Category Archives: Gloucester News

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP welcomes government draft Bill on animal sentience

Richard Graham MP has welcomed a government drafted Bill on animal sentience published this week. The Bill follows government commitments to enshrine animal sentience in law and to increase the maximum sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years. The draft bill sets out that the government “must have regard to the welfare needs of animals as sentient beings in formulating and implementing government policy”.

 Richard said, “This Bill continues the government’s positive record in committing to ban microbeads, ivory and bee-killing pesticides, which I entirely support. It should also bring to an end a disgraceful campaign of fake news on animal sentience against Conservative MPs, for which two national newspapers have now apologised. It was particularly unpleasant for those of us who have been long term dog and cat owners, and I’m sorry some constituents joined in: but everyone will now be better informed.”

 RSPCA Head of Public Affairs David Bowles said:  “This is potentially great news for animals post-Brexit. To include the recognition of animal sentience as well as increasing animal cruelty sentencing to 5 years into the new 2018 Animal Welfare Bill is a very bold and welcome move by the Government. Even better, the legislation explicitly rejects the kind of exemptions for activities that the European Union deemed acceptable – such as bull-fighting and producing foie gras – which will offer even stronger protection than Article 13 of the EU Treaty could ever do. We warmly welcome measures to evaluate government policy against animal sentience and we await further detail.”

 Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “As we leave the EU we will deliver a Green Brexit, not only maintaining but enhancing animal welfare standards. Animals are sentient beings who feel pain and suffering, so we are writing that principle into law and ensuring that we protect their welfare. Our plans will also increase sentences for those who commit the most heinous acts of animal cruelty to five years in jail. We are a nation of animal lovers so we will make Brexit work not just for citizens but for the animals we love and cherish too.”

 The Bill is currently open to consultation, the public can contribute via the gov.uk website: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/animal-health-and-welfare/consultation-on-the-animal-welfare-bill/

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PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP urges residents: have your say on the boundary review now!

Gloucester MP Richard Graham has urged residents to have their say on the latest Boundary Commission proposal before the consultation closes on 11 December. The latest proposal is to move Elmbridge ward to the Tewkesbury Constituency.

 Richard said, “the Boundaries Commission is trying to bring down the cost of politics by reducing the numbers of MPs and equalising the size of each constituency. Some are much smaller than others. The trouble with our constituency in this exercise is that Gloucester has grown quickly, and under this plan would have to lose voters.

 Their first suggestion was to propose Westgate residents vote in the Forest of Dean. We saw that one off. Then they proposed Quedgeley residents vote in Stroud: and their latest proposal is for Elmbridge residents to vote in Tewkesbury. I don’t want any of this to happen: in fact I would rather Longlevens also voted in my constituency rather than Tewkesbury. But the maths means something has to give – if any changes at all go through Parliament.

 My constituents have the greatest sway in explaining to the Commission in which constituency your links are strongest and why. Where you live travel, shop, go to school, work and have a job are all relevant. I’ve delivered leaflets in Elmbridge to encourage residents to reply to the Commission’s consultation via https://www.bce2018.org.uk/ and hope lots of you do get involved now!”

 The Commission will submit the last proposal to the Secretary of State in September 2018 when it will be put before Parliament.

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PRESS RELEASE: Register NOW for 30 hours free childcare! says Gloucester MP

MP Richard Graham is encouraging parents eligible for 30 hours free childcare to apply by 30 November to make sure their application is completed in good time for next term.

 In January the scheme will start to cover children who have turned 3 years old by the end of December.

 The Government met its commitment to launch 30 hours free childcare earlier this year. In order to get the care, parents have to confirm their eligibility with a HMRC code. And some may need to submit further information about their employment – “’which is why”, said Richard, “I’m encouraging eligible constituents to register early.”

 The City MP noted that the government will invest £6 billion per year in childcare by 2020 and over 200,000 30 hours eligibility codes have been issued so far. “This will help families save up to £5,000 per child”, Richard said, “but some parents had difficulties accessing the registration service by the deadline last time. I don’t want anyone to miss out, so please register soon. If you already have a child on a 30 hours place you still need to confirm your details are up to date every three months. You should be notified of this so please check your emails regularly.”

