I’ll help Sproatley get their pedestrian crossing, says MP

Graham Stuart, MP, for Beverley & Holderness has been contacted by a number of constituents in Sproatley to say the village needs a pedestrian crossing on the main road, near the village shop.

Graham said “I heard from residents that it can be hard to cross the main road which they believe is effectively splitting the village in two. I know traffic flow surveys have been carried out which show no need for a pedestrian crossing but the strong feeling in the village is that the perception is one of excess heavy traffic and that some sort of pedestrian crossing is required.

“I am told that many school children, the elderly and disabled, have to cross to “the other side” of the village on this road and are either frightened to do so or require assistance. One resident says it is a shame her eight year old daughter cannot go and visit her Gran on “the other side” whenever she wants; she has to wait for an adult to chaperone her across the busy road. Another told me her son, who has mobility problems and suffers from difficulty with his balance, has become a recluse and will not attempt to visit the local shop, having fallen on numerous occasions while trying to cross the road.

“Having heard these stories I was more than happy to see if there is something I can do to help the village and yesterday met the Director of Environment and Neighbourhood Services at East Riding Council to explore ideas to solve the problem. The Director, Nigel Leighton, told me the Council had no objection, in principle, if the funding could be found to pay for a feasibility study and installation. Although it’s disappointing that the Council does not have the funds to pay for the pedestrian crossing I shall keep looking for a third party to pay for the feasibility of it. “

Ms Pat O’Berg, a resident of Westlands Road said “I’m glad Graham’s trying to sort out a safe way to cross the road for us as something needs to be done before there’s an accident. I know some people just won’t risk trying to cross it and so can’t get to the shop or to visit friends and family. Lots of people have to cross the road with dogs, like I do, and I’m always terrified the dog will slip his lead and cause an accident.”

Carolina Rudd-Baggaley of Westlands Road said “We certainly need a crossing. It is like playing Russian roulette crossing the main road in Sproatley.”

Traditional Holderness on-shore fishing under threat says MP

Graham Stuart, Member of Parliament for Beverley and Holderness, has written to the Fisheries Minister, George Eustice MP, calling for a special dispensation for the local Holderness fishermen from new EU regulation.

EU member states recently voted for the minimum landing size for sea bass to be increased from 36cm to 42cm, in order to encourage the recovery of stocks, following a 20% decline in numbers over the past ten years.

Five fishermen currently hold licences for intertidal sea bass fishing on the Holderness coast. They fear that their businesses may no longer be viable after the regulation comes into force in September this year. This follows the recent introduction of a new bylaw which requires the fishermen to attend their nets at all times.

Together with the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Graham has proposed that the fishermen be given a special local dispensation from the EU regulation, recognising the unique local conditions and fishing techniques. He has written to the Minister responsible for fishing to request a meeting, so that the Holderness fishermen can inform the Minister first-hand what the impact of the regulation will be on their businesses and the local economy.

Graham said: “The Holderness on-shore net fishermen have been fishing in this sustainable manner for centuries; they are part of our local culture and heritage which we treasure and wish to see continue long into the future. These regulations would be extremely damaging not just to their businesses but to the economy of the whole area. It is vital that we get a special dispensation for these local fishermen so that this traditional fishing method can continue.

“I understand the need to conserve the sea bass population. However the small scale of the Holderness on-shore fishery would mean that a local dispensation would not prevent a recovery in numbers more broadly. It would be a tragedy to lose this industry from our coastline and I intend to take this issue to Ministers and press them to safeguard this important part of our fishing heritage for future generations.”

Shaun Wingham, a local on-shore fisherman from Withernsea, said: “I am delighted that Graham has taken up this issue with the Minister and is taking our case to the highest level. With these new regulations, our livelihood is under threat and it is vital that we get this dispensation so that this traditional method of fishing can continue on the Holderness coast.”

