Alistair Burt MP has welcomed yesterday’s announcement that reforms to the national curriculum have seen the best reading standards in England for over 15 years. 

In 2010 the Government announced that all schools would be required to use phonics to teach children to read and since then England has risen to joint 8th in the world for reading standards – improving the reading level of pupils from all backgrounds and closing the attainment gap. For NE Bedfordshire this means that more children are getting the skills they need to excel later in life. 

This follows official statistics, released last week, which show 18,116 children in NE Bedfordshire are now attending schools rated good or outstanding – an increase of 5418 since 2010. Nationally, the proportion of pupils meeting the expected standard in phonics has risen from just 58% in 2012 to 81% in 2017, with 92% of pupils reaching this standard by age seven. 

Alistair Burt has welcomed this latest confirmation of rising school standards: 

“This is great news for NE Bedfordshire as more children are gaining the skills they need to excel in later life and fulfil their potential. Standards in our schools are rising because of the hard work of teachers and changes the Government has made to the curriculum. These results show that we are making sure that every child in NE Bedfordshire gets the best start in life”.

Alistair Burt warmly welcomed today’s Budget which provides support for families and businesses in NE Beds and places investment in the country’s long-term future.

Alistair said:

“This is a Budget that backs families and businesses in my constituency with tax cuts for workers, small businesses and first-time buyers. We are also investing in our public services with £6.3 billion of new funding for the NHS and more money for schools to boost maths and computer science teaching.

I am sure that my constituents will welcome the freeze in fuel duty for both petrol and diesel vehicles for the eighth year in a row. This has saved the average car driver £850, and the average van driver over £2,100, since 2010.

I particularly welcome the abolition of stamp duty for all first time buyer purchases up to £300,000. This is alongside an additional investment in housing, taking the total this Parliament to £44 billion.

We are helping our 5.5 million small businesses by bringing forward by two years the planned Business Rates switch from RPI to CPI to April 2018. By 2022-23 this will save the average high street shop £800, the average pub £1,480, and the average restaurant £1,680 and is worth £2.3 billion to businesses over the next five years.

Continuing the £1,000 discount for pubs in England with a rateable value of up to £100,000 is also welcome news for pubs in NE Beds.

Since 2010, there are 86,500 more businesses and 296,000 more people in work in the East of England - the second highest employment rate of any region. This Budget builds on that success and on the strengths of the British economy”.

 

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MP ENCOURAGES LOCAL BUSINESSES TO APPLY FOR BUSINESS RATES RELIEF 

NE Beds MP Alistair Burt is urging local businesses to apply to their local authority’s Discretionary Business Rates Relief Scheme following the 2017 business rate revaluation. 

At the spring Budget the Chancellor announced a £435 million package of support for ratepayers. This includes a £300 million Discretionary fund for local authorities to distribute over four years with Bedford Borough being allocated £216,000 and Central Bedfordshire Council £366,000 this year. 

Alistair said, “Good progress has been made and I understand that local authorities are starting to rebill eligible businesses. I am grateful to Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire Council for their good work so far but am keen to ensure that all available relief has reached eligible businesses. 

The Discretionary scheme’s design means that any unspent monies will be returned to central government and, as a result, local businesses may miss out. I urge them to contact their relevant local authority directly”. 

The Government’s £435 million support package also provides help through the Supporting Small Business Relief Scheme and the Pub Relief Scheme.

Rt Hon Alistair Burt, Minister of State FCO/DFID said:-

“I was pleased to work with Priti Patel at DFID, who made a strong contribution to our continuing world leadership in Development, and wish her well for the future.

I am looking forward to working with new Secretary of State Penny Mordaunt, who brings a strong Ministerial and constituency background to the Department. She will enhance a great team.”

 

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Celebrating the 957 potential lifesavers in North East Bedfordshire

Alistair Burt has joined with Anthony Nolan to thank the 957people in North East Bedfordshirewho have registered with the charity as stem cell donors.

The figure places the constituency in the top half of the UK (290out of 650) in terms of the number of potential lifesavers registered in the area. 39per cent of the community’s registered donors are male, and the average age is 37.Young men aged 16-30 are the most likely to be asked to donate to give someone with blood cancer or a blood disorder a second chance at life.

The figures come from Anthony Nolan’s Communities versus Blood Cancer campaign, which celebrates the people who have already registered as donors and raises awareness of the shortage of donors that still exists. Young men and people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds are under-represented on the register, making it difficult to find a match for everyone in need.

In total, 645,000 people in the UK are on the Anthony Nolan register, any of whom could be a match for someone with blood cancer and asked to donate their stem cells to give a patient a second chance of life.

Now, Alistair Burt is encouraging more people from NE Bedfordshire,particularly men aged 16-30 and people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, to register as stem cell donors and make sure that a match is available for everyone in need of a transplant.

Alistair said: “After visiting the Anthony Nolan stand at Conservative Party Conference, I was very pleased to learn that NE Bedfordshirehas 957people who have selflessly volunteered to give someone a second chance at life. Donating stem cells is straightforward but it could make an enormous difference to someone with no other chance of a cure.

“Having been on the register myself, I strongly hope that more people from NE Bedfordshirewill be inspired to sign up and show that together, our communities can provide a cure for blood cancer.”

Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “We’re grateful to all the registered donors in NE Bedfordshirefor helping us in our goal of saving and improving the lives of people with blood cancer and blood disorders.

“Anthony Nolan’s pioneering research, dedicated nurses and patient-focused services mean we have increased the support patients receive at every stage of their transplant journey – but without the contribution of selfless donors, our vital work would be impossible.”

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For more information about Anthony Nolan, please call the press team on 0207 424 1300 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

NE Beds MP Alistair Burt has welcomed movement on the long running discussions over the future of local hospital.

Mr Burt said:- 'I am pleased that there has been an announcement that appears to safeguard essential services at Bedford Hospital including A&E, Maternity and Paediatrics. The uncertainty has lasted too long, and we need more detail on how a merged Bedfordshire wide hospital Trust might work, but in principle bringing the resources of Luton & Dunstable and Bedford together should be good news for the NHS in our area.

I will be waiting for further consultations on behalf of constituents and the response of those who work in the NHS locally, but I wish these discussions well.'

I now have confirmation that the Bedford meeting on 25th September will be held from 6 - 8pm at the Park Inn hotel. Final details will be published on the consultation website very soon. A meeting is also to be held in Wellingborough, and that will also be an early evening event.

I am pleased that the Minister has listened to all of us who have asked for extra meetings covering our areas, and to ensure they were held at a time when the greatest number of rail users could attend.

 

 

We are also working with others locally to ensure sign language provision will be made.

 

I appreciate its not perfect timing for working people, but infinitely better than in the daytime.

 

More information when we have it.