richard Graham

Why we need to speed up adoption procedures

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has written to me outlining why we need to speed up the bureaucracy of adoption procedures – and I know all the examples in Gloucester where the points she makes are absolutely right.

So let me share this with you:

All children deserve a loving stable home

Despite dramatic improvements during the last Parliament, which saw a record high in the number of adoptions, the adoption system is still highly fragmented. Our adoption reforms have simplified the adoption system to encourage more people to adopt and make sure children are placed swiftly with a family where this is in their best interests. This Bill establishes powers to tackle inefficiencies in the current adoption system and ensure more children are found loving, stable homes.

Giving children the new start they need 

Each day spent waiting in the care system when they could be with their new family is a day wasted. Around 180 agencies recruit and match adopters, and the majority of agencies operate on a very small scale. Over 3,000 children are still waiting for permanent families, despite there being enough approved adopters across the country.

The measures in the Bill will lead to the consolidation of adoption services and councils working together as regional adoption agencies. This will give local authorities a greater pool of approved adopters with which to match vulnerable children successfully first time; make vital support services more widely available to adoptive families; and ensure recruitment of adopters is better targeted. It gives the Secretary of State the power to direct local authorities to consolidate their adoption services by directing one or more local authorities to have certain adoption functions carried out on their behalf by a named local authority or adoption agency.

I think this would make a real difference, and look forward to supporting the bill.

Category: Richard Graham

Why we need to speed up adoption procedures

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has written to me outlining why we need to speed up the bureaucracy of adoption procedures – and I know all the examples in Gloucester where the points she makes are absolutely right.

So let me share this with you:

All children deserve a loving stable home

Despite dramatic improvements during the last Parliament, which saw a record high in the number of adoptions, the adoption system is still highly fragmented. Our adoption reforms have simplified the adoption system to encourage more people to adopt and make sure children are placed swiftly with a family where this is in their best interests. This Bill establishes powers to tackle inefficiencies in the current adoption system and ensure more children are found loving, stable homes.

Giving children the new start they need
Each day spent waiting in the care system when they could be with their new family is a day wasted. Around 180 agencies recruit and match adopters, and the majority of agencies operate on a very small scale. Over 3,000 children are still waiting for permanent families, despite there being enough approved adopters across the country.

The measures in the Bill will lead to the consolidation of adoption services and councils working together as regional adoption agencies. This will give local authorities a greater pool of approved adopters with which to match vulnerable children successfully first time; make vital support services more widely available to adoptive families; and ensure recruitment of adopters is better targeted. It gives the Secretary of State the power to direct local authorities to consolidate their adoption services by directing one or more local authorities to have certain adoption functions carried out on their behalf by a named local authority or adoption agency.

I think this would make a real difference, and look forward to supporting the bill.

Category: Richard Graham

Why does your vote in Gloucester matter?

Why is your vote important to me?

Your vote matters because it will determine the direction of Gloucester.  In 2010 I pledged to focus on jobs especially for the young: on regeneration across the city and on protecting front-line health services. So what have we achieved in those five years?

  • We have halved unemployment and doubled the number of apprentices: record numbers of new businesses and a record amount of investment in the city.
  • Tougher exam scoring but better results across the city: the first brand-new secondary school in Gloucester for a generation
  • Regeneration and several hundred jobs in the railway triangle
  • Gloucester City Homes converted into a charity and committed to building 100 new homes – the first new social homes on the city estate for a generation
  • Doubled the number of Health Visitors and created more integrated adult care: employed more than 400 additional staff in our Hospitals Trust and won £20m Smart Care software: won 2 additional funds for more GP appointments.
  • Created more festivals and won 11 Heritage Lottery Fund wins
  • Improved the C&G and Walls roundabouts
  • Funded a new Bus Station for 2016
  • Funded an additional entrance & new car park for the Rail Station
  • Built a new cinema, several new restaurants & increased visitors to the Gloucester Quays by 70%: enabled new hi tech Tidal Lagoon & Cyber Centre HQs and the creation of the first Gloucester Brewery for 60 years.

