South West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous has urged those in South West Bedfordshire who are at risk of getting flu to get their free vaccine jab before winter sets in as it emerged that 31,919 missed out on protection last year across Central Bedfordshire.
Flu vaccination rates continue to climb across the country, but remain lower than ideal in many areas.
Andrew Selous’s call comes as the Chief Medical Officer warned last week that flu and complications associated with it cause 8,000 deaths on average a year in England – around 6,000 of which are people with existing heart and lung conditions.
And official figures show that just under 2.9m bed days were lost to flu and pneumonia last year in English hospitals, up almost 280,000 from the previous year – an 11% increase.
In the Central Bedfordshire area last year:
- 12,654 older people missed out on their jab, and among over-65s with long-term condition which make them more vulnerable to the effects of flu, just 48.6% were vaccinated.
- A further 13,933 working age people with long-term conditions also didn’t get the vaccine.
- Thousands of young children (2-4 year olds) also didn’t get the vaccine, including 113 who were classed as being at greater risk.
- 1319 pregnant women with no long-term conditions and 97 pregnant women with long-term conditions also didn’t get protected.
Mr Selous said: “Getting the flu can be bad enough for even the fittest of us, but for older people and those with long-term conditions in particular it can cause serious health problems.
“Getting the flu jab is free and easy, and offers the best chance of avoiding the flu that we have. I’d therefore urge all those eligible – including all care home staff for the first time – to speak to your GP or local pharmacist and get your vaccination booked in before the cold weather sets in.”
This year, more people than ever – around 21 million – will be offered the vaccination. Children in school year 4 will be offered the vaccine for the first time and children over age 4 in reception year can get their vaccine in school.
A £10m programme will also see a free vaccination offered to all care home workers via their GP or pharmacist. Official figures show that older people are three times as likely to be admitted to hospital with flu if they live in a care home, with emergency flu and pneumonia admissions from care homes jumping by 16% last year alone to around 29,000.
The national drive marks the start of the Public Health England and NHS England’s joint Stay Well This Winter campaign, which helps the most vulnerable people prepare for winter and avoid having to visit hospital due to common winter illnesses.
NHS England’s National Medical Director for Acute Care, Professor Keith Willett, said: “Hospitals and GPs are preparing intensively for this winter, and we would remind people of the importance of having a flu vaccination. There are 21 million people eligible this year, but last year eight million people missed out and that is something we can all definitely change.”
More information on eligibility for the flu jab, and other tips on staying well this winter, can be found at www.nhs.uk/staywell
Figures released yesterday from the independent Office of National Statistics show that the number of unemployed claimants in the South West Bedfordshire constituency in September 2017 was 555. This represents a rate of 1.0% of the economically active population aged 16-64, the 581st highest of the 650 UK constituencies. (1st = highest claimant rate, 650th = lowest claimant rate.)The total number of claimants for Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit is 5 lower than September 2016 and 10 lower than August 2017.
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. There are now 3 million more people in work and 1 million more businesses than in 2010”. Having tracked unemployment very carefully in South West Bedfordshire over recent years, the relative position of South West Bedfordshire against other constituencies has improved markedly.”
“Back in September 2011 for example, South West Bedfordshire had the 383rd highest rate of unemployment of all 650 constituencies. In September 2017 South West Bedfordshire has improved by over 200 places in the rankings to have 581st highest rate of unemployment of all 650 constituencies. This shows that the South West Bedfordshire constituency has done better than many other areas in reducing unemployment over the last 6 years.”
A recent manifesto to strengthen families, supported by over 50 MPs including Andrew Selous, encourages the Government to promote healthy relationships to tackle mental ill health, to promote active fatherhood in a child’s life and to remove the financial disincentives for those on low incomes to form lasting couple relationships, amongst other suggestions.
Andrew Selous has worked to improve family life locally having set up ‘Two in Tune’ as a community family trust. The exchange in the House of Commons was as follows:
Respectful and committed family relationships reduce poverty, improve wellbeing, and help the Government to live within its means. They are a key part of a country that works for everyone. Will the Prime Minister therefore implement the proposals of the recently published family manifesto?
The Prime Minister
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We are, of course, looking into what more we can do to ensure that we see those stable families, which lead to the benefits that he has described. He has campaigned on this issue since he came to the House, and I welcome the valuable contributions that he has made.
Andrew Selous MP has recognised the vital role that South West Bedfordshire farmers are contributing to the economy, the countryside and food production as he pledged to Back British Farming at an event in Westminster this week.
Farming in South West Bedfordshire contributes £2.3 million to the local economy and provides 80 jobs – this is on top of the safe, affordable food farmers produce and British countryside they maintain.
In addition to its role producing food, farming also supports the work of other industries, such as vets, solicitors, surveyors and feed merchants.
The event in Westminster was held by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) as a rallying call to MPs to support farming – during a particularly crucial period for British farming as the Brexit negotiations begin.
Andrew Selous MP said: “There are so many worthy reasons to support British farmers: they are responsible for securing our fantastic British food supply, looking after our world-renowned countryside and sustaining a dynamic rural economy. That is why I am proud to wear the NFU’s Back British Farming pin badge in Parliament today.
“These reasons are why I have pledged to Back British farming in Westminster and to ensure our decisions in Parliament reflect the strategic importance of British food and farming to the nation.
“As one of the sectors that will be most affected by Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, it is critical that as politicians we create the right regulatory environment to ensure our farmers can continue to provide the safe and affordable food that the public trust and demand.”
If you would like to find out more about how you can Back British Farming, you can join thousands of supporters of the National Farmers’ Union campaign here.
Figures released yesterday from the independent Office of National Statistics show that the number of unemployed claimants in the South West Bedfordshire constituency in August 2017 was 575. This represents a rate of 1.0% of the economically active population aged 16-64, the 577th highest of the 650 UK constituencies. (1st = highest claimant rate, 650th = lowest claimant rate.)The total number of claimants for Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit is 15 lower than August 2016 and 10 lower than July 2017.
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. There are now 3 million more people in work and 1 million more businesses than in 2010”.
“There are more people in work than ever, unemployment has fallen to the lowest rate for over 40 years and to the lowest level ever for young people. Vacancies were at 774,000 in the three months to August 2017, up 24,000 on the year.
“I am also delighted to see Sovereign Partners taking a major lease in Leighton Buzzard as well as the Old Palace Lodge in Dunstable creating more jobs through building more rooms.”
Andrew Selous has been appointed as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to South Africa, the United Kingdom’s largest export market in Africa. Trade Envoys are a network of PM appointed parliamentarians drawn from across the political spectrum. They lead UK business delegations to the countries to which they are appointed to boost British exports and increase bilateral trade.
Andrew Selous said “I’m delighted to be appointed to this role. The United Kingdom’s exports to South Africa have increased by a quarter over the last 10 years. South Africa is the United Kingdom’s third biggest Commonwealth trading partner and there are significant opportunities for UK businesses in the energy, transport, health care, and education sectors.The UK currently has significant machinery, vehicle, medical, pharmaceutical, fuel and food exports to South Africa. Food and drink sales to South Africa increased by over 30% in the first quarter of 2017 in part due to significant increases in exports of animal feed for example.”
Figures released today from the Independent Office of National Statistics show that the number of unemployed claimants in South West Bedfordshire constituency in March 2017 was 605. This represents a rate of 1.1% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64, the 576th 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 40 lower than in March 2016 and 25 lower than in February 2017.
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. There are a record number of people in Britain now earning a wage and providing for their families. There are well over 1,000 more people in work on average every day and this has happened as we have taken the decisions necessary to turn our economy around.
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.”
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.