Please note: This site covers the period that I was a Member of Parliament from May 2010 to June 2017.
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.”
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!
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.”
The Chancellor, George Osborne, visited a small business in Kempston on 9th January to launch the countdown to the introduction of the Employment Allowance, which will wipe out up to £2,000 off the total National Insurance bill of every business. This is equivalent to £200 per employee by the end of the Parliament.
Local MP, Richard Fuller, greeted Mr Osborne at the Chiff-Chaff Cafe in Kempston and they joined owners Beth Pestell and Mahmoud Mehdizadeh for a coffee and a slice of cake. Beth and Mahmoud heard how the Employment Allowance will help their business by wiping out their Employer National Insurance Contributions altogether.
The Chancellor also took the time to congratulate Richard on the initiatives he has launched to help small business, including the Bedford Business Fund and the ‘speed-dating for jobs’ event.
Commenting, the Chancellor said,
“Small businesses make a vital contribution to our economy, creating jobs and stimulating growth. The ones I have visited today want to expand, take on new staff and make new investments so the actions we have taken to cut the jobs tax will be a real boost to them.
“With three months to go until the introduction of the Employment Allowance, I am shining a spotlight on this scheme which demonstrates our support for small businesses and enterprise.”
Bedford and Kempston MP, Richard Fuller, is working hard to create employment opportunities for young people in the local community.
On 11th July, Richard teamed up with local Work Programme providers to put on an ‘Employment Opportunity Day’ for young jobseekers at the Bedford Corn Exchange.
The event was the very first of a new type of jobs event where young jobseekers are ‘speed-interviewed’ by local employers. Over two hundred and fifty young people aged under 24 had the opportunity to impress over sixty local employers into offering them a position.
Commenting at the event Richard said, “Many young people looking for work send out hundreds of applications and never get the chance for an interview, so we are turning that around and giving them a series of ‘speed interviews’ to help them really connect with potential employers and prove their value.”
“The feedback we’ve had about the event from both jobseekers and employers has been very positive, with over 70 offers of employment opportunities made.”
Small businesses are the bedrock of our economy and vital to our economic recovery. Last year the Government presided over the largest number of business start-ups in a 12-month period in recorded history. Richard Fuller, is working hard to ensure that this trend continues, creating jobs and opportunities in Bedford and Kempston.
The MP has already launched a £400,000 local business fund which is now actively looking for local early stage businesses to support. In July, Richard has arranged a jobs event in Bedford targeted at giving young people a start, or re-start, to their working careers.
Now Richard is being the voice for small businesses and entrepreneurs at the highest levels of government.
Bedford and Kempston MP, Richard Fuller, recently hosted Vicky Ford MEP for the East of England on a visit to Bedford. The pair met with Co-operative Pharmacy MD, John Nuttall, at the Co-op Pharmacy on Queens Drive where they saw how important our local pharmacies are to the community.
Richard commented, “Our pharmacies do vital work every day, not only in providing us with the medications and advice that we need, but also in promoting better public health. It is important for me and Vicky to know what we can do to assist their work both at a UK and European level.”
Later, Richard and Vicky visited the Bedford BID team to learn of their initiatives to help local businesses and make Bedford and Kempston thrive. They also took the opportunity to drop-in to a number of local shops and hear directly from business owners.
“It was really good to hear independent small businesses saying that they think the worst of the recession is behind them,” said Vicky Ford MEP. “I will definitely be coming back shopping.”