South West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous continued to raise the unreasonable practice of developers selling new homes on a leasehold basis on land bought by the developers as freehold at Prime Minister’s Questions today. The Linden Homes Kaleidoscope Estate in Dunstable and homes being built by Persimmon on the south of Leighton Buzzard fall into this category.
As a leader who wants to spread wealth and opportunity as widely as possible, will the Prime Minister ensure that we end the practice of developers buying freehold land on which they then sell new houses on a leasehold basis? Many first time buyers on Help to Buy feel that they are being ripped off by this practice and look to the Government for help.
I thank my hon. Friend for mentioning that issue, which he has raised with me previously. I know he is concerned about it and working on it. Our housing White Paper clearly sets out that developers should be building homes for people to live in. That means that we will act to promote fairness for the growing number of leaseholders, but we will consult on a range of measures to tackle unfair and unreasonable abuses of leasehold, as the Housing Minister has said. Other than in certain exceptional circumstances, I do not see why new homes should not be built and sold with the freehold interest at the point of sale.
Speaking afterwards Andrew Selous said “I am delighted to have had this further robust response from the Prime Minister following on from the answer I received from the Leader of the House of Commons last week. I now call on Galliford Try and Persimmon to stop selling any further new houses on a leasehold basis and to make immediate arrangements to enable those residents who bought their new houses on a leasehold basis to purchase their freeholds speedily and affordably. The reputations of these two companies are at stake and I will be watching carefully to see how they behave”.
South West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous today raised the unacceptable practice of large developers buying freehold land on which they then sell houses on a leasehold basis. This is currently taking place with Persimmon in Leighton Buzzard and with Galliford Try (Linden Homes) in Dunstable. Taylor Wimpey, to their credit, have stopped this practice.
Speaking after the exchange in the House of Commons, Andrew Selous said “I was very pleased with the robust response the Leader of the House of Commons gave to my question. We need urgent action to stop this unacceptable practice now and also to quickly and cheaply correct these past unacceptable practices to enable local home owners in Leighton Buzzard and Dunstable to gain quick and cheap access to the freehold of their properties if that is what they want to do. I intend to carry on campaigning on this issue until developers stop this practice and help those already caught by it”.
The exchange in the House of Commons reported in Hansard is as follows:
Andrew Selous (South West Bedfordshire) (Con):
May we have an early debate, followed by legislation, to prevent the unacceptable practice of large developers buying freehold land on which they then sell new houses on a leasehold basis? Taylor Wimpey has, to its credit, stopped that practice, and I very much hope that Persimmon and Galliford Try will do likewise. Many young people and first-time buyers using the help to buy scheme feel that they are being ripped off by this practice, which is unnecessary and unacceptable, and we need action.
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising this issue today. Developers should be building homes for people to live in, not creating income opportunities from ground rents or charging fees to alter properties, or selling on freeholds to investors or financial institutions. Other than in a very few exceptional circumstances, I do not see why new houses should not be built and sold with the freehold interest at the point of sale. My hon. Friend the Housing Minister has said that he intends to stamp out the “unfair, unjust and unacceptable abuse of the leasehold system”—[Official Report, 20 December 2016; Vol. 618, c. 1354.] and our housing White Paper highlights the Government’s commitment to consult on a range of measures to tackle all unfair and unreasonable abuses.
This week Andrew Selous MP signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, in doing so pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people.
Friday 27th January will mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history. In the lead up to and on Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. The theme for this year’s commemorations is ‘How can life go on?’
After signing the Book of Commitment, Andrew Selous MP commented:
“Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity for people from South West Bedfordshire and across the country to reflect on the tragic events of the Holocaust. As the Holocaust moves from living history, to just history, it becomes ever more important that we take the time to remember the victims and also pay tribute to the survivors. I would encourage my constituents to show their support for such an important day.”
Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said:
Our mission is to educate young people from every background about the Holocaust and its contemporary relevance. We are very grateful to Andrew Selous MP for signing the Book of Commitment, signalling a continued commitment to remembering the victims of the Holocaust as well as challenging antisemitism, prejudice and bigotry in all its forms.
About Holocaust Memorial Day
Holocaust Memorial Day was established following an MP’s visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau with the Holocaust Educational Trust. Moved by his visit, Andrew Dismore MP proposed a bill, “to introduce a day to learn and remember the Holocaust” on 30 June 1999.
