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BILL WIGGIN MP

MP for North Herefordshire

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Bill Wiggin backs Access for All at Ledbury Train Station

I fully support West Midlands Trains in their bid for funding to implement Access for All at Ledbury Train Station

I have long campaigned for these vital improvements as it will benefit so many residents living in Ledbury who are elderly or disabled.

Indeed when the Transport Secretary visited Ledbury in North Herefordshire he witnessed himself just how poor the access for all was at this unique station.

Lifts to all platforms at Ledbury would be a tremendous improvement. At present, while travelling on a train to Hereford, disabled passengers who want to disembark at Ledbury have to continue on to Hereford and catch a train back to Ledbury just to be on the accessible side of the platform.

This is wrong, most of all to people with disabilities but also the lack of access has undermined the useful nature of our station and contributes to the vicious circle which lack of access has on footfall.

Access for all would be the most important improvement for our station not least due to the Ledbury community having a predominately elderly population, not forgetting parents with children in prams and push chairs, as well as people who simply have very heavy luggage, all whom currently have to navigate the steep stairways and elderly bridge.

I heartily support this bid for what is a key step in making long overdue improvements to Ledbury Station that will make life easier and better for residents and commuters alike.

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Bill Wiggin MP attends Leominster Service of Remembrance

Bill Wiggin, MP for North Herefordshire, attended the service of remembrance in Leominster on Sunday.

Mr Wiggin laid a wreath afterwards at the Leominster War Memorial following the Remembrance Sunday Service which also marked the centennial of the end of the First World War.

Commenting after the service Bill Wiggin MP said:

It is very important to lay a wreath to represent the people of North Herefordshire who remember those people from our communities, including in Leominster, who made the ultimate sacrifice in War. Ours was an impressive and very well organised ceremony and it was heartening to see so many members of the public who willingly gave their time pay tribute to our former servicemen and servicewomen whose gift of freedom is so precious to us all.

Indeed what struck me when watching other services on TV later that day was the huge numbers of people who turned out across the country to show their support. Not only to remember the First World War and the lives’ it cost but also for our troops serving today. At a time when there is the endless legal persecution of our soldiers who served in Northern Ireland – this was a wonderful and welcome show of unity.

One hundred years ago the First World War ended. My own Grandfather, after whom I was named, Colonel Bill Wiggin DSO served throughout the War, never once returning home despite being severely wounded twice in Palestine. He led the famous charge at Huj and later served at Gallipoli. He and all those like him, ought to be remembered for what they did, particularly those who lost their lives.

My late father and I visited the site of the Charge in Israel and yet the most powerful and emotional moment hit me at the war graves, so carefully tended, nearby. The names of the men from Herefordshire who died were certainly the relatives of the people I seek to help in my surgery and through my postbag today. Only time has moved on.

It seems strange to us today to even imagine what is must have been like: for example there was little penicillin for wounds so infection was a serious killer. The industrial scale of the slaughter of fine young men on both sides especially on the Western Front and the widespread use of horses and other animals, which today we can only envisage through films.

There are many more differences but the thought that hit me hardest as I stood at the War memorial was that in just twenty years we will be remembering the start of the Second World War in 2039!

It is essential to learn from the lessons of history and we are fortunate that at least once a year we have the opportunity to come together and think about those who gave their lives so that we can live ours freely.

Bill Wiggin MP Meets with Herefordshire College Principals in Westminster

Bill Wiggin, MP for North Herefordshire, last week met with the Principals from a number of Herefordshire Colleges as part of Colleges Week in Westminster.

Colleges, students and trade unions held a rally in Parliament Square, to raise awareness of funding for Further Education and the 2.2m learners that study in Further Education providers each year.

Commenting after the meeting, Bill Wiggin MP said:

“This was a very useful meeting where we discussed ways in which we can ensure our young people in Herefordshire have access to the best possible further education to help set them up for their future careers.

I welcome assurances given to MPs by the Minister that the Government are taking this issue very seriously, and the Department for Education are currently part way through conducting a major assessment of funding for the Further Education Sector, ahead of next years’ Spending Review.

It is vitally important that we ensure there is a place in education or training for every 16 to 19-year old who wants one whilst maintaining funding for adult skills participation.”

Bill Wiggin MP welcomes winter social care funding

Today, the government has announced how much additional funding local authorities in England will receive to ease pressures over winter thanks to our balanced approach to the economy, including £880,614 for Herefordshire, County of Unilateral Authority.

Earlier this month, the Health and Social Care Secretary announced £240 million for the social care system over winter, giving councils a significant boost to prevent people from going into hospital unnecessarily and getting them home as soon as they are ready.

This funding will ease pressure on the health system, and follows the announcement of £145 million to improve emergency care within the NHS this winter.

The money will pay for home care packages to help patients get out of hospital quicker, re-ablement packages to help patients carry out everyday tasks and regain mobility and confidence, and home adaptations.

Bill Wiggin MP has welcomed this announcement of £880,614 for social care services in Herefordshire, thanks to the Government’s balanced approach to the economy.

Commenting, Bill Wiggin MP said:

“I am delighted that Herefordshire is receiving this extra funding to help social care services cope with winter pressures.

“This is part of our balanced approach to the economy – spending on key public services while keeping taxes down and getting debt falling.

“Social care packages allow people to leave hospital as soon as they are well enough, and ensure they can regain independence and confidence at home. This funding will allow Herefordshire to meet the care needs of more local people this winter and I fully support the work that Wye Valley NHS Trust are doing to ensure the excellent staff can give patients the best possible care.”

Bill Wiggin MP pledges support for Local Pubs in North Herefordshire

Bill Wiggin, MP for North Herefordshire, has today pledged his support for the Long Live the Local Campaign to help pubs in North Herefordshire keep their doors open. Bill Wiggin joins the more than 100,000 people who have signed the petition so far, including 152 in North Herefordshire.

Bill Wiggin MP is calling on the Government to cut beer and cider tax at the Budget. With £1 in every £3 pounds spent in UK pubs going to the taxman, British drinkers now pay 40% of all beer tax across the EU, but drink only 12% of the beer. Brewing and pubs in North Herefordshire supports 1318 jobs and contributes £44.5m to the local economy.

Commenting on the campaign, Bill Wiggin MP said:

“Pubs are at the heart of communities across North Herefordshire, but with three British pubs closing their doors for good every day the Government should consider a cut to beer tax. I’m supporting the Long Live the Local campaign and calling on the Chancellor to cut beer and cider tax at this year’s Budget to support pubs in our local communities.”

Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:

“Beer duty has increased by 60% over the last 17 years and now the UK has one of the highest rates of tax in Europe. When over two thirds of all alcoholic drinks purchased in the pub are beers, a cut in beer tax would go a long way to protecting pubs across North Herefordshire. We are very grateful to Bill Wiggin for their support for the Long Live the Local campaign, and hope that the Government listens to MPs across Parliament and the thousands of people across the country who are calling for a cut in beer tax to protect our pubs.”

Bill Wiggin MP welcomes Agriculture Bill and shows support for British farming in North Herefordshire

Bill Wiggin MP has today welcomed the Government’s introduction of the Agriculture Bill to the House of Commons, as he attended an event to show his support for British farming at Back British Farming Day in Westminster, recognising the crucial role farmers play in producing food and caring for the countryside.

Farming is the bedrock of the UK’s largest manufacturing sector – food and drink – which contributes over £110 billion to the economy and employs 3.8 million people.

Bill Wiggin MP said: “I am immensely proud to wear the Back British Farming pin badge today in support of a sector that is so valuable to the country. Our farmers play a unique role in securing a plentiful supply of fabulous British food, looking after our iconic countryside and sustaining a dynamic rural economy.

Food production is a vital part of everyday life and impacts on us all. I would encourage all MPs and members of the pubic to get behind this important campaign and Back British Farming.”

