Events information will appear below.

Chancellor commends Fiona Bruce MP on White Cider

Chancellor commends Fiona in his budget speech on success of her campaign to protect young people from harm from "White Ciders

Fiona has long campaigned for tax to be increased on White Ciders and welcomes the success of the campaign with the inclusion of this in the budget. 
High strength, white ciders are the cheapest source of alcohol in the UK. Closely linked to harmful, dependent and underage drinking - they are often sold in 3 litre plastic bottles, containing as much alcohol as 22 shots of vodka, for as little as £3.50. 
There are clear links between high strength cider, homelessness and other forms of social disadvantage. There are devastating dangers of white cider to young people; tragically illustrated by the case of 16-year-old Megan Craig-Wilkinson, who died in her sleep after drinking half a bottle of white cider at a New Year's Eve party.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond in his Budget speech in the House of Commons on 22nd November said:
"I turn now to duties. The tobacco duty escalator will continue at inflation plus 2%, with an additional 1% duty on hand-rolling tobacco this year, and minimum excise duty on cigarettes will also rise. Excessive alcohol consumption by the most vulnerable people is all too often done through cheap, high-strength, low-quality products, especially so-called white ciders. I pay tribute to the campaign led by my hon. Friend the Member for Congleton (Fiona Bruce) on this issue. Following our recent consultation, we will legislate to increase duty on these products from 2019. But, recognising the pressure on household budgets, and backing our great British pubs, duties on other ciders, wines, spirits and beer will be frozen. This will mean that a bottle of whisky will be £1.15 less in 2018 than if we had continued with Labour’s plans, and a pint of beer 12p less. So, merry Christmas, Mr Deputy Speaker."
Commenting on the Chancellor's decision on White Cider Dr Richard Piper, Chief Executive, Alcohol Research UK and Alcohol Concern told Fiona:
"[Congratulations] on an outstanding achievement on white cider duty in today’s budget. This measure will make a real difference to thousands of people and your tireless work to make it happen, including galvanising others, has undoubtedly played a vital role in securing this decision.
On behalf of all the people struggling with drink and who use white cider, we are really so grateful for your amazing support."
According to Thames Reach, a homeless charity, "Super-strength drinks have become one of the biggest causes of premature death of homeless people in the UK, and our figures indicate that super-strength drinks are doing more damage than both heroin and crack cocaine". 78% of the deaths in Thames Reach hostels are attributed to high strength alcohol. 
These are overwhelmingly the preserve of dependent and harmful drinkers: A recent analysis found that the level of high strength cider in these groups accounts of almost the whole market in Scotland (and there is little reason to suspect the rest of the country is much different). 
Speaking after the Budget Fiona said:
"I am very pleased at the Chancellor's decision. According to Public Health England affordability is the key determining factor in how much people so making these damaging high strength alcoholic drinks more expensive, which will reduce the amount young people buy will not only reduce the health problems caused but also save lives."
The December 2016 Public Health England Report said:

"Policies that reduce the affordability of alcohol are the most effective, and cost-effective, approaches to prevention and health improvement."
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Gather of Cheshire promote Small Business

Fiona Bruce MP and Gather of Cheshire promote Small Business Saturday

Fiona Bruce MP visited Gather of Cheshire in Congleton for this year’s Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday has been held in the UK every year since 2013 and aims to encourage shoppers to ‘shop local’ and promote their local small business. More information on how to participate can be found at smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com.
Fiona Bruce MP saidIt was an absolute pleasure to visit Gather recently. This is such an eclectic and friendly business that really offers something no-one else is locally at the moment. It is run by a group of incredibly creative people and the way the business has evolved and grown since it opened a little over a year ago is remarkable. Gather is a shining example of a real community enterprise.”
Fiona continued “Every time I visit small, local shops such as Gather I am always impressed by the community minded nature of their business and employees, whether it be sourcing local products, helping residents home with their shopping or providing services such as a post office, parcel service or cash machine that may not otherwise be locally accessible. It is important that the Government realise the importance of small, independently run establishments to our economy, and our communities, and do all they can to help them prosper.”
Gather, which opened in September 2015, is a small business operating on the High Street in Congleton. It is a café, clothing and accessories store and also offers many workshops from photography, to sewing, to wreath making, as well as clothing alterations.
Jude James, owner of Gather said “It is really good to be a small business in Congleton. There is a real sense of community, we send business to other local shops and they do the same in turn. I wish more small businesses would come and trade in Congleton!  If you love what you do, as we do here, and embrace the town, the people of Congleton will embrace you. We want people to come here and feel comfortable and involved. If people can see what is on offer in the town then hopefully they will look to shop here before going out of town.”
Gather sources its products locally whether it be coffee, cakes, or the local Congleton born owners of the Cheshire Mersey Wine School who do tasting evenings.
They also offer children’s birthday parties with a high tea and craft activity – though these can be tailored to adults too!

For more information about Gather and their workshops they can be found on Facebook, and followed on Instagram and Twitter.
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Alcohol harm

Fiona Bruce MP hosts meeting to highlight the impact of excessive alcohol drinkers on their families



Fiona Bruce MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm, hosted a large meeting in Parliament last week of Parliamentarians and others addressing the problems caused by excessive alcohol drinkers to members of their families.

Speaking after the meeting Fiona Bruce MP said:
“We have long been used to the expression "passive smoking" and the damage that has done to family members but not enough consideration or support is given to those who live with dependent drinkers. The purpose of this meeting was to highlight this and show case best practice such as that offered by the family service at Solihull Integrated Addiction Services (SIAS).” 

Speaking at the meeting, Fiona said:

"Alcohol can have a hugely damaging effect on the health and well-being of families, impacting on relationships, family finances and preventing children from enjoying a safe and secure environment in which to grow up. It can also cause families to become isolated from each and their local community due to stigma. 

There is strong evidence of the scale of the problem. 220,000 children in England live with an adult who is alcohol dependent. Lack of parental supervision and symptoms of dependence may lead to neglect. 42% of phone calls to the National Association for the Children of Alcoholics (NACOA) helpline mentioned abuse as a problem.

The families of someone misusing alcohol are less likely to access support for themselves than families of someone misusing drugs. 


The purpose of this meeting was to explore how local communities can address this problem, including through encouraging peer support from someone who has been through such an experience as a family member themselves."
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Animal Sentience - Fiona Bruce MP ask the PM at PMQs

Fiona Bruce MP realises animal sentience at Prime Minister’s Questions this week

Fiona Bruce MP saidIt has been suggested that the vote last week on New Clause 30 of the EU Withdrawal Bill somehow signalled a weakening in the protection of animals - that is wrong. Voting against the amendment was not a vote against the idea that animals are sentient and feel pain - that is a misconception. I specifically sought clarification and confirmation of this from the Prime Minister herself at PMQs as below. Subsequently, Environment Secretary Michael Gove has confirmed that the sentience of animals will continue to be recognised and protections strengthened when we leave the EU in a Ministerial Statement.”
At Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday 22ndNovember, Fiona asked:

"Will the Prime Minister reassure people that this Conservative Government are committed to maintaining the United Kingdom’s strong commitment to the highest standards of animal welfare, both now and post-Brexit?"

Theresa May, the Prime Minister replied:

"I am happy to give my hon. Friend that commitment. As she and others will know, we already have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world, and as we leave the EU, we should not only maintain, but enhance them. We have already set out our proposals to introduce mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses; to increase sentences for animal cruelty to five years; to ban microbeads, which damage marine life; and to ban the ivory trade to help bring an end to elephant poaching. We also recognise and respect the fact that animals are sentient beings and should be treated accordingly. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 provides protection for all animals capable of experiencing pain or suffering which are under the control of man. But I reaffirm to her that we will be ensuring that we maintain and enhance our animal welfare standards when we leave the EU."

You can watch the video of Fiona’s PMQ on the BBC News website at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-politics-42083452/pmqs-bruce-asks-may-about-looking-after-animal-welfare


Also you can read Michael Gove's (Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) statement on the issue here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/environment-secretary-confirms-sentience-of-animals-will-continue-to-be-recognised-and-protections-strengthened-when-we-leave-the-eu
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Protection for Emergency Workers

Fiona Bruce MP supports plans to afford extra protection for Emergency Services Personnel against attacks

Fiona Bruce MP spoke in the House of Commons today in support of the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill, which seeks to improve the protection for our emergency workers.
Speaking after the debate Fiona Bruce said:
“Dedicated police, firemen and women, A&E staff and ambulance workers should be able to carry out their duties without fear of assault and the Bill creates a new triable offence of assault or battery committed against an emergency worker and increases the penalty for such an act when against emergency service workers.”
The full text of Fiona’s speech can be found on Hansard and below.

