Jack has met the John Christensen, the Chief Executive of the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity recently to discuss help that he can give with an application they have made to the Government for future funding. Jack was also pleased to tell him that he will be running the Bristol Half Marathon in September on behalf of the Air Ambulance Charity.
In his recent budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon George Osborne MP, announced that some of the fines imposed on financial institutions in the wake of the Libor rate fixing scandal were to be used to support the UKs range of Air Ambulance's. Following this announcement, the Great Western Air Ambulance applied to the Government for £1 million of funding to support its day to day operations in the west of England.
The GWAA operates from a base within Jack's constituency at Filton, and covers the former Avon area, Gloucestershire and parts of Wiltshire, a region that contains 2.1 million people. They provide 4,500 hours of consultant cover a year that is not funded by the NHS and 1 in 5 critically ill people survive as a result of the use of the Air Ambulance.
'I was delighted with the Chancellor's announcement that Libor fines would be used to support the country's network of Air Ambulances' commented Jack after the meeting. 'I am also pleased with his announcement that they will be able to get relief from VAT levied on aviation fuel. I fully support GWAACs application and I would like to discuss it with Mr Osborne to
express my support and press the case for the money to be granted.'
At the meeting the charity told Jack of the factors affecting its performance. It is currently operating an aging air ambulance
that has limited capacity and the GWAAC would like to be able to replace this with money raised from supporters. At present all of their income comes from donations, 40% of their doctors hours also coming from voluntary sources. A successful application to the Government will make their long term financial position much more sustainable.
'I have visited the Great Western Air Ambulance base at Filton in my constituency. Talking to their staff brought home to me the fantastic work they do across the Bristol area. I am also acutely aware of the limitations put on them by the equipment they have to use. I am also aware that the current helicopter cannot land on the soon to be opened elevated helipad at
the Bristol Royal Infirmary. I am pleased that they have made the application and I will do everything I can to ensure they are successful. I will ask Mr Osborne to meet volunteers and representatives from GWAA to hear about the work they do and to discuss how he can help them.'
Jack said 'I am really looking forward to running the Bristol Half Marathon later in the year, and knowing that I am doing it for
such a worthy cause will make it just that little bit easier to get round! I couldn't run it last year for health reasons but it is such a great day and I will enjoy getting round again.
Jack Lopresti MP visited the recently completed Brook Court development in Bradley Stoke last Friday to meet the residents, many of whom have only moved a short distance to their new homes.
Jack joined residents at their weekly Coffee Morning and was introduced by Roger Grimshaw, Secretary of the Resident's Association. After a brief explanation of his background and route to becoming MP for Filton & Bradley Stoke, Jack took numerous residents' questions from the floor, ranging from lack of overnight public parking to the need for a post office in the Willow Brook Centre.
Jack said, 'I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet everyone and to see what I can do to help. If there are other local groups who would like me to come along to meet them in this way, please contact my local office on 01454 617 783 and I will do my best to arrange this as soon as possible.
Jack Lopresti MP visited RAF Brize Norton for a briefing and a flight on the ATLAS A400M last week. The visit had been organised by Airbus to show the ATLAS A400M to Jack, as significant elements of the aircraft are made in Filton, members of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee and their Special Advisor. Airbus employs over 4000 people in Filton.
The Ministry of Defence is buying 22 A400M Atlas transport aircraft to replace the RAF's fleet of C-130 Hercules, with the first aircraft entering service in late 2014. Able to carry twice as much as the Hercules, the A400M Atlas can transport 32 tonnes of cargo over a range of 4,500 kilometres, providing unprecedented capability to support the UK Armed Forces.
Jack Lopresti MP says:
"I have been a huge supporter of this aircraft and lobbied the Secretary of State for Defence on its capabilities as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review; so I was delighted when Prime Minister announced that the Government would order 22 A400Ms for the RAF. It was impressive to see the aircraft at first hand, and have a chance to fly in it, having seen its development and construction locally.