 Parents can register on the government website (https://childcare-support.tax.service.gov.uk/) and can also check what help with childcare costs they are entitled to (https://www.gov.uk/childcare-calculator).

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PRESS RELEASE: City MP to highlight local successes and issues to new Safeguarding and Vulnerabilities Minister in Gloucester

New Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability Victoria Atkins MP is making her first ministerial visit to Gloucester tomorrow at MP Richard Graham’s invitation. The Minister will meet with charities and statutory bodies to look at how Gloucester supports vulnerable residents as well as the Police to hear what is being done to deal with domestic abuse and reduce serious knife crime.

Richard said, “I plan for the Minister to see some of the good work being done to support vulnerable women and homeless people, both by individual groups and increasingly in wider partnerships. But I would also like her to hear from the county council how it intends to turn around the Ofsted report’s criticism of its safeguarding responsibilities, and how the police are tackling domestic abuse and serious knife crime. These are all issues important to our city being seen as a safe and compassionate city.”

NOTE TO EDITORS

Victoria Atkins was appointed Minister on the 9 November, having previously been a Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Leader of the House of Lords. She was elected as MP for Louth and Horncastle in May 2015. Before becoming an MP Victoria Atkins was a barrister and lived for some time in Gloucestershire.

Her ministerial responsibilities include: victims of terrorism, the Disclosure and Barring Service, drugs, alcohol, countering extremism, crime prevention, anti-social behaviour, gangs, youth crime and youth violence, knife crime, wildlife crime, child sexual exploitation and abuse (including Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse), online child sexual exploitation, mental health, modern slavery, honour-based violence (including forced marriage and honour killings), female genital mutilation (FGM), violence against women and girls, missing people and children, sexual violence, prostitution and lap dancing, domestic violence, WEProtect and internet safety.

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PRESS RELEASE: Glosterpreneurs lead the SW for business productivity

Gloucester’s MP Richard Graham said recent research shows business productivity among SMEs is higher in Gloucester than anywhere else in the SW of England. “39% of our work force are in SMEs: the turnover in Gloucester SMEs is up 147% and productivity up 120% over the last four years. It’s an achievement all Glosterpreneurs should be proud of.”

The City MP added that this trend of SME growth should continue: “Gloucester’s relatively affordable property – much cheaper than Bristol or Cheltenham – makes our city a great place to set up and grow a new business, alongside good schools and easy access to the rest of the country.”

Other key findings in the Sage report are the links between local factors and higher productivity: and especially educational attainment (share of the local population with NVQ4+ level qualifications), good transport connections and levels of SME exports. Richard noted that the growing number of higher apprenticeship qualifications, including from the new Nursing Associate course, all help Gloucester’s position.

“What we can build on,” Richard noted, as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy, “is our level of exports, which are focused on a number of great successes and their supply chains. That’s also why I’ve invited the Minister from the Department for International Trade to visit Safran today and meet some of their sub-contractors and others in aerospace to highlight opportunities.”

NOTE TO EDITORS

The State of Small Business report was published on Monday 23 October.

 

PRESS RELEASE: MP welcomes International Trade Minister to Gloucestershire to promote Aerospace exports

Richard Graham MP has today welcomed the Minister for Investment Mark Garnier MP to Gloucestershire to meet with local aerospace companies and discuss exports. Safran hosted the visit with local aerospace companies including Poetons, GE Aviation and Twyver joining the discussion, with the Minister taking questions about post Brexit trade.

Richard said,

“Now that we’re leaving the EU it’s more important than ever that we support our strong local exporters like our aerospace contractors such as Safran and GE Aerospace and I’m delighted to work closely with all.

Gloucester has some excellent aerospace businesses that are already sending their work abroad and so I’m glad that the Minister could join us today to hear about their work and share his insight into what more we can do.”

