From: Greg Hands M.P. email@example.com Subject: News Bulletin from Greg Hands M.P.
#398 Date: 23 March 2014 08:42 To: firstname.lastname@example.org
In this edition:
Greg Hands M.P.’s Diary Website of the Week: Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council Greg Hands MP welcomes a Budget to secure the recovery and build a resilient economy Greg Hands MP celebrates cut to APD for Commonwealth and other long-haul passengers, following long campaign for reform Photo news Time to explore public parks in Hammersmith & Fulham Make Sure You’re Registered to Vote this year Another cycle race comes to London in August How to contact Greg Hands M.P.
Issue 398 - Sunday 23rd March 2014
Since the last edition, Greg:
Joined the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the House of Commons for the presentation of his fifth Budget. For more on the Budget, see below. Joined local ward councillors Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler and Matt Thorley in greeting Tube commuters at Fulham Broadway with news of H&F Council’s improvements to the Borough’s parks. For more on our parks, see below. Welcomed a group of Swedish MPs from the Moderaterna Party to the House of Commons, led by their Chief Whip, Anna Batra. Carried out his duties as the Government’s Deputy Chief Whip. Held a regular, weekly, advice surgery for local Chelsea and Fulham residents, at Fulham Library, on Fulham Road, close to Parsons Green tube. Greg’s surgeries are generally weekly, on Monday mornings, at either Fulham Library, or Peter Jones, Sloane Square, Chelsea. To make an appointment, email email@example.com or telephone 020 7219 5448.
Website of the Week:
The website of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council. Check here for latest news and views in Chelsea and beyond.
Greg Hands MP welcomes a Budget to secure the recovery and build a resilient economy
Greg Hands, MP for Chelsea and Fulham, has welcomed the Budget from Chancellor George Osborne, setting out how the Government will take further action to secure Britain’s recovery and build a resilient economy. The Budget is part of the Government’s long-term economic plan - a plan that is delivering economic security for families up and down the country, and which will help businesses export more, build more, invest more and manufacture more. This Budget will deliver economic stability and sound public finances. In order to continue to reduce the deficit and debt, and secure the recovery, the Government will cap the welfare budget to control spending, ensure that employers are meeting the full costs of public service pension schemes and limit public sector pay increases. Greg Hands said: “I am pleased this is a Budget designed to help savers, workers and businesses. The Government is taking decisions that will support businesses to invest, export, and create jobs – laying the foundations for sustainable economic growth. This Budget sets out the most radical reforms to saving for a generation, providing security for families to plan for their future. And it reduces taxes for hardworking people, while taking further steps to tackle tax avoidance.” It is a Budget for business. Budget 2014 announces the Government will help British businesses by doubling the annual investment allowance to £500,000, until the end of 2015, offering the best export finance in Europe, and reducing energy costs, to ensure that the UK remains a competitive location for manufacturing. It is a Budget for savers, including radical measures to help savers at all stages of their lives and to give people greater freedom over how they access their pension savings. Budget 2014 introduces the most fundamental change to the way people access their pensions in almost a century, giving increased flexibility and tax relief. It supports households to save through a package of measures including reforming the ISA into a New ISA (NISA) with a significantly higher annual limit of £15,000 and abolishing the 10p rate on savings income. But most of all, it is a Budget for hardworking people. The Government is taking further action to help families keep more of what they earn and to save for their retirement. The Government will reduce taxes by increasing the level of the taxfree personal allowance further, from £10,000 to £10,500 in April 2015. This will mean a tax cut for 25.4 million people. By April 2015, a typical basic rate taxpayer will pay £800 less income tax a year than that would have under Labour. This Conservative-led Government will also have lifted 3.2 million out of income tax altogether. The Chancellor has also cut the duty on beer by 1 penny a pint, frozen duty on cider and spirits and abolished the above inflation duty escalator for wine. This will protect jobs in Britain’s brewing and pub industries, as well as allowing those who drink responsibly not to be unduly penalised. The Budget will also increase the maximum Tax-Free Childcare support available to £2,000 per year for each child, reduce the cost of long haul flights by abolishing the top two bands of Air Passenger Duty, and provide £200 million fund to repair potholes caused by the winter weather. The Government will introduce a new and highly secure £1 coin. The proposed new coin is bi-metallic with 12 sides, based on the traditional threepenny bit, and adopts new Royal Mint technology to protect against counterfeiting. The Government plans to introduce the new coin in 2017, and there will be a competition to decide the design on the reverse or tail side of the new coin.
