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. 

Jobs

Richard was delighted with E.ON’s announcement last month that it is doubling its workforce in Bedford with the recruitment of 400 additional customer service jobs at the Caxton Road office. He said:

“Since 2010, unemployment in Bedford has fallen by nearly half but there is more to do. E.ON has been a large employer in Bedford for many years and I am pleased that they are continuing their investment in Bedford and creating more new jobs.

“This is a vote of confidence in Bedford as a great place to do business.”

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 www.livingwage.gov.uk.

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.

Richard Fuller MP and Vicky Ford MEP at Newnorth Print Ltd in Kempston

Richard Fuller MP and Vicky Ford MEP at Newnorth Print Ltd in Kempston

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.”

Ricahrd Fuller & MD of BELA, Mike LafrattaEarlier this month, Richard attended an open day to celebrate the 30th anniversary of BELA Electronics – a company started by local entrepreneur, Mike Lafratta, which is regarded as one of the market leaders in its field with a strong reputation in the design and manufacture of printed circuit board assemblies.

Based in Kempston, the company has now grown to 30 employees and has recently invested in an apprentice scheme aimed at developing new skills within the industry and securing the firm’s future for another 30 years.

Richard said, “BELA Electronics is another Bedford and Kempston success story, providing employment to a skilled local workforce. I was also delighted to see BELA investing in the futures of young people – a key focus for this government which has created 1.8 million new apprenticeships since 2010. For many, an apprenticeship is the key to realising their potential and securing a better future, helping them to get on in life.”

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.”

Secretary of State, Iain Duncan Smith (c) with Richard Fuller MP (r), and Ian Freestone (l), Manager of Bedford Intraining

Secretary of State, Iain Duncan Smith (c) with Richard Fuller MP (r), and Ian Freestone (l), Manager of Bedford Intraining

On Friday 18th July, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, visited Bedford to congratulate Intraining and Bedford MP, Richard Fuller on their efforts to help young people into work, and to discuss what more can be done to continue to reduce unemployment.

On the day before (Thursday 17th July), over 50 local employers and 200 young people came together for the second annual ‘speed-interviewing’ jobs event hosted by Richard Fuller MP and Intraining.

The Secretary of State was particularly impressed with the innovative format of the event. He also took the time to talk with Intraining staff about the challenges they faced in getting people into employment and asked what more the Government could do to support them.
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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.’

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.

Employment Opportunity Day - July 2013

Employment Opportunity Day – July 2013

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.”
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