Safran Landing System’s Managing Director Chris Wilson said:

“Here in Gloucestershire we have a world leading company. Safran Landing System’s UK business has a unique capability with its total process from initial design to final aircraft integration, in service support and MRO, together with Research and Development.

It is therefore critical that we retain those skills which we have locally, in the region and in the UK. We do everything we can to increase our competitiveness which is why the support from Government, through the likes of the AGP, DIT and BEIS teams, with lobbying, skills development, investment and funding initiatives is so important.”

Minister for Investment, Mark Garnier said:

“UK goods and services are in increasing demand across the world, with the aerospace industry bringing billions into our economy every year. Safran’s work in developing quality engine equipment and landing systems is crucial to the success of the industry and in maintaining jobs.

As an international economic department, we will continue to support businesses in making the most of opportunities through our aerospace trade missions and presence at international air shows.”

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP asks Minister to tackle Fixed Odds Betting Terminals

Richard Graham MP has met with Minister Tracey Crouch to support calls for Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) to face stricter regulations. Richard urged the Minister to consider reducing the maximum stake on a single bet from £100 to £2: “I can see no benefit to anyone from having such high stakes”, said Richard.

In October 2016 the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced a review of gambling machines and social responsibility measures including looking at FOBTs. The government has pledged to publish its findings soon in response to campaigners who want to see the maximum stake aspect in particular addressed.

Richard said, “local resident and taxi driver Hussain Vorajee has spoken to me both about his gambling addiction and the wider issue of the severe social impact these FOBTs can have on families. Fixed Odds Betting Terminals allow people to put £100 every 20 seconds into this machine, with the average user losing £1,200 a year. Some customers don’t have much money and the shops are often in poorer areas, adding to the issue.

There are choices involved: no one is forced to gamble, but gambling can become an addiction and we should help those addicted or likely to be addicted. It’s time to be responsible about gambling and that’s why I’ve asked the Minister to have this stake reduced.”

Hussain Vorajee wrote to Richard with his concerns over machines. He said, “I’m pleased that Richard has agreed to take up this cause. Gambling addictions can ruin lives, as I know, and these machines should be better regulated.”

NOTE TO EDITORS

Fixed Odd Betting Terminals are electronic machines, sited in betting shops, which contain a variety of games, including roulette. Each machine accepts bets for amounts up to a pre-set maximum and pays out according to fixed odds on the simulated outcomes of games.

The Gambling Act 2005 regulates gambling in Great Britain. The Act classifies FOBTs as B2 gaming machines. Up to four machines can be sited on betting premises. The maximum stake on a single bet is £100, the maximum prize is £500. There are 34,388 B2 machines in Great Britain (Gambling Commission statistics, May 2017). The gross gambling yield from B2s was £1.8 billion.

A survey by the Gambling Commission found that a third of the 1.45 million people who used the machines were at risk of becoming addicts.

Richard recorded a video on this issue: https://www.facebook.com/richard4gloucester/videos/1059233537546735/

Below photos show Richard at a Responsible Gambling Week reception in Parliament and with Hussain Vorajee.

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PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP says pans for more social housing should “rocket boost estate regeneration in Gloucester”

Gloucester MP Richard Graham has welcomed announcements from the Prime Minister to create a ‘new generation of council houses’.

During her speech at Party Conference Prime Minister Theresa May outlined plans to increase the affordable housing budget by £2 billion to more than £9 billion, encourage councils as well as housing associations to bid for this money and allow homes to be built for social rent well below market levels in areas where the need is greatest.

The Prime Minister said, “whether you’re trying to buy your own home, renting privately and looking for more security, or have been waiting for years on a council list, help is on the way.”

Richard welcomed the announcements saying, “Gloucester has the 7th highest housing stock growth of any city in the UK. I have supported both the concept of more social housing and putting it into practice – including work being done on Black Dog Way, St Aldate’s Church and in Tredworth on the old Norville Site. More needs to be done and that’s exactly what Gloucester City Homes, both councils sand I are looking for with the Estate Regeneration plan in Matson and Podsmead. The Prime Minister’s announcements should help rocket boost what we want to achieve in Gloucester.”

