Richard Fuller MP

Working for the future of Bedford & Kempston

The House of Commons’ Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has released its recommendations on how businesses can address mistrust among the public after a series of high profile corporate scandals and failings.

The report recommends a number of actions on executive pay, a new and stronger voluntary code of governance for private companies, better reporting by companies on how directors fulfill their duties and responsibilities and a major expansion of the role and powers of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC).

As a leading member of the Committee and author of the report, Richard said:
“Following our inquiries into BHS and Sports Direct, we are calling for more controls on senior executive pay, toughened up governance rules and a Red/Yellow/Green independent assessment of how company boards work. These measures are essential if we are to maintain the country’s strong international standing in corporate governance.”

On executive pay, the Committee recommends the simplification of executive pay and putting an end to long-term investment plans (LTIPs), which lack transparency and can distort decision-making. The Committee also suggests workers be represented on remuneration committees and for the chairs of remuneration committees to be expected to resign if shareholders fail to approve the company’s pay policy.

On gender diversity, the Committee calls for the Government to set a target that from May 2020 at least half of all new appointments to senior and executive management level positions in the FTSE 350 and all listed companies should be women.

The full report can be read here.

Richard attends Hindu Society of Bedford's Holi Festival Celebrations at Bedford Cricket Club

Richard attends Hindu Society of Bedford’s Holi Festival Celebrations at Bedford Cricket Club

Over the last few weekends, Richard has joined a number of celebrations held by community groups in the town.

Richard took part in the Molisana Association of Bedfordshire’s carnival tradition of breaking the ‘pignata’; he celebrated the 60th anniversary of the independence of Ghana with the Bedford Ghana Union and joined the Ravidassia community for the 640th birth celebrations of Sat Guru Ravidass Maharaj Ji as well as attending the Hindu Society of Bedford’s Holi (festival of colours).

Richard said: “I thoroughly enjoy celebrating the diversity of Bedford and believe it enriches us all. Thank you to all the organisers for putting on such great events”.

Last Wednesday, Richard led a parliamentary debate on the extension of Right to Buy for housing association tenants in Bedford and Kempston.

Richard urged the Minister to fulfil the government’s manifesto pledge to remove the unfairness in law that denies housing association tenants, like those of BPHA, the right to buy their home.

Richard said: “I called this debate in Parliament as a number of local residents have contacted me asking when they will be allowed to purchase their housing association home. This is a popular policy among local residents and I wanted to pass on that enthusiasm to the Housing Minister and ensure the towns of Bedford and Kempston are a priority for future pilots.”

In answering Richard, the Minister reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the policy stating that it is ‘not only about helping people who live in housing association accommodation to….buy the home they live in; it is also a pro-supply policy, because it guarantees that the housing association will provide an additional home with some of the income from the sale of a property’.

The Minister added that he was pleased with the results of the initial pilot schemes and welcomed the Chancellor’s commitment to fund a larger regional pilot, which will allow about 3,000 families to buy their own home stressing that these pilots were important to test key areas of the policy.

Richard pressed the Minister to confirm Bedford as the next pilot area for the scheme, adding that the largest housing association in Bedford, Bedford Pilgrim Housing Association (BPHA) ‘is a strong supporter of the voluntary right to buy, because it sees the benefit in encouraging home ownership as well as the financial benefit to build more good-quality, low-cost housing that people can rent or, ultimately have the right to buy.’

The Minister agreed to pass on Richard’s enthusiasm for Bedford and Kempston to host a pilot scheme to both the Secretary of State and the Treasury.

This week, Richard welcomed members of the Ravidassia community from Bedford and Kempston to a seminar in Parliament to celebrate the teachings and 640th birth anniversary of Sat Guru Ravidass Maharaj Ji.

Richard said: “It was a great pleasure to host the community at the Palace of Westminster and I look forward to joining their celebrations this weekend at the Sri Guru Ravidass Sabha in Bedford.”

Dido Harding, CEO of Talk Talk Group and former John Lewis CEO, Andy Street headline the upcoming Bedford Community Business School aimed at giving advice and encouragement to anyone who runs, or wants to start, their own small business.

