Category Archives: Press Release

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

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP elected as member of Brexit Select Committee

Richard Graham MP has been elected by Conservative MPs to join the Select Committee for Exiting the European Union. Richard will be one of 21 Members of Parliament on the Select Committee, chaired by Labour’s Hilary Benn, which examines government policy on Brexit and its implementation and departmental administration and spending.

Richard said, “This is the key issue for at least the next 18 months and I’m delighted to have been elected. Brexit is neither the best thing since sliced bread or a great disaster in slow motion. It’s a national decision to be pursued and delivered successfully and I’m looking forward to playing my part in that on the committee. I showed when on the joint Select Committee examining the collapse of Bhs that I look at all issues objectively, and without fear or favour, and I’ll do the same here.”

NOTE TO EDITORS

The full list of Conservatives elected is:

Peter Bone, Chris Chope, Stephen Crabb, Jonathan Djanogly, Richard Graham, Andrea Jenkyns, Jeremy Lefroy, Craig Mackinlay, Jacob Rees-Mogg, John Whittingdale.

Richard recently wrote an article for Conservative Home outlining his views on the media coverage of recent Brexit negotiations, see: https://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2017/09/richard-graham-four-ways-in-which-the-media-distorts-our-eu-negotiations.html

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PRESS RELEASE: ‘Fantastic opportunity’ to be the next apprentice for Gloucester’s MP

Richard Graham MP is currently looking to hire his next apprentice. His previous apprentice, Sophie Jones, has called it a ‘fantastic opportunity’.

Sophie said, “the apprenticeship was a great learning experience that has enabled me to go on and land a full time job with the Gloucestershire County Council.”

Richard’s first apprentice Laura Pearsall went on to work with Prospect Training, was elected as Gloucester’s youngest ever city councillor and is now the Conservative Agent for Gloucester. Laura said, “an apprenticeship is an excellent way to earn while you learn. I thoroughly enjoyed my time working as part of Richard’s team, gaining valuable work experience which provided me with the basis to develop my career, as well as learning a lot about the city, how an office works and what a difference you can make to peoples’ lives in politics.”

Richard’s second apprentice Holly Piper now works with the Pied Piper Appeal. Richard said, “I’m looking for someone who’s keen to help my office answer constituents’ calls and mail, help organise events and keep office admin and casework files up to date. It helps to be curious and want to know how things work in the city and to have a sense of humour!”

NOTE TO EDITORS

The apprenticeship is a Level 3 in Business Admin.

Applicants have until 21st September to apply to aishayakub.pandor@parliament.uk. Find out more about the role and how to apply here: https://www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk/apprenticeship/-162645

 

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PRESS RELEASE: MP welcomes Glosterpreneur Raging Bull to Gloucester’s city centre

Gloucester MP Richard Graham said former Gloucester and England rugby star Phil Vickery has played a blinder by bringing his clothing brand Raging Bull to Gloucester’s city centre.

Richard said, “there are always plenty of people ready to knock our city centre, even though there’s been a 40% drop in the number of empty shops since 2010. But there are also those who back Gloucester, who see the changes of the last few years and know what is coming up. They can see the speed at which new homes going up on Brunswick Road, Blackfriars and Worcester Street, know the footfall in the city centre is already increasing sharply and have analysed the positive implications for retailers.”

The MP congratulated Phil Vickery, whose successful Raging Bull brand has now set up shop right outside the Cathedral, just as the HLF funded improvements of the Cathedral’s Project Pilgrim take real shape: “Phil said he’s ‘unbelievably proud at all the developments going on at the moment’ and this is another of them – a really positive investment in our city centre by a great sportsman and successful Glosterpreneur.”

Press Release: “Time for decision on tidal lagoon” says Marine Energy Parliamentary Group Chair

Re-elected Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Marine Energy and Tidal Lagoons Richard Graham MP has said that the next few weeks are crucial to the future of a proposed pilot project at Swansea for the world’s first ever tidal lagoon.

Richard said, “broad Parliamentary support remains as strong as ever for Britain to lead on this strategic opportunity to harness the power of western coastal tides for our energy needs, with over 100 MPs signing my last letter to the BEIS Secretary – and even stronger support on the ground. But it’s now been 2 years since the government started considering the proposal, and 7 months since Charles Hendry completed his Review on Tidal Lagoons commissioned by the government.

“Clearly any form of energy subsidy, when all of us want to see energy tariffs as low as possible, is sensitive. But the proposal covers all aspects of the Department’s name – Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – the Hendry Review is unambiguous about its recommendation to go ahead with a pilot project and there has been plenty of time for consideration. It’s time to decide.”

Richard Graham said that when Parliament reconvenes next week this would be a good moment for the BEIS Secretary Greg Clark to give the go ahead for this exciting and innovative project. “It would show that the government can make bold strategic decisions to back a new, reliable and secure way of generating green energy, using British technology, steel and turbines. Further delay risks killing the project in slow motion.”

NOTE TO EDITORS

Charles Hendry’s Review of Tidal Lagoons recommended a pilot project in Swansea Bay before any further larger scale lagoons at e.g. Cardiff. The pilot project would give the opportunity to fully study the impacts of the lagoon and learn from the process of the world first.