·                        I am delighted to support this Bill, not only because the hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant) and I are rarely on the same side of something that is discussed in this place, but because a few months ago the all-party group on alcohol harm, which I chair, published “The Frontline Battle: An Inquiry into the Impact of Alcohol on Emergency Services”. It is a catalogue of attacks on police, fire, ambulance and hospital staff.
Throughout our inquiry, we heard countless first-hand accounts of the physical and emotional challenges for emergency service personnel of responding day in, day out, to alcohol-fuelled incidents. It is completely unacceptable that every 13 seconds a police officer is assaulted in the line of duty. It is unacceptable that medical staff have TVs thrown at them, or that an A&E consultant is kicked in the face. Assaults on people who work in these crucial areas should not be without consequence. We heard about police officers who were assaulted while breaking up drunken street fights, pumping the stomach of a young person and tackling house fires caused or exacerbated by alcohol-induced forgetfulness. We heard about our front-line emergency service staff being attacked day in and day out.
What really interested me was that the report received nationwide press coverage. It was covered not only by several national newspapers, but by breakfast TV. However much we in this House may like to think that all-party groups are important—I am sure they are to all of us—it is very rare for them to receive such national coverage. That is a reflection of the public concern about this issue.
We also learned how much such behaviour—attacks on emergency personnel, fuelled by the fact that people have drunk excess alcohol—has a significant impact on the morale and the health and wellbeing of those in our emergency services. We were shocked to hear how emergency services personnel were depressed, with some of them leaving the services simply because they could not tolerate any further assaults on such a scale.
One police force told us its staff survey showed that
“90 per cent of police officers expect to be assaulted on a Friday or Saturday night when they police during the night time economy”.
I was really shocked by an account involving female police officers going into licensed premises while policing the night-time economy:
“There is one thing that is specific to female officers and that is sexual assault. I can take my team through a licensed premise, and by the time I take them out the other end, they will have been felt up several times.”
That is completely unacceptable.
Frontline officers are in the firing line. Some 86% of police officers surveyed in the north-east told us they have been assaulted by people who had been drinking, and 21% of them had been assaulted six or more times during their service. Over 52% of ambulance service staff whom we heard from had suffered sexual assaults or harassment while on duty. One submission to our inquiry showed the devastated impact that assaults can have:
“Assaults can affect workers both physically and mentally: some frontline emergency staff have moved on to work in other fields. Others are forced into early retirement as a result of stress, or medically discharged.”

A hospital trust has recorded that in one year just three of its patients were responsible for more than 100 assaults on staff each. The Bill is necessary to protect the protectors. As I have said, making this an aggravated offence will stop patients such as those three each being able, time and again, to assault more than 100 staff members in one hospital without facing a penalty for such behaviour. There has to be a deterrent, and the Bill sends the message that this behaviour is not acceptable and will no longer be tolerated.
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Fiona Brucewelcomes MIddlewich Bypass funding


Middlewich MP Fiona Bruce, who has campaigned for years for funding for a bypass in Middlewich, was delighted to welcome today the announcement by the Secretary of State for Transport of £46.8m funding towards a total cost of £56.9m for the Middlewich Eastern Bypass. This will reduce congestion in the town centre and facilitate the opening up of employment land with the potential to provide over 2,000 jobs. The funding is one of only two new large local major road schemes receiving approval at the present time, and has been achieved in the face of stiff competition from towns clamouring for bypasses across the country.
Speaking with Fiona Bruce MP on making the announcement this morning, Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling MP, said ‘As someone who used to live just outside Middlewich, I know well just how important this project is and the difference it will make.’
Fiona Bruce MP said:
‘This is a massive boost for Middlewich. It puts Middlewich firmly on the economic map of the North West and should act as a rocket launcher for further investment, such as the reopening of Middlewich Railway Station for passengers.
‘Such a huge commitment by this Government will radically improve the quality of life for Middlewich people, both reducing chronic congestion and opening up many much needed local job opportunities .

‘I want to express my appreciation, both to Cheshire East Council for working with me on a sustained basis over many years to make a clear business case to Government for this Bypass funding - in the face of severe competition from other towns across the country, - and to Government Ministers for listening to our representations in Westminster, and responding with this fantastic announcement today.’


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Ministerial Statement - MKiddlewich By-pass

House of Commons: Written Statement (HCWS180)
Department for Transport
Written Statement made by: The Secretary of State for Transport (Chris
Grayling) on 19 Oct 2017.
Roa ds
I am today setting out further details of significant investment for our roads, including announcing
the next two major local road schemes and 76 winners from the recent competition for National
Productivity Investment Funding on local roads. This funding from the Department for Transport
totals £345.3 million.
This funding includes two new large local major road schemes receiving Programme Entry
approval, at Carrington Bridge in Worcester and at Middlewich in East Cheshire. The scheme in
Worcester will alleviate congestion on the A4440 Southern Relief Road and receive £54.5m of
funding towards a total cost of £62m. The Middlewich Eastern Bypass will alleviate congestion in
the town centre and facilitate the expansion of the Magnitude employment site. It will receive
£46.8m of funding towards a total cost of £56.9m.
I am today announcing the winning 76 local projects which will receive funding of £244m from the
National Productivity Investment Fund, during 2018/19 and 2019/20. The schemes will help to
ease congestion, provide upgrades on important local routes, as well as facilitating the unlocking
of economic and job creation opportunities. They will also support, in some areas, the potential
delivery of new housing developments. Further information on today’s announcement is available
on the Department for Transport’s website. These projects are an essential part of ensuring we
have a country which works for everyone.
The Government announced the Road Investment Strategy (RIS) in December 2014, an
ambitious plan to increase much needed road capacity, boost economic development and
improve road safety. It seeks to address many years of under-investment in England’s motorways
and major trunk roads. Highways England have made good progress on delivery to date,
completing 18 road schemes and starting work on 15 more.
Highways England has also undertaken longer-term planning work to ensure that the high level of
road investment along key corridors of the network can be delivered in a way to minimise
disruption and keep road users moving. These plans also help to mitigate delivery risks and
achieve better value for money for the tax-payer. This planning work was referred to in recent
ORR and NAO reports on the Road Investment Strategy. I confirm that Government has agreed
with Highways England’s plans to optimise delivery of the RIS. This re-profiling and optimisation
of delivery is consistent with Highways England’s remit and does not involve any cancellation of
schemes, so the regions of England can expect continued and similar levels of road investment.
Further details can be found on Highways England’s website and press releases.
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Musicians Brexit Deal