The Business School, which is free of charge, is being organised by Richard over five Thursday evenings in January and February hosted at Kings House, Ampthill Road, Bedford between 6-8pm, starting on the 19th January 2017.

The evenings are open to anyone who is studying business, running a business or thinking of running a business. There is the added incentive that if people register and attend all five sessions they will be entered into a ballot to win an hour of free mentoring with one of the national speakers. Each session will also include speakers from the business community in Bedford and Kempston and an opportunity to network.

Speakers include:-
• Dido Harding, CEO of Talk Talk Group on Winning Big
• Andy Street, Former Managing Director of John Lewis plc on Selling Successfully
• Margot James MP, Business Minister on Managing People
• Brendan Harris, Former CEO Coca Cola Italy and Coca Cola Africa on Presenting Effectively
• Samuel Kasumu, Founder of Engage Fundraising on Getting Funded

Commenting on the launch of the Business School, Richard said: “This is an exciting opportunity for people who want advice on running their business, or who are thinking of running a business or studying business. The advice will be provided by national business leaders, as well as successful local business people.”

Simon Holley of Kings Arms said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Richard Fuller to host these five leadership evenings at King’s House. It’s always been our dream to see more businesses starting across Bedfordshire and the opportunity to have such high calibre speakers equipping the potential leaders of the future is a real privilege.”

Please register to attend online.

Richard Fuller today welcomed the announcement by Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport to enable fast track completion of the rail link from Oxford to Cambridge via Bedford and Milton Keynes.

In his statement to the House of Commons, Mr Grayling said, “I want to bring new skills into the challenge of upgrading our railways. I will begin by looking at the reopening of the link from Oxford to Cambridge, to support a range of opportunities including housing, science, technology and innovation. I am going to establish East West Rail as a new and separate organisation, to accelerate the permissions needed to reopen the route, and to secure private sector involvement to design, build and operate the route as an integrated organisation. This East West Rail organisation will be established early in the New Year and chaired by the former Chief Executive of Chiltern Rail, Rob Brighouse.”

Responding to the announcement, Richard said, “Completing this important rail link, especially from Bedford to Cambridge, was at serious risk of getting stuck in an over-committed Network Rail, leading to delays and potentially cancellation if government changed investment priorities in the future. I will continue to press the Secretary of State to ensure that his plans will deliver this rail line ahead of time, on budget and to the highest safety standards.”

Chancellor Philip Hammond in his Autumn Statement this week allocated £100m to accelerate the building of the Western Section of the East West Rail Project, the Bedford–Oxford line, and a further £10m was allocated to continue development work to identify a preferred route for the line to extend east of Bedford, via Sandy, to Cambridge. He also gave a commitment to deliver the new dualled Oxford to Cambridge Expressway, via Bedford.

After listening to the announcement in the House of Commons, Richard said: “I am delighted that the Government is investing in new road and rail links for Bedford. This investment will unlock economic growth in and around our town by further improving connectivity and our attractiveness for businesses to invest. This will bring more, local jobs making Bedford an even better place to live and work.”

In the Autumn Statement, Mr Hammond said: “This project can be more than just a transport link. It can become a transformational tech-corridor, drawing on the world-class research strengths of our two best-known universities.”

Local MP, Richard Fuller is urging qualifying married couples and civil partners in his constituency to make the most of tax savings from the Marriage Allowance.

The Marriage Allowance is a Government initiative launched in April to recognise the importance of marriage in the tax system.

Richard explained:
“Individuals who qualify can transfer 10 per cent of their personal allowance to their spouse saving up to £220 for this year. There is a simple online application for Marriage Allowance. Just visit this website or call HMRC on 0300 200 3300.”

The criteria for Marriage Allowance is:

  • You are married or in a civil partnership
  • You don’t earn or you don’t pay tax on your income (if you currently earn less than £11,000 a year).
  • Your partner does not earn more than £43,000 a year.

Treasury Minister, Jane Ellison added:
“HMRC is raising awareness of the savings to couples that the Marriage Allowance offers. This can reduce a partner’s income tax bill by up to £220 this year, or £432 if couples who were also eligible in 2015-16 backdate their claim. You can still apply if you or your partner is currently receiving a pension.”

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