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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.”


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.”


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: 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”.


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



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’.


Tenth successive month of falling unemployment in Gloucester

Gloucester MP Richard Graham said  today’s latest unemployment figures mark the tenth month in a row that unemployment in Gloucester: with over 800 more people in jobs over the last year.

Reacting to the news, the City MP said, “108 more people in the city with a job in the last month, 800 in the last year, and over a thousand since 2010.

Each new job means one more person with a wage packet and an opportunity to get on. Further evidence of Gloucester on the UP”

Gloucester MP welcomes resurfacing of road by War Memorial for Remembrance Sunday

Richard Graham MP and Westgate councillors joined Gloucestershire County Council and contractor Amey to look at the finished resurfacing of Park Road, beside the city’s War Memorial.

Richard said, “our county council promised to sort the very poor state of this road in time for our Armed Forces, veterans and cadets to gather this Remembrance Sunday – and it has.”

The city MP noted that, “in this 100th anniversary year of the Battle of Somme, where so many soldiers in the Glosters fought and died (and my grandfather was badly wounded), it’s good that the road looks as it does now.”

Richard also said the city council had prepared the garden and would sort the mindless graffiti recently added to the wall before Sunday’s ceremony: “I much appreciate both of our local authorities showing their respect.”

Vernon Smith, Cabinet Member for Transport, commented, “On Remembrance Day lets us all acknowledge the debt we owe to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. When Richard raised the condition of the road leading to the Gloucester War Memorial, we were only too happy to help resurface it. I have family serving in the armed forces, and many County Council and Amey staff are veterans. It was our pleasure to pull out the stops and get the job done in time.”

County Councillor for Westgate Pam Tracey added that she was pleased residents’ concerns about the road’s condition had been heard and improvements made.


Cllr Vernon Smith, Cllr Paul Toleman, Gloucester MP Richard Graham, Darren Mizen from Amey & Cllr Pam Tracey on Park Road

Why I think we should pause the LISA

Parliament is debating the legislation for the proposed Lifetime Individual Savings Account on Monday, and will set out how it will work.

The Lisa will encourage those aged between 18 and 40 to save up to £4,000 a year with a very generous 25 per cent government monthly top-up, which they can use to buy a home in their thirties, or for savings later in life.

The aims are in line with the government’s manifesto to help people on to the housing ladder, in a familiar savings wrapper, with implementation scheduled for next April. So what’s not to like? Unfortunately, quite a lot.

The problem is that when it comes to savings, we don’t start with a blank sheet of paper. We already have a mind-boggling collection of pension and other savings products, with every recent government tempted to try to be the savings industry’s product designer.

The stakeholder pension, created under Tony Blair’s government, died a quiet death. And we should be careful of not unintentionally doing the same to the auto-enrolment scheme, implemented by the coalition government, and backed by the government-owned pension provider Nest, to ensure that every employer offers millions of employees a workplace pension. This is a noble cause. Why is that at risk?

Today, auto enrolment has 6.9m new savers signed up to a pension and another 3m more still to come. Crucially, contributions are tax free, and both government and the employer contribute too. By contrast, any savings into a Lisa come from taxed income and the employer does not contribute anything. But all of that is as nothing compared with the guaranteed Lisa incentive: 25 per cent a year, an unimaginable no-risk annual return on any asset class.

So there will inevitably be a flood of savers switching from existing Isas (especially cash Isas) and new money going into the Lisa. Better-off workers and retirees will find the spare cash to get their children and grandchildren’s savings moving.

The problem is that the lowest earners will not have enough both to save through their auto-enrolled pension (especially as their contribution level increases sharply to 4 per cent by 2019), and to have taxed income to spare for a Lisa.

We are bound to see a rapid increase of opt-outs from auto enrolment, especially in 2019, and people instead opening Lisas. Employers will not mind this as they will not have to pay their (2019) contribution of 3 per cent into their workers’ pension pots.

The likely result is that building long-term savings through auto enrolment, with government, employer and employee all contributing, will be severely set back. The Lisa may prevent auto enrolment from being the growing source of later-life income that it could be. That, in turn, could have implications for future social security pressures.

Does this matter? Some believe that no one understands pensions, they are too inflexible and everyone prefers Isas (which you can cash in tax free). Use that brand to mobilise house buying and savings, they say, and don’t worry about which product the money goes into: it is the savings generated that matter.

A growing proportion of people neither own a home nor have a pension.

And I might, broadly agree, except that taxpayers are paying for the Lisa top-ups (estimated at £850m by 2021). So who will benefit the most?

The government has not given us any breakdown but my instinct is that the biggest beneficiaries will be existing savers who are transferring assets, and families of higher-rate earners — the opposite of those intended to benefit from auto enrolment.

Finding £4,000 out of taxed income will not be easy for those on the average wage for my Gloucester constituency of about £24,000: my constituents will not be able to save nearly that much. So the Lisa, while available to all, risks principally benefiting the few.

Moreover, the Lisa is criticised by many in the savings industry, and ignores the concerns of the previous two pension ministers, the work and pensions select committee, the ABI and other professional bodies. There is an FCA consultation that ends only a few weeks before it is supposed to be introduced next April.

This is not the best backdrop to the introduction of a new savings product with such generous incentives. I am convinced that piecemeal Treasury product design is not the answer and a wider consensus on savings is needed. And because we have such a feeble opposition, deeply entangled in civil war, it is for Conservatives to call for this.

It is not too late for the chancellor to pause and reconsider the whole savings landscape. I recommend he establish a savings commission. Led by an independent figure, this body should work out how we can best stimulate savings for homes and retirement, without adding unnecessarily to the range of offerings, creating competing government products or giving generous tax breaks to the few. The remit should include current tax breaks for pensions and savings instruments. Let it be formed quickly and give recommendations within six months.

The Lisa is the product of the last Treasury’s habit of tinkering with product design for savings, its dislike of pensions, its preference for tax up front (and so Isas) and its inability to work effectively with the Department of Work and Pensions on this issue. The new chancellor and work and pensions secretary have the chance to change all that, and provide solutions better suited for the many.

Pausing the Lisa would be a good start.

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