Don Foster MP
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Don Foster MP - Bath's #1 Supporter

Don on Free School Meals

School food has changed beyond recognition… in fact, in my day, the food was largely unrecognisable! We were dolloped up plates of grey matter, which hardly sent the taste buds into overdrive.

FSM-get-the-factsNot anymore. Now menus are loaded with healthy food by kitchen staff who actually care about the dishes they serve.

And that’s a good thing – because from day one of the new term hundreds of children in Bath will be tucking into a free school meal. In fact, all reception, year one and two primary school children across the country will be doing exactly the same thing.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say this is one of the most important changes in our education system for a generation. I am entirely convinced the benefits for children and families in Bath will be enormous.

Free school meals will improve children’s education, make sure they eat more healthy food, and save parents money.

This policy has been five years in the making with successful pilot schemes which have reaped real benefits in the classroom.

Students were found on average to be two months ahead of their peers in areas where school meals were not offered. There was also marked progress in the number of children who hit target levels in Maths and English at Key Stage One.01 Federal Yellow Bird Black Text 2 Line Lib Dem 2009

But it is not all about results. I also welcome the social benefits of getting groups of friends sat together for lunch. Eating with friends is so important and I want it to become something youngsters look forward to each day.

Once again the pilots showed sitting down for lunch broadened their social skills and taught table manners.

The Government has put money where its mouth is with £1bn new revenue ploughed into the scheme.

It would also never have happened without the Liberal Democrats in Government, who are leading the fight in cutting the cost of living.

It’s all part of creating a fairer society and opportunity for everyone. I’ll be keeping a close eye on how the meals go down in Bath

But I am certain our school children will soon be eager to know each day: ‘what’s for lunch?’

Happy Days,

Don

Safe Standing moves forward

Don Foster, MP for Bath, has welcomed the announcement that football clubs in the top divisions will be allowed to introduce safe standing areas into their grounds, under manifesto plans unveiled by the Liberal Democrats.

Bath City v Staines - Pack th eParkA long standing supporter of Safe Standing areas, Don Foster put forward a Private Member’s Bill in 2010. If passed the Safe Standing (Football Stadia) Bill 2010-12 would have given all football clubs the freedom to build, or maintain existing, safe standing areas if they had chosen, it would also have established minimum safety criteria that would apply to all of these areas.

Commenting, Don Foster said: “I have long believed that football clubs should be allowed to introduce safe standing areas where there is a desire to do so. Safe standing is allowed in many other sports and I do not believe that the top level of football should be an exception.”

Safe standing already operates in domestic leagues across Europe, including Germany, Austria and Sweden and is backed by 92% of football fans and 70% of football clubs in the UK.

Commenting further, Don Foster said: “I am a strong believer that when clubs and fans are in favour of safe standing and it can be done safely, then the Government shouldn’t get in the way. That is why Liberal Democrats want to change the law to let clubs introduce safe standing.

“Safe standing offers supporters more choice, a better atmosphere and cheaper tickets. I firmly believe that this is an idea whose time has come and I am proud that it is the Liberal Democrats who are the first political party to commit to delivering this.”

Under the plans clubs would be allowed to work with their supporters to introduce standing areas, which provide better atmospheres and allow clubs to offer cheaper safe standing season tickets.

Good news for business and jobs in Bath

August 13, 2014 by Don Foster MP in Don in Bath

Bath MP Don Foster has welcomed the news that the number of unemployed claimants in Bath has continued to fall over the last year.

Hustings photoThe number of unemployed claimants in the Bath constituency in July 2014 was 696. This represents a rate of 1.6% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64. The number of claimants is 486 lower than in July 2013 and 79 lower that in June 2014.

Commenting Don Foster said: “This drop in unemployed claimants in Bath is a good indicator of the progress being made. There is a long way to go, but the economy is on the mend and jobs are crucial to building a stronger economy and a fairer society that allows everyone to get on in life.”

This news comes in addition to the report published earlier this week by Duport that showed that 243 new companies were created in Bath between January and March of this year. This represents an increase of 6% on last year and tops Bath’s previous first quarter record.

Commenting further, Steve Bradley, Lib Dem PPC for Bath: “These unemployment figures and company growth figures are great news for Bath and highlight the great work being done by the Lib Dems both in Government and locally at the Council.

Nationally the Office for National Statistics said that the unemployment rate had fallen to 6.4% in the three months to the end of June. This is the lowest rate since late 2008 and is down from 6.5% in May. Furthermore, the number of people unemployed nationally fell by 132,000 to 2.08 million.