David Orr of the National Housing Federation also welcomed the news stating, “Today’s announcement is a watershed moment for the nation. In the aftermath of the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, the Prime Minister said that we as a nation have not paid enough attention to social housing. Today, she is right to make a bold break with the past and commit to building the homes we need most – genuinely affordable homes for those on the lowest incomes.”

NOTE TO EDITORS

The government’s announcement built on a £10 billion extension to Help to Buy and new protections for people renting from a private landlord announced on the Andrew Marr Show.

Proposals were also outlined in the Housing White Paper published earlier this year to ensure councils release sufficient land for housing and give them new powers to require developers to actually build homes once they’ve been given planning permission to do so.

Richard visiting the Black Dog Way construction site with Project Manager Les Fryer. The site will deliver around 98 new flats with a mixture of general needs rent, shared ownership and flats for people with learning disabilities.

 

 

First wave of City Protection Officers deployed

GLOUCESTER CITY COUNCIL PRESS RELEASE

The first set of City Protection Officers (CPOs) will be out patrolling Gloucester city centre as part of a group funding scheme where Gloucester BID has been match funded by the Gloucester City Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office raising £650,000 in order increase safety and cleanliness in the city centre.

The CPOs will act as a security blanket for the city, providing a highly-visible uniformed presence that will contribute to improving community safety for businesses, their staff, customers, residents, and visitors to the city. They will provide cover for 152 hours per week, operating seven days a week, 362 days of the year. The CPOs will be Security Industry Authority (SIA) approved, first aid trained and have experience of security work in the city. The CPOs will be working closely with the City Policing Team, the City Council, local security officers and the local businesses to work towards a safer and more secure city.

Nick Brookes, Chair of the Gloucester BID said:

“Helping the city to be a safe, secure and welcoming place has been one of the key focuses of Gloucester BID and is what businesses have asked the BID to deliver. It is fantastic to have been able to work with City Safe, Gloucester City Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office to deliver the CPOs so quickly. The highly visible CPOs will be linked through radio and cell phones allowing BID Members and BID voluntary members to get assistance with incidents.  I think this is a real win for the city and another positive step to making the City a safer cleaner place for people to visit shop and do business.”

Some of the duties the CPOs will include:

  • Tackling low-level anti-social behaviour during the early evening in support of businesses.
  • Referring street beggars, street drinkers and rough sleepers to relevant authorities.
  • Report on and when appropriate deal with graffiti, damage, fly-tipping and when levels of cleanliness are below standard.
  • Responding to minor incidents reports as directed by police CCTV, City Policing Team or as requested by business.
  • Submitting incident and intelligence reports to City Safe.

Martin Surl, the Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner said:

“The idea of having City Protection Officers is now well established elsewhere and research shows that working in partnership with the police, local business, local authorities and other stakeholders, they can make a major contribution towards safety and security. I understand why they can have a role to play in Gloucester, but it is also a delicate one of which enforcement is only a part. It’s just as important they are good ambassadors”.

The project has been a collaborative effort between Gloucester BID, The Police and Crime Commissioners Office, City Safe and the Gloucester City Council to help residents, visitors and workers of the city feel safe and proud. The CPOs are now out patrolling the city and are the first phase of the collaboration to bring about more improvements to Gloucester.

Councillor Jennie Watkins, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Communities & Neighbourhoods said:

“Improving the environment of the City Centre for businesses, residents and visitors is a council priority. The introduction of the City Protection Officers will be key to achieving this aim and we are delighted that we have been able to work together with the BID and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office to deliver this shared vision”

Steve Wood, Local Policing Inspector said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Gloucestershire Constabulary to work alongside another new partner as we continue to focus our efforts on keeping our communities’ safe from harm.  We welcome the introduction of the City Protection Officers who I’m confident will be a positive addition to the city of Gloucester.”

For further information contact Gloucester BID at: info@gloucesterbid.co.uk

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