Yorkshire Water risks prosecution if the Saltend Stink returns next year says MP

Following East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s investigations into Yorkshire Water’s performance at its Saltend Water Treatment Works the Council is, today, serving an Abatement Notice on the water company ordering it to stop the nuisance of the smells emanating from the Treatment Works.

Graham Stuart, MP for Beverley and Holderness, says “I am very pleased to hear of the Council’s rapid action to serve the Abatement Notice on Yorkshire Water. The Council has taken this decisive step following a summer of horrendous smells suffered by residents in the area around the Saltend Water Treatment Works. For years I have been campaigning to stop the stink and I hope this shot across the bows to Yorkshire Water will prompt it to sort it out once and for all. While progress was made with the introduction of the second odour control unit in 2011, Yorkshire Water has not got a grip on controlling the foul odours during the summer pea season. Today’s Abatement Notice puts Yorkshire Water on the spot – sort out the smells before next summer or risk finding yourself in Court being prosecuted for them.

“East Riding of Yorkshire Councillors Mike Bryan and John Dennis have done sterling work over the years to hold Yorkshire Water to account on behalf of residents who have been badly affected by the disgusting odours, and I hope that next summer we will see that their hard work has finally paid off”.

Councillor Mike Bryan commented “Last month, when the vile smells returned with a vengeance, ruining everyone’s summer, I asked the Leader of the Council to consider whether or not it was doing everything in its power to stop them. I was pleased that, as a result of my intervention, immediate investigations into Yorkshire Water’s operations at Saltend were swiftly carried out, which has led to the good news today that my residents can expect to have a summer they can enjoy next year and in the years after that. It’s taken a massive amount of work to get to the Abatement Notice but it will all have been worth it if my residents can sit outside next year to enjoy their gardens.”

Graham Stuart MP welcomes news that the Royal Mail pub is regarded as a valuable community asset by East Riding Council in planning dispute

The property developer behind the proposed closure and demolition of the Royal Mail pub in Thorngumbald, and its replacement by a Coop supermarket, will have to justify the loss of a valuable community facility before local authority officers make their recommendation to councillors for consideration, it has been disclosed.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s planning authority has asked New River Retail, the property developer which owns the Royal Mail, to provide further information to justify the loss of the public house, which officials consider to be a valuable community facility – as do many members of the public and Thorngumbald Parish Council.

The information the Council has asked for includes details of the financial viability of the Royal Mail pub as well as how it has been advertised for sale by the developer. Officials will then consider this before making their recommendation to East Riding councillors, who will then vote on the issue.

The information was disclosed to South West Holderness Councillor Mike Bryan, who inquired into the issue after local concerns were raised about the loss of the Royal Mail pub.

Responding to the news, Graham Stuart MP said,

“I completely understand the concerns of those people in Thorngumbald who want to keep the Royal Mail pub open and oppose a new supermarket, fearing that a part of village history would disappear as a result.

“Councillor Mike Bryan has done a great job of looking into this issue on behalf of local people. I know the news he has uncovered will please a lot of people who view the Royal Mail as a key part of Thorngumbald life.

“Although this is good news it is not the end of the road. The additional information the Council has requested from the property developer could still sway its recommendation – and ultimately the matter will be decided by democratically elected local councillors. I will continue to monitor the issue closely and look forward to hearing people’s views when I visit the Royal Mail pub with Mike on the 1st of September.”

Councillor Mike Bryan said,

“The planning process is still not complete and officers’ final recommendation to the Planning Committee, on which I sit, will be affected by the extra information the property developer has to try to provide to justify the loss of a valuable community asset.

“I am grateful to Graham for his support on this issue and we will both be at the Royal Mail pub from 6pm to 8pm on Tuesday 1 September to meet residents and hear their opinions.”

