Anthea McIntyre MEP met Cancer Research UK scientists in Birmingham to learn about the charity’s world class research.

The MEP for the West Midlands visited the University of Birmingham College of Medical and Dental Sciences where she witnessed first-hand the groundbreaking research being carried out by scientists and doctors across the region.

Anthea McIntyre MEP said: “This was a great opportunity to hear about some of the fantastic work Cancer Research UK is funding locally. Research is cancer’s number one enemy and this visit highlighted just why it is so important to support the vital research which could make a significant difference to thousands of people affected by cancer in the West Midlands each year.”

Birmingham is home to the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit which plays a leading role in coordinating larger UK clinical trials for both children and adults with cancer. These trials make innovative new treatments available to patients with cancer, giving them the chance to benefit from the latest scientific discoveries.

Professor Pam Kearns, Director of the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit, and host for the visit, said: “I was really pleased to welcome Anthea McIntyre MEP to the University of Birmingham and show how our researchers and clinicians are working together to help beat cancer sooner. The work of the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit is vital in developing effective treatments for patient across the West Midlands and beyond. For example, we recently found that for women with a certain type of breast cancer, taking the drug Tamoxifen for a longer period of time can reduce the chances of it recurring. The outcome of this trial, led by Dr Dan Rea, will directly impact on how patients are treated in the future and could save lives.”

Miss McIntyre was later invited to go ‘behind the scenes’ at the Birmingham Human Biomaterials Resource Centre. With the consent of patients undergoing an operation, the Centre collects and stores surplus diseased and normal tissue samples that are crucial for cutting-edge cancer research. Miss McIntyre was shown how this world-class facility can help scientists understand the differences between healthy tissue and cancer and speed up the development of better, kinder treatments for patients.

Around 27,300 people are diagnosed with cancer in the West Midlands each year*. The good news is that more people are beating the disease than ever before.Cancer survival rates in the UK have doubled in the last forty years and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress. Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, the charity was able to spend more than £8 million in Birmingham last year on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research.

It is a great pleasure and honour to be invited to the opening of IPM Essen. I strongly believe that politicians should make informed decisions and what better way to be informed than by attending events like this.

All aspects of horticulture, the Green Branch , “dieGrüne” Branch, as you call it here, are hugely important for Europe.

Flowers and ornamental plants may not be essential for existence, but they are certainly essential for living - for any real quality of life.

Flowers and plants are a part of our common European cultural heritage.

The values of the Green Branch are shared across Europe.  We see very positive examples of cooperation in production and trade, promoting different skills in different regions and overcoming borders and boundaries.

The Green Branch is not just aesthetically important, but economically very important too.

The European Union is the world’s biggest producer of flowers, bulbs and potted plants.

The EU accounts for 44% of the world’s production with the highest density per hectare and the value of this production amounts to 21 billion euro.

I represent the West Midlands region of the UK and became a Member of the European Parliament just over two years ago, before that I ran a small business for 25 years and I’m still a partner in my family’s horticultural small-holding.

So, I joined the Agriculture Committee on a mission to promote horticulture in all its forms!

I was delighted to take a delegation of Members of the Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, to the West Midlands, last July to look at horticulture. Members came from Germany, Belgium, Italy, Portugal as well as the UK, to look at Research and Innovation, Plant Protection, New Growing Methods, Skills, Training and Marketing.

A highlight for the delegation was a visit to David Austin Roses, based in Albrighton in the West Midlands. They are the world’s leading hybridiser of English Roses - those quintessentially English flowers - renowned for their generous forms and wonderful fragrance. I am delighted that David Austin Roses are with us today. They first exhibited here well over a decade ago and they have attended every year since. This IPM show has been a really important vehicle for them.  It has helped the company to increase its exports in Europe and beyond. They see the IPM as a vital opportunity to meet with customers, licensees and friends from all over the world.

So, after my MEP colleagues’ visit to the UK, my next step was to hold a Hearing in the European Parliament, on the future of European horticulture. This happened last September.  We had speakers from the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy and I was pleased that Dr Siegfried Scholz from Zentralverband Gartenbau e. V. (ZVG) came and spoke about the German Horticulture sector.

Following the hearing, I drafted a report for the Parliament entitled “The future of Europe’s Horticulture sector – strategies for growth” and this was voted through the Agriculture Committee just last week.

I believe it is very important to raise the profile of horticulture and champion the growth of this sector in Europe.  The EU’s promotion policy is an important tool which should be used to stimulate consumption and improve the image of the sector.  We should recognise that the market balance is very fragile, the global market place is extremely competitive and only the best managed businesses survive and grow.

However, any strategy for growth must not translate into the implementation of market intervention measures or direct subsidies.

