Category Archives: Press Release

PRESS RELEASE: Conservative Candidate for Gloucester comes out against cannabis

Conservative candidate Richard Graham has said that legalising cannabis would be bad for mental health and increases risks to school pupils.

Last week during Mental Health Awareness Week Theresa May confirmed that we have invested more in mental health than ever before, with an estimated £11.7 billion a year spent on mental health, and pledged to employ 10,000 more mental health professionals in the NHS by 2020. The Prime Minister also pledged that every primary and secondary school in England and Wales will have staff trained in mental health first aid. Meanwhile the Lib Dems have pledged to liberalise smoking cannabis for everyone over the age of 18.

Richard said, “the contrast is striking: Conservatives doing more to help with growing mental health issues, especially among the young, which can be made worse by social media pressures, and the Lib Dems propose something which mental health charities have repeatedly said would increase mental health issues.”

Richard added, “there would also be a social pressure risk to under age pupils in the company of over 18s to join in. I do not believe that legalising cannabis is going to help solve our growing drugs problem in Gloucester or elsewhere in the country.”

General Election Candidate 2017

Today is my last day as MP for Gloucester and from tomorrow I’m the Conservative candidate for Gloucester during the election until June 8th.
It has been a pleasure serving you, my constituents and employers, and I’ve replied to over 7000 issues raised by you over the last two years. I hope to continue trying to help constituents in trouble as the next MP for Gloucester.
My office will reply to urgent problems and casework issues that are sent to me throughout the election period.
If you’d like to know my views on issues please email richard4gloucester@gmail.com
Thank you for having me as your MP from 2010 – 2017 and I will campaign for your vote to continue.

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP leads committee urging government to look again at supported housing funding plans

City MP Richard Graham has co-chaired an influential joint committee of the Work and Pensions and Communities and Local Government Select Committees as they urge the government to look again at plans for supported housing funding to ensure the sector is adequately supported and provision is boosted in a report published today.

Richard Graham MP, Co-Chair of the inquiry and member of the Work and Pensions Committee, said: “Supported housing is deeply valued by those who live in it and contributes enormously to their independence and wellbeing. We support the Government’s aims to reform funding for this vital sector to ensure quality and value for money, protect and boost supply, and provide greater local control.

“But we are concerned that the proposals, as they stand, are unlikely to achieve these objectives. Our recommendations seek to improve the Government’s plans and ensure it delivers on our common goal of a sustainable, long-term funding solution for supported housing.

The Committees argue that a new Supported Housing Allowance, banded to reflect the actual cost of provision in the sector, should be introduced instead of the current Local Housing Allowance rate. The Committees note concerns that the Government’s proposed reform will damage provision in parts of the country and could lead to a serious shortfall in the availability of supported housing.

The Committees recommend grants to local authorities, which can commission accommodation and pay providers.

The report also calls a separate funding system for women’s refuges and urges the Government to work with Women’s Aid and providers to devise it. The Committee says it is essential that refuges are able to operate as a national network, unrestrained by local admissions restrictions.

The Committee found that the cost of provision is largely consistent across the country. Unless funding reflects this consistency the Committees are also concerned that providers will be put off investing in particular areas, creating a disparity between the supply of homes and services across the country.

The Committees argue that a Supported Housing Allowance would ensure tenants only require top-funding in exceptional circumstances. The Allowance would be calculated according to a formula made up of a fixed amount for provision, which is consistent between areas, and a smaller variable amount that reflect differences in land costs.

Central funding of the top-up should be guaranteed for at least the duration of the next Parliament to provide greater certainty. Funding levels should be regularly reviewed to ensure the top-up fund keeps pace with increases in the cost of provision and changes in local demand.

Helen Hayes MP, Co-Chair of the inquiry and member of the Communities and Local Government Committee, said: “Ministers must intervene immediately by scrapping the proposed Local Housing Allowance reform. The sector needs a far more suitable funding system that recognises the consistent cost of provision across the country and provides long term reliability.

“Supported housing caters for an incredibly diverse range of people, from long-term sheltered accommodation for older people to short-term emergency housing for those who have recently become homeless or are fleeing domestic abuse. The Government is right to consider alternative funding for emergency accommodation and we urge Ministers to also recognise the unique challenges of refuges with a distinct funding model.”

