MP supports Co-op campaign to tackle retail crime

Arundel & South Downs MP Andrew Griffith visited the Co-op store in Steyning High Street last Friday (14 February) to hear how retail crime is affecting shop floor staff and looking at ways to fix the problem. The MP met Jenny Alleyne from the Co-op’s Head Office along with the area management team and local store colleagues, to discuss a programme of work which the retailer is undertaking to make shop floor work safer. The ‘Safer colleagues, safer communities’ report looks at the importance of looking after their staff, noting “stock and property can be replaced, people can’t.”   The report also outlines their response to the growing issue.   This includes upgraded CCTV, staff headsets providing connectivity to colleagues, and a significant partnership with SECOM which provides remote security monitoring. The MP heard the shocking national statistics that every day 250 shop workers are the victim of a violent incident, with many thefts involving confrontation and weapons.  The most common assaults happen when shop-workers are simply trying to enforce the law by challenging and verifying the age of those wishing to buy age-restricted products.  If shop-workers don’t enforce the law then they are personally liable for breaking it. Mr Griffith met one of the young employees from Co-op’s Steyning store and listened to his personal account of being assaulted when simply doing his job.  The impact was felt, not only by the employee, but also his family and colleagues. The MP tweeted after his visit: “This really is important to me.  Staff in our retail stores need to be – and to feel – safe.  As @KatyBourne knows, offenders must be tackled and prosecuted.  No one is above the law and no crime is too small to be followed up.” Mr Griffith added: “I am grateful to the team at Steyning’s Co-op, and the store’s head office, for raising this issue with me.  It was important for me to hear about this first-hand and to meet the staff affected but these specific crimes.  I have offered my support in looking at how we can tackle this locally and nationally and will be discussing this when I next meet with the Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne.”

Andrew Griffith holds first advice surgery

The new Arundel & South Downs MP Andrew Griffith kicked off his first full constituency day with a surgery in Hurstpierpoint, providing assistance to constituents across a number of issues on Friday (10 January).   The surgery was held in the Hurstpierpoint Village Centre.  Andrew was keen to make his first task in the constituency listening to his constituents’ issues and providing support in his capacity as an MP.   The MP will be hosting a regular surgery across the constituency in the coming weeks.  Once they have been scheduled, they will be advertised in the local press and on his website.  Meetings are offered on an appointment basis to be booked through his office.   An MP advice surgery is an opportunity for constituents to raise concerns or seek help on matters affecting them.  The MP can take those matters up as casework, or make representations to councils and Ministers on behalf of the constituent.  Sometimes people just wish to share details about a local cause or organisation.   Andrew Griffith said: “I really enjoyed my first surgery today and meeting everyone.  I found the meetings interesting and insightful and we covered a broad range of local issues.  I regard advice surgeries as one of the most important aspects to working as an MP.   “I will be taking action on all of the matters raised to me today and hope that I am able to help.  I look forward to meeting more constituents at forthcoming surgeries.”

Andrew Griffith welcomes boost for small businesses

Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Arundel & South Downs, Andrew Griffith, has welcomed the announcement that the next Conservative Government will raise the employment allowance and reduce the burden of business rates in a boost for thousands of small businesses in West Sussex.   Petworth resident, Andrew, is also Boris Johnson’s Chief Business Adviser and played a key role in helping to shape the Conservatives ‘small business friendly’ policies whilst working until recently in No 10 Downing Street.   The detail of today’s announcement is:   Reducing the burden of business rates. Business rates are one of the top concerns of British businesses so a Conservative majority Government will launch a fundamental review at our first budget, consulting widely. We will reduce the overall burden of business rates as part of this review.   Raising the Employment Allowance from £3,000 to £4,000. Employers pay Class 1 National Insurance Contributions on their employees’ earnings. The Employment Allowance is currently claimed by over 1 million employers to reduce their employer NICs bills by up to £3,000. The next Conservative Government will increase the Employment Allowance to £4,000, which will provide a tax cut of up to £1,000 for more than half a million businesses. This will amount to almost a half a billion-pound tax cut for small businesses.     Andrew Griffith, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Arundel & South Downs, said:   “Small businesses are the lifeblood of the West Sussex economy. Our market towns such as Storrington, Steyning, Hurstpierpoint and Hassocks are chock full of exactly those businesses which will benefit from today’s announcement – helping to boost local employment.”   The announcement has also been welcomed by business groups with the Federation of Small Businesses saying:   “Cutting the jobs tax is a strong pro-small business move, as it will help half a million small firms raise wages and keep more people in work. “A pledge to finally cut the burden of business rates is welcome – action on business rates has long been a priority of FSB’s small business members. “Small businesses – and their staff – will be relieved to see the issues that matter to their livelihoods placed firmly on the agenda at this election. A typical constituency has 25,000 people working in a small business, around 7,000 of whom are self-employed. Political parties should be competing to show how they could run a Government that improves their livelihoods, deals with rising costs and ensures small businesses remain a strong part of our local communities.