Greg Hands MP celebrates cut to APD for Commonwealth and other long-haul passengers, following long campaign for reform
Long-distance air passengers received good news in this week’s Budget, as major reforms and reductions to Air Passenger Duty (APD) were announced by the Chancellor. Local MP for Chelsea and Fulham Greg Hands, who has campaigned to reform APD for many years, has celebrated the news that from next year all long haul flights will carry the same lower band B tax rate that passengers currently pay to fly to the United States. As announced in the Budget on Wednesday (19th March), the Government will reform air passenger duty (APD) by abolishing bands C and D from 1 April 2015. This will eliminate the two highest rates of APD charged on flights to countries over 4,000 miles from Britain, cutting tax for millions of passengers travelling to the Caribbean, Australia, India, New Zealand, China, South Africa, Brazil and many other Commonwealth destinations and emerging markets. This will mean that flights to South Asia and the Caribbean will pay tax at the lower band B rate. This will ease the cost of families travelling to and from long haul destinations. It will also help British businesses strengthen links with high growth markets, and to go further to make the UK an attractive option for business visitors and tourists. Since 2009, Greg Hands has campaigned for reform of the APD system, and particularly to amend the banding structure of the tax, which has caused unfair anomalies in the rate, for instance where flights to the Caribbean were taxed more than those to California, as it was calculated on distance between capital cites and the UK. Greg even tabled an amendment to Labour’s 2009 Budget which would have abolished APD, and spoke at length against the new bands. Chelsea and Fulham is home to large numbers of residents with links to countries across the world, who will benefit from the new reduced rate when travelling to visit family or for business. This includes over 3,400 constituents from the Caribbean, 1,500 of Indian origin, and 1,500 of Chinese origin, as well as over 4,000 people whose origins are from other Asian countries. All these long-haul destinations will benefit from the scrapping of the two highest APD bands. Welcoming the announcement, Greg Hands said: “I am delighted at this news, and it is something I have been pushing towards for five years. This measure contributes to the UK's growth opportunities by lowering the cost of travelling to many emerging market destinations such as China, India and Brazil. It will help people travel for business, as well as family holidays to destinations outside of Europe. Some of the biggest beneficiaries however will be regular travellers to family outside of Europe of which includes many thousands of my constituents.” Additionally the Budget confirmed that APD rates for 2014-15 will rise in line with RPI from 1 April 2014 ending the above inflation hikes in APD introduced by the last Labour Government. The Conservative-led Government has also introduced APD on private jets for the first time, a tax which never existed under 13 year of Labour rule. The rates applying to private jets will be set at 6 times the level of rates applying to economy class. The Government will also extend the scope of the existing Regional Air Connectivity Fund to include start-up aid for new routes from regional airports. This will make sure all parts of the UK country to see better links with the international markets of the future.
Greg Hands MP with Cllr Victoria Brocklebank Fowler leafleting commuters at Fulham Broadway tube station this week.
Time to explore public parks in Hammersmith & Fulham
Residents and visitors are being encouraged to find out what parks across the borough have to offer now they are beginning to burst into colour. The 50,000 bulbs planted by Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council in the borough’s many parks are coming to life now that spring has arrived. Over the past 12 months, parks officers have been busy carrying out planting and park improvement work in H&F, which is home to some of the best open spaces in the country. Cllr Greg Smith, Deputy Leader of the council, said he hoped residents and visitors would be taking advantage of what the many different parks have to offer – from wildlife spotting to sporting activities. He said: “Whether it’s the farmers market and River Thames views in Bishops Park, free tennis in Lillie Road Rec or getting close to nature in Wormwood Scrubs, H&F’s green spaces have something to suit every taste. “And with forecasts predicting plenty of spring sunshine ahead, I hope that everyone gets an opportunity to spend time in their favourite park, or even explore one they’ve not been to before, in the coming weeks.” In addition to bulb planting, both Hurlingham Park and Furnivall Gardens have recently benefitted from refurbished rose beds – the latter through work with the friends group. Bishops Park has had new planting throughout the park, refurbishment work to pay and play tennis courts, and boasts a new skateboard area, playground and café – as well as hosting a farmers market on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Saturday of each month. Elsewhere, Ravenscourt Park offers a paddling pool, playground, wildlife areas and water features, and café, while Wormwood Scrubs is an area of wildlife interest and visitors to Normand Park can take advantage of its playground and café kiosk. Finally, Shepherds Bush Green has a playground, and comes with the hustle and bustle associated with its surrounding, vibrant community. H&F is home to 13 of the best parks and open spaces in the country – each one having been honoured with a Green Flag Award by Keep Britain Tidy. Further to these parks improvements, hundreds of trees have been planted in H&F over the past few years as the council continues its bid to make the borough an even greener place. So far in the 2013-2014 period, the council has planted 330 trees along the streets in parks, and on estates – with 113 more planned before the end of this planting season. In the two years between 2011 and 2013, 654 trees were planted in H&F. Once the latest round of planting is complete, a total of 1,097 trees will have been planted over a three year period. To find out more about the borough’s open spaces, including a full list of all of the parks, visit www.lbhf.gov.uk/parks. Throughout spring and summer, H&F Council wants you to share your best photos of the borough’s parks, with a view to creating an online picture gallery showcasing the best snapshots from across the open spaces. To send the Council firstname.lastname@example.org. your photos simply email
Pictures of the borough's parks taken earlier this month can be seen on H&F Council's Flickr photo gallery.
