Category Archives: Press Release

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

 

 

Gloucester MP welcomes Government funding to transform two Gloucester estates

Gloucester City Homes (GCH) has secured funding of £1.25m with the support of the city MP Richard Graham and the City Council from the Government’s Estates Regeneration fund to transform the Matson and Podsmead estates.

Richard said, “This is a great win for Gloucester, and combined with the £1.49m Arts Council/Lottery Fund Great Spaces win for our new Culture Trust shows that Gloucester is going on surprising ourselves. It shows the next stage of GCH’s transition journey from managing council housing stock to independent company driving regeneration of some of the city’s most neglected parts.

“I think we should be proud of our Housing company, pleased the City Council is backing them and that we’re winning, against competition from all over the country. Let’s now shape some great new housing – and see how it shapes us”.

PRESS RELEASE: City MP calls time on Morrisons/Trust Inns failure to act on Ridge & Furrow future

Gloucester’s MP Richard Graham has told both supermarket giant Morrisons and pubco Trust Inns it’s time to bring an end to their standoff and sort out the long closed Ridge & Furrow site in Abbeydale.

‘The situation is (politely) very frustrating’, Richard said, ‘and does nothing for the reputations of either business. Trust Inns say they’re waiting for news of their new rent, which is overdue, while Morrisons say they’re waiting for a variation of lease as Trust Inns has a potential alternative sub tenant. It is frankly absurd that they can’t sit down and sort this out together’.

Richard says the former pub has status given by the City Council as an asset of community value: ‘my earlier survey showed that many more people valued a pub than a petrol station and the campaigning group has made it clear they expect that to be honoured. However since the pub isn’t being sold the Community can’t bid for it so it would be useful to know if any group with pub or hospitality sector experience has approached the Trust Inns’ agent James Baker (Bristol) with firm interest.’

But the MP noted that the economics of a pub on the site were not easy: ‘Trust Inns say they would develop a new pub if they owned the site, but Morrisons doesn’t want to sell. If they sub lease there are at least three mouths to feed: Morrisons, Trust Inns and whomever becomes a sub tenant – plus a manager if the sub tenant is not going to do that him or herself. In my experience, with pub margins as they are, higher rateable values and tough drinking laws on drivers, it won’t be easy to make this pub profitable for so many layers, and on top there will now be a hefty capital outlay to get the place looking good again.’

So the MP believes that if there is no serious bid by a credible pub group, Trust Inns would be entitled to come up with an alternative plan which ‘should be put to the community and then to the Council Planning Committee. Residents and councillors would have to take a view on the best way forward. No-one wants to see an empty site for much longer.’

But Richard Graham said the immediate issue is a huge failure of communication between the two big companies, and with residents in Abbeydale and Abbeymead. ‘If you own a site, especially on a prominent site in a community which supports your supermarket, you have a duty to let people know your plan. If you don’t, and time drags on, then residents are rightly suspicious. I told Morrisons years ago they would not get a petrol station there and should think of a plan B. God knows they and their tenant Trust Inns have had long enough to sort this out’.

The MP added that he will highlight that this whole saga runs completely opposite to all of Morrisons’ original values: ‘it’s a story I’m afraid of corporate greed that starts with the Supermarket wanting to get the pub out for a much higher margin petrol station – but not being able to deliver on that. I will be writing to Morrisons’ Chief Executive to seek his help in getting this sorted and if that doesn’t work then I will hold a parliamentary debate on this ridiculous situation’.

 

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP to raise Emily’s Code in Parliament

Gloucester MP Richard Graham has secured a Westminster Hall debate tomorrow (Wednesday 1st March) to promote Emily’s Code in Parliament.

Emily’s Code, which honours the memory of Emily Gardner from Gloucester, is set to launch on Saturday, 4 March at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show in London. The Code aims to prevent accidents at sea by highlighting key safety messages.

Emily Gardner was 14 when she drowned in a boating accident due to an ill-fitting buoyancy aid which snagged on a cleat when the boat capsized. Emily’s Code highlights a number of factors that are essential for safe boating and which could have prevented Emily’s accident.

Emily’s parents are launching the Code with the support of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), HM Coastguard, British Water Ski and Wakeboard, and the RNLI to raise awareness for small boat owners and users. The Code is the result of close work by the RYA, Richard Graham MP and Debbie and Clive Gardner.

NOTE TO EDITORS

You can watch the debate live from 4-4.30pm  on Wednesday 1 March 2017 here: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/0f8d1c07-5100-448d-a144-fdc6ae72de55

Members of the press are also invited to attend the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show in London for a photo opportunity with the Gardners, RYA and Richard Graham MP during the launch. The launch will take place on the 4 March 2017 at 10:30am on the Main Stage of the show at Alexandra Palace (N22 7AY). Press passes are available here: http://www.rya.org.uk/programmes/dinghy-show/media-centre/Pages/press-registration.aspx

Further details including the content of the Code will be released following the launch in London.

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP welcomes extra government funding for Gloucestershire

City MP Richard Graham has welcomed today’s announcement of Growth Deal funding for Gloucestershire saying, “It is good news that Gloucestershire has received a further £29 million from the latest round of the Growth Fund. We will all benefit from the establishment of a big new cyber Park in Cheltenham, which will complement some of the cyber developments in both Cheltenham and Gloucester recently. Likewise the £4m to be spent on improving the Longford roundabout on the A40 ring road around Gloucester will benefit many of my constituents and others in our county.

Obviously I’m disappointed that that our bid for improvements around the Railway Station weren’t successful, but Great Western work at the new car park starts this month and we have two important bids to the Homes and Community Agency (HCA) on which we will hear shortly. A City Council delegation led by Paul James joined me for a useful discussion with the HCA earlier this week so there is masses to be getting on with.

At the same time figures announced by the Lottery Fund this week showed that Gloucester has received £62 million from the National Lottery Fund for 670 projects since inception – hugely benefiting communities, heritage and sport. Winners include the Blackbridge Jubilee Athletics track, Matson Rugby Club, St Mary de Crypt, the Podsmead Big Local and the new Rowing Club.so funding comes through many different routes.”

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP encourages pupils to visit Auschwitz

Gloucester MP Richard Graham has written to local secondary schools to encourage their sixth form pupils’ participation in the ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ project run by the Holocaust Educational Trust.

Richard said about the visits to World War Two concentration camp Auschwitz: “I went there with some Gloucestershire pupils and teachers some years ago. It’s a very powerful reminder of what humans can do to other humans, how precious our freedoms and democracy are – and everyone who has been will always remember what they’ve seen, and be stronger in their support of tolerance in society.”

The MP added he would recommend the trip to anyone and that the HET’s subsidies make it more affordable.

The trip for the West Midlands South region (which includes Gloucester) departs on Wednesday 22nd March 2017 and costs £59 per participant as it is sponsored by the government and the Holocaust Educational Trust. Applications for the trip close on the 24th of February, and for more information on how to apply, visit www.het.org.uk

Note to editors:

The Project is now in its eighteenth year and has taken more than 30,000 students and teachers from across the UK to visit the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP urges council to consider levy towards night time economy

Gloucester MP Richard Graham has urged the City Council to consider raising funds from a Late Night Levy on night time outlets and venues, including takeaways, to cover the social costs of nightlife in the city centre.

Richard said, “The legislation now exists to enable councils to raise funds from those who benefit most from the night time economy to help cover the social costs also associated with it. The Late Night Levy could be a valuable source of funds for services like CCTV operators and the police who deal with the brunt of incidents.

We want all the fun our night time venues can bring, and most people enjoy them responsibly. But I think it’s time that the businesses involved, for example, contribute to the clean-up of broken glass and food on the street. So this is something I’m asking Gloucester City Council to consider carefully.”

The Late Night Levy has been taken up by seven local authorities so far, and was amended by the government in January to encourage more local authorities to consider implementing the levy in their area.

The Levy allows the council to raise a contribution from late-opening alcohol suppliers towards policing the night-time economy. It can apply to specific geographical locations, and the authorities will be required to publish information about how the funds are spent. The police will receive at least 70% of the net levy revenue and the local authority can retain up to 30% to fund other services.

PRESS RELEASE: 107 MPs call for swift government support for Tidal Lagoons

107 MPs have signed a letter to Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary of State Greg Clark calling for the government to respond to the recommendations of the Hendry Review on Tidal Lagoons, and in particular Charles Hendry’s call for a pathfinder Tidal Lagoon, as soon as possible.

Chair of the All Party Group for Marine Energy and Tidal Lagoons Richard Graham MP said:

“Former Energy Minister Charles Hendry started his Review as a sceptic and ended as an enthusiast. He was very clear in urging the government to give the green light for a pathfinder in Swansea – the world’s first ever tidal lagoon – and then see whether the experience justified going ahead with much larger future lagoons.

There is a large amount of support in Parliament for this and many of us believe that tidal lagoons meet the aims of the government’s new industrial strategy. Clearly the BusinessSecretary and the Chancellor will want to be sure the pathfinder is affordable in the context of delivering secure, domestic, low carbon and diversified sources of energy. Our letter is to urge the government not to delay in responding positively to the recommendations and getting the financial talks for the pathfinder under way.”

Notes to editors

Richard Graham MP will be available for interviews on the 14th of February and the morning of the 15th of February. Please contact Megan Trethewey for details: 020 7219 2299.

The Rt Hon Charles Hendry presented his Independent Review on Tidal Lagoons to the Secretary of State before Christmas, and has since released it to the public.

The report concluded that tidal lagoons could make a ‘strong contribution to UK energy security’, based on an analysis of security, carbonisation, affordability and economic gain. It added that Tidal Lagoons would create a ‘lifeline’ to UK companies including some in the
steel industry, and offer a ‘significant economic opportunity for Wales and the UK more generally’.

The Review proposed the construction of a ‘pathfinder’ lagoon at Swansea Bay to start as soon as negotiations with the companies involved have been finalised.

Minister for Industry and Energy Jesse Norman MP has stated that “there will be no dragging of heels” in the government’s response to the review.

The Hendry Review final report can be found here.

Information regarding the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Marine Energy and Tidal Lagoons can be found here.

Flick Drummond MP also agrees with the contents of the letter.

 

« Older Entries Recent Entries »