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Former Fisheries Minister, Richard Benyon MP has thrown his weight behind the combined Angling Trust, BASS and Save Our Sea Bass campaign for a ban on bass netting.

Across Northern Europe sea bass stocks are in deep trouble because of commercial overfishing and the repeated failure of politicians and fishery managers to follow scientific advice and introduce the necessary conservation measures. The Angling Trust and Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society (BASS) have pressed hard for ban on bass netting and are campaigning in full support the EU Commission’s proposals for 2017 for a sustainable and well managed recreational and commercial hook and line only bass fishery. 

They have launched a national petition which has attracted nearly 6000 signatures in just a few days:

Richard Benyon said:

“Scientists tell us that bass stocks are crashing in UK waters. The EU has said that there should only be a recreational and commercial hook and line bass fishery with a ban on all netting. We need this proposal to be upheld.

“I am proud to have been made a ‘bass champion’ by the Angling Trust. This amazing species could be part of a regeneration of coastal communities if a proper sporting fishery was allowed to thrive alongside robust conservation measures.”

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust said:

"We are delighted but not at all surprised that Richard Benyon is backing the campaign to protect our threatened bass stocks from over fishing. In his time as our Fisheries Minister Richard was the one person who took this issue seriously and was prepared to act on the warnings of scientists rather than looking for short term political fixes."

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Richard Benyon has welcomed the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and how it will benefit the people of Newbury.

On Wednesday, presenting the first Autumn Statement since the vote to leave the European Union, the Chancellor said it tackles the “economy’s long-term weaknesses such as the productivity gap, the housing challenge, and the damaging imbalance in economic growth and prosperity across our country. We resolve today to confront those challenges head on, to prepare our country to seize the opportunities ahead, and, in doing so, to build an economy that works for everyone—an economy where every corner of this United Kingdom is part of our national success.”

He confirmed that the Government is committed to ensuring an economy that is robust enough to meet the challenges ahead post Brexit and create an economy that works for everyone.

The measures in the Autumn Statement that will affect people in Newbury:

·         Help for low earners:

o   Raising the personal allowance to £11,500 in April and £12,500 by the end of the Parliament

o   Increasing the living wage from £7.20 to £7.50 and a further £4.3 million per year to strengthen Minimum Wage enforcement.

o   Universal Credit taper rate to be cut from 65 to 63%. This will mean those on low income will keep more of what they earn and encourage individuals to progress in work

·         Helping people get on the housing ladder

o   £2.3 billion Housing Infrastructure fund to provide 100,000 new homes in high demand areas

o   £1.4 billion to provide 40,000 more affordable homes

o   Banning upfront charges by letting agencies

·         Backing business in West Berkshire

o   Cutting corporation tax to 17% by 2020

o   Reduce the business rate burden by £6.7 billion over the next 5 years

o   This will help the nearly 9,000 businesses registered in the Newbury constituency

·         Road infrastructure

o   Commitment to the Oxford  to Cambridge expressway, which will see improvements for traffic on the A34

o   A £220 million scheme to help free up pinch points on key parts of the road network

In response to the measures, Richard Benyon said:

“The measures announced in this Autumn Statement will help local people who are just about managing, and ensure that our economy is fighting fit as we begin the process to leave the European Union. 

“Increasing the National Living Wage, building more homes that local people can afford, ending tenants’ fees and continuing the fuel duty freeze for the seventh successive year will help families across Newbury make ends meet.

“By backing businesses, investing in our transport networks and securing world-class digital infrastructure, we will keep Britain moving and support our economy for the future.  

 “This is about putting working families in Newbury first, and building an economy that works for everyone.”

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Richard Benyon, Member of Parliament for Newbury, spoke in support of the Homelessness reduction Bill on Friday 28th October.

The Bill was a Private Members Bill introduced by Bob Blackman MP, which sought to aid those single homeless people who currently do not qualify for housing. The Bill would ensure that all those who are ‘at risk’ of becoming homeless would be eligible for support from their local authority.

Speaking in the debate, Mr Benyon said that the Bill will help “tackle what is one of the most shaming features of modern society.”

“Homeless cases are some of the most troubling we see in our surgeries because they bring with them many overlapping aspects of human misery.”

The Government also signaled its support for the Bill. In summing up, Marcus Jones (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government) said: “this Government are committed to preventing homelessness. The number of people found to be homeless is down by 58% from the 2003-04 peak, but the Government remain absolutely clear that one person without a home is one too many.”

“I am honoured and very proud to say that the Government will give their full support to this Bill.”

In his speech, Mr Benyon praised the work of homeless charities based in Newbury.

He said: “We are assisted in our work as Members of Parliament by fantastic organisations in our constituencies, of which I will list two: Loose Ends and Two Saints, a hostel.”

My Benyon also spoke of the work undertaken by “the DePaul Nightstop UK service provides free, safe, secure emergency accommodation for single young people, predominantly aged between 16 and 25. The homes are vetted and have trained volunteer hosts. That is an extraordinary service which we could roll out across our constituencies. A web-based solution could deal with many of the problems that have been raised.”

The Homelessness Reduction Bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons with unanimous support from all Parties. It will now progress to committee stage. 

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Safety on the A34 was highlighted in Parliament today as the subject of a Westminster Hall debate. Richard Benyon and Ed Vaizey, two of the MPs campaigning for improvements following the horrific accidents on the road during the summer, had pushed for this debate and were delighted to see it on the agenda.

As well as speaking about the increasingly urgent issue of safety on this road, Ed Vaizey also raised the economic case for improvements, quoting from the Local Enterprise Partnerships and from the Road Haulage Association confirming that delays and accidents are costing British business millions of pounds in time and goods every year.

He said, ‘The A34 is a strategic and crucial part of our transport network which is not fit for purpose.

First, it is extremely dangerous.  There have been 2,040 accidents in the last 22 years.  In the last 4 months there have been 2 fatal accidents. One of these claimed the lives of 4, including 3 children. Action is long overdue.

‘The need to urgently improve road safety would alone justify significant investment and time from the Department for Transport and Highways England. But the second point I wish to make is that the pressure on the A34 is having a significant impact on our economy.’

He quoted from a joint letter from Thames Valley Berkshire and Oxfordshire LEPs which states that problems on the A34 are significantly impacting economic growth in the region: ‘We believe that the existing A34 highway infrastructure is not fit for purpose now, let alone for the medium term. In this regard, we urge the DfT to identify a funding stream to support immediate investment.’

Richard Benyon, unable to attend the debate in person as he is abroad on Parliamentary business this week, commented, ‘This road is a major north-south arterial route and is overloaded and unsafe. With the number of new houses and new jobs planned for this area, the volume of traffic is set to increase exponentially over the next decade. It is time to take action now.

‘I am pleased that this issue is being aired in Parliament and we will continue to put pressure on all the relevant authorities to get something done as soon as possible.’

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Richard Benyon was re-elected as the Member of Parliament for Newbury on 7 May 2015, with an increased majority of 26,368. Richard won 61 per cent of the vote share.



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