"It will bring a step change in capability to the RAF's air transport fleet. I was particularly impressed by how little noise such a large aircraft makes."
A debate on Health Care in South Gloucestershire was held in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening after the Budget debate. Jack Lopresti MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke and Chris Skidmore MP for Kingswood, who had managed to secure the debate, made speeches concerning the Independent Reconfiguration Panel [IRP] 's response to Secretary of State for Health on Healthcare provision in South Gloucestershire.
The Healthcare Provision in the South Gloucestershire area will not be having a full referral which means that Frenchay Hospital will not have out patients and diagnostic services, and beds will be relocated. The Frenchay site will only provide three patient services (Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit, a Head Injury Unit and Headway Bristol) during redevelopment of the site from May 2014 to 2016.
Jack Lopresti MP's registered with the Minister and the House of Commons his disappointment in the IPRs decision in relation to Frenchay. Jack but pointed out that the IPR was scathing of the local Health Care Providers
Jack Lopresti MP said in the debate: "The IPR says that it is understandable that residents, and I quote, "should feel exasperated by the years of delay" and "amendments to plans". IPR concludes that the whole process has shown a "marked lack of empathy" by the local healthcare providers "for patients and public who have the right to expect better.
"10 years down the line my constituents deserve more than the ongoing confusion, the broken promises, the moving of goal posts. I can understand why a large number of my constituents are not convinced there is going to be any healthcare provision left at Frenchay in the future except perhaps a care home.
"I would like a guarantee that health services are going to be provided at the Frenchay site in the future. My constituents and I also want to know on what basis the services will be provided".
Jane Ellison MP, Minister for Public Health responded in the debate: "I would like to make clear that despite this interim arrangement, the NHS confirms it remains committed to achieving a long term solution for the provision of beds at Frenchay."
Jack Lopresti MP says: "I took heart in the Minister's response that the removal of beds from Frenchay was a temporary measure and I am hoping the Minster will be able to come and see the Frenchay site, for herself, in the near future."
Jack Lopresti MP has invited 5 girls from Filton and Bradley Stoke yesterday to shadow him for the day and join others students from across the UK in celebrating International Women's Day.
Schools and Colleges with sixth forms in Filton and Bradley Stoke were invited to nominate one female student to be put into a ballot to come up to Westminster. This year Jack managed to get 5 students into all the International Women's Day events.
Nhair Padron, Abbeywood Community SchoolChelsea Miller, Bristol Technology and Engineering Academy Sophie Maxted, Bradley Stoke Community SchoolPriya Kaur, Downend SchoolSumman Mazhar, The Ridings Federation Sixth Form
The students have attended a number of events to mark the day, including a tour of Parliament to learn about its history and functions, a visit to Number 10 Downing Street and a chance to listen to a House of Commons Debate.
The day ended with an afternoon tea reception where all the girls with their MPs from across the UK came together and were welcomed by The Speaker of the House of Commons, The Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP.
"It was a great day and I was proud of our Filton and Bradley Stoke girls who took the whole thing in their stride. I hope they feel empowered to follow whatever career path they want."
The Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport has announced to MPs today that £250 million of additional funding to extend superfast broadband coverage to 95% of the UK by 2017. Central and Local Government is already investing £1.2 billion in superfast broadband across the UK.
South Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Swindon will get a further £4.97 million. The funding will be awarded in England to Local Authorities on a match funding basis.
Jack Lopresti MP says: "I'm delighted to hear that homes and businesses in Filton and Bradley Stoke will be benefiting from the Government's additional funding. There is a clear economic case for the Council to match the Government's additional funding and I will be writing to Cllr John Calway, the Leader of the Council, to make the case.
"It is good to know that Superfast Broadband coverage in the UK is already higher than in Germany, Italy, Spain and France, however, I will not stop campaigning until it is available throughout Filton and Bradley Stoke."
