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 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 http://www.slimmingworld.com/joining-a-group/nearest-group.aspx or call 0844 897 8000.
On Saturday 17th May, local MP Richard Fuller joined over 400 people to take part in the first Great British Tennis Weekend in Bedford.
The weekend was a huge success with people of all ages given the opportunity to try tennis sessions at Bedford Park for free. This was just the first of four Great British Tennis Weekends in Bedford, so there is still plenty of opportunity to get involved in the lead up to Wimbledon and throughout the summer.
Richard Fuller said “The Bedford Park Great British Tennis Weekend event provided a fantastic opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to try tennis for free. One of the great things about tennis is that you can play at any age, making it truly a sport for all the family.”
The event in Bedford Park also saw the opening of the ‘Window in the Park’ café and the launch of a brand new tennis programme. ‘Play Park Tennis’ has been set up to offer local people the chance to access affordable tennis sessions in beautiful surroundings at Bedford Park. Each session will be led by a qualified coach to not only welcome people into the friendly environment, but also to offer some fantastic advice around technique and tactics.
For more information visit: www.greatbritishtennisweekend.com
I was apprehensive when Putnoe resident, Barbara Norton, encouraged me to take part in a “Blind Fold” walk so I could experience first-hand the challenges that blind and partially sighted people have getting about Bedford. I needn’t have been as I was in the safe hands of supporters from the Guide Dogs as well as two wonderful Guide Dogs, Layla and Tommy.
First task: getting to the bus stop and while Barbara, guided by Tommy, stormed on ahead, I was proceeding slowly, noticing every crack and divot in the pavement with my cane.
A few weeks ago, I asked questions in Parliament about the Government’s plans to roll out audio visual prompts in buses and having caught the bus in to town as part of the Blind Fold walk, I now appreciate how helpful it would be to have my stop announced. We have “Talking Buses” in London, so why not in Bedford?
My next encounter was navigating A boards, wheelie bins and an unexpected double glazing stall as I walked from the High Street to Harpur Square. I know the town well, but what I learned was that you can never be certain that something new might not be in your way on any particular day. No damage done, though I did apologise to a street sign for bumping into it.
I was told afterwards that my Blind Fold walking was a little wayward, so I am grateful to the people who had to dodge out of my way and who were, in almost all cases, very understanding.
At the end of my journey, I felt a sense of accomplishment, but I can’t help thinking that in a truly equal society, getting from A to B should not require such exertion. There are so many small changes that could make such journeys easier.
For more information about Guide Dogs UK’s Talking Buses Campaign, visit http://www.guidedogs.org.uk/supportus/campaigns/talkingbuses
Richard has welcomed a new tax cut for hardworking people in Bedford and Kempston.
The personal allowance rose to £10,000 on Sunday 6 April, taking nearly 400 people in Bedford out of income tax altogether. Taxes have been cut for more than 25 million people across the country, with over three million now taken out of paying income tax altogether.
Because of tax cuts since 2010, the typical taxpayer is now paying £705 less in income tax than they were.
Taxes will be cut even further next year when the personal allowance is set to rise again to £10,500, as announced in the 2014 Budget.
‘This tax cut is excellent news for hardworking people.
‘This is the third time this Government has cut income tax, benefitting nearly 44,000 people here in Bedford and Kempston, with 4,817 people now taken out of income tax altogether.
‘Cutting taxes is a key part of the Conservatives’ long-term economic plan to build a better future for Britain. These cuts mean around 44,000 people are keeping more of the money they’ve worked hard to earn, giving them and their families more financial security for the future.’
Richard Fuller, has pledged his support for My Voice, My Vote – a new, independent all-party campaign to support young first time voters to take social action in their community as a way to encourage their involvement in the democratic process.
Richard commented: “I’m pleased to be lending my support to the My Voice, My Vote campaign to increase young people’s engagement in politics and the democratic process through taking social action. It benefits all of us if young people are more engaged in politics and exercise their democratic rights more actively.”
My Voice, My Vote is a programme of UpRising, a new charity that has Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband as its three founding Patrons. Richard is a local Ambassador for the UpRising programme which has been running in Bedford for the past three years.
On Tuesday 25th March, local MPs Richard Fuller and Alistair Burt held an Adjournment Debate in Parliament on Bedford Magistrates’ Court.
The debate was in response to an announcement in February by the ‘Justices Issues Group’ in Bedfordshire that all criminal and civil cases would be removed from Bedford Magistrates’ Court and heard in Luton instead.
During the debate, Bedford MP Richard Fuller expressed his concerns that the decision would effectively lead to the closure of Bedford Magistrates’ Court. He said,
“This is a crucial issue for local people. It affects access to justice, the ability of people to get to their magistrates court.”
“It is being presented as a reallocation of case loads, but it is not a reallocation of case loads. It is a closure of Bedford Magistrates’ Court by the back door, cleverly but unfairly bypassing the rights of the people.”
Alistair Burt added,
“This is a closure by other means, and an administrative dodge used to ensure that the decision avoids the Minister.”
The MPs called on the Minister to take a close look at the decision and to see whether he might be able to intervene.
The Minister agreed to come to Bedford to meet with the MPs and local people affected by the decision.
Students across Bedford and Kempston have taken part in the 2014 BBC School Report. BBC News School Report gives 11-16 year-old students in the UK the chance to make their own news reports for a real audience.
Year 8 students from St Andrew’s School in Bedford grilled Bedford MP, Richard Fuller about his school-days, his work and even his favourite sweet shop! While Sophie, a year 7 student at Bedford Modern School, asked Richard for his thoughts on racism and diversity.
What do you like best about our town?
What is your favourite local shop, café, pub or restaurant?
This is your chance to celebrate what’s great about Bedford and Kempston!
Enter our 2014 survey for a chance to win one of 10 £50 vouchers!
Richard welcomed the exciting news that Bedford company, AB Fruits, has won a contract to supply fruit and vegetables to Chequers – the Prime Minister’s official country residence.
Even more exciting news reached Bedford when it became known that AB’s produce was served to the Queen and Prince Philip when they dined at Chequers last month.
“I am thrilled that a successful local business has won the contract to supply David Cameron’s official residence and that the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh enjoyed their produce too. When I visited AB Fruits, I was very impressed with the operation run by Antonio Bosco and his three sons. The quality of their produce is excellent and I am delighted that a thriving Bedford business has won such a prestigious contract.”
Mr Bosco of AB Fruits added:
“We were over the moon to win the contract with Chequers and are very proud that that our local family-run company has the Prime Minister’s Head Chef as a customer.”