Graham Stuart MP responds to Council announcement of an urgent review into the Saltend stench

Graham Stuart has welcomed today’s announcement by East Riding Council leader Stephen Parnaby that an urgent review panel will be established to investigate how Yorkshire Water plans to solve the smell from the Saltend Waste Water Treatment Plant, which has seriously affected local residents this summer and on and off for several years previously.

The review panel, which will be made up of East Riding councillors, was announced in response to a question from South West Holderness Councillor Mike Bryan, who has been at the forefront of the campaign to ensure Yorkshire Water is held to account.

Graham said,

“I am delighted that East Riding of Yorkshire of Council will conduct an urgent review into the longstanding problems at the Saltend plant. This has been an issue I have campaigned on for many years and although progress has been made, not least with the addition of a second odour control unit in 2011, this summer’s outbreak has revealed that the plant’s systems still cannot cope with high levels of demand.

“Yorkshire Water have informed me of the measures they are taking to address the problem in the short term, including the delivery of 17 tanker loads of fresh bacteria a day to deal with the excess, and also their plans to prevent this problem recurring next year and in the years after that. This Review can examine those plans in detail and ensure people can enjoy their summer rather than have it ruined by the stench.”

Councillor Mike Bryan said, “I was extremely pleased with the action proposed by Cllr Parnaby and the fact that he shares our frustration over disappointing performance of Yorkshire Water. A Review Panel made up of East Riding of Yorkshire Councillors will be able to look in depth at this issue which has blighted the lives of residents and local businesses for so many years and come up with recommendations. We owe it to our residents to ensure Yorkshire Water find a permanent solution.”

Graham Stuart leads the charge for fairer school funding

Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart today led a major Parliamentary briefing to make the case for fairer school funding to the Minister, Sam Gyimah MP, at which the Minister confirmed the Government intends to deliver major reform in this area over the course of this Parliament.

The meeting, chaired by Graham in his capacity as the Conservative Vice Chairman of the f40 Group, was attended by dozens of MPs and their staff on a cross-party basis. Following a presentation from f40 Chairman Councillor Ivan Ould, officials from the f40 Group set out the case for a fairer school funding settlement in detail, highlighting research showing that the ten best funded areas on average received grants of £6,300 per pupil this year, compared with an average of just £4,200 per pupil in the ten most poorly funded areas.

Graham emphasised to both the Conservative and Labour MPs who attended how important it is that progress is made on this issue, and set out a campaign plan including a coordinated programme of Parliamentary petitions to raise the profile of the issue. His call for action was echoed by MPs from across the country.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education and Childcare Sam Gyimah told the meeting that the Government is determined to deliver its manifesto promise to create a fairer school funding settlement and encouraged f40 MPs to keep up the pressure for change.

Graham with Education Minister Sam Gyimah

Graham with Education Minister Sam Gyimah

Graham Stuart said, “I was delighted that the Minister attended today’s meeting and gave such positive signals that fairer school funding will finally be delivered after a campaign that first started almost two decades ago. Ending the situation where children lose out owing purely to where they live is something I am determined to bring about and it is now an important priority for the Government.

“Winning acceptance from ministers that the current funding situation for schools is unfair and unsustainable has been a big step forward, but we now need to see that goodwill translated into action. Around 60 MPs and their representatives attended today’s meeting, sending a clear message that we are pleased that the Government is listening but also impatient for action on behalf of our constituents.

“I will launch a petition for Fair School Funding across Beverley and Holderness this summer and I hope as many parents and local people will sign up as possible to make our voice heard loud and clear: it’s high time for pupils in East Yorkshire to get the education funding they need and deserve.”

Graham Stuart and Diana Johnson welcome new flood risk strategy for the River Hull

Local MPs Graham Stuart and Diana Johnson were today celebrating the adoption of the new River Hull Flood Risk Management Strategy.

Over the last two years professionals from East Riding and Hull City Councils, the Environment Agency, Beverley and North Holderness Internal Drainage Board and Yorkshire Water have worked with experts to develop a detailed understanding of drainage and flood risk.

The new strategy, which includes removing sunken vessels, raising river banks at certain points and upgrading pumping stations, amounts to a £45 million package designed to protect Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Graham Stuart, the MP for Beverley and Holderness, who chaired the River Hull Advisory Board that decided the new strategy, said: “This strategy is the result of over two years’ hard work by everyone involved.

“Maintaining the existing river defence systems is critical for Hull and the East Riding, as failing to make this continued investment may result in flood damage estimated at £3.4 billion.

“I am tremendously proud of how everyone has come together to produce a robust strategy that will help reduce the risk of flooding significantly. I want to pay tribute to the unseen contribution of so many officers across the agencies involved for working together so effectively. I would particularly like to thank the Community Liaison Group led by Martin Voase for their input in developing a strategy which will protect homes and businesses across north Hull and the East Riding.”

Diana Johnson, the MP for Hull North, said: “I’m delighted to see Hull City Council working hand in hand with East Riding Council to protect my Hull North constituents from the range of flooding risks we face, so that the flooding we saw in 2007 – and more recently in 2013 – becomes much less likely.

“All MPs, including both Graham and myself, will continue to work together to ensure that we get the action needed to make the Humber area safer.”

Graham Stuart welcomes “defining Budget” with working people at its heart

Graham Stuart has welcomed the Summer Budget, calling it a “defining” moment for the Government.  Key measures in the Budget included:

  • A new National Living Wage: The new National Living Wage will mean two and a half million people get a direct pay rise.  Those currently on the minimum wage will see their pay rise by over a third this Parliament, a cash increase for a full time worker on the minimum wage of over £5,000.
  • Changes to the personal allowance for income tax: There is further support for working people with an increase in the tax-free personal allowance so someone will be able to earn £11,000 before paying any income tax at all.  The Government will also raise the 40p rate to £43,000, lifting 130,000 people out of this higher tax rate.
  • Cutting tax on business to secure growth, with Corporation Tax reduced to 18 per cent: The Government has already taken this rate to the lowest in the G20 and aligned it for large and small businesses.  Corporation tax will now fall to 19% in 2017 and 18% by 2020, helping businesses to hire and create more jobs.
  • Extending the Employment Allowance to £3,000 – cutting the jobs tax for firms. From 2016 the Employment Allowance will rise 50 per cent so a firm will be able to employ 4 people full time on the new National Living Wage and pay no national insurance at all.
  • Commitment to strong defence: The Budget commits to meeting the NATO pledge to spend 2% of our national income on defence – not just this year, but every year of this decade.
  • Investment in transport: The Chancellor confirmed that all money raised from vehicle excise duty will go into a special fund for investment in roads.
  • Investing in skills: The Government will introduce an apprenticeship levy on large firms to fund three million more quality apprenticeships.  Firms that offer apprenticeships can get more back than they put in.  The money will be directly controlled by employers and ministers will work with businesses on how to do this.

Graham Stuart MP said, “This is a defining moment for the Government – a landmark as we move to a higher wage, lower tax and lower welfare economy.  The new National Living Wage will make a huge difference to the quality of life of millions of people.  We can afford it thanks to the tough decisions this Government has made since 2010 – with the conditions for growth restored and corporation tax cut, people deserve a pay rise.

“There is further good news for families as the personal allowance for income tax rises to £11,000, while the threshold to pay the 40p rate goes up to £43,000.  With the OBR estimating that almost a million more jobs will be created over the next five years, the economy will continue to strengthen.

“The wider context of this Budget is that the Conservatives continue to control spending so that we can keep bringing the deficit down.  It is only by doing this that we can reward work, protect the elderly, the vulnerable and the disabled and maintain key commitments – including that to a strong defence.  This is a Budget to steer Britain through to better times ahead.”

