19 April 2024

My April Newsletter has been sent out, you can read it here.

Newsletter April 2024 from
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP


Welcome to my April 2024 newsletter. As Spring unfolds, I am pleased  to share the latest updates and insights into my ongoing work for our constituents and national interests.

My goal is to keep you informed and connected with the initiatives and progress that affect us all.

I have been out and about across the constituency, including the new areas of the North Cotswolds to find out what issues are of most importance to constituents. I know a lot of people have only just recently signed up for this newsletter, many from the 20,000 new residents from Tewksbury and 17,000 from the new areas from Stroud, so welcome!
This issue has more stories from the current Cotswolds constituency, but I have recently had a detailed meeting regarding the Redrow development in Hardwicke near the M5 and I will be doing the same regarding the Hunts Grove development, and I will report more in the next newsletter.
I try in each issue to cover a broad range of local, national, and international issues which I have been working on. As ever, any suggestions on issues you would like me to raise or any questions you may have about the work taking place in Parliament, please do get in touch.  




Public Flood Resilience Public Meetings



Friday 26 April 2024

I organise these meetings every six months and they are a great way for people to raise issues directly with those involved with preventing flooding in their area. It is also an opportunity for residents to hear and ask questions of the continued flood resilience work taking place and to speak with officials from the County and District Councils, Parish Council, Thames Water, and the Environment Agency about ongoing issues.
Moreton-in-Marsh - For residents of Bourton, Moreton and Three Rivers, Friday 26 April  10.00-12.00, to be held at The Redesdale Hall, High Street, Moreton-in-Marsh GL56 0AX
Cirencester - For residents of The Cotswolds in the Cirencester, Fairford, South Cerney, Siddington and surrounding areas, Friday 26 April 14.00-16.00, to be held at Cirencester Baptist Church, Chesterton Lane, Cirencester GL7 1YE
Please forward any questions in advance to
cliftonbrowng@parliament.uk by Monday 22 April.




Bourton-on-the-Water Coach Ban



Before Easter, I held a meeting to discuss the future of coach parking in Bourton-on-the-Water. In attendance were the chairman and representatives of the parish council, district, and county councillors, as well as two coach operators and a representative, from the Confederation of Passenger Transport, and members of the business community.
The parish council had previously passed a motion to ask the county council to impose an emergency traffic regulation order (TRO) costing in the region of £35k to ban coaches in Bourton-on-the-Water. However, it rapidly emerged at the meeting that it was unlikely to be feasible not only because of the cost but also the difficulties of enforcement by the police allowing coaches to drop off at some businesses but not others.
We discussed solutions, including the possible use of the Rissington Road car park which has previously been resisted by the Cotswold District Council and alternatives including the use of the industrial estate combined with a pick-up and drop-off point for passengers. The meeting heard from coach operators that Bourton on the Water is one of the top 12 coach destinations in the United Kingdom and that coach visitors generate a conservative estimate of £2.5 million into the parish economy.
To discover what the majority of people in Bourton think about this matter, I have sent out a comprehensive survey to all 3000 houses and businesses. This is a chance for every resident to have their say on this issue and the results will be analysed and published.





Moreton-in-Marsh Local Plan objection




I visited Clair Mowbray, the new Director of the Fire College, and was delighted to hear about their plans to expand with a consequent increase in employment from the present 200 up to maybe 350.
However, this will in no way be sufficient to provide additional employment for the proposed 1500 or so houses for the town in the Cotswold District Council’s Local Plan Update Consultation. It has to be assumed that this number of houses will be built for people commuting elsewhere.

Furthermore, an increase of this size will require very significant improvements to the infrastructure serving the town. The gridlock of traffic could become worse than that of Stow-on-the-Wold with all the environmental damage that entails, and flooding exacerbated.

Moreton also already has a significant sewage problem, particularly with the open flood alleviation area around Primrose Court where storm water is discharged, effectively creating an open sewer. Excess discharges into the River Evenlode are unacceptable and until the capacity of the sewage treatment works in the town is considerably upgraded, which Thames Water have not scheduled until 2028, the pollution of the river is bound to get worse.

Although the proposals do include provision for a new Primary School on the Fire College site, more significantly, the number of pupils generated from these additional 1500 houses are likely to lead to a requirement for a new secondary school which will be extremely expensive.
It is unlikely therefore that these developments will generate sufficient money to pay for the proposed relief road which only does half a job in that it does not link the A44 to the A429 south.
I have therefore written formally in objection to the Cotswold District Council asking them to reconsider these proposals which are disproportionally large compared to other towns in the district.




Farm Visit


I was delighted to visit Lower Hampen Farm situated in a picturesque Cotswold valley where the Handy family have been farming arable and livestock for over 220 years. They are committed members of the Nature Friendly Farming Network, which campaigns to secure a sustainable, resilient and fair food system. As a farmer myself and representing a largely rural constituency, I was interested to learn about their approach to increase biodiversity through sustainable farming methods and improving soil health for future generations.