Other findings, recommendations and conclusions include:

  • Benefit restrictions that may be justified in the private rented sector should not be applied to those looking to leave supported housing so as to ensure people are not discouraged from do so.
  • The Government should ensure providers are aware that supported housing tenants claiming Universal Credit will not be worse off if they seek employment. A job should be seen as an important milestone towards independence and self-sufficiency.
  • The Government should establish a set of national standards to enable monitoring of the quality of provision in all supported housing in England and Wales, with a specific emphasis on improving the quality of life that tenants experience

NOTES

700,000 people live in supported housing in the UK, from older people and those with learning and physical difficulties, to survivors of domestic violence.

The Government acknowledges that supported housing saves in the region of £3.5 billion per year, through lower costs for the NHS, social care and criminal justice systems.

The system is facing considerable demand, with a reported 17,000 shortfall in supported housing places; a figure that could double within the next three years without Government intervention.

Further information is available on the inquiry webpage or on the Work and Pensions Committee and Communities and Local Government Committee websites

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP welcomes c£1 million for A&E services for Glos Hospitals Trust

Richard Graham MP says the c£1 million awarded to Gloucestershire Hospitals by the Department of Health will help ease the pressure on emergency departments before next winter.

Richard said, “Funding for the Gloucestershire NHS is rising year on year, but we all know that our A&E departments can get particularly busy in the winter and so all extra funds will help. Meanwhile we must all continue to use the GRH A&E only for genuine emergencies.”

NOTE TO EDITORS

The Department of Health has allocated £56 million of the £100 million A&E capital funding outlined in the spring Budget by the Chancellor, to ease pressure on emergency departments in time for next winter. Funding awarded at this stage is being allocated to 70 NHS hospitals, including both Gloucester Royal Hospital and Cheltenham General Hospital.

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester to learn from Oxford on homelessness and begging

Gloucester’s MP Richard Graham has invited Jonathan Clark, Chair of the Oxford Poverty Action Trust (OxPATs) to come and share their experience of supporting the homeless and combatting begging with key agencies, charities, faith and business groups in Gloucester tomorrow.

Richard said, “we have two separate issues on the streets of Gloucester: people who need help and people who need to clear off. It is impossible for residents and visitors to know how to differentiate, and we need to find a way for our city’s natural generosity to be most effective in helping those who need it most.

“Oxford created OxPATs in the 90s to help solve similar issues, and I think we will all benefit from hearing what they did and how, and learning from their experience. Our Police, agencies and charities are all doing great work. But the problem isn’t easy to solve and we may find another way to tackle this from OxPATs’ experience. This is what I hope tomorrow’s meeting will explore.”

PRESS RELEASE: MP says all of Quedgeley to benefit from new Kingsway GP surgery

City MP Richard Graham said that planning permission given yesterday for the new GP surgery in Kingsway was the ‘last planning hurdle, successfully jumped’ for Gloucester’s largest surgery and ‘will benefit every resident of Quedgeley’.

Richard has worked on this since calling on NHS Primary Care Trust CEO Jan Stubbings in 2007 with then Cllr Jackie Hall. ‘Ten years later,’ he noted, ‘we are almost at the stage of the spade in the ground. It has taken a very long time, but does means that work can now start on a building that will make such a difference to people’s lives’. The new building, which will take around 12 months to complete, will include ten consulting rooms alongside four rooms for treatments and minor operations.

Cllrs Richard Cook and Hannah Norman agreed that “The new surgery will relieve pressure on Quedgeley surgeries and provide a much improved service to Kingsway residents”

Wyndham Parry, Practice Manager at Rosebank Health, said:

“With several new housing developments anticipated in the area over the next few years and a growing population, the new surgery, which will be located off Rudloe Drive, will be ideally located to provide primary care services for the local area for years to come.

It will be very closely linked to the existing Rosebank Health Surgeries to ensure the right support and services are in place.

Our ambition is to create an attractive, modern, light and airy building which will be welcoming to both patients and staff and we will be excited to see this progress over the coming months.”

