Adam Afriyie
MP for Windsor
Let’s embrace encryption, not ban it

With the publication of new Investigatory Powers legislation due this week, Adam Afriyie MP, a former technology entrepreneur and Chair of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology has said that a crackdown on encryption technology would be economically irresponsible and ultimately futile.

In an article, published on the Telegraph, Adam Afriyie writes:

“The Government is rightly concerned about the risks of digital encryption technology, in the same way that it was concerned about invisible ink, encoded letters and faxes in the past. If there is substance to rumours of a crackdown on encryption in the publication of new Investigatory Powers legislation, it would be as mistaken as it would be ineffective.

Banning technology does not get rid of it. It either makes criminals of millions of normal internet users, or designates it the reserve of established criminals like drug dealers and terrorists.”

To read the article in full on the Telegraph website, click here.

Bravery in the face of an awful disease

Every one of us will face challenges in our lives. We may face difficulties at work, in our personal relationships or with physical or mental health. Few of us have the courage and strength to reach out and help others when we are fighting our own battles. Yet one of my constituents is doing just that.

In 2013, Andrew Scarborough from Ascot, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour at the age of 27. I cannot begin to imagine just how difficult this must have been for him and his family.

Andrew is a talented and admirable young man who is well on his way to a Master’s degree in nutritional therapy and is planning to go on to a career helping others to improve their lives through changing their diets.

Living with brain cancer

As his brain tumour has developed, Andrew has had to deal with the debilitating symptoms that go along with brain cancer. He began to suffer from epilepsy as the tumour started affecting his brain functions and was, at times, unable to leave his bed, such was the pain and fatigue of the disease.

Better flood defences for Berkshire

Adam Afriyie (Conservative, Windsor): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she has taken to improve flood defences in the Thames Valley in 2014.

Dan Rogerson (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for water, forestry, rural affairs and resource management): Since the 2013/14 winter flooding, over £3 million has been spent on work to restore flood defence assets in the Thames Valley and Surrey areas to help reduce the risk of flooding to communities. This has included completing eight flood defence repair projects and capital works on two weirs (Molesey and Godstow). The Environment Agency has also carried out repairs to damage on three Thames weirs, including removal of trees and blockages, and shoal clearance works across twenty sites through the Lower Thames.

During this year, the Environment Agency has also made progress in developing two large-scale flood alleviation schemes:

- The Oxford to Abingdon scheme, reducing flood risk to over 1,000 properties; and

- The River Thames scheme, reducing flood risk to over 15,000 homes and businesses and significant local infrastructure around Teddington to Datchet.

An indicative allocation of £297m of Grant in Aid has been allocated to projects within the Thames RFCC are over the next 6 years. These projects will better protect at least 25,000 households by 2021. It is planned to start the construction of 36 projects by April 2016 with a further 126 projects in development and the pipeline for construction in future years.

Improving Transport Networks in Berkshire

Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to improve transport links in the Thames Valley.

Mr Robert Goodwill (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport): The Government launched the Roads Investment Strategy on 1 December. The M4 Junction 3-12 smart motorway project to upgrade the M4 between Reading and Heathrow continues to be progressed. This month the Highways Agency is conducting a public consultation on the proposals, including exhibitions at 11 locations in the Thames Valley.

Construction of Crossrail is now more than half completed and electrification of the Great Western Main Line is also under way. Electrification of the Thames Valley branch lines, including the Slough to Windsor line, is approved and will improve local connectivity.

The transformation of Reading station was completed on time and under budget as part of the £850 million Reading Station Area Redevelopment programme and formally opened by Her Majesty The Queen on 17 July.

The programme to increase passenger capacity on the Reading and Windsor to Waterloo railway by 25% is now under way and will be completed in early 2015. 60 additional carriages are being incorporated into an extended and refurbished fleet of trains to operate as a maximum 10 carriage train length.

In July the Government announced £94.6m to support local transport projects across Berkshire as part of the Growth Deal with the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, in addition to the £36.9m integrated transport block funding announced in March for the six Berkshire local authorities, covering the period 2015/16 to 2020/21.

Attracting foreign investment

Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he has taken to encourage more foreign direct investment in UK companies.

Andrea Leadsom (Economic Secretary to the Treasury): In 2013-14 the UK attracted 1,773 foreign direct investment projects, giving a total stock of £1.6 trillion of such investments – more than any other country apart from the USA. During this Parliament the Government has taken action to make the UK a more attractive location to run a business including reducing corporation tax so that it will reach 20% next year – the lowest in the G20 – and investing in skills, science and infrastructure. The Government has also increased resources at UK Trade and Investment including for example establishing private sector-led teams in the Gulf, Central Europe, and South America dedicated to attracting inward investment into the UK.