"I understand that the Independent Reconfiguration Panel has sent its report to the Secretary of State for Health, although the report is not yet in the public domain yet. I want to meet with the Secretary of State, along with Chris Skidmore MP, immediately to make sure he fully understands how important the services provided at the hospital are to me and my constituents.
"Chris Skidmore MP and I have been working with the Department of Health since 2010 and I do have to thank Jeremy Hunt for referring the changes to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel something which the previous Government refused to do. "
Jack Lopresti MP has recently been campaigning on behalf of Local residents for better broadband infrastructure and internet speeds. Jack has been inundated with complaints from his constituents over the broadband speeds in Cheswick.
Cheswick is a new development that crosses borders between Bristol City and South Gloucestershire Councils. In a new development such as Cheswick, which is surrounded by business and industry and in very close proximity to a huge university, one takes for granted that there would be decent broadband speeds. However, Cheswick residents discovered that on average their internet speeds were less than 1MB.
When numerous constituents alerted him to their poor internet speeds, Jack contacted Redrow, the Cheswick developer. Redrow informed Jack they had instructed BT to put improved broadband in place for the properties on the Cheswick development and this would be in place before the end of 2014. However, Redrow did not mention was this only related to new build properties from now onwards, rather than existing properties. Redrow only shared this important piece of information at a later date.
Jack, along with Charlotte Leslie MP and Local Councillor Trevor Jones met with residents at the weekend to
discuss further developments with them. Jack has since written to all his constituents in Cheswick to update them on the situation
Jack said "I was hugely surprised that I had residents from Cheswick contacting me because of poor internet speeds; it is beggars' belief that a development as new as Cheswick doesn't have access to decent internet speeds.
It is absolutely ridiculous that BT or the developers, Redrow didn't make provision for the vast majority of houses at Cheswick to have the infrastructure for superfast broadband. The internet is a major factor in our lives today and poor speeds affects everything, from study to business to home entertainment.
I was very pleased when Redrow told me that they had instructed BT to put improved broadband in place for the Cheswick development however, when I discovered that Redrow hadn't informed me of the entire situation, I was very displeased to say the least.
I have contacted the Minister who has responsibility for implementing faster broadband across the country, Ed Vaizey MP, to ask him to visit Cheswick to intervene with BT on behalf of residents. I will be tabling a Parliamentary Question about the issue. I am also working with my neighbour Charlotte Leslie MP on this issue as many of those affected live within her Bristol North West constituency. We will continue to keep up the pressure on BT and Redrow to upgrade the infrastructure
so that all residents of Cheswick can access the services that many others take for granted."
Local Councillor Trevor Jones said "Myself and Cllr Pullin have worked with Jack to address the needs and concerns of all the residents of Cheswick village including those living across the border within the Bristol City Council administrative area who received very little attention from their own councillors.
Jack, Cllr Pullin and I were among the first to welcome the introduction of the Great Western (GWB) Broadband program across South Gloucestershire which is designed to match funding to ensure that 94% of all SG premises have access to superfast broadband. We presumed that this aim would be fully supported by BT and Bristol City Council - BCC being the recipient of £11.3mil Urban Broadband Fund by the Government to facilitate superfast broadband.
However, now we discover that despite promises by the developers, BT are still suggesting that the infrastructure for superfast broadband is not commercially viable! Furthermore, Bristol City Council is providing no detail about their own funding!"
Today's autumn statement held a lot of good news about the economy, employment and the deficit.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced this morning that the Office for Budget Responsibility has revised GDP forecasts upwards from 0.6% to 1.4% in 2013 and from 1.8% to 2.4% in 2014 and also up for the following four years to 2.2%, 2.6%, 2.7% and 2.7%. It was also announced that the employment growth forecast has too been revised upwards from staying flat to rising by 400,000 this year. Furthermore, it was also announced that unemployment is predicted to fall to 7% in 2015.
However, not everything was on the up; it was announced that the deficit that was 11% in 2009/10 is projected to fall to 5.6% in 2014/15 and currently stands at 6.8%. It was also forecasted that by 2018/19 the UK is expected to be running a budget surplus.
