Working for the future of Bedford & Kempston

Please note: This site covers the period that I was the Member of Parliament for Bedford from May 2010 to June 2017. I am now the Member of Parliament for North East Bedfordshire. Please visit my new website: for the latest news and information.

Richard Fuller

The Business, Innovation and Skills and Work and Pensions Select Committees’ joint evidence sessions into the sale of BHS continued last week with evidence taken from board members and directors of both BHS and Retail Acquisitions Ltd, including Dominic Chappell.

Part of Richard’s contributions to the work of the joint committee can be watched here:

The full evidence session of 8 June 2016 can be watched here.

“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 (c) is presented with his award by Peter Wells (l) and Justin Phillimore (r)

Richard Fuller (c) is presented with his award by Peter Wells (l) and Justin Phillimore (r)

Bedford & Kempston MP, Richard Fuller, has been honoured with a prestigious award for his championing of Britain’s beer industry. He was presented with a certificate and souvenir pump clip by local brewer and pub operator Charles Wells, on a visit to the Queens Park brewery.

The special award is a joint initiative from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), who wanted to recognise the role of MPs who supported Britain’s national drink during the 2010-2015 Parliament. It acknowledges acts of advocacy in Parliament, in votes, supportive motions, and debates.

In particular, the award highlights the support of Richard Fuller MP in securing an historic hat-trick of consecutive cuts in beer duty in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Budgets, helping to safeguard jobs and investment, and keeping beer affordable for consumers.

Receiving his award, Richard Fuller MP said: “The brewing and pub sector is a dynamic part of the local economy in Bedford, creating jobs and contributing to the local economy. It is at the centre of the hospitality industry, our cultural heritage and the social life of every community. In Bedford alone, it contributes £78.4m to GDP and provides jobs for nearly 2000 people, of which 489 are 16-24 year olds.”

Richard’s award was presented by Justin Phillimore, Managing Director of Charles Wells Brewery who commented, “MPs of all parties made a huge difference in achieving the historic duty cuts in the last three Budgets, and deserve our thanks and recognition. We are delighted that Richard Fuller has spoken on our behalf on many occasions and it’s a pleasure to welcome him to the brewery to honour his contribution to achieving the third successive duty cut.

“We have automatically passed this cut onto our customers but as well as encouraging more people into the pub to enjoy Britain’s traditional drink, the cuts have given us the confidence to invest in our business which is good news for the local economy“ continued Phillimore. “Last year we invested £2.3m in our brewery and a further £4m into our pub estate and we will continue to work within our operating areas to offer great local beers in a welcoming and enjoyable environment.”

The Come and Go café run by the Tibbs Dementia Foundation in Bedford was officially launched on 16th March 2015. The launch was attended by local MP, Richard Fuller, who welcomed the addition of this excellent resource for people with dementia.

The Tibbs Foundation linked up with the Salvation Army and will be using their cafe environment to offer a relaxed and friendly space where anyone can drop in find out a little more about living well with dementia and gather extra information from a support worker if needed.

People with dementia from the Clear Voices group at the Tibbs Foundation had a major role in developing the idea of the café and in making sure the launch went well.

More information is available via the Tibbs Foundation.

Richard Fuller at Barratt Homes 'Have a Go' Day

Richard Fuller at Barratt Homes ‘Have a Go’ Day

Richard Fuller, MP for Bedford and Kempston, joined local students to have a go at building new homes as part of National Apprentice Week on Friday. The students tried their hand at bricklaying and carpentry at a hands-on event at Barratt Homes’ Cygnet Mews development in Kempston.

Pupils from Bedford Academy, Hastingsbury Business & Enterprise College and Sharnbrook Upper School visited the new homes development on Wilkinson Road, where they met staff, learnt about the industry and gained practical, supervised experience of construction skills.

The aim of the visit, organised in partnership with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), was to demonstrate to the students the different skills involved in building a new home and to inspire them into considering a career in home building after leaving school.

Richard Fuller said; “As part of my plan for Bedford and Kempston I want to encourage house building by companies like Barratt so future generations can have the security of their own home.

“Home building is helping to drive the continuing economic recovery, and by encouraging young people to become apprentices through events such as this, responsible companies like Barratt Homes are creating jobs for the local area.”

Andrew Swindell, Managing Director of Barratt Homes Northampton, said; “We want to give local students a glimpse of what it’s like to work on a new homes development, as we’re always on the look-out for the home builders of the future.”

Richard Fuller opens new eco-friendly showroom at Gibbs and Dandy with Branch Manager, Stuart Harm (Photo by Professional Images)

Richard Fuller opens new eco-friendly showroom at Gibbs and Dandy with Branch Manager, Stuart Harm (Photo by Professional Images)

Homeowners in Bedford looking to reduce their energy bills and become more fuel efficient can now learn about a wide range of eco-friendly systems following the opening of a Sustainable Buildings Showroom at the Bedford branch of builders’ merchant, Gibbs & Dandy.

The showroom, opened by Bedford and Kempston MP, Richard Fuller, has many products and technologies on display, such as biomass boilers, air source heat pumps, solar thermal systems and external wall insulation. All of which can have a major impact on helping homes and buildings become more fuel efficient, as well as reducing energy bills for owners.

The new showroom was created in partnership with Greenworks, the UK’s recognised authority and market expert, providing training in the applications of sustainable building solutions and products. As part of the showroom, there will be a centre to train trade professionals from the area about the various products and technologies.

Mr Fuller said: “It’s fantastic to see a local business working to support people and trade professionals in Bedford. The showroom has a great range of energy saving solutions that will truly benefit a lot of people.”

Stuart Harm, manager of the Bedford branch, said: “We’re committed to helping homeowners in the area become energy efficient, so this facility will provide them with the chance to come in and see what will benefit them. Also, installers have a great opportunity to learn about sustainable technologies, which they may well go on to fit into their customers’ homes.”

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.”

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.”

Bedford Hospital
Local MPs, Alistair Burt and Richard Fuller today gave a cautious welcome to the findings of the independent inquiry into the events that led to the withdrawal of paediatric services from Bedford Hospital last year.

Bedford and Kempston MP, Richard Fuller said “Make no mistake, this report is damning in its criticism of persistent and widespread failures by those in responsible positions at the Hospital; failures which directly led to the dramatic changes in services last year. The Hospital was described as having an ‘at best… muted, and at worst non-existent’ response to concerns about training and ‘a complete absence of reference to the standards of medical education and training‘”.

I am encouraged that December’s inspection of the hospital noted ‘significant improvements’ and I am glad that most paediatric services have now returned to the hospital. But there is still much work to be done and I shall continue my efforts to secure the return of a full range of safe, sustainable and modern paediatric services.

Alistair Burt MP added “The openness and willingness of Bedford Hospital to accept criticism is a vital part of the process of moving forward. Constituents are entitled to the best and safest care, and the hospital must continue to do all it can to build on the inquiry into an unhappy period, and support the highest standards that all those working at the hospital are keen to deliver.