Newsletter from Alistair Burt MP

February 4, 2016 in Uncategorized

Bringing you news from Westminster and the constituency of North East Bedfordshire 

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Newsletter from Alistair Burt MP



A message from Alistair:
2016 has started busily with Parliament returning on the 5th January. NE Bedfordshire has been saved the worst of the weather so far, and we will all have looked at our friends and colleagues around the country with sympathy as bad weather has caused floods and destruction.I have had lots of meetings and visits already this month both in NE Beds and on Ministerial visits across the country. Meetings on solar farm developments, school progress, school politics groups, along with getting to know Members of the Youth Parliament locally, taking Advice centres and meeting individual constituents have filled the diary this month.Alongside meeting mental health patients and young people’s mental health staff in Bedford, I have seen the new provision for patients with musculoskeletal skeletal issues throughout Bedfordshire, met the medical directors of the ten London mental health trusts – to discuss how we best use the new £290m for mothers and babies with mental health issues from the Spending Review, talked to GP leaders about the innovation and transformation they are bringing to their areas, seen pharmacists, chaired our group working on getting those with learning disabilities out of institutional care when inappropriately placed, discussed what the Mental Health Task Force is going to say, met Care Home managers, and last week met with over a hundred medical and care staff full of enthusiasm for their work as pioneers in integrated care.

Of course it’s not all perfect and responding to challenge has always been part of the NHS. My Ministerial colleagues and I continue to work hard to ensure our NHS remains at the top of its game.

Many interesting things coming up in in NE Beds in the next few months, not least the elections for Police & Crime Commissioner.  I look forward to meeting many constituents in the coming weeks.



MP Monitors Local Flooding Situation
I have been keeping a close watch on the possibilities of flooding across NE Beds throughout the new year period.Compared with some previous years we have been rather more fortunate than some of the very hard hit areas in the north and west.  I have been following the flood alerts, as I am sure most of my constituents have, via the Environment Agency networks, and I went out and about to look at the water levels from the Great Ouse and the Ivel in some of our villages.Although any flooding has been fairly localised and small scale for now, we are still on flood alert in places across the area, and I would urge constituents to check the Environment Agency website for their area, and to use the flood preparation information available on both the Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough websites.
Any flooding is always devastating for residents, so let’s try and be as prepared as we can as we go through the rest of the winter weather. For more information, do visit:

Bedfordshire Local Resilience Forum

Flood Warning Service



Housing In Bedfordshire
The National House Building Council have recently released its final figures for the number of new homes built last year. The figures reveal the North East Bedfordshire are significantly above the national average for new homes available.There have not been enough homes to meet the needs of our growing and aging population, it is encouraging to see an increasing in the number of new houses built within North East Bedfordshire.The Government has put a number of measures in place in order to help build new homes and get empty homes back in use. There has been a £1.8billion investment in Get Britain Building, Growing Places and Local Infrastructure Fund schemes which have contributed nationally to over 260,000 new homes over the last five years.



Superfast Broadband Roll-out Update from Minster of State for Culture and the Digital Economy
Please find the following update from Ed Vaizey MP

Dear colleague,I am writing to provide a further update on superfast broadband delivery in your constituency. By the end of September 2015, the government’s Superfast Broadband Programme had provided coverage to over 3.3 million homes and businesses, in collaboration with local authorities and the devolved administrations.Your constituency is located within the Bedford & Milton Keynes programme.
The programme has been allocated over £8.1m of government funding for Phase 1 and/or 2 of the Superfast Broadband Programme.
In North East Bedfordshire Constituency the current position is as follows:

  • There are approximately 47,733 premises in the constituency
  • Of these, 27,940 are projected to be covered by commercial deployment
  • Under the publicly supported programme 7,731 had been covered by the end of September 2015* and
  • 986 of these premises were delivered between July and September 2015 (in the postcodes listed at the end of this email)
  • 8,478 further premises are due to be covered by the public programme by the contracted end date of September 2018.

A table giving coverage data for all constituencies has been provided by Broadband Delivery UK to the House Library.

If you have any concerns about discrepancies with local coverage data, you may wish to follow up with your local project team. Further information is available via the project website at


Universal Service Commitment
I am also pleased to say that from December 2015 we are making available a subsidised satellite broadband connection to all eligible premises which are unable to access a basic broadband of at least 2Mbps. This will enable all premises to gain access to a functional level of Broadband. Any homes or businesses which would like to take advantage of this offer can get further information and make an application via the local project team.
Universal Service Obligation
As you will know, last month the Prime Minister also announced an intention to implement a new broadband Universal Service Obligation, with an ambition to set this at a speed of 10 Mbps. This will give all consumers with speeds below the specified level the right to request an upgrade from a designated provider, no matter where they live, subject to a reasonable cost threshold. This will be subject to a consultation which the government will undertake next year.
I will write to you again with a further update in three months’ time if new premises in your constituency have been upgraded in that period.

Yours sincerely


*Based on modelling by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK). The modelling is based on a range of assumptions, including that the announced commercial roll-out is completed. Assumptions have also been made about the locations that will be covered through the commercial roll-out, including the cabinets to be upgraded and the locations of the associated premises. Coverage from Phase 1 and/or Phase 2 contracts is also subject to change.




Upcoming Diary Dates:12 February – Meeting Parish and Town Councils affected by the A1 Strategy Study12 February – Biggleswade Athletics Club Annual Awards

13 February –  Public Climate Change Meeting in Biggleswade Conservative Club (Upstairs Room) from 10-12noon

21 February – Civic Service for 850th Anniversary of Bedford’s Charter

27 February – Bedford Lions Annual Dinner Dance



Upcoming Constituency Surgery Dates:
Friday 5th February – Biggleswade Conservative ClubSaturday 27th February – Great Barford Village HallSaturday 12th March – Sandy Conservative Club

For further information and booking, do contact Katherine Arnold on 01767 313385