Category Archives: Press Release

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

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.

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