The Government’s Minister for Growth, Greg Clark MP was in Bedford on Friday (9th January) with local MP, Richard Fuller and Conservative Mayoral Candidate, Jas Parmar to discuss Bedford’s economic future.
The Minister was in the region to sign officially the Local Growth Deal that gave Bedford the final piece of funding for the Western bypass.
Richard and Jas took the Minister to the sites of some of the ambitious projects they have proposed to drive Bedford and Kempston’s economic growth, including a new road bridge over the River Great Ouse at Batt’s Ford.
Richard commented, “I have been delighted over recent months that the Government has committed funding to several vitally important infrastructure projects in and around Bedford, including the Bedford-Oxford railway, a flyover for the Black Cat junction of the A1 and the completion of the western bypass.”
“Having the Growth Minister here in Bedford gave us a great opportunity to show him the plans we have for other projects that will bring about new jobs and economic prosperity for Bedford and Kempston.”
Jas added, “A new road bridge in Bedford has been talked about for decades and would make a real difference to traffic in Bedford. It was great to have the opportunity to tell the Minister more about the projects that matter to Bedford Borough.”
Bedfordshire MPs, Richard Fuller and Nadine Dorries questioned bosses from Govia Thameslink and Network Rail about the recent poor train service provided on the Bedford-Brighton line.
The MPs raised concerns from their constituents who have suffered with a high number of train delays and cancellations since Govia took over the franchise in September.
Govia apologised for the poor performance which they put down to severe driver shortages and confirmed that they were taking action to improve things.
Bedford and Kempston MP, Richard Fuller said,
“There have been unacceptable levels of disruption and cancellations on the Thameslink line in recent weeks. Govia say they have driver shortages, which they are addressing, and that improvements will come but will take time. I have my doubts and Nadine and I have asked for regular updates to monitor progress.”
Richard Fuller, MP for Bedford and Kempston, used the last Prime Minister’s Question time before Christmas to ask the PM what the Government can do to help young people in Bedford and Kempston on to the housing ladder.
You can watch Richard’s question and the Prime Minister’s answer by clicking the image above.
Afterwards, Richard commented,
“Right to Buy has been really popular locally, reducing the deposit required by first time buyers to purchase their own home. It was great to hear that the Government has now launched the Starter Homes Initiative offering 20% discounts on new affordable homes to buyers aged under 40.”
On Friday 5th December, Richard Fuller MP officially opened Bedford Hospital’s improved and refurbished dementia friendly facilities – Harpur Ward and Elizabeth Ward.
One in four hospital beds in the UK is occupied by someone with dementia, and over one third of those over 65 will die with the degenerative illness. However, care and research to combat the disease is still largely overlooked.
Bedford Hospital’s new wards were created as part of a £1 million pound project to create a pioneering specialist environment to support dementia care across Bedford. The diagnosis, care and long term support for people with dementia, and their carers, is a local and national priority for the NHS and Bedford Hospital is pleased to be able to respond so positively.
In particular Bedford Hospital’s dementia friendly wards have been carefully designed to benefit patient’s’ physical and mental health. These innovative ideas include providing comfortable and familiar areas that will lessen anxiety patients often feel when going to and from hospital.
Road investment to create expressway linking Bedford to Cambridge and Milton Keynes welcomed by Bedford MP.
Significant improvements to the A428, including a full solution to the Black Cat roundabout issue, announced by the Government as part of its first ever five year investment strategy for the nation’s roads has been welcomed by local MP, Richard Fuller.
The A428 is one of 84 named schemes within the strategy. The proposal is to dual the remaining single carriageway section between Caxton Gibbet west of Cambridge and the M1 at Milton Keynes, making Bedford the centre of an East-West Expressway. The work will also include a flyover junction at the A1 Black Cat roundabout.
Government estimates the total cost of the scheme at between £250m – £500m and construction will start within the plan’s five year period.
Richard Fuller MP for Bedford, commented,
“The creation of this road Expressway linking Bedford with Cambridge and Milton Keynes will bring long term benefits to our local economy and the promise of more local jobs. A flyover at the Black Cat will also make a massive difference to local residents. We must now press ahead for commitments to build the final stage in the complimentary East-West rail link from Bedford to Cambridge.”
More information about the announcement is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/major-roads-investment-in-the-east-of-england
Local MP, Richard Fuller opened the new TradePoint store in Bedford today – the local trade building supplies business – along with Luke Thorn, Branch Manager and David Cooke, Unit Manager.
The new 30,000 sq ft store is located at the Interchange Retail Park, next to B&Q, and has created jobs in the local area by employing 30 members of staff, 22 of whom are new hires. It will be open seven days a week for local tradesmen, further boosting the local economy by helping sole traders and small businesses.
After helping to cut the ribbon on the new store, Richard commented:
“We’re delighted to see TradePoint expand its presence in Bedford with this new store. As well as bringing jobs to the region, TradePoint’s decision to open this store in Bedford recognises the ongoing efforts to bring economic growth to the area and is a welcome new addition to the town.”
