Two Yorkshire politicians are calling on the public to support small local businesses this Saturday (2nd December). East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight and Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate are backing Small Business Saturday to celebrate the UK’s small businesses and to encourage communities to support them at a key time in the shopping calendar.
Experience has shown that on Small Business Saturday, now in its fifth year, spending in small businesses has risen across the UK.
Sir Greg says: “Small Business Saturday is particularly relevant to East Yorkshire given the area’s market towns with high proportions of small and independent traders”.
“Shopping locally not only supports local jobs it also boosts local economic growth by putting more money in the pockets of local people. This weekend we encourage everyone in East Yorkshire to get out and see what our local traders have to offer”.
Lord Kirkhope adds: “Across Yorkshire trade at small independent businesses on the high street is much more sensitive to parking charges and the weather which can drive people to out of town retail parks, where the shops are all giant multi-nationals”.
East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight has welcomed the news that 6 British former soldiers, including Paul Towers from East Yorkshire, who have been imprisoned on weapons charges in India since 2013, are to be released.
The so-called ‘Chennai 6’ always denied the charges, which were initially quashed but later reinstated. The former soldiers appealed, and a judge has just ruled that they be acquitted.
It is not yet known when Mr Towers and the other British nationals will be able to return home, as the authorities might appeal against the decision.
Sir Greg said: “I am delighted at this court decision and pleased that it is a full acquittal. The court also ordered that the men’s passports be released which is a good sign that an end could be near for this whole sorry saga”.
Before the men leave India they need to obtain exit visas which are being urgently sought by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Sir Greg added: “The proceedings before the Indian courts have taken far too long. Even if all the men get home for Christmas, which now looks likely, there is an injustice here.”
East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight and Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart have expressed ‘concern and dismay’ at the decision by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel to rubber stamp East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (ERYCCG) plans to close the Minor Injuries Units at the Alfred Bean Hospital in Driffield and Hornsea Cottage Hospital and service cutbacks s at Withernsea Hospital.
Sir Greg and Graham paid tribute to local residents who had campaigned tirelessly against the closures. Thousands of people signed petitions, hundreds of people attended public rallies, local GPs expressed opposition as did East Riding of Yorkshire Council and town and parish councils.
Graham and Sir Greg have had an urgent meeting with Jane Hawkard, Chief Officer of the CCG. They urged, on behalf of their constituents, that the CCG reflects again on the public consultation it carried out and reminded her it is not too late to reverse these ill-founded plans. Ms Hawkard said that the CCG would ‘reflect on the position’ before confirming any changes.
East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight has welcomed Charlie Whitington from Pocklington, for a week of work experience in his Westminster office.
Charlie, a 19-year-old politics student, took a week out of his university studies to draft parliamentary questions, help with constituency work, and undertake research for Sir Greg.
Whilst at Westminster, Charlie was given a tour of the Palace of Westminster, had the opportunity to observe a House of Commons debate and sit in on some parliamentary committees. This all took place during UK Parliament Week, an annual event that seeks to engage people from across the UK with Parliament.
Charlie, who studies at the University of Sheffield, said “This week has been a fantastic opportunity, not only to allow me to learn about the inner workings of British politics, but also to be given the opportunity to perform tasks that are both interesting and have real importance.”
“Most of my time at University is spent studying theory, so it was exciting to get into real-life practice and experience the day to day workings of an MP’s office. It’s helped me develop skills and knowledge that I will be able to use in the future, as well as being a very enjoyable week.”
Sir Greg said: “I have been very happy to welcome Charlie to Westminster this week. It is important that MPs create opportunities for young people considering a career in politics to experience Parliament first-hand”.
East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight is sponsoring a House of Commons Motion calling for an end to exorbitant airport parking charges for those waiting to pick up and drop off passengers.
The move follows a new trend among airports across the UK to charge at drop off and pick up points close to the terminal for very short times. Some airports still allow free initial parking whist others now charge motorists as much as £7 for a brief stay.
Sir Greg said: “The fact that many airports offer free parking for picking up and dropping off passengers demonstrates that fleecing passengers at every stage of their journey is simply not necessary.
