PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP welcomes extra government funding for Gloucestershire

City MP Richard Graham has welcomed today’s announcement of Growth Deal funding for Gloucestershire saying, “It is good news that Gloucestershire has received a further £29 million from the latest round of the Growth Fund. We will all benefit from the establishment of a big new cyber Park in Cheltenham, which will complement some of the cyber developments in both Cheltenham and Gloucester recently. Likewise the £4m to be spent on improving the Longford roundabout on the A40 ring road around Gloucester will benefit many of my constituents and others in our county.

Obviously I’m disappointed that that our bid for improvements around the Railway Station weren’t successful, but Great Western work at the new car park starts this month and we have two important bids to the Homes and Community Agency (HCA) on which we will hear shortly. A City Council delegation led by Paul James joined me for a useful discussion with the HCA earlier this week so there is masses to be getting on with.

At the same time figures announced by the Lottery Fund this week showed that Gloucester has received £62 million from the National Lottery Fund for 670 projects since inception – hugely benefiting communities, heritage and sport. Winners include the Blackbridge Jubilee Athletics track, Matson Rugby Club, St Mary de Crypt, the Podsmead Big Local and the new Rowing Club.so funding comes through many different routes.”

Tenth successive month of falling unemployment in Gloucester

Gloucester MP Richard Graham said  today’s latest unemployment figures mark the tenth month in a row that unemployment in Gloucester: with over 800 more people in jobs over the last year.

Reacting to the news, the City MP said, “108 more people in the city with a job in the last month, 800 in the last year, and over a thousand since 2010.

Each new job means one more person with a wage packet and an opportunity to get on. Further evidence of Gloucester on the UP”

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP encourages pupils to visit Auschwitz

Gloucester MP Richard Graham has written to local secondary schools to encourage their sixth form pupils’ participation in the ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ project run by the Holocaust Educational Trust.

Richard said about the visits to World War Two concentration camp Auschwitz: “I went there with some Gloucestershire pupils and teachers some years ago. It’s a very powerful reminder of what humans can do to other humans, how precious our freedoms and democracy are – and everyone who has been will always remember what they’ve seen, and be stronger in their support of tolerance in society.”

The MP added he would recommend the trip to anyone and that the HET’s subsidies make it more affordable.

The trip for the West Midlands South region (which includes Gloucester) departs on Wednesday 22nd March 2017 and costs £59 per participant as it is sponsored by the government and the Holocaust Educational Trust. Applications for the trip close on the 24th of February, and for more information on how to apply, visit www.het.org.uk

Note to editors:

The Project is now in its eighteenth year and has taken more than 30,000 students and teachers from across the UK to visit the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP urges council to consider levy towards night time economy

Gloucester MP Richard Graham has urged the City Council to consider raising funds from a Late Night Levy on night time outlets and venues, including takeaways, to cover the social costs of nightlife in the city centre.

Richard said, “The legislation now exists to enable councils to raise funds from those who benefit most from the night time economy to help cover the social costs also associated with it. The Late Night Levy could be a valuable source of funds for services like CCTV operators and the police who deal with the brunt of incidents.

We want all the fun our night time venues can bring, and most people enjoy them responsibly. But I think it’s time that the businesses involved, for example, contribute to the clean-up of broken glass and food on the street. So this is something I’m asking Gloucester City Council to consider carefully.”

The Late Night Levy has been taken up by seven local authorities so far, and was amended by the government in January to encourage more local authorities to consider implementing the levy in their area.

The Levy allows the council to raise a contribution from late-opening alcohol suppliers towards policing the night-time economy. It can apply to specific geographical locations, and the authorities will be required to publish information about how the funds are spent. The police will receive at least 70% of the net levy revenue and the local authority can retain up to 30% to fund other services.

PRESS RELEASE: 107 MPs call for swift government support for Tidal Lagoons

107 MPs have signed a letter to Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary of State Greg Clark calling for the government to respond to the recommendations of the Hendry Review on Tidal Lagoons, and in particular Charles Hendry’s call for a pathfinder Tidal Lagoon, as soon as possible.

Chair of the All Party Group for Marine Energy and Tidal Lagoons Richard Graham MP said:

“Former Energy Minister Charles Hendry started his Review as a sceptic and ended as an enthusiast. He was very clear in urging the government to give the green light for a pathfinder in Swansea – the world’s first ever tidal lagoon – and then see whether the experience justified going ahead with much larger future lagoons.

There is a large amount of support in Parliament for this and many of us believe that tidal lagoons meet the aims of the government’s new industrial strategy. Clearly the BusinessSecretary and the Chancellor will want to be sure the pathfinder is affordable in the context of delivering secure, domestic, low carbon and diversified sources of energy. Our letter is to urge the government not to delay in responding positively to the recommendations and getting the financial talks for the pathfinder under way.”

Notes to editors

Richard Graham MP will be available for interviews on the 14th of February and the morning of the 15th of February. Please contact Megan Trethewey for details: 020 7219 2299.

The Rt Hon Charles Hendry presented his Independent Review on Tidal Lagoons to the Secretary of State before Christmas, and has since released it to the public.

The report concluded that tidal lagoons could make a ‘strong contribution to UK energy security’, based on an analysis of security, carbonisation, affordability and economic gain. It added that Tidal Lagoons would create a ‘lifeline’ to UK companies including some in the
steel industry, and offer a ‘significant economic opportunity for Wales and the UK more generally’.

The Review proposed the construction of a ‘pathfinder’ lagoon at Swansea Bay to start as soon as negotiations with the companies involved have been finalised.

