Posts Tagged ‘Richard Fuller’
MP for Bedford and Kempston, Richard Fuller, spoke out for pregnant women in the asylum system at an event in Parliament on Monday 25 February.
Richard was hosting the launch of new research from The Refugee Council and Maternity Action that showed UK Border Agency policies are putting the health of hundreds of pregnant women and their babies at risk, by moving them to accommodation around the country, thereby removing them from essential healthcare and leading to isolation.
The charities are calling for women in the asylum system to be allowed to prepare for motherhood and access the healthcare they need.
Richard Fuller MP said:
“Every woman should be allowed dignity in pregnancy, no matter what their immigration status. The Government has recognised this with recent changes but I want to see them go further to ensure a health pregnancy and birth.”
The report explains that asylum seeking women in the UK have high risk pregnancies, often due to serious mental and physical health conditions having fled torture, or sexual violence in their own countries. The study found, however, that due to UKBA’s policies, such women are being separated from the specialist treatment they need throughout their pregnancies, contrary to guidance from the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).
On Tuesday 5th February, the House of Commons debated a Bill aimed at allowing same sex couples to marry. I attended the House of Commons for the entirety of the debate because I wanted to listen to points raised on both sides, and I am glad that I did so. I also spoke in the debate to explain why, though I share the ambitions of the Bill, I would be abstaining in the vote in order to ensure that concerns expressed with anomalies in, and potential consequences of, the bill would be taken seriously as the Bill progresses. You can view a video of my contribution to the debate below, or you can read a transcript here.
As you may be aware, the Prime Minister has detailed his view of the UK’s future relationship with the EU. In short, Mr Cameron has clearly declared that the EU needs to change; that ‘ever closer union’ is not the right path; and that he will seek a better relationship for Britain.
Importantly, he will put the outcome of these negotiations to a referendum where people can decide to accept a new settlement or to leave the EU.
As I have said before, I want the British people to be given a choice over our future with the EU. To this end, I am pleased that the Prime Minister has committed to holding an ‘in/out’ referendum. As he must have time to negotiate a better position for Britain, I see the merit in deferring this until no later than the end of 2017.
I realise that some people are calling for an immediate in-out referendum, but a vote today between the status quo and leaving would be – as I said previously – a false choice. The EU is in a state of flux while the Eurozone countries work out their new relationship. For a vote to be held there must be clarity of the choice on offer.
Cranfield Audio’s Managing Director, Roger Samels, welcomed local MP, Richard Fuller, and the other guests to the company’s showroom facilities on Adams Road, Kempston.
Roger said “My father started his local electrical wiring business in 1959 and I am delighted that the new CAL showroom can bring the best in audio to our existing and new customers.”
Richard met the team, viewed the latest developments in HiFi and home cinema in the two new demonstration areas at Cranfield Audio and chatted to guests from CAL’s suppliers who represent some of the very best names in the HiFi and Audio-visual industry, such as Tannoy, Quad, Roksan, Rega and Musical Fidelity.
Gregory Colton, Technical Sales Manager added “We are tremendously supportive of quality products, and it is surprising how many are still manufactured here in the UK.”
Richard has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement today that veterans of the Arctic Convoy will be awarded their own medal, while members of Bomber Command will receive a medal clasp as recognition of the vital roles that they played during World War Two.
Arctic Convoy veterans, including some residents of Bedford, have long been fighting for their own campaign medal. Last December, Richard wrote to the Prime Minister on behalf of local constituents to press for recognition of those who served on the Arctic Convoys.
Richard said: “We owe an immense debt of gratitude to the brave sailors who served on the arctic convoys in almost unimaginable conditions. Ensuring that supplies reached our allies in Russia was an incredibly important part of the war effort and I am pleased that these veterans will now get the official recognition that they deserve.”
During the recent debate on the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, Richard called on the Government to do more to support business and to encourage job creation:
“Enterprise and regulatory reform, part of the title of the Bill, are words to bring succour to those who work in the engine room of the British economy — words that can take a thousand ideas for a new business, which have been discussed over a pint or sketched out on paper, and transform them into job-making, wealth-creating vehicles of growth.
“The anticipation for the Bill is almost tangible, but I fear that it will fall short of fulfilling the hopeful expectations. Where is the rolling back of the myriad fees and charges that are blithely imposed on businesses; where is the relief for shopkeepers from the sky-high rateable values set at the peak of Labour’s boom-cum-bust; and where is the implementation of our policy to roll back job-destroying EU regulation?
“The Bill’s proceedings should have started with a rallying call to our businesses that this Government are unambiguously on their side; a statement cherishing the principles of the free market as the most liberating force for social good; a determination to embrace, defend and expand the global free market that has lifted hundreds of millions of people from poverty, to which too many were consigned by the misguided socialist policies of the past; a rebuttal of the insidious assumption, which too often underlies Government intervention, that, left to their own devices, people who run their own business cannot be trusted. That assumption should be replaced by a presumption of trust that in starting and growing businesses, people are doing the essential work of a grateful nation, burdened by its debts and seeking the wealth to maintain its cherished public services.
Richard has signed a motion calling for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to investigate allegations of price-fixing by British oil companies. The motion, initiated by Robert Halfon MP and supported by a number of MPs across all parties, is likely to be debated in Parliament in September.
Richard said, “As the Times and Citizen fuel campaign has shown over recent months, our local petrol prices are unjustifiably high. Although the Government has already done a great deal to support the motorist – stopping the 3p August rise, scrapping the January rise, and cutting fuel duty by 1p in 2011 – there is much more that should be done to challenge the oil companies and their part in keeping petrol prices high.
“The OFT has failed to tackle the oil companies and that’s why I am calling for an OFT investigation – a crucial next step in the T&C’s campaign for fairer fuel prices.”
Robert Halfon MP added, “I’m delighted that Richard is campaigning for cheaper petrol and diesel. To be fair to the Government, they have now cut fuel duty by 10p, compared with what Labour were planning. But it’s essential that we also crack down on the oil companies to make sure they pass on cheaper oil process at the pumps. That’s why Richard and I are pressing for a full enquiry by the OFT.”
Richard welcomed the Government’s announcement on rail investment for 2015-19 that places Bedford at the centre of new investment in our railways.
Richard commented, “These plans will upgrade the Midland Mainline, which connects London through Bedford to Sheffield, by electrifying the line from Bedford northwards. The announcment also reconfirmed the Government’s commitment to re-building – and fully electrifying – the railway between Bedford and Oxford as part of the East-West Rail Project. The Department for Transport will also be continuing discussions with local authorities to secure the final piece of the East-West rail line that will connect Bedford to Cambridge and beyond.
“Bedford and Kempston have a proud rail heritage and I am delighted that Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for Transport has recognised this in today’s announcement. Although scheduled some time ahead, these investments emphasise Bedford’s centrality for commerce and will provide a long term boost to the potential for local job creation.”
Richard welcomed seven Bedford UpRisers to the House of Commons last week, giving them a tour of the Palace followed by a Q&A session and an opportunity to sit in on his Westminster Hall debate on a Future Fund for public sector pensions.
Over the course of the day, the UpRisers got an understanding of how government and parliament fit together as well as the chance to understand parliamentary scrutiny by sitting in on a Westminster Hall debate and a select committee.
Richard is an ambassador for Bedford UpRising – a leadership programme for talented young adults aged 19-25 which aims to equip young adults with the life skills, experience and confidence to change their communities for the better.
Posted by admin | Filed under Welfare & Pensions
On Tuesday, Richard held a Westminster Hall debate urging the government to invest in the future of our public sector pensions. Currently, there is no money put aside to fund payments to our public sector pensioners. Instead, the money comes out of general taxation.
A future fund is a way to remove the burden of paying for public sector pensions from current taxpayers so that it comes from the proceeds from an investment fund instead.
Given that our public sector pension liability has risen to £1.1 trillion, Richard argued that it would be best for the government to start putting aside money now so that in future there is a specific fund for public sector pensions.
During the debate, Richard outlined three main reasons why the Government should consider creating a future fund: “The first is that it promotes intergenerational fairness, and reinforces the Government’s view about long-term thinking for the security of our economy. Secondly, it offers an opportunity to rebalance the structure of earnings, to restore emphasis on pension provision—deferred income—rather than on immediate income and, thirdly, it enables the creation of a UK sovereign wealth fund, to stimulate investment in long-term projects.”
“Let us remind ourselves that the current level of public sector debt—the debt that we all talk about and are so worried about—is £1 trillion. The public sector pensions liability, which we do not often talk about, is £1.1 trillion. All those obligations have to be paid by future generations and, as we have so significantly ramped up this first amount of debt, should we not look for ways to reduce the unfunded part of public sector pensions for future taxpayers? A future fund would, over time, eliminate that burden from taxpayers and transfer it to the returns that would be generated from a funded pension scheme.”
To see all of Richard’s speech and to read the Minister’s response, please visit the Official Record of the House of Commons (Hansard) here