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. 

Business

Fords Packaging Systems CEO, Laura Whincup with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Fords Packaging Systems CEO, Laura Whincup with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Wisconsin Governor, and possible Presidential candidate, Scott Walker visited Kempston business, Fords Packaging Systems, as part of a trade mission earlier this week. The Governor and members of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation met Bedford MP, Richard Fuller and members of the council before touring the Fords factory.

Fords Packaging CEO, Laura Whincup, and director, Joe Cusano, spoke to the delegation about the company and their plans for expansion in the USA.

Commenting after the visit, Richard Fuller MP said,

“It’s not every day that a US Governor visits Kempston, and certainly not one with the high profile of Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin. It was a pleasure to join him in visiting this successful, growing local business.”

Richard Fuller MP at the TradePoint opening

Richard Fuller MP at the TradePoint opening

Local MP, Richard Fuller opened the new TradePoint store in Bedford today – the local trade building supplies business – along with Luke Thorn, Branch Manager and David Cooke, Unit Manager.

The new 30,000 sq ft store is located at the Interchange Retail Park, next to B&Q, and has created jobs in the local area by employing 30 members of staff, 22 of whom are new hires. It will be open seven days a week for local tradesmen, further boosting the local economy by helping sole traders and small businesses.

After helping to cut the ribbon on the new store, Richard commented:

“We’re delighted to see TradePoint expand its presence in Bedford with this new store. As well as bringing jobs to the region, TradePoint’s decision to open this store in Bedford recognises the ongoing efforts to bring economic growth to the area and is a welcome new addition to the town.”

This is the first TradePoint of its kind, focused on the needs of the small trade professional. The store boasts several services and features not previously available which are aimed at fulfilling the builders’ needs quickly. The Bedford store TradePoint counter has built strong relationships with a thriving community of local businesses and individuals since opening last year and so represented a good opportunity to build on the existing offer.

Luke Thorn, TradePoint Branch Manager, said: “We’re incredibly excited about the opening of our brand new store and I’m hugely proud of everyone who has worked together to get us opened on time and looking so fantastic. Our team is ready and raring to help tradespeople in Bedford to get the job done without the hassle.”

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.
Continue reading

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.”

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.”

A full transcript of Richard’s speech is available here or you can watch the video from Parliament TV.

Chancellor, Richard at Chiff Chaff Cafe, Kempston

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.”

Richard Fuller MP, Michael Fallon MP and Business Minister visit Bedford businesses

Richard Fuller MP, Michael Fallon MP and Business Minister visit Bedford businesses

On Tuesday 21st May, Minister for Business, Michael Fallon MP, came to Bedford to learn more about the schemes that local MP Richard Fuller has set up to help create jobs and opportunities in the local area.

Richard has set up a Business Fund that has now raised over £400,000 from people who care about the future of Bedford and Kempston. The Fund is now preparing to invest in new, local businesses. More information is available from the Fund Managers: The FSE Group.

There is now a second scheme being spearheaded by the Bedford MP: a jobs event where employers ‘speed-interview’ young jobseekers.
Continue reading

So said Bedford and Kempston MP, Richard Fuller, in Prime Minister’s Questions today, with the Prime Minister agreeing about Bedford’s “leadership in all things”.

Richard had raised the issue of encouraging new businesses and securing employment. He spoke of the example Bedford is setting by being the first area in the country to set up a Local Enterprise Fund, in which people who care about Bedford and Kempston have raised £400,000 to invest in businesses locally.

The Prime Minister showed support for the fund that Richard has spearheaded and said that we need to see more enterprise and more businesses starting.

Richard Fuller MP sends 'message in a barrel' to the Chancellor alongside beer and pub industry representatives

Richard Fuller MP sends ‘message in a barrel’ to the Chancellor alongside beer and pub industry representatives – Feb 2013

Bedford and Kempston MP, Richard Fuller, has joined calls for a freeze in beer duty in the March Budget by sending a special ‘message in a barrel’ to the Chancellor at an event in Parliament.

The hand-crafted oak barrel, an iconic symbol of Britain’s world-renowned brewing and pub industry, is a reminder of how important brewing and pubs are to the Bedford and Kempston constituency, says Richard.

The barrel, with its calls for a freeze in beer duty, was later delivered to the Treasury by MPs and representatives of the British Beer & Pub Association, CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) and SIBA (Society of Independent Brewers).

Richard commented:

“I strongly support calls for a duty freeze, and I hope the Chancellor will listen. The brewing and pub industries are incredibly important to our town. The Charles Wells brewery was founded in 1876 in Bedford and is still going strong nearly 140 years later. Nearly 2,000 local people are employed by the industry and I do not want any further increases in duty to put any of these jobs in jeopardy.”

Brigid Simmonds Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, which organised the event, added:

“I want to thank Richard for championing beer and pubs in Bedford. Beer tax hikes are not raising more revenues for the Government, and with a duty freeze we can create many more local jobs.”

During the recent debate on the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, Richard called on the Government to do more to support business and to encourage job creation:

“Enterprise and regulatory reform, part of the title of the Bill, are words to bring succour to those who work in the engine room of the British economy — words that can take a thousand ideas for a new business, which have been discussed over a pint or sketched out on paper, and transform them into job-making, wealth-creating vehicles of growth.

“The anticipation for the Bill is almost tangible, but I fear that it will fall short of fulfilling the hopeful expectations. Where is the rolling back of the myriad fees and charges that are blithely imposed on businesses; where is the relief for shopkeepers from the sky-high rateable values set at the peak of Labour’s boom-cum-bust; and where is the implementation of our policy to roll back job-destroying EU regulation?

“The Bill’s proceedings should have started with a rallying call to our businesses that this Government are unambiguously on their side; a statement cherishing the principles of the free market as the most liberating force for social good; a determination to embrace, defend and expand the global free market that has lifted hundreds of millions of people from poverty, to which too many were consigned by the misguided socialist policies of the past; a rebuttal of the insidious assumption, which too often underlies Government intervention, that, left to their own devices, people who run their own business cannot be trusted. That assumption should be replaced by a presumption of trust that in starting and growing businesses, people are doing the essential work of a grateful nation, burdened by its debts and seeking the wealth to maintain its cherished public services.
Continue reading