MP for Windsor
Working Hard For You
Update: Windsor MP asks Government question on investment

On Tuesday 28th February Adam asked Chancellor of the Exchequer for an update on the work that they are doing to make Britain a better place for private sector firms to invest.

Treasury Questions – Tuesday 28th February

Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): I very much welcome this Government’s healthy commitment to scientific spending over several years, but it seems that our business investment in research is below the OECD average. May I urge the Chancellor to examine measures that will increase private company business expenditure on research?

David Gauke (Chief Secretary to the Treasury): As the Chancellor announced at the autumn statement, the Government are significantly increasing investment in research and development, rising to an extra £2 billion a year by 2020-21. We have also made the R&D tax credit regime much more generous. We want to ensure that the UK remains an attractive place for business to invest in innovative research.

Windsor MP asks questions on space policy in Parliament

On Tuesday 13th December Adam asked the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Department for an update on the progress at the recent European Space Agency (ESA) summit (4:53 to 6:21):

 

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Questions, 13th December:

Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): What steps his Department is taking to promote science and innovation.

Jo Johnson (Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation): This Government are strongly committed to science and innovation. We protected the science budget at the spending review in 2015. In the last autumn statement, a few days ago, we committed to spending a further £2 billion a year by 2020/21. The creation of UK Research and Innovation, through the passage of the Higher Education and Research Bill, will increase the value and impact of our investments in science and innovation in the years ahead. [Official Report, 16 December 2016, Vol. 618, c. 7-8MC.]

 

Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): I thank the Minister for that answer. It has certainly been a good time for science and innovation in Britain. It has also been a good year for the UK space sector, with Major Tim Peake’s historic visit to the international space station and a new spaceport here in the UK. It certainly strikes me that the next big challenge will be the successful delivery of the ExoMars programme, particularly given some of the rumours that have been going around. Will the Minister update the House on any progress made at the European Space Agency summit recently?

Jo Johnson (Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation): Yes, I am happy to provide a brief update. My hon. Friend is an aficionado of space policy and former chair of the parliamentary space committee, so he will be delighted to know that we had an excellent outcome at the European Space Agency’s Council of Ministers. We committed a further €1.44 billion, which has secured the future of the ExoMars programme, among many other things.

 

The MP for the Windsor constituency, Adam Afriyie, said:

“As a former Chair of the Parliamentary Space Committee, I am delighted that the Government continues to invest in making the UK a world leader in the space industry.

“Space has the ability to inspire like few other areas. 2016 was a great year for the British space sector and has undoubtedly motivated many students to pursue their career, and dreams, in researching this area. I hope that 2017 will be even better.

“I am proud at the fact that Britain has a long and prestigious history of being at the cutting edge of technological innovation. We have some of the most prestigious universities, innovative technology companies and supportive regulatory environments in the world.

“This Government has made strong steps to creating the right ecosystem for the space industry to deepen its roots and grow. I hope that they continue the good work investing and nurturing technologies for the future.”

 

 

ENDS

  1. Adam Afriyie is the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Ghana.
  2. He has a strong background in science, technology and innovation.
  3. He is currently Chairman of the Fintech APPG, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) and President of the Conservative Technology Forum (CTF).
  4. He was shadow Minister for Science from 2007-2010 and has a background in the information services and technology sector.
  5. He is Patron of the Parliamentary Space Committee (PSC) and was Chair of the PSC between 2010 and 2015.
  6. The POSTnote on ‘UK Commercial Space Activities’ can be found here.

 

Adam’s Parliamentary Questions reveal Heathrow plans

I have been fighting non-stop against the calamitous proposals for a third runway, and the steady rise in aircraft noise from our neighbour Heathrow Airport Ltd, since I became an MP in 2005.

Over the past 11 years we’ve won some big battles. Ruling out expansion in 2010. Forcing restrictions on night flights. Bringing an end to invasive flight path trials. And so on.

The Government is expected to reach a final decision on airport expansion later this year and, while aircraft noise remains a real issue for all of us, this is the most important fight of all.

The colossal weight of evidence against Heathrow has been presented again and again.

Heathrow will not bring value for money, will not meet legally-binding environmental targets and will not cater to our long-term aviation capacity needs, and is thus not in our national interest.

Opposing Heathrow is not NIMBYism, it is a decision that will have a national impact.

In response to a recent Parliamentary Question I asked (44201) the Government confirmed that they will consider overall plans to improve air quality and its legal commitments before making a decision.

Given that Heathrow is already in breach of its legal commitments with two runways, the idea that it can reduce NO2 emissions in the local area whilst expanding its air capacity by 50% is clearly a nonsense.

If releasing the additional capacity from an additional runway is made dependent on meeting binding, real world air quality milestones, then we may soon find that an expansion at Heathrow won’t release any new capacity at all.

This alone means that expanding Heathrow would be questionable if it was the only choice. Combined with the fact that there are many clearly more cost-effective alternatives that are less damaging to local communities, it ought to be bottom of our list.

You have my commitment that I will continue to fight tooth and nail for the best deal for my constituents regardless of what decision is taken.

I am delighted that, in response to a further Parliamentary Question (44199), the Government has confirmed that they are considering a strong package of measures to mitigate the impact of runway expansion on communities.

This builds on a recommendation by the Environmental Audit Committee last year that, regardless of whether a third runaway is granted to them, a Community Engagement Board must be created to restore trust between Heathrow and the local communities that it blights.

Whilst it will come to a relief to residents that the Government is considering how to help  local communities deal with the costs of runway expansion – and the effects of noise pollution – this yet again demonstrates how cost ineffective expanding Heathrow is compared to Gatwick.

Heathrow’s noise pollution already affects 7 times more people than any other UK airport. Expanding Heathrow will affect 837,000 more people, expanding Gatwick will affect 37,000. Heathrow is permanently stymied by its archaic location from a time before mass air travel.

With our withdrawal from the EU it is more important now than ever before to demonstrate that Britain is open for business and increasing our long term air capacity must be integral to that aim. But it is more important to make the right decision that to make a hasty one.

I would urge the Government to make the right choice and back expansion at Gatwick.

 

Windsor MP stands up for victims of domestic violence

Adam Afriyie, the MP for Windsor, used the most recent session of parliamentary questions to the Minister for Women and Equalities, Nicky Morgan, to praise the Government’s move to ensure that victims receive compensation from offenders for certain crimes.

Under the Labour Government, offenders could opt to extend their prison sentence rather than pay the charge, which is intended to help victims rebuild their lives.

As registered in the official record of the House of Commons, the exchange went as follows:

“Adam Afriyie Conservative, Windsor:  The Berkshire women’s refuge serves my constituency incredibly well. We all abhor domestic violence, particularly towards women, so does my right hon. Friend, like me, welcome the victim surcharge, which ensures that those who commit these acts contribute to making reparations?http://adamafriyie.org/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gif

Nicky Morgan (The Secretary of State for Education, Minister for Women and Equalities): I absolutely welcome the victim surcharge, which results in important payments being made. I am sure that [Adam Afriyie] will also want to welcome the announcement by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government just before Christmas of an extra £10 million to secure refuge accommodation for the next two years.”

Commenting afterwards, Mr Afriyie said:

“We must all welcome the Government’s steps to ensure that victims of domestic violence get some form of compensation paid for by the perpetrators of these crimes

“This Conservative-led Government has taken important steps to protect vulnerable people in society and help them to move on with their lives.

Helping Money Service Businesses open bank accounts

Adam Afriyie (Conservative, Windsor): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent steps he has taken to encourage banks to offer their services to money service businesses.

Andrea Leadsom (Economic Secretary to the Treasury; Conservative): The UK Government is committed to supporting a healthy and legitimate remittance sector, and ensuring that UK citizens are able to continue to remit funds safely to family abroad. That is why, in response to the withdrawal of banking services from the Money Service Business sector we set up an Action Group on Cross Border Remittances to address this issue. The group is monitoring changes to the market, has developed guidance for MSBs and banks and is promoting a shared understanding of risk. The group is also overseeing the development of a Safer Corridor to ensure the continued, secure flow of remittances to Somalia.

Treasury Ministers have been engaging closely with the banking industry both through the British Bankers Association and directly with those banks involved in this issue, including personally writing to and phoning a number of banks.