Don Foster MP


Westminster Update - Summer 2012

With Parliament in summer recess, Don looks back on a busy session in Westminster.

Along with our Coalition partners we’ve been working hard in Westminster to do what’s best for Britain. Our major priority has remained the economy so normal hard-working people are better off. Inflation has dropped to its lowest rate since 2009 and new schemes have been announced to support businesses and families, as well as to create growth and new jobs. Examples include the Regional Growth Fund and the £1 billion Youth Contract that will give young people the opportunity to ‘earn and learn’. We were of course shaken by the Barclays scandal but this simply reinforces the need to reform the regulatory system for banks.

In difficult economic times, it is the Lib Dems who are ensuring fair taxation. Already we have twice lifted the tax threshold so that 1 million of the lowest earners pay no tax and middle income earners - 23 million of them - pay less tax. Further freezes on Fuel Duty will also help, as fuel is now 10p less per litre than it would have been under the Labour Government proposals. However, Liberal Democrats want to do more; we will keep pressing for the Tax Threshold to be lifted further, to £10,000.

You will also have been aware of a number of other issues in Parliament. The Leveson Inquiry in to the culture, practice and ethics of the press has now ended but I followed it with interest. It is of great importance that we establish best practice so I am glad that the Government are fully committed to working with Leveson’s recommendations.

Also within Culture, Media and Sport, I was thrilled to see the Olympic Torch pass through Bath having been so heavily involved on the Olympic Board and the planning of this summer’s Games. As I write, we’ve seen some magnificent results for Team GB and a brilliant opening ceremony. Before long the focus will shift to the Paralympics. I’m particularly looking forward to watching one particular paralympic sport - GoalBall. Few people have heard of it, but I think it’s a great sport and am sure it will be far better known in a few weeks’ time.

Letters and e-mails from constituents flood in on a daily basis. As well as asking for help with individual casework, numerous, wide ranging issues are raised with me. For example, there’s been recent concern about how “gay marriage” will be dealt with in schools. Every school has a requirement to ensure it does not teach anything that would be considered inappropriate to a pupil’s age, religious or cultural background. This will not change. However, we are committed to obtaining equality for everyone regardless of their race, age, gender, background or indeed sexuality. Also recently raised were the replacement of Trident, House of Lords Reform and a wide variety of other issues.

Don gives Culverhay delegation a behind the scenes tour

Education is a subject that I am often contacted about, so while working to assure everyone that we won’t let the Secretary for Education, Michael Gove, take Secondary Education back to the 60s(!), I particularly welcomed the announcement of 600 free early education places for two-year olds in Bath and NE Somerset. It’s simply great news to support parents in our community.

I was also pleased to welcome Culverhay School to Westminster along with three councillors from Bath and North East Somerset Council: Leader of the Council, Cllr. Paul Crossley, Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr. Nathan Hartley and Cllr. Dine Romero. It was a pleasure to have them here – what a lovely group!