Category Archives: Gloucester News

What Richard has been up to so far this summer

NCS Team 29

This year I’ve seen even more young people than ever join the (free) National Citizen Service (NCS) scheme. It’s become a rite of passage for many 16 and 17 year olds in their summer hols. What’s it all about?

The scheme was set up by David Cameron 7 years ago to provide young people of all backgrounds the chance to spend a month together, doing a great range of activities. They have a week’s adventure training – kayacking, jumping from rocks, often getting over phobias and fears in countryside they never knew existed. They have a week of meeting different organisations – community and faith groups: organisations dealing with social problems, helping the elderly or disabled, charities and social enterprises – a week of preparing a social action project of their own; and a week of doing it. Some organise Fun Fairs, dances, drama, cleaning up public spaces: you name it – mostly raising funds for a good cause.

They learn a huge amount, they see life for what it is – often difficult and messy: and become more likely to care for their area and community. And when they ‘graduate’ many have made friendships that can last for years and experiences they never forget. One parent said to me ‘this is the best thing that xx has ever done: and she said that not me. She is like a new person.’

So if you have children coming up to 16 find out more on www.ncsyes.co.uk Meanwhile there are many outdoor activities at Robinswood Hill organised by the Glos Wildlife Trust, like the night time safari. Find out more on the Robinswood Hill Facebook page.

In Quedgeley many of you, especially if near Severnvale Drive, will know all about the proposed new Clearwater Academy. I’ve asked Councillors to look carefully at what was initially proposed and what’s now proposed. Are the interests of children’s education and green space for residents adequately balanced? We need more school places, and there aren’t many sites available, but hitting that balance is important and I know your Councillors are looking at this closely.

Nationally there’s a lot more good news than either the media or the weather would suggest. Unemployment is at the lowest level since 1975, retail sales up nearly 3% since last year and manufacturing orders are at their highest since 1988. That includes some booming Gloucester businesses.

Meanwhile locally I’ve never been more positive about the pace of regeneration – from Blackfriars to Black Dog Way, St Aldates to Paul St, the new surgery in Kingsway to the new Business School at Oxstalls, another new cyber centre in the Business Park and new nursing degrees starting at the Uni of Glos. The opportunities for our children are growing fast – including in culture which has been given awards by several bodies.

This parliamentary recess I’ve been around building sites, including our new bus station and the Elmbridge Court roundabout (both on time and within budget), given several young residents work experience, played walking rugby and planted wildflower seeds. Despite the rain there’s always much to enjoy in our city, and the free fireworks were the best yet. I’m only sorry our old dog Twiglet won’t be accompanying me to deliver newspapers to your homes any more. She was though well treated by a Gloucester vet at the end.

I hope you all have a good summer.

 

Press Release: Gloucester MP calls for better Broadband customer service

Over 10,000 broadband connections in Gloucester are not getting the proposed minimum broadband download speed, according to MP Richard Graham.

Richard has joined over 57 colleagues from across political parties to co-sign the British Infrastructure Group of MPs’ (BIG) latest report, ‘Broadbad 2.0’.

10,269 broadband connections in Gloucester without fast broadband make up at total of as many as 6.7 million broadband connections across the UK that do not receive speeds above the proposed minimum standard.

Richard said, “the problem is we don’t know whether poor broadband speeds are due to homeowners being unable to order a faster service or the nationally mandated faster Internet simply not being available to their property. It’s time we knew, and so this report recommends changes to improve the quality of broadband customer services.”

The recommendations are:

UK Government:

Progress secondary legislation setting out the terms of a broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO): The Digital Economy Act 2017 sets out provisions for a USO that defines a minimum broadband download speed of 10 Mb/s. In order to set the terms and scope of this USO, secondary legislation to the Digital Economy Act must be progressed by the government.

Provide statutory footing to the Voluntary Codes of Practice for broadband speeds: Some of the largest UK broadband providers operate according to Voluntary Codes of Practice regulated by Ofcom. The codes of practice entail an agreement on the part of providers to share clear information about their broadband speeds, and provide redress for customers when speeds are poor. However, the voluntary nature of these codes is insufficient in a rapidly developing telecoms sector. BIG therefore calls on the government to provide Ofcom with the mandate to legalise these codes of practice, in order to make broadband providers accountable to the law.

Ofcom:

Lead on the improvement of data collection: Broadband download speed data recorded by Ofcom fails to differentiate between superfast connections that do not reach speeds above the proposed minimum standard of 10 Mb/s, and those connections where customers have actively chosen not to purchase superfast broadband. It is therefore almost impossible to determine the exact number of UK broadband customers that do not receive the speeds that they pay for. BIG calls on Ofcom to lead on the improvement of collecting broadband speed data that distinguishes between the take-up and availability of superfast broadband speeds.

Consider fixed broadband speeds in a new automatic compensation scheme: It is unacceptable that Ofcom has not considered whether broadband customers should be automatically compensated for consistently failing to receive the speeds that they pay for. Broadband speeds are a key indicator for whether customers are receiving a satisfactory service.

Broadband providers:

Take responsibility for making customers aware of their complaints and compensation procedures: BIG calls on broadband providers to take responsibility for communicating future changes to their customer services in a clear and concise manner, in order to improve accountability and transparency in the sector.

NOTE TO EDITORS

For further information about BIG, and to read the report in full, visit www.britishinfrastructuregroup.uk and follow BIG on Twitter at @BIG_MPs

Press Release: Gloucester’s MP welcomes more money for schools

Richard Graham MP has welcomed a commitment for £1.3 billion additional spending on schools. Richard had met with Secretary of State Justine Greening MP to highlight the importance of additional funding for Gloucester and Gloucestershire schools.

“Even our best funded schools aren’t nearly as well supported as e.g. Metropolitan areas like London. She’s listened and this is very good news for our city and county,” said Richard.

The announcement includes a guarantee that secondary school pupils will be given at least £4,800 per pupil during 2018-2020. This provides a 3% gain per pupil for underfunded schools and a guarantee that all schools will see a 0.5% cash increase per pupil.

Richard said, “Every school in Gloucester will see funding rise, and by moving to a fair funding formula the government will change the process which had benefited big cities and disadvantaged small cities like Gloucester for decades. That’s now changing, my constituents should welcome it and the detailed breakdown per school will be announced in September.”

NOTE TO EDITOR

Find out more: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/13bn-for-core-schools-budget-delivers-rise-in-per-pupil-funding

Press Release: Gloucester MP Richard Graham welcomes funding for flood relief on anniversary of Gloucester Floods

Gloucester MP Richard Graham has welcomed £100,000 of funding to boost a flood defence project in Gloucester announced on the week of the 10th anniversary of the Gloucester Floods.

Richard Graham said, “major flooding hit our county on 20th July 2007 impacting thousands of homes, this funding and other projects like it that have been carried out over the past 10 years are crucial in ensuring that we never again lose lives or homes to flooding.”

The project aims to benefit flood protection for over 1,000 homes in Abbeydale, Saintbridge and Upton St Leonards from potential flooding from the River Twyver. It flooded badly in 2007, in both Saintbridge and beside the Tredworth Cemetery. Richard said “further investment here, not least at the balancing and Saintbridge ponds, would be very welcome.”

Environment minister Thérèse Coffey said: “Flood defence technology and engineering is better than ever and this work should help protect families, homes and businesses from flooding, with environmental benefits to the wider area and people live in Gloucester.”

NOTE TO EDITORS

The funding is part of £15 million announced for natural flood management from central government. This allocation round saw 34 projects winning £1 million including £50,000 for the Twyver Catchment NFM project in Gloucester (£50,000 is contributed by partners of the scheme).

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