Minister for Industry and Energy Jesse Norman MP has stated that “there will be no dragging of heels” in the government’s response to the review.

The Hendry Review final report can be found here.

Information regarding the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Marine Energy and Tidal Lagoons can be found here.

Flick Drummond MP also agrees with the contents of the letter.

 

Gloucester: second fastest growth in business jobs in the UK

The hardest thing for those trying to make things better in a city is a sense of perspective and relative measurement. How are we doing compared to others?

The annual Centre for Cities Outlook Report, like any data gathering exercise, has limits and needs interpretation. But it does shed some interesting light.

In 2015-2016 Gloucester had the fourth highest employment rate of any city: over 80% of us are working, with a very high (6.7%) increase. In fact we had the second fastest increase in business jobs of any city in the country: 2,100 more jobs in that year alone. For me that’s critical. We’ve always had a very high ratio of public sector jobs but our economy is more balanced now, with the ratio of business to public sector now of 1.8 or 41,000 to 23,000.

This is all very good news, and takes us closer to what economists would say is full employment. Our next challenge is to increase the numbers of those with disabilities in work. Our county does well overall on this, but there is more we can do in the city, and there are skills available that employers should look at more. Forwards (based in the county council) leads co-ordination on this.

Gloucester was also the 10th fastest growing city by population, and 7th for the fastest growth in housing stock – building homes to meet increased demand. I know we need more homes, more affordable homes and more 1 and 2 bed homes. New housing is coming through in different places, both in the city centre and suburbs, and there is much more to come – while still keeping our precious green lungs.

There are a couple of areas to work on. We come fairly low on export revenue per worker (third quartile), and I suspect this reflects a mix of some strong exporters but many SMEs who aren’t yet exporting at all. Our skill levels are improving – those with no formal qualification are down to 8.1% (national average is 8.8%), but we can do much more on skills.

Which is why the relocation of the University’s Business School to Gloucester, offering nursing degrees and nursing associate higher apprenticeships from the University, the apprenticeships at GlosCol, GET, Prospect and SWAP matter hugely. As does our goal for a University Technical College. There is no point trying to increase our control of immigration unless we can train our own young for the jobs we have available, like nursing, and especially the 50,000 jobs in the county’s health sector.

The Centre for Cities latest report is a good one for Gloucester. Like any school Head’s report there’s room for improvement, and there always will be. Skills, productivity and exports stand out for me. We have plans on all and must make sure they come through. A good result from our Growth Fund bid would help, as would government approval of the world’s first tidal lagoon and local planning approval for our University’s plans. It’s all about keeping good momentum going.

Why I voted to trigger leaving the EU

Watch my speech in the House of Commons above

In the run-up to the referendum, I believed that the considerable short-term risks of leaving the European Union outweighed the unquantifiable future benefits, but I underestimated the deep mistrust of the European Union.

The people have decided to leave. I must respect that decision, and I will support this Bill.

The hard work now begins. For example, how do we access the benefits of free trade and the inspection-free transfer of goods from outside EU structures such as the single market and the customs union? Some believe that nothing is possible, but that the alternative to working for success is to hope that things go badly—even to will it—to be ceaselessly critical and, ultimately, to achieve only an echo of Private Fraser’s lament, “We’re all doomed.”

Although none of us has perfect foresight, I am absolutely confident that we will have much greater success in lining up future free trade agreements than some people have suggested.

The negotiations will begin soon. In my view, we need an agreement in which we are generous to Europeans living here, enthusiastic in our continuation of academic and research co-operation, and resolute in our solidarity with Europe on defence and security.

In that agreement, we must be practical about ways of controlling immigration but welcoming to skills, tourists and entrepreneurs; we must be free of the European Court of Justice, but never compromise on standards or the rule of law; and we must be adventurous in pursuing our own trade deals, but never underestimate the importance of free trade and easy customs clearance in all that we do with Europe.

That is what I hope the Government’s White Paper will lay out. I hope that it will bring our one nation of diverse parts together. Whatever our concerns about the journey, we should start positively, not cynically.

Do let me know what you think Brexit should look like at richard.graham.mp@parliament.uk.
Best regards

 

 

 

 

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PRESS RELEASE: MP secures BT broadband deal for Tolsey Gardens

Richard Graham MP has secured an agreement from Openreach – BT’s local network business – to fund vital upgrade works in Tolsey Gardens in Tuffley to provide them with fibre broadband from the Summer.

This follows concerns raised by Tolsey Gardens residents about the ongoing slow internet they were experiencing, with average speeds of 2.5MB. Richard Graham had meetings with BT and the then-Broadband Minister Ed Vaizey MP to discuss the case and to see if an appropriate solution could be found.

Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester, said, “I am glad that we have now come to an agreement with BT to help Tolsey Gardens residents get the broadband that they need. One local resident told me about how he is unable to Skype his son who lives abroad, which is not acceptable in this day and age. This is a great result for Tolsey Garden residents, but there are still some who struggle to get decent internet speeds, and so we are also working with the county council on how to use Fastershire money for other black spots in Gloucester.”

Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director of next generation access, said, “Our ambition is to never say no to residents who ask for improved broadband service. In this case, following a review, we were able to find a solution by working with Ministers, the local MP Richard Graham and residents. As a result, Tolsey Gardens will see a real improvement in their broadband speeds when the works are finished.”

Cllr Nigel Hanman said, “I would think the residents of Tolsey Gardens will be highly delighted considering their wait.”

Cllr Steve Morgan said, “It is encouraging that BT have responded in a positive way to the requests for improvement to this service. This demonstrates that they will listen to the views of residents and their elected representatives.”

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