Please note: This site covers the period that I was a Member of Parliament from May 2010 to June 2017.
December was the wettest month on record and many parts of the country were devastated by flooding. Whilst Bedford was not affected, Richard has contacted the Environment Agency to ensure that they are as well prepared as possible in the event of flooding on the River Great Ouse in Bedford and Kempston.
Richard commented: “Over Christmas, we all witnessed the devastating scenes, which affected so many communities. I wrote to the Environment Agency to ensure that they had taken all possible measures to protect our towns in the event of high water levels on the Great Ouse. I was pleased to read that the Environment Agency has acted to ensure that they are maintaining flood defences and taking steps to manage river levels.”
You can see the full response from the Environment Agency here.
Richard has welcomed the news that the Housing and Planning Bill has completed its first stages through the House of Commons on its passage to being made into law. The Government is delivering on its manifesto commitment to extend the Right to Buy scheme to Housing Association tenants, which is on course to being implemented later this year.
Richard is a strong supporter of this initiative so if you are a Housing Association tenant who is interested in the Right to Buy scheme, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
MP for Bedford and Kempston, Richard Fuller, visited the local office of Age UK earlier this month. Age UK provides help and independent advice on a range of issues affecting local residents over the age of 50.
Richard said, “I was delighted to meet the staff and volunteers at Age UK Bedfordshire to see first hand the important work they do in the community. From services like Home Help, gardening and DIY to giving advice on a range of issues such as benefit entitlements and housing, it is clear that Age UK has a crucial role to play in supporting the over 50s in Bedford and Kempston.”
If you are over 50 and need any help or advice, or you are interested in volunteering, please contact Age UK Bedfordshire on 01234 360510 or by visiting their offices at 78-82 Bromham Road Bedford or their website.
Thank you to those who have contacted me about military action in Syria. I have received a great many communications from people across Bedford and Kempston about this issue and I appreciate every individual taking the time to share their views on the subject.
I also thank those who were able to attend the public meeting I held at St Cuthbert’s Hall on Sunday 29th November. There was a considerable range of views expressed at that meeting and all views were heard respectfully and thoughtfully – a credit to our town. The mood of that meeting was summed up well by local resident, Kate Allen who said “if the government decides to extend bombing then we, the people of Bedford, because of harmony and diversity have a special opportunity to “lean in” and show ISIS that nothing can divide us. We can be a model of holding the complexity and tensions in unity.”
As you will be aware, Parliament was asked on Wednesday to vote to extend authorisation for RAF airstrikes against ISIS/Daesh in Iraq to include strikes in Syria.
I supported the motion and I would like to outline my thoughts on the issue.
“Don’t let Da’esh divide us” was the call from Richard Fuller’s public meeting held on Sunday at St Cuthbert’s Hall which posed the question: “Syria. Terrorism. What should be the UK government’s response?”
Addressing an audience of over 80 local residents, Richard laid out a range of facts on the situation in Syria – military actions, diplomatic efforts, humanitarian support and atrocities by Da’esh – before opening the floor to comments and questions.
Many residents voiced concern at the use of violence – including bombing by the UK – but all acknowledged how complex the issues were facing the Syrian people.
Domestic security issues also featured with Kathryn Holloway amongst those calling on Richard to ensure Bedfordshire police had adequate counter terrorism resources to keep us safe.
Contributions included those from local residents who had special knowledge of the region from diplomatic, military or humanitarian service in the region. Richard said it was an honour to represent such a special town that could bring together people with such wide and personal experiences of Syria and with such compassionately held views.
Richard Fuller is calling a public meeting to give local residents the opportunity to discuss the following question:
“Syria. Terrorism. What should the UK Government’s response be?”
The meeting will be held at 4.30pm on Sunday 29th November at St Cuthbert’s Hall, Newnham Street, Bedford.
If you would like to attend, please email Richard at email@example.com
Bedford and Kempston MP, Richard Fuller has been elected to the Select Committee which will scrutinise the Government’s policies towards businesses and Colleges of Further Education such as Bedford College. The Select Committee is a cross party Committee chaired by the Labour MP for Hartlepool, Iain Wright.
Commenting on his election, Richard said that he wanted to be a voice for the small, family owned businesses that are so important to our town and other towns like Bedford across the country. He also focussed on the importance of the Living Wage and ending the era of ‘corporate welfare’ where some companies keep pay low because they know taxpayers will make up the difference through in-work benefits.
“I am delighted to be able to work with MPs from all parties to ensure that this government pursues policies that support working people and encourage people to start their own business so our economy can continue the solid progress it is making.”
You can follow the work of the Committee on Parliament’s website.
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.
Following the General Election on 7th May, Richard Fuller has been re-elected to serve as the Member of Parliament for Bedford and Kempston.
He secured 19,625 votes on a turnout of 66.9%.
Richard Fuller has welcomed a new commitment by the Conservatives to extend the Right to Buy so that tenants of housing associations can buy their properties.
This will make a significant difference in Bedford and Kempston, giving thousands of local families the chance to own their own home. Crucially, it will also provide funds for new housing.
It comes on top of news that more than twice as many council houses have been built since 2010 than were built between 1997 and 2010.
Richard commented, “This is part of our commitment to back families who have worked hard and played by the rules. It will mean a new generation of people able to achieve their dream and enjoy the security that comes from owning your own home.”