The OBR also announced that Government debt was also £18 Billion lower than it forecasted in March.
Jack said "The announcements made by the OBR are a very reassuring sign that Britain is on the road to recovery and the Chancellors' plan is working. While the figures that have been announced today are great news, the hard work is not over yet; tough decisions still need to be made and above all else we need to remain fiscally prudent and continue to help business and industry grow"
The Chancellor also set out the next steps in the Government's long-term economic plan. It was announced that the government is scrapping employers' National Insurance for under-21s; capping business rates at 2% and extending the Small Business Rate Relief into 2015.
The Chancellor announced measures that will put money back into people's pockets. It was announced that fuel duty will be frozen for the remainder of the Parliament. It will be 20 pence per litre lower by the end of the Parliament compared to plans inherited from Labour. This saves the average motorist £11 every time they fill up their tank. Additionally, it was announced that rail fares will be frozen in 2014. The Chancellor as well announced changes to green levies, which will see the cost of green levies being taken off consumers. This means households will save an average of £50 on their energy bills.
Jack commented on the Chancellors Autumn saying "I'm very pleased with the announcements made this morning; the Chancellor is helping business and industry grow and giving small business the help and boost they need. The Chancellor is also helping hard pressed individuals and families by putting money back into their pockets by freezing fuel duty, freezing rail fares and reforming green levies."
On Wednesday, Jack Lopresti MP marched on Parliament alongside the British Nuclear Test Veterans' Association (BNTVA), along with John Baron MP, who is the Association's Patron, before accompanying them to Downing Street where they handed in a 5,000 signature petition to the Prime Minister.
Between 1952 and 1967, more than 20,000 service people took part in the British Nuclear Test programme in the South Pacific where hundreds of test nuclear weapons were detonated. BNTVA campaigners believe veterans who were present for the testing of these nuclear weapons have suffered higher than normal rates of cancer and rare disorders. Their spouses and children have also suffered, and some children have been known to be born with rare genetic disorders.
Since 2011, BNTVA has been campaigning for recognition of the veterans' unique service to their country. BNTVA are also calling for a £25 million benevolent fund to be established to help with treatment and care for the illnesses veterans and their families are suffering as a result of their service.
Jack said "It is about time that these veterans get the recognition they deserve for their unique and valiant service. Every other country in the world who took part in nuclear tests have recognised and compensated their nuclear veterans, apart from the UK.
We owe these men a huge debt of gratitude as they helped us gain the knowledge to produce and maintain a nuclear deterrent.
These people were serving our country and doing their duty, despite knowing the dangers that nuclear radiation presented, it's now time for the government to acknowledge its duty and responsibilities to these veterans."
Cystic Fibrosis (10 Apr 2014)
Jane Ellison: I imagine that the advisory group is considering that, but I would rather check and get back to the hon. Lady after the debate. I should have thought that it was looking at the broader issue, but I will come back to her, if that is acceptable, and confirm that after the debate. It goes without saying that I will follow up this debate with NHSBT, which I am sure will be extremely interested to...
Public Administration Select Committee: Backbench Business — Easter Adjournment (10 Apr 2014)
Tom Brake: Indeed. The hon. Gentleman raised a point about monitoring data no longer being published. I cannot provide any further information, but I will, as he requests, ask the Minister to respond. The hon. Gentleman mentioned a decline in police numbers in Harrow. The independent crime survey has identified that since 2010 the level of crime has gone down by 10%. That is something we can all...
Jack has met the John Christensen, the Chief Executive of the Great Western Air...
Jack Lopresti MP visited the recently completed Brook Court development in Bradley...
Jack Lopresti MP visited RAF Brize Norton for a briefing and a flight on the ATLAS A400M last...
A debate on Health Care in South Gloucestershire was held in the House of Commons on Wednesday...
Jack Lopresti MP has invited 5 girls from Filton and Bradley Stoke yesterday to shadow him for the...