Graham Stuart MP celebrates school sport with pupils at Middleton Primary School

Graham Stuart, Member of Parliament for Beverley and Holderness, joined children at Middleton-on-the-Wolds Primary School at the end of National School Sport Week 2015 to celebrate school sports. At their prize ceremony, Graham handed out certificates for those who had completed five hours of sport in the previous week. After watching the children play sport, he spoke to pupils from all age groups on the importance of exercise.

National School Sport Week, delivered by the Youth Sport Trust, is a celebration of PE and school sport, designed to inspire and engage young people in sporting activity. Since its inception in 2009 over 10 million young people and 26,000 schools have taken part, with thousands of events taking place in schools across the country. The theme of the Week this year is ‘Give me 5!’ with schools encouraged to pledge that all their young people will complete at least one hour of physical activity every school day.

To maintain a basic level of health, experts recommend that young people take part in one hour of physical activity every day, yet currently only 21% of boys and 16% of girls meet these guidelines. Evidence shows that taking part in high quality PE has significant positive impacts on young people’s lives, with the UK’s Chief Medical Officer stating that physical activity not only improves physical health and mental well-being, but boosts concentration and builds key social skills.

Graham celebrating with victorious Middleton pupils

Graham celebrating with victorious Middleton pupils

Graham said: “It was a pleasure to visit Middleton Primary School to see the sporting action first hand and hear the pupils’ enthusiasm for sport in their school. National School Sport Week is a great opportunity for young people to try their hand at new sports and to encourage active, healthy lifestyles from an early age. Evidence shows that active children are not only healthier but are able to concentrate better in lessons, and have higher self-esteem and confidence. I hope all the children who took part learnt the benefits of exercise and continue to be involved in sport both at school and later in their adult lives.”

Ali Oliver, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said: “At the Youth Sport Trust we believe PE and sport has the power to unlock young people’s potential, helping them to be healthy and happy, succeed in life and contribute to society. It is fantastic to see Graham supporting National School Sport Week 2015 and wonderful to see so many young people taking part in sport at school.”

Breakthrough as Prime Minister confirms extra £390m to close the funding gap for schools will be baselined for future years

Graham Stuart, Member of Parliament for Beverley and Holderness and Conservative Vice-Chair of the f40 campaign group for fairer educational funding, has said he is “delighted” by the Prime Minister’s response to his question at PMQs today. Mr Cameron confirmed Mr Stuart’s request to commit to incorporate the additional £390 million awarded for England’s lowest funded local authorities in 2015-16 into baseline funding for future years. This is the first time the Government has formally confirmed its manifesto pledge to make this extra funding a permanent part of the school funding settlement.

The current method for allocating school funding is flawed and unfair to pupils in both rural and urban areas. The ten best funded areas average received grants of almost £6,300 per pupil this year, compared to just £4,200 per pupil in the ten most poorly funded areas.

The issue is of particular concern for Mr Stuart as East Riding of Yorkshire Local Authority, which covers Beverley and Holderness, is the lowest funded in the country when it comes to education.

The Conservative Manifesto committed to introduce fairer schools funding as well as to “baseline” the extra £390 million a year awarded to the least well-funded local authorities in 2015-16 into the school funding settlement.

Mr Stuart asked the Prime Minister, “Yesterday the National Audit Office called for the introduction of a fairer funding formula for English schools, so that – I quote – funding is ‘related more closely to pupils’ needs and less affected by where they live’.

“Can he confirm from the Dispatch Box that the additional and very welcome £390 million awarded last year as a first step towards fairer funding will be incorporated into baseline funding for future years?”

In his response, the Prime Minister stated that it is unfair that schools in some areas receive over 50% more funding than schools in others, and pledged that the Government’s manifesto commitments will be observed in full.

Graham added, “I am delighted the Prime Minister has publicly confirmed that the manifesto pledge to baseline the extra £390 million for future years will go ahead.  This is an important breakthrough for poorly funded local authorities and a milestone on the road to fairer funding.”