This is the first TradePoint of its kind, focused on the needs of the small trade professional. The store boasts several services and features not previously available which are aimed at fulfilling the builders’ needs quickly. The Bedford store TradePoint counter has built strong relationships with a thriving community of local businesses and individuals since opening last year and so represented a good opportunity to build on the existing offer.
Luke Thorn, TradePoint Branch Manager, said: “We’re incredibly excited about the opening of our brand new store and I’m hugely proud of everyone who has worked together to get us opened on time and looking so fantastic. Our team is ready and raring to help tradespeople in Bedford to get the job done without the hassle.”
Richard Fuller, MP for Bedford and Kempston, today met with local ‘mumpreneur’ Jemma Hough and husband and business partner, Jon.
Jemma and Jon started their business, A Class Kitchens of Bedford, with the help of a Start Up Loan from the government-backed Start Up Loan Company. After becoming a mother, Jemma felt the best way to combine spending time with her daughter and working was to start her own business. After testing the market, Jemma and her husband Jon, who was working for a kitchen company, received lots of local support and decided to go it alone.
The business is going from strength to strength and is now approaching 50 kitchen installations with bookings mounting up into the spring of 2015.
They are looking to expand the business and are currently beginning a recruitment drive to recruit an installations manager to coordinate the installation process and build a larger fitting team, which will mean that in 2015 they will be able to provide more customers with an A Class Kitchen.
Bedford MP Richard Fuller celebrated the success of a local business during a visit to Kempston-based Newnorth Print Ltd this week. He brought leading Euro MP, Vicky Ford, to meet employees and hear how the company has invested and grown the business.
Newnorth Print was founded in 1971 and offers smart e-commerce printing solutions as well as traditional printing and merchandise products.
Richard and Vicky toured the facilities in Kempston and heard about the barriers to trade that small and medium sized businesses face when trading in the single market.
During the tour of the company’s facilities, the MP and MEP saw the new printing equipment in which the company has recently invested over £2 million.
Richard Fuller MP commented “It’s great to see this local business growing and investing in new technology. Supporting small businesses is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan, creating more jobs and increasing the country’s economic security.”
Vicky Ford added “Small and medium sized companies are the backbone of our economy and it’s good to see small firms like Newnorth Print taking advantage of the stronger economy to invest and grow. The printing sector has seen rapid change and companies have needed to be flexible to survive. It is important not to overload them with red tape and bureaucracy.”
Bedford MP Richard Fuller stressed the need to address the issue of gender inequality within the Houses of Parliament, when speaking to Bedford Girls’ School students on Friday.
In a wide-ranging talk to the school’s Politics Society, Mr Fuller stressed how significant barriers remain to be tackled whilst low proportions of women in senior positions in business and politics persist.
Mr Fuller said: “I’ll be the first to admit that there’s a clear shortage of female MPs in the Houses of Parliament. When I look at Parliament it’s still a male dominated world.
“Unless you start at the top and appoint women in respected positions such as a large corporate company CEOs – nothing will change.”
Reflecting on his political career and an MP’s role in both Parliament and their constituency, Mr Fuller went on to highlight the importance of political figures having ‘life experience’ outside of politics.
“We live at a time when too many MPs have only ever been involved in politics, which leads to intellectually narrow world views,” said the Bedford MP, who worked overseas in the business sector before returning to the town in 2004.
“Being leaders in professions ranging from charity work to science to teaching gives someone that all-important life experience that can make for a more effective, better grounded, representative in Parliament.”
After taking part in the National Citizen Service (NCS), Ben Handysides from Kempston was selected as one of just 100 young people across the country, from more than 40,000, to become a national ambassador for NCS.
Established in 2011 to create a more responsible, cohesive and engaged society, NCS is a three week programme that brings 16 & 17 year olds from a range of backgrounds together to face outdoor challenges, learn skills for life and work, extend their social networks and make their mark on their community – spending 30 hours delivering a volunteer project of their choice.
Ben Handysides, a pupil at Hastingsbury Business and Enterprise College, spent his half term taking part in an intensive, week-long leadership programme at a London College– designed to provide top teens with the opportunity to fully realise their potential and develop a national network whilst giving them the skills, insight and ability to help encourage other teens to deliver positive change in the community through the power of social action.
As part of the prestigious leadership programme, Ben took part in a number of workshops focusing on personal and social development, including presenting, debating and problem solving skills delivered by partners including Sky Skills Academy, Barclays Life Skills, Mozilla Digital Champions and EY (formerly Ernst and Young).
As part of the week, Ben also had the opportunity to meet his MP, Richard Fuller, at the House of Commons.
Richard said, “I was delighted to meet Ben at the reception in Parliament and recognise what a tremendous achievement it is for him to become an NCS Leader.”
NCS ambassadors are selected not only for their ability and enthusiasm, but for demonstrating development during the programme and overcoming personal challenges or supporting others to do the same.