The development also includes training and meeting rooms, which will facilitate education and shared learning. These facilities will also allow other health and social care professionals and specialists to provide services for the local people.

Dr Jon Unwin, Senior Partner at Rosebank Health, said:

“We are really pleased and excited that our plans for a new, contemporary surgery are coming to fruition.

We look forward to all our patients, both old and new, benefitting from this new development.”

Property adviser GVA has been working with Rosebank Health on the delivery of the new surgery, including architectural services, site purchase and planning.

Richard Taylor, Senior Director at GVA commented:

“We’re delighted that the next step in the progress of this development has been achieved with the granting of planning consent. We’ve been working closely with the GPs to bring their vision to fruition.”

Director of Primary Care at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, Helen Goodey said:

“The CCG has ambitious and exciting plans to improve and expand practices across Gloucestershire, and this development is really positive news for the local area.

The new premises will mean that patients can benefit from facilities that are fit for modern healthcare and will support the provision of high quality care.

The new surgery will also offer an attractive work environment for GPs and other members of the practice team.”

Note to Editors

Architectural proposals were shared with local residents in May 2016 at a drop-in consultation event at the Kingsway Sports Pavilion, which was also attended by GPs and practice team staff.

The CCG has already approved the development and provided the required funding.

Rosebank Health currently operates Rosebank Surgery and Severnvale Surgery, has seven GP Partners and employs 65 clinical and support staff.

Patients will be able to register with Rosebank Health, and can be seen at Rosebank Surgery, Severnvale Surgery or Kingsway Surgery.

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP confirms government approval of Blackfriars Masterplan

Richard Graham MP has today welcomed confirmation from Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid MP that Quayside and Blackfriars will be granted its Local Development Order, confirming overall planning permission for the whole site’s development.

The £135 million master plan includes University of Gloucestershire student accommodation, where contractors are expected on site shortly, residential accommodation and retail in a much more attractive setting.

Richard said, “this is the starting pistol for detailed talks with potential developers and enables the two councils to move forward quickly.”

Leader of the Gloucester City Council Paul James said, “I’m grateful to Richard for having got confirmation of this before Parliament dissolves. The transformation of Blackfriars has just jumped one more key hurdle.”

Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid MP said, “The development of the Blackfriars area of Gloucester’s city centre was Richard’s initiative and has been successfully taken forward by the LEP and both councils. I’m delighted to confirm I have no objection to the proposed LDO and hope it speeds up the regeneration of this key site.”

NOTE TO EDITORS

The Secretary of State has formally written to the Council to confirm he will not raise any concerns, allowing the Council to proceed.

The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP was Secretary of State for Culture when he announced funding for cathedrals across the country in Gloucester Cathedral in 2014.

PRESS RELEASE: County MPs all back Gloucestershire Health UTC

All Gloucestershire MPs have confirmed their support for the proposed new Gloucestershire University Technical College, specialising in health and science technologies and based in Gloucester.

The UTC was proposed by Gloucester’s MP Richard Graham and supported by partners including the University of Gloucestershire, all the NHS Trusts and the Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, and backed as well by business and two secondary schools. The 5 other Gloucestershire MPs have written a letter of support to the Education Department agreeing with Richard’s proposals.

Richard said “one of the key features of our proposed UTC is that it will be based close to the bus and train stations and so it will be accessible to pupils from all over the county. I always felt it was important to have the support of every Gloucestershire MP and we now have that.”

Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk said, ”I see great opportunities for my constituents from this proposal, not least from staff coming back to work at Cheltenham General and local GPs surgeries.”

Richard Graham highlighted that pupils would study both the usual range of GCSEs and A Levels and also BTECS in health and social care. “Pupils would be guaranteed work experience with the NHS and other partners, and leave with great opportunities in both health and care pathways, whether degrees or apprenticeships, like the new Nursing Associate qualifications shortly to start at the Uni of Glos.”

The process for future UTC bids awaits the government’s response to the recent consultation on education and so progress on the Gloucestershire Health UTC will now have to wait until after the General Election.