Fiona Bruce MP supports musicians in the Congleton constituency to get the best possible deal from Brexit

Fiona Bruce MP attended an event in Parliament with the creative industries sector, which employs 1 in 11 people in the UK.

The event raised awareness of the need to the ability for performers to tour and trade easily following Brexit.

Most professional musicians and performers rely on touring and travelling for their careers and livelihoods and gigs are often organised at short notice. As some performers can be working in several different European countries over the course of a few days, the possible introduction of work permissions and/or visas for British musicians touring and working in Europe could be extremely detrimental.
Fiona Bruce therefore signed a pledge from the Musician’s Union to call on the Government to ensure performers and musicians can continue to tour and perform in Europe post-Brexit, with minimum administrative restrictions or visa requirements.
Fiona Bruce MP said
“This is not just a theoretical issue. I have heard in my sugeries from constituents who are concerned that Brexit may hinder their opportunity to work short term abroad – for example to perform in a play or in a series of concerts. At the event in Parliament, I pledged my support for professional musicians and performers in my constituency, and urged the Government to ensure that they can continue to be able to travel easily across Europe post-Brexit for touring and performing with minimum administrative burdens”.
Horace Trubridge, Musicians’ Union General Secretary said


“British musicians have long enjoyed easy access to touring in Europe, as UK venues and festivals have benefited from easy access to European performers. We know from touring in the US and elsewhere, that visas and other restrictions impose significant costs and administration, and occasionally considerable financial loss when visas aren’t processed in time. We are calling on MPs and the Government to help secure a deal that will ensure ease of movement for touring and performing post-Brexit”.  
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Record low unemployment figures in the UK

Fiona Bruce MP welcomes record low UK unemployment rates according to figures released recently.
The total of unemployment claimants in Congleton Constituency in June 2017 was 480. This is 778 lower than June 2010. This means 1.1% of the economically active population (age 16-64) are on the claimant count, placing Congleton Constituency in the lowest 15% of the 650 constituencies in UK.
On a national level, unemployment is at its lowest level since 1975 at 4.5% and the employment rate is at its highest rate on record. 324,000 more people are in work than a year ago. Furthermore, the employment rate now stands at 74.9%, which is the highest since records began in 1971.

Fiona Bruce said “This is very positive news for people who have been seeking work in my constituency. These figures show the great progress this Conservative Government has made in increasing employment. More people will know the reward and dignity that work brings.
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Cheshiire Fire and Rescue meeting with Fiona Bruce MP

Fiona Bruce meets Cheshire Fire and Rescue after Grenfell tragedy.

Fiona Bruce MP has met with Cheshire Fire Officers including Chief Fire Officer Paul Hancock to obtain and update on the Service’s review of fire safety in Cheshire following the tragic Grenfell fire incident.
At a recent meeting at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Headquarters Fire Officers explained what steps they have taken to address risks in response to the Grenfell Tower fire, and their work to improve fire protection in future. Residents residents of residential tower blocks are being offered advice and support, as fire crews and proection officers are visiting each of each of Cheshire’s 21 high-rise residential. 409 home safety assessments have been completed.
Fire officers are working with Housing Associations and attending residents’ meetings to answer specific questions relating to fire safety.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue are taking great action in addressing risks in response to the Grenfell Tower Fire and hope to improve the situation for the future.

Speaking after the meeting Fiona Bruce said “I was very impressed with the comprehensive steps being taken by Cheshire Fire and Rescue to ensure Residents’ safety after the Grenfell Tower fire. I was informed about the proactive work the Service has been carrying out promoting Fire Sprinkler Systems in High Rise blocks and other buildings and how the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is actively working to raise the importance of fitting sprinklers at a national level. It has been extremely reassuring to hear how much Cheshire Fire and Rescue have been doing for people across my constituency to ensure their safety.
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