Charging motorists relatively small sums slows down the drop off and pick up process as motorists are forced to go through ritual of feeding coins into a payment machine or fumbling in their pockets for a payment card whilst the queue of cars behind them grows”.
He added: “This trend is especially concerning in the case of airports without rail links where many people have no choice but to use a car.”
The motion calls for an urgent review of the present situation.
East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight is sponsoring a parliamentary motion calling for the Government to press for an international convention that will end animal testing for all cosmetics products and ingredients worldwide.
Sir Greg has previously spoken out about the need to reduce animal testing for pharmaceuticals and cosmetics where sophisticated computer modelling can now achieve the same results.
Sir Greg said: “The UK is leading the world in ending the testing of cosmetics on animals. However, there is some concern that animal experimentation could be shifted offshore to nations with lax animal welfare rules. British consumers purchase cosmetics created and manufactured all over the world and therefore we should take a lead in stamping out unnecessary and cruel animal experiments worldwide”.
East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight, who is Chair of the River Hull Advisory Board, has welcomed the removal of thirteen sunken vessels from the River Hull and says that this will “improve the flow of the river and reduce the risk of flooding” for local communities, including farmers.
The sunken boats, located between Tickton and Beverley, have just been removed by contractors following plans put in place by Sir Greg’s committee as part of the River Hull Integrated Catchment Strategy (RHICS).
Sir Greg said: “Flooding alongside the River Hull represents the second largest flood risk to the wider area, so anything that can be done to reduce this risk is welcome.
“Not only did the contractors manage to remove the ten sunken vessels that had been identified, they also removed a further three previously unknown wrecks.
“Getting this clean-up underway has been a priority of mine, as a Member of Parliament for the area and Chair of the River Hull Advisory Board.”
“I am grateful to everyone involved” Sir Greg adds.
East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight has signed a cross-party letter to the Prime Minister, along with 141 other MPs, urging action to try to save BAE jobs at Brough.
Following the announcement by BAE Systems last week of redundancies, driven by uncertainty in the defence market, all Hawk aircraft manufacturing will cease at Brough from the end of 2019.
Sir Greg is urging the Prime Minster to consider bringing forward the replacement for Britain’s Hawk aircraft, which includes the Red Arrows, whose ‘Out of Service Date’ has recently been extended from 2020 to 2030. This would both save the jobs at Brough and ensure the Red Arrows continue to fly British-made planes in the future.
Sir Greg said, “The Red Arrows aerobatic team are a British icon and they risk being forced to adopt foreign-built aircraft.
I am asking the Government to consider acting on new orders now to replace these aging 1970’s planes, both for the sake of saving highly skilled jobs in East Yorkshire and also keeping an outstanding British team flying the British flag”.
East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight is welcoming Government plans to ban the sale and export of almost all ivory items in the UK.
The UK has already banned the trade in raw ivory tusks, but is still one of the world’s leading exporters of ivory carvings and antiques.
Previous proposals were for a ban on ivory except ivory items produced before 1947 but Sir Greg says “unscrupulous criminals have become adept at using dyes and other treatments to falsely ‘age’ ivory products, and then seek to pass them off as antique”.
Sir Greg, who has long campaigned on this issue, said: “Radical action needs to be taken because 20,000 elephants are killed by poachers every year. I am pleased that the Government are now acting to protect one of the world’s most iconic and treasured species for the next generation.”
He added: “The UK has become the world centre for ivory trading so we have a moral responsibility to take a stand on this matter”.
Sir Greg Knight MP with Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate campaigning for an ivory ban at a recent International Fund for Animal Welfare event in the House of Commons
Bridlington’s MP Sir Greg Knight said he was seeking ‘further information’ from the York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust who have decided to temporarily close Waters Ward at Bridlington Hospital.
Sir Greg said: “If this closure is truly of a temporary nature due to recruitment pressures then this is disappointing. However I am concerned to see that this is not an excuse to permanently remove staff and close the ward.
He added: “I am extremely dissatisfied that the Trust has not been in contact with me to explain or justify what they are doing before now and I am urgently seeking reassurances that this ward will re-open as soon as possible”.