Author Archives: Don Foster MP

Don Foster MP writes… Justifiable NIMBYism?

I  suspect I’m not the only one to be delighted and relieved about the announcement this week about new protections to be put in place that will restrict “Fracking” in sensitive areas.

Geological evidence shows that fracking could lead to a significant disruption to the hot water spring waters on which the tourism of the World Heritage City of Bath depends and could damage the water pressure without which we could see buildings in the city collapse.

Even though the latest British Geological Survey Maps show that the three main areas where large amounts of shale oil and gas exists lie nowhere …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 21 Comments

Don Foster MP writes… Access to finance for ethnic minority businesses

Liberal Democrats want to create a Stronger Economy in a Fairer Society. In order to do this it is vital that no one section of society is unnecessarily prevented from starting a new business should they wish to do so. However, evidence suggests that people from black and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are often keen to start a business but for a variety of reasons don’t go through with it. The National Audit Office estimates that the cost to our economy from the failure to fully use the talents of people from our ethnic minority population could be more than …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 8 Comments

Don Foster writes: A powerful meeting where all faiths spoke with one voice

Nick Clegg at inter faith event.Today I attended an interfaith meeting, chaired by Nick Clegg and attended by representatives of the other political parties, following the terrible events in Woolwich on Wednesday where soldier Lee Rigby was brutally murdered. The event was incredibly positive, with representatives of many faiths coming together to denounce the attack, condemn those who bring terrorism to our streets, and agree that we have to stand together in the face of it.

I’ll warn you up front that I’m not going to use this post to make political …

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Don Foster MP writes… Our big gig

Readers may recall some criticism that came my way at the end of last year following an article in The House magazine that implied I was missing the glamour of my former role working on the Culture, Media and Sport portfolio. Though I tried to dispel this with exciting tales of building regulations and brownfield development, Lib Dem Voice ran with a heading of, “Does Don Foster like his new Government job?” So let me be clear. I do, I really do.

Of course, there are some really difficult matters to deal with such as council funding, homelessness and …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 1 Comment

Don Foster MP writes… Local communities say ‘Yes’ to locally-led housebuilding

Amid all the excitement of the local elections, two results of polls on the same day may have passed you by. While in many parts of the country voters were electing local councillors, in Thame in Oxfordshire and in the St.James area of Exeter voters were deciding whether to accept or reject locally developed Neighbourhood Plans.

Like many Liberal Democrats I was anxious to see how well we did in the council elections. But as Minister with responsibility for “localism”, I was also keeping a close eye on these Neighbourhood Plan referenda.

After all Neighbourhood Planning is part of …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 8 Comments

Don Foster MP writes… Housing at the heart of the Budget

House building fell dramatically following the financial crisis and hasn’t yet fully recovered. Last year 118,900 new homes were built in England. But with the number of households predicted to grow by 232,000 a year for the next 20 years and thousands currently unable to get onto the housing ladder, we need to build more than double that each year to keep up with demand, but we also need to tackle the sluggish housing market. That’s why housing was at the heart of the Budget yesterday, with more help for first time buyers and more money for affordable homes.

The …

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Don Foster MP writes… The Integration Strategy: one year on

The Government’s Integration Strategy, Creating the Conditions for Integration was published a year ago on 21 February 2012. Since becoming a minister a few months ago, this is one of the areas about which I’ve had some of the strongest feedback from party members.

The views I’ve heard range from “the strategy is welcome, but not enough” to “it isn’t a serious substitute for a strategy to tackle racism and racial injustice”. Some have said that the document skates over the fact that integration is a two way process of mutual accommodation. Those with this view argue that there’s …

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