Don Foster MP

Don Foster MP - 6/267 - Bath's #1 Supporter

Don Foster pays tribute to Bath’s Bahá’í community at Day of the Covenant celebrations

November 29, 2023 by Don Foster MP in Don in Bath, News, Speeches

In a speech marking the centenary of Abdu’l-Bahá’s (son of Baha’u'llah) visit to Britain in 1912, Don paid tribute to Bath’s Bahá’í faith community. Celebrating “The Day of the Covenant” in the Bahá’í calendar, this is a day of special significance when Baha’is all over the world celebrate the appointment of ‘Abdu’l-Baha as the Centre of His Father, Baha’u’llah’s covenant.

“This evening we have marked together the centenary of Abdu’l-Bahá’s visit to Britain for Christmas and New Year 1912.

I am very proud to say, it was Miss Ethel Rosenberg from my constituency of Bath who the first English woman to become a Bahá’ín and one of the founders of the faith in England back in 1899.

So to my mind Ethel is right alongside Ken Loach, Jane Austen and rugby football as essential parts of Britain’s national life where Bath has – and continues – to lead the way.

And I know from my experience of the community’s contribution in Bath, you continue to distinguish yourselves in the professions, the arts and particularly in the vital areas of education and conflict resolution.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support of the Year of Service programme.

When Abdul-Bahá came to Britain he gave public lectures across the country, including just around the corner from here at St John the Divine in Smith Square.

His important truth that all men should regard another as brothers, that we should pursue peace together and differences of race and division between religions must cease is as true today as it was then.

I want to take a moment for us to remember and reflect on those in Semnan and elsewhere in Iran who are suffering at this time.

In the words of Baha’u'llah: “These strifes and this bloodshed and discord must cease.

On this feast of Abdul-Bahá all people of good pray together: may the light prevail.

I look forward to meeting many more of you this evening and working together over the years to come.”




The Energy Bill - Liberal Democrats delivering on Energy Policy

This week the coalition reached an agreement on energy policy that will unlock millions of pounds of investment in our region, create thousands of jobs and ensure we have cleaner, affordable electricity for generations. Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Change minister Ed Davey announced proposals that will attract £110 billion of investment to the UK and support 250,000 new jobs.

You may not realise it but our energy infrastructure – our power stations and heavy duty network of connecting cables – is aging and in desperate need of an upgrade for the 21st century. A fifth of our power stations will close in the next 10 years and they need replacing and we need new cables to connect these new installations to the grid. Some experts have warned that if we don’t get on with it we may have power shortages so the Government is pressing ahead with once in a generation changes that will keep the lights on, help the environment and keep household bills lower than they would otherwise be.

Not only that, we have been relying on fossil fuels for years. We all know that they damage the environment and pollute the atmosphere. You’d be forgiven for thinking that we are well on our way to making our electricity clean but we have a long way to go and the transformation will take decades. For instance, last month 67% of our electricity came from fossil fuels and just 7% from renewables.

As we run down the gas that the UK has in the North Sea we are becoming more reliant on importing gas which is increasingly expensive on world markets. The Liberal Democrats have long argued that it makes far more sense to make electricity at home from our own resources such as the wind, waves and the sun. So these changes will mean we have more renewables - they are cleaner, cost next to nothing to run once they are built and mean we don’t have to rely on gas from unstable parts of the world.

The Coalition’s policies have already delivered £389 million investment in the South West with 1296 jobs in renewable projects and that is just the tip of the iceberg. We have many opportunities in Bath and the surrounding area to attract the investment into new energy projects that create jobs that we need.

In the long run these reforms will mean that we are all protected from rising world gas prices which currently make up around 50% of the average household bill as we get make more of our electricity from our natural resources here at home. They will also mean that we pump less harmful carbon into the atmosphere and really start tackling to root causes of climate change and pollution. Finally and most importantly, it will mean all our homes and businesses will be able to flick a switch with the confidence that the lights will come on.

Liberal Democrats in government have got a good deal for consumers, industry and the environment, helping to secure a stronger economy and fairer society for now and for future generations.

To see in detail a map of renewable investments and jobs created from the DECC between April 2011 & July 2012 click here.

Extra early years education funding for Bath’s poorest two-year-olds

Don Foster, MP for Bath, has welcomed the announcement that will see Bath and North East Somerset get £999,794 to deliver 15 hours a week free early years education for the poorest two-year olds by 2014.

The Coalition Government is already ensuring that the poorest 20% of two-year olds are able to receive early education from September 2013, which means 248 two-year-olds in B&NES will benefit. This will rise to include the poorest 40% by 2014.

At Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference, Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg announced an extra £100m this year, intended to go into capital spending, such as converting part of an existing building into extra nursery space.

In B&NES that means an extra £201,874. The money will help prepare children for school and help the most hard-pressed families with childcare costs.

In total, local authorities will receive more than half a billion pounds to fund two-year-olds places next year.

Commenting, Don Foster MP said:

“It is unfair that today, you can still predict how well children will do in school based on where they are born. Education is the best way we can help children overcome disadvantaged backgrounds.

“It is clear from the evidence that children from poorer backgrounds often fall behind their wealthier classmates before they even set foot in school. That gap only gets bigger over time.

“Liberal Democrats believe in a fair society where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. That’s why my Liberal Democrat colleagues and I in the Coalition Government have prioritised supporting two-year olds so they can the best start in life.

“Today’s news on how much money Bath and the surrounding area will get to make this ambition a reality is a welcome boost for hard-pressed families and will help to creating a fairer society.”

Commenting further, Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg said:

“From 2013, 130,000 of the most disadvantaged two-year-olds will be eligible for 15-hours of free childcare a week with double that number set to benefit the following year.

“Today we’re letting local authorities know the money they will receive to offer these free places and make a huge difference to hard-pressed families.

“Good quality childcare gives children a headstart even before they walk through the school gates for the first time. No child should miss out on this just because of the circumstances of their birth.”