The Holocaust Educational Trust has been closely involved in the establishment and development of Holocaust Memorial Day since its inception in 2000. Holocaust Memorial Day is now coordinated by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.
The theme for the UK Holocaust Memorial Day 2017 is ‘How can life go on?’
About the Holocaust Educational Trust
The Holocaust Educational Trust was established in 1988. Our aim is to educate young people from every background about the Holocaust and the important lessons to be learned for today. The Trust works in schools, universities and in the community to raise awareness and understanding of the Holocaust, providing teacher training, an outreach programme for schools, teaching aids and resource material. One of our earliest achievements was ensuring that the Holocaust formed part of the National Curriculum for History. We continue to play a leading role in training teachers on how best to teach the Holocaust.
Our activities include:
The Outreach Programme: A central part of our work, the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Outreach Programme allows students and teachers the opportunity to hear survivor testimony firsthand and take part in focused workshops designed and delivered by our trained educators. The Programme is free of charge, and over 100,000 students a year take part.
Lessons from Auschwitz Project: The Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz Project for post-16 students and teachers is now in its seventeenth year and has taken over 30,000 students and teachers from across the UK to the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, as part of a four-part course.
Ambassador Programme: Following on from their involvement in the Lessons from Auschwitz Project, participants become Holocaust Educational Trust Ambassadors – people who are committed to educating others about the Holocaust and its contemporary relevance. Ambassadors can apply to become Regional Ambassadors, individuals who have all shown outstanding commitment to ensuring that the lessons of the Holocaust are not forgotten and to galvanising local communities.
Resource Development: The Holocaust Educational Trust develops engaging and interactive classroom resources, all of which are available free of charge through a dedicated section of our website. Our flagship resource, Exploring the Holocaust, is a downloadable cross-curricular teaching pack which provides teachers with all of the materials they need to teach the Holocaust across a range of subjects at Key Stage 3 (or S2 in Scotland). In 2016 we launched a new teaching guide and accompanying classroom resources for primary schools A Guide for Primary School Teachers which is designed to support the growing number of primary schools which wish to explore issues related to the Holocaust with their students. It is the first comprehensive guide of its kind and will be invaluable to teachers looking to address this subject in a sensitive and meaningful way.
Teacher Training: As the UK’s foremost authority in Holocaust education, the Holocaust Educational Trust delivers teacher training to trainee teachers at institutions of higher education and to practising teachers as part of their Continuing Professional Development. Each year the Trust leads several UK-based seminars bringing teachers into contact with leading Holocaust scholars. Additionally, our Teacher Study Visit series gives British teachers the opportunity to learn abroad from international experts and to consider the use of historical sites to enhance students’ understanding of the Holocaust.
Andrew Selous MP has welcomed news that local road-users will benefit from a dedicated £365,000 pothole fund, which will keep the country moving and build a country that works for everyone.
This cash is part of a £1.2 billion fund for local roads that the Government is allocating to councils to repair and rebuild our transport links.
This funding will improve roads, cut congestion and improve journey times includes money from the new National Productivity Investment Fund, announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement and the Pothole Action Fund. It also includes £75 million which councils can bid for to repair and maintain local infrastructure such as bridges, street lighting and rural roads.
Local motorists will benefit from the dedicated funding after the Government announced that nearly £50 million of funding will be made available to local councils over the next 12 months. This is part of a wider package totalling £8,089,000 across the East of England Region.
The government has today also published further information about what the funding will be spent on – the latest step in our economic plan to stimulate the economy and build a country that works for everyone.
Andrew Selous commented:
‘The state of our roads is consistently raised with me by local residents and remains a great source of frustration for drivers.
‘This funding is welcome news for families and businesses in the Central Bedfordshire Council area who rely on our roads to get around. It builds on the £244,000 we got last year and is the latest step in our plan to build a country that works for everyone.
‘Today’s announcement shows that we are delivering on our commitment to invest in infrastructure to attract businesses and secure a better future for local businesses.’
Notes to Editors
To see how many potholes will be filled in your postcode, go to postcode checker.
To see an interactive map of how many potholes are going to be filled in 2016/17 in your local authority area, check the map.