Andrew Griffith calls upon Liberal Democrats to retract false claims

Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Arundel & South Downs, Andrew Griffith, has called upon the local Lib Dems to retract an election leaflet containing false data. In an echo of a similar scandal in other constituencies, local Lib Dems have distributed a leaflet to local voters claiming to have carried out ‘recent polling’ which shows them in second place behind the Conservatives.   In fact, the data is a discredited projection and no local polling has taken place. The company making the projection, Survation, makes clear that it uses only national data and should not be used for this purpose but that has not stopped the Lib Dems trying to mislead voters.   In fact, at the last general election in 2017, the Lib Dem candidate in Arundel & South Downs came a very distant third with less than 8% of the votes cast and well behind Labour on nearly 23%.   Andrew Griffith, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Arundel & South Downs, said:   “It’s no wonder trust in politics is at an all-time low when we see this sort of behaviour. I call upon the Lib Dem candidate to apologise for trying to mislead voters and to undertake not to distribute further or to repeat these false claims.”

Andrew Griffith selected for Arundel & South Downs

Andrew Griffith has been selected by local Conservatives as their candidate to fight the upcoming General Election in the seat of Arundel & South Downs following the announcement that former MP Nick Herbert would not be standing in the seat he has held since 2005.   At a meeting of members of the Conservative Party held on Monday (11 November), Andrew was given the full support of its members to be their Party’s representative for the important seat.   Arundel & South Downs is a large rural constituency in West Sussex, taking in a significant stretch of the South Downs National Park, West Sussex villages and  market towns including Arundel, Henfield, Petworth, Pulborough, Storrington, Steyning, Hassocks and Hurstpierpoint.   Andrew, who lives in the constituency with his family, has long standing business experience with a 25 year career as Finance Director and then Chief Operating Officer at Sky and as a former Chairman of Just Eat. In July, in one of his very first appointments, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, appointed Andrew as his Chief Business Advisor in No10 Downing Street where he has been responsible for working to make Britain the best place to start, grow and run a business.   Speaking after the meeting, the Acting-Chairman of Arundel & South Downs Conservative Association, Cllr Joy Dennis, said: “We are delighted that Andrew Griffith has been selected as our Parliamentary candidate by local Conservative Party members and we are all looking forward to working with him to get him elected as the next Member of Parliament so that he can work hard for local residents throughout the constituency.”   Following his successful selection, Andrew Griffith said:   “Living in the constituency with my family, I am honoured to have been selected as the Conservative candidate and pledge to be a strong local voice for residents.  More than ever before, Westminster needs people with achievements outside of politics and, with my background in business, I hope to bring some common sense and the ability to get things done. Locally, I will fight to protect our countryside from unsustainable overdevelopment, for better bus and train services, the A27 Arundel Bypass and for more police in our towns and villages. A vote for the Conservatives on 12th December is the only way to get Brexit done and to allow us to move on.”

Local Councillors united on Arundel Bypass route

Local Arundel Councillors representing both Arun District Council and West Sussex County Council have all united to support the Magenta route for the A27 Arundel Bypass in the latest consultation being carried out by Highways England.   The consultation, which is currently taking place until the 24th October, is being re-run after the result of the previous consultation faced a judicial review of the process. This has led to construction of the bypass delayed from Spring 2020 to late 2022.   Six different route options for the bypass have been included in the latest consultation, including two online routes and four offline routes, however, Arundel Town Council as well as the OneArundel group have both already ruled out the two online routes which do not bypass the town but instead follow the current route of the A27 cutting through the town of Arundel.   West Sussex County Councillor, Gary Markwell, who represents Arundel & Courtwick division, said “Having spoken to many local residents there is a clear majority who believe the bypass must be just that, a bypass of the town of Arundel. Local residents do not want a new dual carriageway cutting through the middle of their town”.   “Having sought reassurances from Highways England that all of the route options being consulted on are financial viable, I believe the best route for local residents to get behind to ensure a real bypass is actually built is the magenta route”.   Arun District Councillor Grant Roberts added “I have been intensely pushing Highways England to clarify ambiguities over viability and affordability. Whilst I believe that the Crimson route could have potentially received the widest support, I have concluded that the likelihood of it receiving planning permission is extremely low. Given that, and whilst looking for the “least worst option”, I therefore determine, on balance, that Magenta should be supported to become the preferred route”.