Working for the future of Bedford & Kempston

Please note: This site covers the period that I was a Member of Parliament from May 2010 to June 2017. 


The results board after final poll of audience is taken at MacIntyre Hudson EU Referendum debate

The results board after a final poll of the audience is taken at the MacIntyre Hudson EU Referendum debate at Bedford Blues Rugby Club

Over the last few weeks, Richard has taken part in a number of EU Referendum debates and discussions around the constituency. Richard will be voting to LEAVE the EU on Thursday and urges his constituents to “vote with confidence, don’t vote out of fear”.

Richard’s views on the EU Referendum can be found here.

One of the debates Richard took part in was opened up to hundreds of local businesses at Bedford Blues Rugby Club, hosted by MacIntyre Hudson. Richard spoke for Leave and Richard Howitt MEP for Remain and the scene was set by Professor of Global Economy at Cranfield University, Joe Nellis. Both speakers made opening statements before questions were taken from the floor and from twitter submissions.

The audience was issued with voting pads so that polls could be taken at various points during the evening. The opening poll showed that 46% would vote to remain, 28% would vote to leave and 26% were undecided. After an hour of lively debate and passionate closing statements, the final result stood at 49% leave, 45% remain and 6% undecided.

The opening statement which Richard gave to the audience can be watched below:

The full debate, filmed by Bedford College Media Department can be watched here.

Richard added: “A Vote to Leave the European Union and get back control is the best gift we can pass on to the next generation”.

National Living Wage begins on 1 April 2016

National Living Wage begins on 1 April 2016

Richard Fuller has welcomed the launch today of the Government’s new National Living Wage – giving a big boost to the lowest-paid in Bedford and Kempston.

From today, 1 April 2016, workers aged 25 and over and not in the first year of an apprenticeship will be legally entitled to at least £7.20 an hour under the National Living Wage – that’s an extra 50 pence an hour compared to the National Minimum Wage – a £20 a week pay rise for a full time worker.

1.3 million hardworking people across the country are expected to benefit directly from the National Living Wage – which is set to rise to £9 an hour by 2020 – while 6 million could see a pay rise as a result of a ripple effect pushing wages up across Britain.

At the same time, the Government is increasing the tax-free personal allowance so that hardworking people keep more of the money they earn. From 6 April 2016 the personal allowance will rise to £11,000 – a saving of £80 – and from April 2017 it will rise again to £11,500 – taking 1.3 million of the lowest-paid workers out of income tax altogether and giving a tax cut to 31 million across the country.

Workers and employers can find more information online at

Richard commented:

‘Bedford and Kempston deserves a pay rise and I’m very proud to be part of a Conservative party that is delivering the higher-wage, lower-tax, lower-welfare economy we all want to see.

‘Boosting wages and making sure that more families have the security of a decent, regular pay packet, while ensuring that people are always better off in work, are at the heart of our long-term plan.’

MP for Bedford and Kempston, Richard Fuller, has long called for employers to pay a ‘living wage’ to employees. Today, the Chancellor took a major step to achieving that goal by announcing the introduction of a National Living Wage. A National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour for the over 25s will be introduced in April 2016, and this will rise to over £9 an hour by 2020.

Richard said, “Working people in Bedford and Kempston need a pay rise and George Osborne has committed to doing just that for people who earn modest incomes from their hard work. The Budget is a major step forward to a higher wage, lower welfare and lower tax society, putting our economy on a surer foundation for the future.”

Richard also welcomed a number of other measures announced in the Summer Budget, including a further increase in the amount people can earn before paying income tax – a rise to £11,000 in April 2016; reforms to welfare to make it fairer for taxpayers who pay for it, while protecting the vulnerable; taking the family home out of inheritance tax; a further cut in the National Insurance bill for small businesses; increased spending every year on the NHS; and a commitment to protect spending on defence at 2% of national income.

Richard added, “This Budget gives working people lower taxes and higher wages. It makes the welfare system fairer and more affordable, and it ensures our economic security.”

For full details of measures announced in the Summer Budget, click here.

Jemma and Jon from A Class Kitchens talk to Richard about their company

Jemma and Jon from A Class Kitchens talk to Richard about their company

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.
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Richard with CGI Graphics CEO, Peter Owen

Richard with CGI Graphics CEO, Peter Owen

This week, Richard visited Creative Graphics International (CGI) – a Kempston-based business that produces external graphics, self-adhesive branding information and safety labels for the automotive and aerospace industries to global customers such as Ford, Virgin Atlantic and VW.

CGI employs over 40 staff locally and has twenty years of export experience.

Richard was shown around the site by CEO, Peter Owen and Commercial Director, Mel Goodliffe. Richard commented: “This government has been working hard to boost exports and I’m delighted to see another successful local business exporting and providing services to prestigious global companies.”

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!
Take my survey!

cutting income tax

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.

Richard commented:

‘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 with Mr Bosco of AB Fruits

Richard with Mr Bosco of AB Fruits

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.

Richard said:
“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 number of apprenticeships started in Bedford and Kempston has increased by over 2 and a half times since 2010, according to figures from the National Apprenticeships Service. This is the tenth largest increase in apprenticeships in the country.

The news was welcomed by local MP, Richard Fuller, who said “It’s great news to see such a fantastic increase in the number of apprenticeships, and this constituency ranks in the top 10 in terms of rate of increase across the country.

“At the jobs fair I hosted in July, many local employers were learning of the benefits of the apprenticeship scheme for the first time and there was real enthusiasm about taking on motivated young people.”

The Government recently announced plans to improve the apprenticeship scheme even further by basing apprenticeships on standards designed by employers to meet their needs. They will be simpler and easier to access for small businesses, and will reflect the Government’s focus on quality.