“The Steering Group is ready to submit its application”, noted Richard, “with a strong case based on committed University and NHS support – and now cross county political support. Giving our young constituents more opportunities in Health and Care is a strategic must do, and home growing our own health and care professionals will help both the NHS and patients alike. We know too the (Birmingham) West Bromwich Health UTC is a success. These are all great positives and the government is very conscious of them.”

Former Education Secretary Lord Baker of the Baker Dearing Trust which develops and promotes UTCs, said, “There is an urgent need for skills at all levels in the health sector so I am particularly encouraged to see a bid for a new University Technical College in Gloucestershire specialising in health related industries. Gloucestershire Health UTC will offer young people in the South West the choice of a high quality technical pathway from the age of 14. I wish the team behind the bid every success with their exciting application.”

The Steering Group hopes to submit the bid to the Education Department later in 2017.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: City MP: “income boost for all working families in Gloucester”

Gloucester’s MP Richard Graham has highlighted three changes in the new financial year that benefit all working families and come into effect from this week.

Richard said “firstly the tax-free personal allowance rises again, from £11,000 to £11,500. This benefits about 59,000 people in our city and a typical basic rate taxpayer will now pay £1,000 less income tax this year than he or she did in 2010”.

The City MP noted that as a result of the changes to the personal allowance and the higher rate threshold, about 2.7 million people in the South West will be on average £192 better off and 116,000 more residents in the region taken out of income tax altogether, compared to 2015-16. “That means,” he said, “that my constituents can offset increased council tax bills as government encourages councils to live more within their means locally.”

Richard then secondly drew attention to a further increase in the National Living Wage, which goes up to £7.50 an hour – “this means an income boost of over £500 a year for a full time worker in Gloucester,” he noted.

The third bit of good news is that the government is also providing up to £2,000 a year per child through an expansion of tax-free childcare, to help with family costs. “It’s a big bill, childcare, and this will help many constituents, especially those who need it most,” said Richard.

The local MP added: “we’re all impatient for change. Locally we’ve won new money for estate regeneration in Matson and Podsmead, and for much more culture in the city centre, both of which are exciting. Nationally these changes cut tax for over 30 million people, give the lowest paid a wage boost and help more with childcare. So more of my working constituents WILL be better off, and realise that work does always pay now”.

NOTES TO EDITOR

The Personal Allowance is rising from £11,000 to £11,500. It will go up to £12,500 by the end of this Parliament.

PRESS RELEASE: Parking at Gloucester Station set to double

Parking at Gloucester Station is set to double this winter after work began on a new car park today.

The £2.7 million works are due to complete by the end of 2017, and will provide 240 additional spaces at a new, separate car park. A new northern entrance into Gloucester Station will also be provided.

MP for Gloucester Richard Graham said: “Action starts today on an additional new station car park and access to the station from Great Western Road. It’s been a marathon since I first raised this in 2013 but all work is now planned to be completed by the end of the year.

This will add 240 new car parking places, which is good for station parking capacity and may help Hospital capacity too: it will allow much quicker pedestrian access to and from the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital; and provides an additional way of driving to and from the station – the right turn off Bruton Way is far from ideal, and the 300 degree exit onto Bruton Way/Metz Way is very bad at rush hour.

Now we have to sort the underpass, improve the forecourt and get a new exit out of the current station car park onto Metz Way. I’m working on a plan for this with the City Council.”

GWR Commercial Development Director Matthew Golton said: “More and more people are turning to rail for their local and long distance journeys; to meet this demand later this year we will start to see brand new Intercity Express Trains on the GWR network, offering more seats and more frequent services.

“GWR is dedicated to supporting the communities it serves and this new car park when complete, alongside improved rail services, will enable the local economy to continue to thrive both now and into the future.”

Presently Gloucester Station has 199 long stay, plus short stay parking bays on the main forecourt. The new car park off Great Western Road will add an extra 240 spaces.

Leader of Gloucester City Council Paul James said: “I’m delighted to see work start on the new car park.  It has taken a lot of determined effort from all sides to reach this stage, but shows what we can achieve when national and local government and the private sector all work together.”

GWR – (L-R) Matthew Golden GWR representative, MP Richard Graham and Paul James counselor, New car park improvements for Gloucester rail station. Gloucester, Gloucestershire. 31 March 2017

 

 

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