Make Sure You’re Registered to Vote this year
Residents are being reminded they need to make sure they are on the register of electors by May 6 in order to vote in the upcoming elections. You can apply to be added to the register or have your details amended at any time but you must do so before the deadline. The next elections scheduled to take place in Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) and Kensington & Chelsea (RBKC) are the combined Council and European Parliamentary elections on Thursday May 22, 2014. All councillors are facing the public vote on May 22 with each of the two borough’s wards electing up to three councillors in the poll. To be included on the register of electors you need to fill in a voter registration form – paying your council tax, or being signed up for other council services, doesn’t automatically mean that your name is included. “Registering to vote is easier than you may think, all you have to do is complete the registration form and send it back to us. If you do not register, you can't vote and have your say on important issues that affect you.” says H&F Returning Officer Jane West. “I would encourage anyone who wants to make their voice heard to check the details we have sent and get back to us as soon as possible.” If you know that you are eligible and you haven't yet registered, you can download a voter registration form for H&F here and for RBKC here. If in doubt call the electoral registration hotline on 020 8753 4466 or email email@example.com. H&F has one of the most transient populations in Britain with around 30,000 people moving into the borough and another 30,000 moving out every year. Despite this, H&F has traditionally registered a very high percentage of people onto the electoral roll – normally well over 90%.
Another cycle race comes to London in August
Residents and businesses are being warned to expect severe traffic and public transport disruption on Sunday 10 August following the announcement by Prudential RideLondon of the route for two major cycling events - the RideLondon-Surrey 100 and the RideLondonSurrey Classic. Developed by the Mayor of London and his agencies, Prudential RideLondon is a world-class festival of cycling taking place over the weekend of Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 August 2014. Both events on Sunday 10 August will follow a 100-mile route which starts in east London and heads out to Surrey before returning for an exciting finish on The Mall. The RideLondon-Surrey 100 event will attract some 24,000 amateur riders, many of whom will be raising money for good causes. The Classic is a race for 150 professional riders. The route enters the borough in Knightsbridge and travels along the route of the A4 before entering Hammersmith and Fulham. Cyclists will then come back into the borough via King's Road, Ashburnham Road, Cremorne Road, Cheyne Walk and Chelsea Embankment before an exciting finish on The Mall. Closing 100 miles of roads and bridges inevitably has a major impact on traffic, public transport and parking. It is not just the roads that the cyclists ride along that will be affected. Many other local roads will be closed to traffic from the early hours of Sunday 10 August to allow the event to pass safely through the borough. TfL and Prudential RideLondon will be publicising more details of the route, road closures, impact on public transport and where to get further information on their websites. A map of the route is available at www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk. Councillor Tim Coleridge, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's Cabinet Member for Transport, said: "Our experience from last year's event suggests that major disruption is inevitable. There will be local parking restrictions and road closures. "I do urge residents and businesses to get this date into their diary to make sure they are not caught out when the cyclists arrive on Sunday 10 August. "Of course both the amateur event, which will raise an enormous amount of money for good causes, and the professional race, will be exciting spectacles. However, you simply cannot have an event of this scale without it having an enormous impact on our roads. "The best way to minimise inconvenience and disruption to your plans is to be aware of the date and plan ahead." More information about Prudential RideLondon and details of the final route can be found on the organiser's website www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk.
5 ways to contact Greg Hands M.P.:
By Phone: By email: By post: In person: 020 7219 5448 firstname.lastname@example.org Greg Hands M.P. House of Commons London SW1A 0AA Click here for details of how to book an appointment at Greg Hands M.P.’s weekly surgery
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