Councils across England are today finding out their share of £1.2 billion local roads funding for the 2017/18 financial year. The £1.2 billion for 2017/18 consists of:
o £210 million from the National Productivity Investment Fund announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement when the Chancellor committed to invest an extra £1.3bn improving the road network over the course of the Parliament. £185 million will be allocated to local highway authorities in England, outside London, to improve local highways and public transport networks, which also includes £25 million for safer roads to tackle some of the most dangerous A roads;
o £801 million to be shared across local highway authorities in England, outside London, to help improve the condition of local roads;
o £70 million to be shared across local highway authorities in England, outside London, from the Pothole Action Fund which will help repair over 1.3 million potholes;
o £75 million from the Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund, inviting local highway authorities in England, outside London, to compete for funding to help repair and maintain local highway infrastructure, such as bridges, lighting and rural roads.
o £75 million from the Highways Maintenance Incentive Element which invites to complete a self-assessment questionnaire in order to reward those who demonstrate they truly understand the value of their asset.
(DfT, Road funding: information pack, January 2017).
The Pothole Action Fund was first announced in April 2016. Over 100 councils in England received funding to help remove around 943,000 potholes from local roads during the first year alone. The funding has been made available as part of the £250 million Pothole Action Fund included the 2015 Budget will fix over 4 million potholes by 2020/21 (DfT Press Release, 7 April 2016, link).
Table 1: local authority statistics
Below are estimates of the number of potholes that will be filled in 2016/17 per UK Parliamentary constituency in England.
||Pothole Action Fund allocation in 2016/17
|Redcar and Cleveland
|Newcastle upon Tyne
|Blackburn with Darwen
|Cheshire West and Chester
|Kingston upon Hull, City of
|East Riding of Yorkshire
|North East Lincolnshire
|Herefordshire, County of
|Telford and Wrekin
|Windsor and Maidenhead
|Brighton and Hove
|Isle of Wight
|Bath and North East Somerset
|Bristol, City of
Copy of 2017-18 Pothole Action Fund
Andrew Selous MP visited the Dunstable Delivery Office to thank local postmen and women for their hard work during Royal Mail’s busiest period
- This year Royal Mail has been celebrating its 500th anniversary, with this festive period marking half a millennium of delivering Christmas cards and parcels
- The last recommended posting dates for Christmas are: Second Class – Tuesday 20 December, First Class – Wednesday 21 December and Special Delivery – Thursday 22 December
Andrew Selous MP visited the Dunstable Delivery Office to see first-hand the operation of delivering Christmas post and to pass on season’s greetings to its hardworking staff.
Mr Selous was shown around the office by Delivery Office Manager, Philip Seddon, and was introduced to the postmen and women, who are pulling out all the stops to sort and deliver mail in the South West Bedfordshire area over the Christmas period.
The festive season is Royal Mail’s busiest period as millions of people shop online for gifts and send Christmas cards and parcels.
As Royal Mail’s 500th anniversary draws to a close, this Christmas provides an opportunity to reflect on the centuries of hard work delivering to every single address in the UK.
Mr Selous said: “At no other time is the hard work and dedication of postmen and women clearer than during the festive period.”
“I thank them for the extraordinary lengths they go to ensure Christmas cards and presents are delivered to loved ones on time, and for all they do year-round.”
Philip Seddon, Royal Mail Delivery Office Manager, said: “It was a pleasure to show Andrew our Christmas operation and to hear his kind words of encouragement and support.”
“We are extremely proud of our postmen and women for all their hard work during the Festive Season and for continuing our proud history of delivering Christmas mail.”
The last recommend posting dates for Christmas are:
Second Class – Tuesday 20 December 2016
First Class – Wednesday 21 December 2016
Special Delivery – Thursday 22 December 2016
Customers can also help Royal Mail ensure that all their letters, cards and parcels are delivered as quickly and efficiently as possible by taking a few easy steps:
Post early – Avoid disappointment by posting your cards and parcels early.
- Use a postcode – A clearly addressed card or parcel, with a postcode, and return address on the back of the envelope, will ensure quick and efficient delivery.
- Use Special Delivery – For valuable and important packages and parcels guarantee delivery with Royal Mail’s Special Delivery, which means your gift is tracked, traced and insured against loss.
- Wrap parcels well and always give a return address
- For more information about Royal Mail’s last recommended posting dates, please visit: www.royalmail.com/greetings or call 03457 740 740.
THE NUMBER OF UNEMPLOYED CLAIMANTS FELL AGAIN IN NOVEMBER 2016 IN SOUTH WEST BEDFORDSHIRE
Figures released yesterday from the Independent Office of National Statistics show that the number of unemployed claimants in South West Bedfordshire constituency in November 2016 was 535.This represents a rate of 1.0% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64, the 579th highest of the 650 UK constituencies. (1st = highest rate of unemployment, 650th = lowest rate of unemployment.)
The total number of claimants for Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit is 21 lower than in November 2015 and 38 lower than in October 2016.
Commenting on the figures South West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous said:
“I am delighted to see that more people locally now have the security of a monthly pay packet as they go out to work. Since 2010 over 70% of the rise in employment has been from full time work. Pay rose 2.3% over the last year. It is really good to see youth unemployment falling and the number of disabled people in work rising.
I very much welcome this further fall in unemployment. We have had so many jobs created locally that I am aware a number of employers are struggling to get the workers they need which means we must redouble our efforts to help these businesses grow and to provide the relevant skills training locally.”
Andrew Selous MP today prioritised children’s future health by showing their support for the Government’s ambitious soft drinks industry levy.
The event organised by the Obesity Health Alliance, a coalition of over 35 health charities, medical royal colleges and campaign groups, offered a chance for MPs to show their support and learn more about the benefits of the soft drinks industry levy, as well as talking to clinical experts who busted popular myths about the levy.
The Soft Drinks Industry Levy, also known as the sugar tax, is one of a few vital measures with strong potential to help make our children healthier. We know that our children are eating too much sugar, with their main source being sugar sweetened soft drinks which is contributing to more than one third of our kids being overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school. Added to this children from deprived areas of the UK are twice as likely to be overweight or obese as their counterparts from less deprived areas, whilst more likely to consume sugar sweetened soft drinks.
Obese children are five times more likely to become obese adults, increasing their risk of developing serious health conditions like type 2 diabetes, cancer, liver and cardiovascular disease and associated mental health problems. Obesity also currently costs the NHS at least £6billion a year.
Andrew Selous MP said: “We have a childhood obesity crisis in this country. It’s unbelievable how much sugar is in many of the drinks our children regularly consume. These drinks easily become part of their regular diet and usually have no nutritional value so just end up being empty calories.
“This is why the Soft Drinks Industry Levy is so important. Decreasing the amount of sugar in these beverages will contribute towards making our children healthier now, and in the future.”
Professor John Wass from the Obesity Health Alliance said: “Our children are consuming too much sugar and soft drinks are their number one source of sugar. “The case for the soft drinks industry levy, coupled with the reformulation of soft drinks to reduce their sugar content, has never been clearer. The nation’s diet needs to be unsweetened – and fast.”
South West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous has been elected to the Health Select Committee in the House of Commons.
Andrew Selous said;
“I’m delighted to have had the support of my fellow MPs to be elected onto this committee. I’ve spent a lot of time working on health matters in recent years, in particular working with my Totternhoe constituent Professor Tim Briggs on trying to improve the quality of care across the NHS. The NHS is facing huge challenges and I look forward to playing my part in helping it prosper.”
South West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous has welcomed Southern’s restoration of 63 more services to the Southern timetable including the full West London time table.
Andrew Selous said;
“Many rail travellers including commuters who’ve had huge difficulties getting into work have contacted me about the withdrawal of the West London service by Southern over recent weeks. It’s been a very difficult time for them and I am delighted that the timetable has been restored. I’d ask all rail travellers to let me know about any further difficulties which I will take up with the relevant rail companies and the Department for Transport.”
On Wednesday 19th October South West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous attended Westminster Flu Day, a flu vaccine clinic held in the House of Commons, to encourage his constituents to get this
season’s flu vaccine in line with Government recommendations.
57% of at-risk people and 29% of people over the age of 65 in the South West Bedfordshire area were not vaccinated against flu last year, even though the consequences of not having a flu vaccine can be serious. This compares to around 55% nationally of at-risk patients and 30% of people over the age of 65.
People in a risk group, such as pregnant women, people who are immunosuppressed and people with an underlying health condition such as liver disease and heart disease, are at significantly increased risk of dying as a result of flu. Every year, an estimated 12,000 people die from seasonal influenza in England and Wales. Flu is the most frequent cause of death in pregnancy and very occasionally a child may die from flu.
Andrew Selous said;
“The best way to help protect yourself against the flu is to get the flu vaccine. I would urge everyone who is entitled to a free flu vaccine to go and visit their GP or pharmacist.”
Andrew Selous MP – South West Bedfordshire
Westminster Flu Day 2016
Wednesday 19 October 2016