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Bill Wiggin MP

Member of Parliament for North Herefordshire

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UK-EU Trade deal press release

‘I am currently reading through the 1246 pages of the new UK-EU Trade Deal, announced by the Prime Minister on Christmas Eve.

I believe this deal makes good on the promises that were made, by the Prime Minister, myself and many others, during the 2016 EU Referendum campaign, by consolidating security, cooperation and trade, yet also making this country a truly independent nation.

The relationship we will have with the EU will resemble what a majority of British people voted for when we joined the European Economic Area.

We will have thriving economic and commercial ties with our European neighbours, without comprising our independence, or submitting to foreign laws.

Businesses who rely on trade with the EU will be able to continue their operations without tariffs and quotas.

Britain’s fisherman will see in the coming years a 25% increase in the amount they can legally catch, as they are released from the Common Fisheries Policy.

The greatest positive endorsement is that the EU itself agree that this is a fair deal.

It is not about ruling over one another or complaining about each other anymore.

We have acquired a status-quo that is beneficial to the peoples of the UK and the EU.

There will inevitably be issues and challenges as we begin to implement this deal, and there may be those who feel their needs have been overlooked by it.

However, there is a structure in place within the agreement so that these can be ironed out.

The document explains how committees, sub-committees and working groups will be established to consider objections and complaints.

If these complaints are successful, then aspects of the deal could be tweaked, without altering it in its entirety.

This allows our relationship with the EU to be constantly revaluated so as to be as efficient, streamlined and beneficial as possible.

I intend to vote for this deal, as I feel we have achieved everything we hoped we would and maybe more as so many doubted it was possible, remotely.

It is good for us to know that we remain a global power, with global potential.

We should grasp all future opportunities and raise our sights to a world of possibility in 2021.

Amidst all this excitement, however, we should all remember the sombre work required for us to defeat the Coronavirus.

Unfortunately, I believe it would be irresponsible for me to travel to and from a London in Tier 4, whilst Herefordshire has done so well to buck the national trend and move down into Tier 1/2. 

So I shall be using the new proxy system to cast my vote.

I, along with everyone else, have a duty to protect our community from this terrible illness, and to try to reduce its spread.

For this reason, I was unable to visit Colwall surgery as they administered some of the first doses of Covid-19 vaccines to our most vulnerable citizens.

As I was unable to thank them in person, I would like to take this opportunity to express my enormous gratitude to all the teams such as the one at Colwall surgery, and all others across my constituency who have been administering the vaccine and helping us fight this disease.

As I write this, the AstraZeneca Vaccine has been officially approved, which makes another 100 million doses available to the UK without the need for deep freeze storage.

This is a great step forward for the whole world, as well as the UK.

Although this has been a difficult year, I hope all everyone managed to have an enjoyable Christmas.

With optimism, enthusiasm and tremendous excitement for 2021.

I wish you all a better, brighter and healthier happy New Year’.

Bill Wiggin MP pleased but urges caution as Herefordshire moves into Tier 1 restrictions

Bill Wiggin, MP for North Herefordshire, has given his reaction after Herefordshire was named in Tier 1 of the Government’s coronavirus restrictions.

Mr Wiggin said:

“We have been doing very well in Herefordshire because our population is responsible, careful and sadly, quite often, vulnerable. Moving to Tier 1 will be a boost to our hospitality industry and I am sure we can trust our people to continue to use their common sense when protecting themselves.

With the Christmas amnesty fast approaching I would urge people to be vigilant and respectful to others when out and about which will allow us to keep our rates low and ease the pressure on our fantastic emergency services.”

Bill Wiggin MP comment on EU Negotiations

Bill Wiggin MP for North Herefordshire said “Negotiations over our future trading relationship with the EU are continuing with the aim to see an agreement reached even at this very late stage.

The Prime Minister has been clear that we cannot sacrifice what it means to be a sovereign and independent nation in order to secure a deal.

It would be easy to get a deal if we simply roll over but that is not what was promised either by the UK or the EU

It must be remembered that the UK already follows all the EU rules and our ambition was to have the same deal that the EU gave Canada.

The EU has not acted in good faith as they agreed they would and seems to want more control over the UK even though that was one of the reasons people voted for leaving the EU.

Although talks are continuing, it takes two to reach an agreement and it is possible that negotiations will not succeed.

As the Prime Minister who has been tireless in trying to get an agreement previously explained, this means that we will have to prepare to trade with the bloc with arrangements similar to Australia’s from 1 January 2021. 

The Government has been clear throughout the trade negotiations that the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice will no longer apply, that we will no longer be forced to follow EU rules, that we will have full control over our borders and that we will be an independent coastal state controlling our own waters.