Charles Hendry said on publishing his report, “I believe that the evidence is clear that tidal lagoons can play a cost effective role in the UK’s energy mix and there is considerable value in a small (less than 500 MW) pathfinder project. I conclude that tidal lagoons would help deliver security of supply; they would assist in delivering our decarbonisation commitments; and they would bring real and substantial opportunities for the UK supply chain…

The aim now is that we should move to secure the pathfinder project as swiftly as possible, so the learning opportunities it offers can be maximised.”

Read the Review in full: https://hendryreview.wordpress.com/

Tidal Lagoon Power PLC is the leading company on the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon and is based in Gloucester.

Press Release: Gloucester MP and councils work together with GCH for Estate Regeneration in Matson and Podsmead

The attached photo shows Richard Graham (MP for Gloucester), Tim Dare (Chair of Gloucester City Homes), Cllr Paul James (Leader of Gloucester City Council) and Cllr Mark Hawthorne (Leader of Gloucestershire County Council) signing the Vision Statement alongside the City Council Cabinet Member for Housing Cllr Colin Organ.

Gloucester’s MP Richard Graham has today signed with the leaders of both County and City Councils and the Chair of Gloucester City Homes the Matson and Podsmead Community Regeneration Vision Statement.

Richard said “The statement commits us all to work as partners and contribute in different ways to a major Estate Regeneration in both these important wards – creating a master plan with residents that will ultimately provide better homes, shops, employment opportunities and lives.”

The Vision Statement builds on a successful £1.25 million government bid, recognising that some of the housing in both wards is not as good as it could be, and that a better mix of social, affordable, shared equity and owner occupied housing is a future ambition.

Gloucester City Homes Chair Tim Dare said that “estate regeneration in Matson and Podsmead is a major task and we need the full support, funding and assets that each of our organisations can bring to the table: and then work closely with residents to develop a master plan. With building costs and values as they are we need to stretch every pound to succeed, and I’m delighted that Richard, Mark, Paul and Jennie share our belief about the importance of this huge project.”

Gloucester City Homes gained ownership of several sites in Matson and Podsmead after they became an independent housing association in 2015. The City Council transferred their housing stock to GCH when the government agreed to wipe out £50 million of historic housing debt.

“This is the next stage,” said Tim Dare “of our goal to work with our tenants and all stakeholders, to create modern, new homes which are more energy efficient and greener in communities where everyone can be proud. This has been a long running plan for GCH to be at the forefront of change, making homes and developments that really matter to residents. This collaboration is key to making the most of the land owned by different organisations, while accessing all funding available to maximise this opportunity in Matson and Podsmead.”

City Council leader Paul James added that “we’ve been working with GCH on this from the beginning, and as land owner, planning authority and as the only organisation focused entirely on the well-being of the city, I want to see us help respond to Podsmead and Matson’s needs and get this right. The impact should be considerable.”

Richard Graham stressed the backdrop was positive: “there are more investors than ever before in Gloucester, working on regeneration sites all across the city. In Podsmead we have the bid by the Crypt School for the first ever primary school in Podsmead, alongside the revived Athletics Track and an ambitious sports hub plan. In Matson there are already new homes being put up by GCH as part of the transfer of housing stock and debt write off agreement in 2015, and a (separate) big housing investment plan off Winnycroft Lane. If GCH can partner effectively with the right developer(s) I am convinced there will be a lot of positive change for the communities. Better shops, better health and skills access are all part of the mix. I’m delighted we all feel the same way.”

County Council leader Mark Hawthorne said, “it’s important that all organisations work together on this ambitious plan to support these communities. I’m glad we’ve published this strategy today that outlines what we plan to do and I look forward to seeing the results.”

NOTE TO EDITOR

The Statement aims to focus on stronger and safer communities, with a thriving local economy, a sustainable environment and better health and wellbeing all enabled around better homes.

Press Release: Gloucester MP celebrates superfast broadband with newly connected residents

Gloucester MP Richard Graham visited Tolsey Gardens in Gloucester to celebrate their upgraded superfast broadband cabinet.

Residents wrote to Richard several years ago when they moved into the newly built Tolsey Garden properties and discovered there were copper broadband speeds of around 1mbps or less. After several meetings with Broadband Ministers and BT Openreach as well as a debate in Parliament the cabinet has now been upgraded.

Richard said, “people move in to a house thinking it’ll have water, electricity, a landline phone and reliable broadband. People need broadband now to pay bills or work from home, which more and more people are doing. It’s an important aspect of a modern home and I’m glad that Tolsey Gardens has now been connected.”

Richard has since written to the Broadband Minister to urge measures to ensure all new builds are equipped with superfast broadband. He believes this is vital to meet the Government’s aim to connect all homes by 2020.

“If you have poor broadband speeds then you can check if you’re being upgraded via fastershire.com. If your home isn’t recognised by the system then you can register it. It’s likely one of the new builds that I want something done about,” said Richard.

NOTE TO EDITORS

Richard was joined by Councillors Steve Morgan and Nigel Hanman on Saturday to raise a cup and celebrate with residents.

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

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