Speaking after the event Mr Wiggin offered his reaction to the Government’s Agriculture Bill:

“I very much welcome the Government’s Agriculture Bill, which will reward farmers properly at last for the work they do to enhance the environment around us. It recognises the value farmers bring as food producers. It will help them grow more high quality food in a more sustainable way – and it will ensure public money is spent more efficiently and effectively. Powers will be returned to the UK Parliament to amend the CAP regulations, so that as we move away from them, we can set the rules that work for our farmers, strip out unnecessary bureaucracy and provide the certainty and smooth transition the industry needs.

The decisions made in Parliament over the coming months are critical to the future of British food production. As one of the sectors that will be most affected by Britain’s departure from the EU, it is important that we as politicians create the right regulatory environment to ensure our farmers can continue to provide safe and affordable food for the nation.”

Bill Wiggin MP delighted with progress after Wye Valley NHS Trust’s successful bid for New Ward at Hereford County Hospital

Bill Wiggin, MP for North Herefordshire, has welcomed news of Wye Valley NHS Trust’s successful bid for a new ward at Hereford County Hospital.

NHS England have approved Wye Valley NHS Trust’s £3.6 million to install a new 24-bedded ward before the New Year.

The announcement of a new ward comes after Mr Wiggin raised the issue with the Prime Minister during PMQs back in March, saying:

“…I want the Prime Minister to ensure that Hereford Hospital is now top of the list for future capital investment.”

The new ward will enable staff to assess patients quickly and reduce the reliance on using areas normally occupied by patients undergoing routine surgery when pressure mounts on services during the winter.

Commenting on the announcement, Mr Wiggin said:

“I have been looking for this extra investment in more beds since I was elected in 2001 and remember chasing Alun Milburn down Whitehall seeking extra beds. I have never given up.

I fully support the work that Wye Valley NHS Trust are doing to ensure the excellent staff can give patients the best possible care.

The Trust did outstandingly well to meet its control target for last year, and I will back them fully as they seek a long-term financial settlement which must be based on the right tariff relative to the rurality of Hereford Hospital.”

Bill Wiggin MP Welcomes News of 100 Additional Police Officers for West Mercia

Bill Wiggin, MP for North Herefordshire, has welcomed an announcement from Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia, John Campion, of plans to recruit 100 additional police officers for West Mercia.

The 100 new officers will take West Mercia to an establishment of 2,030 police officer posts, which will be welcomed by communities who have called for a more visible police presence.

Commenting on the announcement, Bill Wiggin MP said:

“I am delighted by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s announcement of 100 additional police officers for West Mercia.  I am sure that all of us living in North Herefordshire will welcome the reassurance that our community will have the police service that we need.

I am glad that our conservative Government has supported West Mercia with its flexible precept setting for 2019-20 and I will continue to help the Commissioner achieve further improvements to West Mercia policing.”

Bill Wiggin MP welcomes more beds for Wye Valley NHS Trust

Bill Wiggin MP today welcomed the news that following his most recent question to the Prime Minister in June, the Wye Valley NHS Trust has been allocated £3.6 million for a scheme which will help with its bed capacity.

Bill Wiggin MP received a letter from the Secretary of State for Health, the Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, below:

“Dear Bill,

Improved emergency care, new beds, and enhanced equipment as part of major funding boost for hospitals ahead of winter

To make sure the NHS performs as well as it possibly can this winter we are funding hospitals to deliver improvements in their A&E performance.

A total of 81 new schemes, totalling £145 million of capital investment, have been prioritised from within the Department’s capital budget for hospitals across the country to help staff prepare ahead of winter.

This funding will enable the NHS to deliver additional beds, redevelop A&E units and upgrade wards, enhance bed management systems, and improve ‘same-day’ emergency care.

I am delighted to inform you that your local NHS trust will benefit from this funding as part of the action the Government is taking in advance of winter.

Wye Valley NHS Trust has identified a scheme that can help with its bed capacity, and has been allocated £3.6m. I would be very interested in your views if there is more that we can do to help Wye Valley NHS Trust deliver for your constituents.

Last winter was challenging, but thanks to the efforts and dedication of hard working frontline staff, over 500 more people were seen in A&E and admitted or discharged within four hours every day. This further investment in the NHS will help those staff to deliver the best possible care for patients this winter.

Yours ever,

MATT HANCOCK”

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