The UK cannot compromise on what it means to be a free and sovereign nation.

I no longer expect a deal before year end but as the EU is our nearest neighbour I still hope for a mutually agreeable and respectful agreement in 2021.

I am confident that we will prosper as an independent nation.

But I am sad that our former partners, the EU, won’t recognise our need to control our borders, laws and fisheries once again.”

Bill Wiggin MP: Public consultation on ending the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter

“I have received the letter below from The Rt Hon The Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park, Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, regarding a public consultation on ending the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter.

The Government is keen to implement this idea, however, many are concerned about this policy in the farming sector, particularly regarding the effect it could have on the price of lamb.

I wanted to ensure you were aware that the consultation is now open and it runs until 28 January 2021.

If you feel strongly about this proposed change in legislation and would like to contribute, please do so through the link I have included below.

https://consult.defra.gov.uk/transforming-farm-animal-health-and-welfare-team/improvements-to-animal-welfare-in-transport/

I have concerns about this policy but at this stage it is open to all of us to feed into the consultation.

I don’t want anybody to feel that they were not included or that they did not have their say.

If you have any further concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office.”

Bill Wiggin MP: Why my amendment is designed to raise the problem we are facing with Wye pollution

“This is the Environment Bill and not a housebuilding Bill therefore the amendment I tabled had to be relative to be considered but I have not changed my enthusiasm for the environment.

It is my hope that by tabling this amendment, it will give me the chance to voice the concerns of constituents in the House of Commons and to resolve this issue in a way that is suitable for us all.

The amendment to the Environment Bill relates to phosphates in the River Wye and the moratorium on housebuilding.

There are a number of reasons why I tabled this particular amendment and why it is was drafted by the officials in such a way in order for it to be selected.

Technically it will allow Herefordshire Council to lift its moratorium and resume housebuilding in the County but without regard to phosphates in the river.

This does not take into account the environmental impact that we all care about because the Bill next passes into the Report Stage and only an amendment such as the one I tabled could be added and it was not possible to include purely environmental issues.

The Government wants to build and wants to build in an environmentally responsible way.

As it stands, neither of these things are possible in our County owing to this moratorium.

This amendment gives me is the opportunity to speak in the House of Commons on the state of the River Wye and how blocking house building is proving ineffective.

When doing so, I will of course be making the case for more action to be taken in reducing phosphate pollution in the Wye.

I will not move the amendment and so there will not be a vote – in effect after my speech, I will withdraw it.

It must be remembered that by no means is the Wye the worst performing river in the country however it is still a serious issue that is not moving forward.

Herefordshire Council need to come up with an effective way to reduce residual phosphates and algae blooms in the River Wye as they grant the planning permission.

This also includes a tangible solution to address thirty year phosphate levels in the soil.

Simply blaming farmers is not sufficient.

The ‘polluter pays’ principle appears to have been forgotten by the Environment Agency and I therefore I look forward to raising this in the House.

We must stop blaming farmers and come up with practical solutions that are deliverable and immediate and I intend to keep raising this.”

Covid-19 Vaccine Update – 2nd December 2020

Below is a Dear Colleague letter I received from Ministers following the announcement of the approval for use of Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine.

Bill Wiggin comment on Foreign Aid

This year has brought about unprecedented change and hardships for many, including the public purse. 

The Government is committed to buildings hospitals, schools and funding important infrastructure projects in this country. 

Over 1 million Nurses, Doctor’s and those on the lowest wages in the NHS are due a pay rise however, other public sector workers will not receive a pay rise this year. 

While those workers in the private sector have on average had a 1% pay reduction.

Our 0.5% commitment to Foreign Aid will still put us second in the G7 for aid donations.

We cannot give our hardworking teachers, police officers and soldiers a pay-rise so it would be unfair to continue borrowing money to send the same amount of GDP.

Foreign aid is primarily spent on preventing illness and promoting contraception. 

We are still doing this through our pioneering work on the vaccine in the UK.

The Government has committed to projects outside of the aid budget to reduce the effects of Covid-19 on developing nations. 

The vaccine pioneered by AstraZeneca and Oxford University in this country with Government support will soon reach the developing world and this will be the most effective way of preventing deaths. 

This trial which has brought spectacular results in just 10 months. 

The Government has also been one of the key architects in the COVAX facility which aims to deliver 2 billion doses to 160 nations by the end of 2021. 

In total, the UK has committed over £500 million to this programme. 

Importantly, the AstraZeneca and Oxford vaccine can be stored at normal fridge temperature for up to 6 months. 

This ensures that in developing nations, where existing infrastructure will not cope with storage requirements of -80 degrees, our vaccine can get to those most in need. 