We still have masses to do and your vote matters because you can vote for more of that change in Gloucester or go back to the old days – of boom and bust and sharply increased youth unemployment, the second worst secondary school results in the country, our manufacturing crippled and the prospects for our city at best uncertain.

Or you can vote to keep Gloucester on the UP.

It’s your decision: it matters, and I hope you will be voting for me on May the seventh.

Category: Richard Graham

My thoughts on defence and security issues

Some constituents have asked me about my and our position on defence and defence issues.
So here is a short summary – do e mail me on richard4gloucester@gmail.com if you have further queries.
There is more global uncertainty at the moment than at any time in my 35 years working life. We face both man made and natural threats alike. These include ghastly civil wars in Syria, Iraq and Libya, the military brinkmanship of Putin along European borders, domestic terrorism threats, an increasing likelihood of a Greek exit from the euro, an earthquake in Nepal and a volcano in Chile.
This calls for a calm and proven approach. This is not the time to ditch the ultimate insurance policy – our nuclear submarines. Nor is it the time to prevent GCHQ from nailing terrorists because of concerns about ‘snooping’. After working in William Hague’s team for 4 years I know how many near misses there have been.
We plugged the £38 billion black hole inherited in the defence budget and now need the best hi tech equipment for our Armed Forces. That means a strong and growing economy to pay for our £163 billion ten year programme. This includes the two aircraft carriers, new Type 26 frigates and A400Ms from Filton.
It is right that we have the biggest defence budget in Europe and the second largest in NATO, for defence of the realm is any nation’s top priority. Over the next five years dealing with terrorism will continue to be one of our country’s most difficult challenges, and my experience as a diplomat and in Parliament and government on these issues will be very relevant.
Category: Richard Graham

Three new changes to help make life better…

There are three changes made by the government this week which I think could make a difference to you or your family life: here they are –

1. Lost or stolen mobile

First, mobile users will no longer risk receiving 5 figure bills if their devices are stolen. The 5 major network providers: EE, 02, Three, Virgin Media and Vodafone have signed up to a measure of a £100 “liability cap” on bills that will be activated if the phone is reported lost or stolen within 24 hours of it going missing. If the providers breach this new laws they will face fines of up to £5000.

For more information please see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32005851

2. Protecting fans from ticket fraud

Secondly, the government has backed new legislation to protect fans from fraud in the secondary ticketing market. The proposal will still allow fans to resell unwanted eg gig or sports tickets but to ensure that those buying the tickets from reselling companies such as Viagogo and Seatwave will know the precise details of the ticket they are purchasing (row, seat, face value, age restrictions, its original seller), which are currently not legally required. They will also help to stamp out the sale of both counterfeit tickets and speculative tickets being sold on the secondary market.

For more information please see: http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/feb/25/touts-suffer-blow-government-backs-regulation-secondary-ticketing

3. Parking in council owned parking places

And third, drivers in England will now get a 10 minute grace before being fined if they stay too long in council-owned car parking spaces.   Other changes, expected to take effect later this month, include:

  • guidance for councils reminding them they are banned from “using parking to generate profit”
  • a right for residents and businesses to demand – by a petition – that a council “reviews parking in their area”
  • new powers for parking adjudicators so they can “hold councils to account”
  • protection to stop drivers being fined after parking at out-of-order meters
  • a ban on the use of CCTV “spy cars” except in no-parking areas such as bus lanes and near schools

For more information please see: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2981794/10-minute-let-avoid-parking-ticket-month-new-law-let-overstay-meter-without-fine.html

Category: Richard Graham

My last speech in this Parliament – focusing on economic strength and social justice

Richard Graham (Gloucester) (Con): Today’s debate focuses on work and pensions—the two issues that are at the heart of this Government’s mission to ensure that everyone is better off working and everyone is better off saving. Neither of those things was remotely true in 2010 and both are much closer to being true today. It is vital that Britain allows this Government to finish the job of making both those crucial philosophies true.

The first part is about ensuring that universal credit is rolled out and implemented effectively everywhere. That means that, finally, the tax credits that have prevented so many people from working for longer than 15 hours will no longer prevent people from doing so and that many of my constituents will have the chance to benefit from having full-time jobs.

At the same time, we need to get the spirit of the triple lock, which has brought security so effectively to those on the basic state pension by giving everyone £950 more than they were getting in 2010, into the world of annuities, which have been liberated, so that those who need and want them can have them, but those who do not want them do not have them. The small income that many of my constituents generate from their savings should not be taxed, so that there is an incentive to save. The means-tested pension prevented many people from saving, because they could see that their neighbour was better off not saving. We must not allow that world to continue.

That is our mission. It is what my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke) called free market economics with a social conscience. In my words, it is getting the economy right in order to improve lives. That is the mission that this Government have been on for the past five years and it must continue.

How does it feel on the ground in my Gloucester constituency? Youth unemployment went up by 40% under the previous Government and it has gone down by almost 60% under this Government, from 760 to 345. There were too many families with two generations, if not three, in which no one was working, meaning that there was no role model. Some 2 million children across the country were growing up in those households.

Today, we have 5,900 new apprenticeships in Gloucester, which is more than double the pace under the previous Government. That is not about statistics, but about opportunities for individuals. People who come from backgrounds that meant that they never imagined they would be able to get a job and that they faced a future on benefits are getting the skills that they need for a lifetime of opportunities. In terms of social justice, there is no better individual story than that of Beauty—a Nigerian woman who was trafficked to this country and who, with help from a number of us, was given the chance to stay in this country and is now training to be a nurse in a hospital in Gloucestershire. That is the mission.

Interestingly, only today, I read the best indicator I have come across of business confidence in the south-west of England. It stated:

“Turnover and profit growth are expected to remain steady”.

It said that there were good prospects for jobs. However, there was a but: the prospect of a new Government makes many business leaders nervous about their long-term prospects. It is no surprise that businesses are nervous.

23 Mar 2015 : Column 1201

They should be, and so should parents because the shadow Business Secretary announced recently that the Labour party would axe the level 2 national vocational qualification from being considered an apprenticeship. That would be a disastrous blow for the many people who leave school at 16 or 17, start with a level 2 and go on to improve the level of their apprenticeship.

We need a Government who are fiscally responsible—as the Budget was—and who produce specific instances of improving the lives of our constituents. I was delighted with the encouragement for tidal lagoon power and its first historic opportunity to develop marine energy from Swansea bay. The company is headquartered in Gloucester and is a £1 billion project. Opportunities in the future with three or four further tidal lagoons will offer thousands of jobs in south Wales and around Gloucestershire. There was also encouragement for my plan for the redevelopment of Gloucester railway station. That was confirmed by the announcement this morning by the Department for Transport that we will be getting a new station car park with up to 240 new places and a new entrance to our station on Great Western road, linking our hospital and the station directly for the first time. That will come in 2016.

I also welcome the announcement by the Chancellor—we await the full details—that the campaign that I and my hon. Friend the Member for Winchester (Steve Brine) have been running for justice for police widows has been accepted by the Government. That is a good example of where a stronger economy allows for social justice and for the Government to make decisions that improve the lives of those who, through no fault of their own, were victims of an historical injustice.

Some things remain to be done, and we await the details of the retirement guidance on savings. That is critical and we must work to ensure that it is good. We must continue with auto-enrolment and to reverse the decline of those with pensions and savings. We might consider a new ISA for care. Yes to 3 million apprenticeships —deeper, broader and perhaps more for the over 50s. The hon. Member for Leeds West (Rachel Reeves) said there have been five wasted years, but they were not wasted. We must now build on those years to ensure that we go forward with an even better, stronger economy, helping those who have less.

Category: Richard Graham