Clive and Lydia Handy kindly gave me a tour of the farm where it is currently lambing season. It was evident that working with nature is the basis for everything on their farm. They strive to build soil health and fertility by not disturbing it and growing crops without artificial inputs and harmful sprays. Their arable rotations include 4-year species rich herb leys, which together with winter cover crops and cereals under sown with legumes are all grazed by livestock which adds extra nutrients.
The farm produces heritage and ancient grains that are not dependant on high nitrogen inputs and make their own bread flour and malting barley, they have adopted rare breeds and process the wool into brilliant products, and their market garden produces a range of vegetables which are used by the local community.
It was very impressive to see what they have achieved and their commitment to sustainable agricultural practices. Visiting farms with innovative mixed farming methods gives me useful insights. In Parliament I regularly advocate for farmers interests and highlight the huge importance of UK food production and security.
Their farm shop is open to the public on Saturdays 10am to 1pm.
To find out more please visit:





National and Parliamentary News


Water firm crackdown funding grants now available

The Government announced up to £11 million in water company fines will be directly reinvested in schemes to improve our waterways, part of the long-term plan to clean up our water environment and make polluters pay for the damage they cause. 
The fund will be open to a range of organisations in England, including farmers and landowners, eNGOs, Local Authorities, catchment partnerships, National Parks and National Landscapes.




Farming Debate

During a debate in parliament, I voiced concerns that, at a time of international uncertainty, the UK is heavily reliant on food imports and the calls for more emphasis on self-sufficiency stressing the importance of a healthy, cost-effective and sustainable food supply chain; which includes recognising the invaluable role of British farmers, rewarding their efforts, and ensuring fair treatment in the marketplace.




The Rwanda Bill

The Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill is back in the House of Commons this week. On Monday I led a Public Accounts Committee inquiry and asked senior officials from the Home Office about the Rwanda partnership and the National Audits Office investigation into asylum accommodation.

I raised the BBC’s report that £4.3 billion of our foreign aid budget is being spent on refugees and asylum seekers in the UK, when it should be used for important work in developing countries, and if this was sustainable. I also questioned the purchasing of sites for asylum accommodation -



The Economy

Taxes Cut - this month 29 million working people will have their taxes cut by an average of £900 a year.
April 2024’s tax cuts, combined with the tax cuts announced at the Autumn Statement 2023, mean hard-working family with two earners on the average salary of £35,400 each will be better off by £1,827. 

The State Pension- will be increasing by 8.5% offering security to those who have worked hard all their lives by putting £900 more in their pockets a year.

Freezing business rates - and extending the retail, hospitality and leisure relief, allowing businesses to focus on their priorities. From 1 April, changes to business rates took effect including a freeze to multipliers at 49.9 pence and 51.2 pence for 2024-25 and a 12-month extension to the 75 per cent Retail, Hospitality and Leisure relief. Extension of the RHL relief is a £2.4 billion tax cut, building on the £14.5 billion package of business rates support since the pandemic.

Inflation – Now down from 11.1% to 3.2%. The Government has met its target to halve inflation last year while providing targeted support for families with our £94 billion cost of living package, worth £3,300 on average per household.


Gaza Update

I am increasingly concerned as this conflict continues. Israel had a right to self-defence, to me they have gone well beyond what is responsible and cutting off aid water and medicine is not acceptable. We need to ensure that more crossings are opened, allowing aid to go into Gaza.
The action by Iran over the weekend was deeply concerning and the Prime Minister made a statement in the House of Commons on Monday.
I was shocked by the tragic loss of aid workers, including three British citizens, in an airstrike in Gaza. The loss of lives among aid workers and innocent civilians is unacceptable.
The UK has called for a comprehensive and transparent investigation, and immediate action from Israel to lift restrictions on humanitarian aid. The government has since announced the deployment of a Royal Navy ship to facilitate an international humanitarian maritime corridor from Cyprus to Gaza, as well as £9.7 million to support aid deliveries.

Continual review of the situation is essential to ensure international humanitarian law is not broken, because if it is, the Government should review their supply of arms to Israel.


Ukraine Update

Two years on from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UK has pledged £8.5 million in humanitarian funding to the Red Cross Movement and the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund. Our continued support for Ukraine is vital for the safety of the European region.
Over £145 billion has already been committed to Ukraine by European nations including over £12 billion from the UK, in addition to the $74 billion (£59 billion) already committed by the US – which is making an enormous difference on the battlefields of Ukraine and the waters of the Black Sea.




Thanks again for reading, get in touch if you would like for me to cover anything specific in the next issue!

With kind regards,

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP