Richard Fuller MP

Working for the future of Bedford & Kempston

Richard Fuller MP with staff at Kempston Sainsbury's - August 2014

Richard Fuller MP with staff at Kempston Sainsbury’s – August 2014

Richard Fuller, MP for Bedford got behind the food counter in Kempston Sainsbury’s store to learn more about preparing food and serving local customers.

Richard was welcomed by Michelle Booth at the Fish counter. During their time on the job they covered the importance of safety and hygiene while preparing food as well as getting a few tips from trained colleagues on how to fillet a fish. The day was designed to highlight the various career opportunities retail offers, and the training available to colleagues.

Richard said “I’ve had a great day accompanying Michelle. It’s interesting to see how passionate the staff are, and to meet local customers.”

Michelle adds: “It’s not every day you have your local MP in to work with you – I really enjoyed sharing some of the skills I’ve learnt and having an extra pair of hands.”

This year Sainsbury’s was awarded its second consecutive Gold Investors in People accreditation for supporting, developing and motivating its staff. Over 22,000 staff who work on the fresh food counters, bakeries and cafés have received job-specific City & Guilds-accredited training in the seven Food Colleges across the UK.

In his column in the Bedford Times and Citizen, MP for Bedford and Kempston, Richard Fuller has set a challenge for the leadership at Bedford Hospital to consider all options for the future.

He wrote, “Will the healthcare review by the local GP led commissioning groups of Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes, costing £3 million, come up with ideas that we can use?

“Early indications are that useful changes have been identified in how local GP practices can be made more effective. On their own, these proposals should improve access to GPs and to speed up simple procedures such as blood tests. These are good ideas from the review and, I believe, will be supported strongly during the upcoming consultation.

“The headlines, of course, have not focused on GP services, but on the proposals about accident and emergency services at the two hospitals – Bedford and Milton Keynes. Laying out all potential options part way through a review, although exemplary disclosure, naturally raises concerns about some of the more extreme ideas. The GP-led group erred on the side of full openness and, on balance, I think they were right.

“However, unlike with GP services, there has been so much change over the last year at our local hospital that I no longer believe that an answer can be found in a tie-up for Bedford Hospital with Milton Keynes Hospital. There is a new confidence at Bedford Hospital and it is time for them to show leadership in answering the challenge of commissioners about how best to provide services locally in Bedford.

“There is no need for the knee-jerk response that everything should stay exactly as it is now and scaring people with talk of the closure of our hospital – which is not in any plan – does not help anyone.

“If more lives can be saved by looking at safe, modern, sustainable alternatives, then we should look at these. Equally, we should recognise that the review is not ‘the only show in town’.

“Personally, I think the development of a broad, clinical partnership with Addenbrooke’s Hospital could be the right answer for Bedford Hospital. Addenbrooke’s is a trusted, high quality teaching hospital than can help recruitment of doctors to Bedford and provide quality care for those, thankfully few, cases each year of life or death injury.

“Politicians can have opinions and can give voice to local opinion, but leadership should best come from the clinical specialists themselves. So, Bedford Hospital, what is your answer?”

Secretary of State, Iain Duncan Smith (c) with Richard Fuller MP (r), and Ian Freestone (l), Manager of Bedford Intraining

Secretary of State, Iain Duncan Smith (c) with Richard Fuller MP (r), and Ian Freestone (l), Manager of Bedford Intraining

On Friday 18th July, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, visited Bedford to congratulate Intraining and Bedford MP, Richard Fuller on their efforts to help young people into work, and to discuss what more can be done to continue to reduce unemployment.

On the day before (Thursday 17th July), over 50 local employers and 200 young people came together for the second annual ‘speed-interviewing’ jobs event hosted by Richard Fuller MP and Intraining.

The Secretary of State was particularly impressed with the innovative format of the event. He also took the time to talk with Intraining staff about the challenges they faced in getting people into employment and asked what more the Government could do to support them.
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Click the image for video of Richard's speech

Click the image for video of Richard’s speech

In his contribution to the debate on the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, Bedford MP Richard Fuller spoke of his admiration for small business owners, calling them ‘heroes’. He said that entrepreneurs look to the Government for inspiration and assistance, but that sometimes the Government can be too keen for intervention and regulation.

Richard highlighted a number of local business owners, he commended Maria at Pensieri for battling unfair business rates; Amy at Bedazzled for building a successful business straight from school; Beth and Mahmood at Chiff Chaff Café for succeeding with their café where previous efforts had failed; and Zak at Jagged Edge for inspiring others to start their own businesses while successfully building his own.

A full transcript of Richard’s speech is available here or click the image above to watch a video.

During the debate on the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, Richard Fuller, MP for Bedford, called on the Business Secretary to change proposed regulations that will harm family brewers.

He said, “It was never the intention that family-owned breweries would be impacted by the regulations, yet the Bill has measures that will do so. That should not happen in a Bill that is supposed to support small businesses. It also provides for an adjudicator whose role is flawed, and for a publican code that, as many hon. Members have already said, lacks some of the necessary details to be able to support small businesses.

“The Government’s own impact assessment states that there are additional costs on a brewing and pub industry that is already reeling from the cost competition provided by supermarkets and other places where people can buy alcoholic beverages. Those things should be looked at by the Minister and given a Conservative slant, to make sure that we support not only our publicans who want a fair deal, but our family brewers who also deserve a fair deal.”

A full transcript of Richard’s speech is available here or you can watch the video from Parliament TV.

Bedford Hospital

In an article in the Times and Citizen, Richard Fuller MP has encouraged local health chiefs to consider a tie-up between Bedford Hospital and Addenbrooke’s. The link up could allow Bedford to draw on the expertise and skills of Addenbrooke’s to deliver services at Bedford.

Richard said, “Addenbrooke’s is a trusted, high quality teaching hospital that would attract the recruitment of doctors to Bedford and help Bedford to provide quality care for local residents for many years to come.

“I have suggested to the leadership at Bedford Hospital that this could be another option to consider alongside those suggested by the current healthcare review.”

To read the full article, visit: Bedford Times & Citizen: MP’s call to consider alternatives.

Richard Fuller MP helps out at the British Heart Foundation shop in Bedford

Richard Fuller MP helps out at the British Heart Foundation shop in Bedford

In May, Bedford MP Richard Fuller visited the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Furniture & Electrical store. He met the store staff and volunteers and spent a few hours in the Bedford store to learn more about the BHF and the work it does in the local community.

The MP said: “It was great to pop in and meet the dedicated members of staff and volunteers that work at the Bedford Furniture & Electrical store. The BHF is such a fantastic cause and the work they do is vital in the fight against heart disease.

“I’d urge locals to have a root around and donate any unwanted items to the store or give the gift of time by volunteering.”

Craig Fraser Area Manager for Bedford said: “We’re really grateful to Richard for coming in, visiting our store and meeting the team. We’re always looking for support and stock donations, which are absolutely essential to the success of the charity, and play a vital part in fighting coronary heart disease – the UK’s single biggest killer.”

Diabetes UK - Big Collection

Diabetes UK – Big Collection

Richard also helped Diabetes UK Chief Executive Barbara Young at their Big Collection on Friday June 13 at Tesco Bedford, Riverfield Drive.

The Big Collection is a nationwide fundraising event for Diabetes UK, which took place in 300 Tesco stores across the UK on 13, 14 and 15 June.

Barbara Young, Diabetes UK Chief Executive said: “We are delighted that Richard Fuller gave up his time to support the Big Collection with me in Bedford.
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Richard Fuller, Eric Pickles and Jas Parmar discuss Bedford's traffic enforcement issues

Richard Fuller, Eric Pickles and Jas Parmar discuss Bedford’s traffic enforcement issues

In June, Secretary of State for Local Government, Eric Pickles, visited Bedford to meet local MP, Richard Fuller and Conservative Mayoral Candidate, Jas Parmar.

Richard described the visit in his column in the Times and Citizen:

“Mr Pickles is a big man so I felt bad giving him a walking tour around town on a hot day in Bedford last week. It was for a good cause, though. Trying to knock some sense in to the use of the mobile CCTV vans so beloved by our Liberal Democrat-controlled Council.

“I am all in favour of the vans being used as they were first intended to be used: to stop cars being parked dangerously outside schools. In some cases, this rush to pick up children causes mayhem and can be dangerous.

“Unfortunately, though, the CCTV vans have been increasingly used as a means to raise money for the Council, with people being given tickets for the most minor and least dangerous infractions.

“On his walkabout, Eric met with shop keepers and local business people and listened to their concerns about the impact of these vans on their customers and on their business.

“Eric listened and now he has acted. Just a few days after his first-hand experience in Bedford, Eric had had enough and he announced an end to overzealous enforcement by CCTV vans. From this Autumn they will be restricted to enforcing parking rules on bus lanes and outside schools.

“It’s great to see this national politician listening and then acting to promote common sense.”

I value greatly the efforts of small businesses in creating jobs and building wealth in our community, and I also want to ensure that I know of any issues of concern to local businesses.

That is why I am launching my local “MP’s Panel on Business” quarterly surveys, so that local business owners can let me know how they think the local economy is performing, as well as their views on national and local issues.

If you own or run a business locally, then I would like to invite you to take part. The first of these surveys is available now and I do encourage you to get involved!

Richard Fuller MP with Slimming World members and their donations to Cancer Research UK

Richard Fuller MP with Slimming World members and their donations to Cancer Research UK

Richard Fuller MP joined slimmers from across Bedfordshire in support of their national fundraising campaign ‘The Big Slimming World Clothes Throw’ in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Members of the Bedford, Ampthill, Flitwick, Oakley, Clapham, Marston Mortaine, Bromham, Wootton and Wixhams Slimming World groups have been collecting all of their unwanted clothes, shoes and accessories to donate to their local Cancer Research UK shop. Each single bag collected could raise around £25 for the charity.

The campaign is a nationwide fundraising drive that sees Slimming World members across the UK donating clothes to Cancer Research UK, Slimming World’s charity partner in 2014. Last year slimmer’s donated £888,586 worth of stock across the UK. All profits go to support the charity’s life-saving work to help beat cancer sooner.

Richard joined the team on Sunday to help load all of the bags ready to be collected by the charity. He said, “The team has done an amazing job in collecting all of these donations and raising money for such a worthwhile cause.”

If you would like to join one of the group please visit or call 0844 897 8000.

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