The wicked murder of Jo Cox last week has stunned my colleagues, as it has the nation. I can add little to what has been said about the circumstances, but can fully endorse everything that has been said about the MP herself. In my meetings and contacts with Jo Cox, I found her all that people will have read about, and her loss is a tragedy for politics and Parliament, while so much more for her husband, children and family. I am sure I will speak for all my constituents as I express our deep sadness and condolences to them.

Read more: Reflection on Jo Cox MP - June 2016

The unemployment claimant rate for North East Bedfordshire was 1.3% lower than the UK average claimant rate of 2.5% according to official unemployment figures release in March 2016. The total number of claimants in the area (which includes both Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal credit) is also falling, with 19 less claimants than a few months previously, in February 2016. It is encouraging to see that the constituency is well below the national average for the number of unemployment claimants.

This continues North East Bedfordshire’s trend of holding a much lower unemployment claimant rate than both the East of England and the UK as a whole. The rate of unemployment was the lowest in the East of England, with a rate of 1.6%, which includes the North East Bedfordshire constituency. Constituents should take encouragement in these recent figures, as the area continues to perform well above national averages.

For more information on these unemployment figures, please visit the following:

 

http://tinyurl.com/Unemployment-Claimant-Rate

http://tinyurl.com/North-East-Bedfordshire

This week marks Dementia Awareness week, led by Alzheimer’s Society, which is all about tackling dementia directly. Parliamentarians and the general public are joining forces to raise awareness about how we can support people affected by dementia.

Dementia affects over 850,000 people in the UK, with the figure set to rise to over 1 million in the next 10 years. By working alongside the Alzheimer’s Society, we can enable support and information to flow towards those affected. Alzheimer’s Society is committed to spending at least £100 million in the next 10 years, to help find a cure for a problem that affects so many.

North East Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt, already a Dementia friend, says: "I fully support the fight against Dementia. We all know someone that has been affected and this week provides a fantastic opportunity to increase awareness. There are a wide variety of support groups available across the constituency, including cognitive stimulation and peer support across the county. "

 

For more information, please visit http://tinyurl.com/DAW2016

 

I am concerned to read newspaper reports about the Government’s position on rural broadband. I know how important broadband access is to all my constituents, and how much effort the Government has put in during recent years to ensure a good rollout, and make us an advanced country in terms of access.

I will be looking for a word with the Minister very shortly to clarify matters, and find out exactly what the position is for the future.

As soon as I have some news I will make it available here and on my Facebook page. 

ALISTAIR BURT MP WELCOMES NATIONAL APPRENTICESHIP WEEK TO NORTH EAST BEDFORDSHIRE  

 

Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP has welcomed the Government’s commitment to creating apprenticeships at the launch of National Apprenticeship Week 2016. The theme for this year’s National Apprenticeship Week is that an Apprenticeship can take you anywhere, as a growing number of young people are looking to an apprenticeship as an alternative route for people who don’t want to go to university.

 

Alistair Burt said:

“I want to give young people the chance to get the skills that they need to develop their careers.  That’s why I am supporting the Government’s commitment to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 and congratulate every college and business locally that has taken on an apprentice. 

 

The Government is driving up the standards of apprenticeships and introducing new routes into the professions. The opportunity to earn and learn is why we’ve already seen 3,790 new apprenticeships created in North East Bedfordshire since May 2010, with I hope, many more to come across a whole host of industries.

 

The Government plans to launch the new independent, employer led, Institute for Apprenticeships. The Institute will regulate the quality of apprenticeships in England, taking on responsibility for approving new apprenticeship standards and assessment plans. Only standards that are valued by employers will be approved and funded.”

15 March 2016

 

CATALOGUE OF EXTREME WEATHER LEAVES MP CONCERNED ABOUT BIGGLESWADE BRIDGE

 

MP for North East Bedfordshire Rt Hon Alistair Burt is concerned with the further delays to the reopening of Stratton Street Bridge, Biggleswade.

 

Alistair Burt said:   

“I understand the project had been delayed following the aftermath of Storm Eva at Christmas when the railway lines were shut especially for the works to take place.

But with the increase of bad weather hitting Bedfordshire, Network Rail may wish to review the best process for getting this work done to the highest standard and finished as close to time as possible, in order for Stratton Street bridge to be back in use.

I will continue to support Central Bedfordshire Council and Biggleswade Town Council to ensure that adequate and up-to-date information is available for residents.”

A Budget for Continuing Growth

 

The Chancellor George Osborne has today delivered his first Budget since the General Election 2015, which sets out the Government’s commitment to putting the next generation first- this is a Budget to make Britain fit for the future.

 

North East Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt said: “I am pleased to welcome the first Budget since the General Election. The Chancellor’s economic plan is still continuing to work, not only for the nation but also for people across Bedfordshire.

 

The tough decisions made by the Chancellor have meant that by April 2017 the tax free personal allowance will rise to £11,500, up from £6,000 from 2010.

 

Small businesses will continue to be supported with the doubling of the small business rate relief and an increase to the maximum threshold for relief from £6,000 to £15,000 meaning 600,000 small businesses will now never pay business rates again.

 

Fuel duty will stay frozen for the sixth year in a row, an average saving of £75 per year. Along with my CAMRA supporting constituents, I also welcome the freeze to beer and cider duties, showing the Government’s commitment to backing British pubs.

 

Finally, I am pleased to welcome the increase in the ISA limit from just over £15,000 to £20,000 for everyone. As well as the introduction of the Government’s Lifetime ISA, helping those under 40 who will no longer have to choose between saving for their first home or saving for their retirement- they will be able to do both. For every £4 saved, the Government will give you £1. So put in £4,000 a year and the Government will give you £1,000 every year until you’re 50.”