This vaccine is being developed at cost thanks again to funding from the Government. 

Due to covid-19 the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) projects that developing countries could see income losses in excess of $220 billion.  

The important task to help nations in need is only met when our economies are healthy and trade can resume. 

The roll-out of the vaccine, not only in the UK but worldwide, will be the key to addressing these needs and I am proud of the way the UK has been at the forefront of this innovation. 

Bill Wiggin MP disappointed as Herefordshire named in Tier 2 for Coronavirus restrictions

“The hard work of Herefordians over these past weeks has not been enough to allow us to come out of the national lockdown into Tier 1. We have asked our residents to sacrifice so much this year and I was hoping that, given the falling case rate in Herefordshire that we would be able to emerge into Tier 1. While I am disappointed, I note that only the very remotest parts of the Country are now in Tier 1. I am sure that the continued selflessness of our people will enable us to drop a tier as soon as possible.

Herefordshire is currently rated 160.3/100,000 which is falling, while Cornwall in tier 1 is on 62.4 cases per 100,000. While our rates continue to fall I am optimistic that lives will be saved until we are allowed to vaccinate. I will be questioning the statistics as I believe there are 23 Covid patients in Wye Valley Trust area and spare capacity in Hereford Hospital.

Nevertheless, I welcome the news that all shops will be permitted to open up once more.

Herefordshire has so many excellent independent retailers that will need Christmas footfall after an unimaginably tough year and we should all do our utmost to support them in a Covid-secure manner.

Today’s announcement will also be a boost to our many wonderful pubs who will now be able to re-open providing they offer a substantial meal – which is defined as a full breakfast, main lunchtime or evening meal!

Given the need to lift these restrictions on us all, it is excellent news that the vaccine being developed in Oxford is 90% effective when administered in two doses.

There are still final safety checks ahead, and so I asked the Prime Minister after his statement to the House if he will revisit the new tiered restrictions if the vaccine is approved in the coming days.

Until that time we must all remain safe and vigilant.”

Bill Wiggin MP welcomes largest investment in our nation’s defence since the end of the Cold War.

  • Today, the Prime Minister announced an additional £24.1 billion in funding for our country’s defence.
  • This funding will help safeguard the security of our nation and bring prosperity to every corner of the Union – while revitalising British shipbuilding.
  • Over the next four years, this funding will help create 10,000 more jobs a year, through the investing in our world leading defence industry and revitalising British shipbuilding.

Local MP Bill Wiggin has welcomed new defence funding which will help protect our country and bring tens of thousands of jobs to every corner of the Union of the UK.

This the largest investment in the nation’s defence in the last 30 years, providing our defence budget with an extra £24.1 billion over the next four years. The commitment will allow the Government to invest in cutting-edge technology, positioning the UK as a global leader in domains such as cyber and space and cement the UK’s position as the largest defence spender in Europe and the second largest in NATO.

Over the next four years this funding will help create 10,000 more jobs a year, through the investing in our world leading defence industry and revitalising British shipbuilding. These jobs will reflect the expertise and ingenuity of British people both inside and outside our Armed Forces, harnessing the UK’s skills in construction and science and reinvigorating those industries in the coming decades.

Commenting, Bill Wiggin MP said:

“I am a firm supporter of our Armed Forces, that’s why I am delighted that we are providing them with the largest financial boost since the Cold War, while both meeting and exceeding our Manifesto commitment to increase defence spending.

This news is also good news for constituencies across the country like ours who will not only benefit not only from the security this investment will bring our country but also the jobs and prosperity the direct and indirect investment will bring to our defence industry and its supply chains.

This shows once gain how the Conservative’s remain the only party that will actually stand up for our armed forces, delivering real support – not just empty words’

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said:

“I have taken this decision in the teeth of the pandemic because the defence of the realm must come first.

The international situation is more perilous and more intensely competitive than at any time since the Cold War and Britain must be true to our history and stand alongside our allies. To achieve this we need to upgrade our capabilities across the board.

This is our chance to end the era of retreat, transform our Armed Forces, bolster our global influence, unite and level up our country, pioneer new technology and defend our people and way of life.”

The Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, said:

“This is excellent news for Defence, and provides us with the financial certainty we need to modernise, plan for the future and adapt to the threats we face. It demonstrates the Prime Minister’s recognition of how important Defence is to our resilience and to the reputation of the United Kingdom.

This settlement secures UK jobs and livelihoods, allows us to invest in our fantastic shipyards and aerospace industry, spreading prosperity to every corner of the UK.

Next year represents a huge opportunity for this country, and Defence will be at the forefront of creating the jobs and business opportunities that will help us build back from the pandemic.

Over the next few months I will set out in more detail our ambitious agenda for Defence.”

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