Adam Afriyie
MP for Windsor
Long-term unemployment benefit claims drop in Windsor by 60% in just one year

The Office for National Statistics has released new figures showing that unemployment is continuing to drop across the country and in the Windsor constituency.

The local MP, Adam Afriyie, has welcomed the new statistics, particularly in respect of those who had previously been unemployed for over a year.

Commenting on the news, Mr Afriyie said:

“It is reassuring that so many more people are in work across the Windsor constituency. Whether self-employed or working for a local business, a job is one of the best routes to financial security and a better future for families.

Improvements to River Maintenance

Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent progress has been made in deregulating the consent process for river maintenance pilots; and what plans she has to start new pilot schemes (a) along the Thames in Berkshire and (b) elsewhere.

Dan Rogerson (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for water, forestry, rural affairs and resource): On 10 December 2014, Defra launched a consultation on proposals to integrate flood defence consents into the Environmental Permitting framework. The new scheme will simplify the application process while removing unnecessary costs and burdens for those who wish to carry out construction works or other activities in, or near, main rivers.

The River Maintenance Pilots (which explore how red tape could be reduced for landowners who wish to undertake maintenance in man-made ditches, land drains or previously straightened watercourses that had been dredged in the last ten years) were launched by the Environment Agency in October 2013 and were scheduled to last for one year. In response to interest shown by local farmers, the pilots were expanded in May 2014 to include two new pilot areas, and expand an existing area. To allow those affected by the 2013/14 floods extra time to carry out their work, the pilots were also extended until mid-March 2015. We will consider the evidence from the pilots when they are complete.

In addition, the Environment Agency and National Farmers Union are launching a new local initiative across rural Oxfordshire to help landowners along tributaries of the River Thames with the consenting process. This initiative will start in 2015/16 and it is likely to expand into Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

Windsor MP hails the massive growth of the creative industries

New figures released this week show that Britain’s creative industries, including IT and the arts, are worth £76.9 billion to the UK economy.

The industry is now growing at almost 10 percent a year, three times the growth of the wider UK economy.

Adam Afriyie, the MP for Windsor and Chair of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology commented:

“The figures released today show that IT skills are more important than ever for young people looking for work.

“In the past two years, over 100,000 jobs have been created in the IT sector alone. The UK is a world-leader in tech and will continue to create jobs for young people if we continue to spur on economic growth.

Apprenticeships in Windsor on the rise

Adam Afriyie, the MP for the constituency of Windsor, has welcomed data showing that for the second year in a row, there are more than 1,000 apprentices in the constituency.

In 2009/2010, the last year before the Conservative-led coalition entered office, there were only 590 apprentices. There are now 1,010 apprentices, representing a 71% growth in 4 years.

New data released by the Government shows the most popular industries for apprenticeships in Windsor were business, health, retail and engineering.

Commenting on the statistics, Mr Afriyie said:

“Apprenticeships are a great way for young people to get the skills and experience to build a successful future for themselves.

“I’m encouraged to see that youngsters from all backgrounds are taking up the opportunity to learn new skills and get first-hand experience of working in a real business.

Let’s fix the gender pay gap in the right way

Today, with great trepidation, I accepted the challenge of discussing the gender pay gap on Radio 4 Woman’s Hour. It was a fantastic opportunity for me to explain why I believe passionately that we should finish the job of closing the gap in the right way.

Overall, the gender pay gap, as measured by the Office of National Statistics, stands at around 9% – the lowest in British history. This compares to a pay gap of 17% in 1997. Indeed, in many cases, women below the age of 40 are now earning more than men.

I want the current pay gap to close further, in the interests of economic growth and social progress, and, thankfully, progress continues.

This is why I could not bring myself to support a recent Bill that would risk the progress we’ve already made without awaiting the results of recent new initiatives by the Government. The Bill aims to ‘force’ private companies with more than 250 staff to publish data, as yet unspecified, about employees pay, which could cost businesses in the region of £70m.

This is the wrong approach and I voted against the Bill for several reasons: