Category Archives: Press Release

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

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).

PRESS RELEASE: Richard Graham MP – reappointed as PM’s Trade Envoy


(photo shows Richard with Ultra Electronics who won a contract to modernise Indonesian Navy warship)

Gloucester MP Richard Graham, who spoke out in Parliament last week about the importance of growing our exports, has been reappointed as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and the ASEAN Economic Community.

Richard said, “I’m delighted to have been asked to continue this important role to promote British exports to and inward investment from these key South East Asian markets. Although our exports have increased there is a lot more that we can do, boosted by a weaker currency, on both goods and services. The countries of SE Asia together (ASEAN) represent our third biggest non EU market, and have only just begun to invest institutionally in the UK. I’ll be back out there later this summer to pursue opportunities for greater co-operation in several sectors including maritime, aerospace and further education as well as seeing what more our expertise in running major sporting events can do to help make a success of the Asian Games. This is something I have a particular interest in as I once represented Indonesia at squash, one of the sports in the Games.”

Richard noted that Gloucester and Gloucestershire both have some remarkable exporters and Queens Award winners – including Severn Glocon, Prima Dental, Helipebs, Avon Metals, Advanced Insulation and Renishaw, as well as Fluid Transfer, Poetons, Neon Play, Only Natural products, BAe systems and Ultra. “And we shouldn’t forget our two universities,” Richard noted: “today we export more in Education than from Insurance and both the University of Gloucestershire and the Royal Agricultural University play a part in that. In a variety of different sectors Gloucestershire has a good record already in certain Asian markets”, said Richard, “but there is even more potential ahead. I hope other Trade Envoys will be appointed by the Prime Minister to help our national mission of building exports.”

Notes for editors:

Richard Graham is the longest serving Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy in the House of Commons. He was appointed Trade Envoy to Indonesia in 2012, to the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, and to the Philippines and Malaysia in 2016.

There are currently 21 Trade Envoys covering around 50 markets. Trade Envoys engage with countries and markets where substantial trade and investment opportunities have been identified by UK. They build on the UK’s existing relations with these markets and maximising bilateral trade, aiming to generate real and long term benefits for the UK.

EU Citizens in the UK

Richard visiting Safran (a French company) in Gloucester with then-Defence Minister Philip Dunne MP

I know there are lots of of my constituents who are EU citizens and are worried about their future rights in the UK.

The Prime Minister laid out yesterday the specifics of our government’s offer to the EU on resolving this and the rights of British citizens in the EU, and I thought it would be useful to share with you this brochure which lays out the details in Q&A form.

The main difference in the UK and EU positions on rights for EU citizens here is whether they have recourse to the European Court of Justice or the Courts in the UK (as British citizens will).

In my view it would be absurd to have people living here with different legal rights – we wouldn’t expect British citizens living there to be subject to our laws rather than European laws -and I hope the EU can understand that.

But otherwise I believe that this package should be very reassuring to any EU citizen living and working in the UK, and their employers (like the NHS but also our University, Glos College and many businesses).

If anyone has any queries do e mail me on richard.graham.mp@parliament.uk.

 

Click to view document.   

Response to constituent queries on the DUP

Some constituents have contacted me about the government’s cooperation with the DUP.

The Prime Minister is finalising a deal very different from the coalition agreement previously in place with the Liberal Democrats.

The DUP will support us on specific key issues such as the budget and will help provide the stability and certainty the whole country needs as we embark on Brexit and beyond.

Several people have raised concerns about the impact of any deal on areas such as eg. English laws on abortion, gay marriage etc. These issues are ‘devolved’ i.e. decisions for Northern Ireland Assembly and so have no impact on our laws here.

Personally, I will continue to promote an equal rights agenda. I supported the Conservative Bill in Government for same sex marriage and earlier this year ‘Turing’s law’ to remove historic convictions for consensual acts. As I work with colleagues to govern in the national interest we’ll continue to promote and champion the equal rights we believe in.

The DUP and us have a similar practical approach to settling the border issue with the Republic of Ireland after Brexit, making sure that there is as little disruption as possible. And we shared the conviction that a Corbyn led government, in coalition with those who would bring down the Union (the SNP), would be a disaster for all of the UK.

Governing in the national interest means leaving the EU in a way that works for the whole country. It means building on our economic record of more jobs, cutting the deficit and investing more in public services like the NHS; and tackling the social issues like mental health, housing, and proper technical education for young people.

My own plan, with our University and NHS Trusts, for a Health University Technical College in Gloucester are a key part of this.

I am confident that an agreement will be reached soon and expect a formal announcement with more detail at that time

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP responds to ‘worrying’ OFSTED Report

City MP Richard Graham says the recent OFSTED report on the county council’s children’s services is ‘worrying’ and that the council is right to have made immediate changes. “What matters now is how quickly the council can implement the OFSTED recommendations and turn the service around.”

Richard said that “my office has had concerns about a few individual cases in the past, but these have been resolved after investigation. I welcome the statement by the Chief Executive outlining the actions he has taken to reform the management of this critical service and the appointment of someone with relevant experience as Cabinet member to oversee the improvements needed.

Meanwhile I will be looking at any outstanding cases to see whether there is more that can be done to safeguard individuals and if any constituent has issues to do with safeguarding children that they wish to bring to my attention I hope they will do so as soon as possible. Please email me on richard.graham.mp@parliament.uk or ring 501167 for a surgery appointment.”

NOTES:

The report ranks the council’s Children’s Safeguarding as the lowest ‘inadequate’ rating.

Not all of the report is negative: council work on adoption, for example, receives praise

The full OFSTED report here: https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/local-authorities/gloucestershire

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP says city’s latest low unemployment figures highlight business resilience

City MP Richard Graham said today’s unemployment figures which show a 60% drop in Gloucester and over 70% drop for youth unemployment in the city since their peaks show that Gloucester businesses are continuing to recruit, and are backed by the latest ICAEW measure of business confidence which has turned positive for the first quarter in a year.

“Business confidence is incredibly important because it tries to capture whether business is likely to go on investing, and growing and taking on more staff. Across our city at the moment there are different building sites and applications pending planning approval, which is another good indicator of business activity and investment. As we enter difficult negotiations with the EU our business resilience and confidence in a sensible outcome is vital to a successful economy. Government investment in our infrastructure and support for our regeneration is equally important to Gloucester – and I am already having informal discussions with Ministers on aspects of that”.

Richard also highlighted the importance of the Apprenticeship Levy for this year’s school leavers and older employees looking to up skill or change career: “The new levy means more money coming to fund apprentices’ training and will make good economic sense for all organisations, and I know that eg the county council, the Hospitals Trust and private businesses alike will be hiring many more apprentices. The government has also helped businesses by abolishing employers’ National Insurance contributions for under 25 year old apprentices.”

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.”

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