Category Archives: Gloucester News

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

PRESS RELEASE: MP says Gloucester employment success has overtaken 130 other constituencies

According to City MP Richard Graham, Gloucester’s unemployment has fallen faster than 130 constituencies since June 2010.

“The figures show,” said Richard, “that not only are many more people are in work and many less people unemployed than in 2010, but also that we’ve risen from 253 to 383rd in the relative league table of unemployment by constituency”.

The MP highlighted that Gloucester has overtaken other cities like Bristol and Lancaster since 2010. “We were in the third quartile and now we’re firmly in the top half of the league. That’s where we want to be, and with cyber, manufacturing, retail and university growth alongside steady financial services, nuclear and health and care sectors at the moment Gloucester has a good spread of job opportunities.”

Richard added that with employment levels now at 40 year highs it was important to help the long term unemployed, including those with disabilities, into work.

NOTE TO EDITORS

The ranking is out of 650: the top rated constituency (number 650) indicates the lowest number of JSA and Universal Credit claimants meaning the lowest levels of unemployed.

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP welcomes extra school funding for Gloucester

Gloucester MP Richard Graham has welcomed the Education Secretary Justine Greening’s announcement on a new fair funding formula that will increase funding for Gloucester schools by 3.6%.

The Education Secretary made a statement outlining her response to the consultation on the new fair funding formula for schools on Thursday, publishing illustrative figures for schools across the country up to 2019-20. She accepted recommendations made by MPs including Richard to introduce a minimum level of funding per pupil (£4,800 for secondary school pupils and £3,500 for primary school pupils).

Richard said, “I’m delighted that the Education Secretary has listened to the views of schools, parents, teachers and MPs and introduced a minimum per pupil funding level. I met with the Education Secretary to discuss the initial plans, and she took on board our recommendations which will see all schools in Gloucester benefit.

We’re spending more on schools than ever before, in particular on pupils from deprived backgrounds as we should. So I welcome this announcement and hope it reassures the many parents who wrote to me on this issue.”

NOTE TO EDITORS
The proposed National Funding Formula aims to address historic imbalances where a student with the same needs (e.g. free school meals or from a deprived background) can attract some £500 more depending where the student goes to school.

The government pledged to introduce the national formula, and while the initial plans offered extra support for pupils with additional needs or for deprived backgrounds, MPs raised concerns about basic funding levels. This week’s announcement confirms a basic level of funding that gives every school in Gloucester an increase, with some getting over 9% extra per pupil.

The proposals will come into full force in 2019-2020 after a transitional year in 2018-2019. Find out more: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/fairer-funding-system-to-end-postcode-lottery-for-schools

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