Press Releases


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Richard Benyon, Member of Parliament for Newbury, has reacted with concern to the news that the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) is reducing certain roles within the business.

Richard said: “I am of course concerned at the news of 500 job losses at the Atomic Weapons Establishment. My first concern is for any of the employees who may be offered redundancy. I want to ensure that the AWE works with agencies such as Jobcentre Plus to provide the best opportunities for retraining and employment in the area. I am also determined to ensure that there are no compromises on safety or security at both sites”.

He continued: “The sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield have benefitted from huge investment in recent years; the AWE remains a valued local employer and have a considerable supply chain across the local economy. Skills taught in the AWE school for apprentices and in the fields of science and engineering are transferable across the economy. The benefits of the AWE are seen across the UK”.



1.       The Aldermaston site is situated within the Newbury constituency. Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF) Burghfield, is situated within the constituency of The Rt Hon John Redwood MP. Many employees at AWE live within close proximity to the site in communities such as Tadley, which is in the constituency of North West Hampshire, whose Member of Parliament is Kit Malthouse.

2.       Last month the claimant rate for jobseekers in the Newbury constituency was 0.6% of the working age population. While no one is complacent, this does mean that the chances of finding employment for any staff made redundant are high.


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Richard Benyon, Member of Parliament for Newbury, has described the decision by the Ministry of Justice to consult on the closure of Newbury Magistrates’ Court as a “blow for local justice”.

Richard said: “I believe that the court service has run down the use of Newbury Court to claim that the level of usage warrants its closure. Decades ago, justice was delivered in Lambourn, Hungerford and Newbury, now victims face travelling to Reading to give evidence”.

He continued: “I have already held discussions with the Chief Executive of West Berkshire Council to see if their video link could be used by the court service and I will be making representations to the consultation to keep the court open”. 

Richard has previously fought a successful campaign to stop the closure of the court in 2010.


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Member of Parliament for Newbury, Richard Benyon, has welcomed Phase 2 of Superfast Berkshire’s broadband project, which will see up to 99% of West Berkshire’s premises covered.

Gigaclear, who have been awarded the contract and are responsible for the deployment of ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premise technology to more than 11,700 premises, will afford homes and businesses access speeds of 50Mbps and up to 1000Mbps.

Richard said: “With Phase 1 of this project to complete shortly and with Phase 2 now signed off and due to start imminently, this is a really exciting time.”

He continued: “Broadband is so vital to the rural economy, as well as our quality of life. We are well on course to becoming one of the best connected counties in the country and we must all be patient when we come across roads being dug up – it is all for a good cause.”

Richard at the signing alongside (L) Matthew Hare, Chief Executive of Gigaclere and (R) Roger Croft, West Berkshire Council’s Broadband Lead. 

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Member of Parliament for Newbury, Richard Benyon, has met with First Great Western’s Managing Director, Mark Hopwood, to discuss issues ranging from the electrification of the Great Western Mainline to the performance of services affecting constituents in West Berkshire.

Following an announcement from the Government that Network Rail’s planned upgrade programme for 2014-2019 will take longer than originally scheduled, Richard received firm assurances that the electrification of the Great Western Mainline was an absolute priority. 

He also discussed his determination to see electrification extended beyond Newbury to Bedwyn, thereby servicing Kintbury and Hungerford stations respectively.

On electrification, Richard said: “I am pleased that the Transport Secretary classified electrification of the Great Western Mainline as a ‘top priority,’ a view endorsed by First Great Western. I remain committed to ensure the extension of electrification and following yesterday’s announcement I will be writing to the Department for Transport.”

On other issues, Mark informed Richard of new rolling stock, which will be serving constituents. This will help in addressing issues of overcrowding. What is more, First Great Western will be working to ensure more parking provision as part of the redevelopment of Market Street. 

Richard alongside Mark Hopwood, Managing Director of First Great Western

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Richard Benyon, Member of Parliament for Newbury, has welcomed new figures showing the Conservatives’ Start-Up Loans and New Enterprise Allowance schemes are supporting people in Newbury to set up their own business.

Figures released last week, show that Start-Up Loans have helped 14 people in Newbury to set up a business with £81,702 worth of loans since the scheme launched in 2012. The New Enterprise Allowance has also helped another 20 people to launch their own business.

Richard said: “Small businesses are an essential part of our thriving community in West Berkshire, creating jobs for local people and growing the economy. This support is giving people a chance to fulfill their ambitions, and the Government is committed to increase the number of Start-Up Loans to 75,000 nationally, as we work to create opportunities for everyone in Britain.”


Notes to Editors

·         Start-up Loans are helping new business across Britain. The Start-Up Loans scheme provides loans and mentoring support to people wanting to set up a business. 30,000 Start-Up Loans, worth £155 million, have now been awarded. We are committed to increase the number of loans to 75,000 (Start Up Loan Company data, as at 30 May 2015).

·         A five week national tour has been launched to help boost the number of businesses started this year to a record 600,000. The Prime Minister helped launch the StartUp Britain campaign tour – which will see start-up experts and champions travel to 25 different places across England, Scotland and Wales to support tens of thousands of people looking to start a business (StartUp Britain press release, 23 June 2015).

·         70,000 businesses have been set up as a result of the New Enterprise Allowance. The scheme, which launched in 2011, provides business mentoring to help benefit claimants with a business idea to develop a business plan, and if it is approved seed funding up to £1,274 over 26 weeks. It is available to Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants, people who are claiming Income Support as lone parents or who are sick, people on Employment and Support Allowance, and eligible Universal Credit claimants (DWP press release, 24 June 2015, link).

·         Small businesses are an essential part of the economy. Over99 per cent of British businesses are small in size, with fewer than 50 employees.Small businesses account for one third of private sector turnover and are responsible for 48 per cent of private sector employment (BIS, Business population estimates 2014, 26 November 2014, link).

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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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