The Horticulture sector has always operated as a free market without any direct financial or regulatory intervention at EU level.

This sector operates on an international scale. The European market relies on supplies from third countries and the economy of those countries in turn relies on the income generated by exports of flowers to the EU.

This is one of the best examples of free trade benefitting both the EU and developing countries.

Our exports have a value of some 1.9 billion euro with nearly a quarter of this going to Russia.

My report emphasises the need to make it easier for producers to gain access to third-country markets and calls on the Commission to increase its efforts to support exporters and help them to overcome the increasing number of non-tariff barriers.  An example of this is the phytosanitary standards of some third countries which make EU exports very difficult.

Research and Innovation are also important and I believe that the floriculture and ornamental plant sector must be helped to make better use of EU programmes, such as Horizon 2020, for research, technological development and innovation.

My report also calls on the Commission to review the arrangements for mutual recognition of plant protection product authorisations. It must streamline their implementation and remove unnecessary red tape. The Commission must also take a risk-based approach and rely on scientific evidence when making decisions.

Europe has a real problem with a lack of protection products for speciality and minor crops. Flowers and ornamental plants are classified as minor crops. We really need a Minor-Use fund. This is because manufacturers do not support the use of their products on minor crops, because of the relatively low return on their investment in gathering the necessary data. A recent study concluded that the direct economic impact of this is more than 1 billion Euros per year.

Funding is essential - not only to bring financial resources to bear, but also because it would be seen as a key commitment from the Commission in supporting the issue of minor uses and this would ensure strong leadership to the coordinated EU action.

My report also raises concerns regarding the Commission’s proposals for the Regulation of Plant Reproductive Material. As drafted, their proposals will have several negative impacts, including more prescriptive requirements for ornamentals, but without any benefits to the sector or to consumers.

This brings me to my last point. Right across Europe we are witnessing high levels of youth unemployment, so I welcome the renewed emphasis on training and apprenticeships. We must encourage young people to consider jobs in the horticulture sector, we must provide high quality training and we need more active support for career development in this sector.

Finally, I want to emphasise the benefits of ornamental horticulture to human health and well-being. I, for one, could not bear to live without my garden and the roses growing round my door!

May I wish you all every success in the year ahead.

West Midlands MEP Anthea McIntyre recently supported the launch of the election manifesto for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in the European Parliament in Brussels. Ahead of the European elections on 22 May 2014, the FSB has set out how candidates can be the voice of small businesses, if elected in just under 100 days’ time. FSB members want MEPs to:

 

• ‘Think Small First' throughout the whole policy cycle by breaking down barriers in the Single Market and reducing the effects of burdensome laws on the smallest businesses

• Give small firms the best chance to be successful by creating a culture of entrepreneurship

• Ensure important trade deals like the upcoming EU-US negotiations support the growth aspirations of small firms.

 

Anthea said:

“Small firms are driving Europe’s recovery and I am delighted to back ‘Think Small First’ – it is a manifesto that very closely matches work that I and my colleagues have been doing in Brussels to promote economic growth, trade and encourage more people to start up their own business.  It is crucial that all MEPs carefully consider the impact of regulation on the smallest businesses.”

 

Mike Cherry, FSB National Policy Chairman, said:

“I was delighted to be joined by Anthea at our event. It is important that MEPs and candidates across the UK make the case that the EU is good for business but needs more flexibility for the future, soour businesses can compete with emerging powers in today's global economy."

West Midlands MEP Anthea McIntyre has visited Bristol Street Motors Ford Worcester following a refurbishment and the business taking on two young apprentices.

Miss McIntyre was given a tour of the expanding dealership, which employs more than 50 people, and spoke with Apprentice Technicians Toby Fallon-Wilson, 19, and William Mieczynski ,18, who started at the dealership recently.

She also met Sales Manager Adam Sandford, who was awarded Sales Manager of the Year in the company’s recent CEO Awards.

The dealership, in Cosgrove Close, Worcester, is part of Vertu Motors PLC, the UK’s sixth largest car retailer and recently underwent the refurbishment as part of Vertu’s ongoing commitment to investing in its people and sites.

Robert Forrester, Chief Executive of Vertu Motors PLC, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Anthea has taken the time to come and visit the dealership. It’s a great example of how a Worcester business is investing in the town and supporting people in the area in jobs.

“As a company, investing in our colleagues through career development and training is extremely important, as demonstrated by the creation of two new apprenticeships at the dealership. William and Toby are both talented, hard-working young men who have made a fantastic start to their careers and we hope to support them through their training and beyond.”

Anthea McIntyre said: “Bristol Street Motors are showing that investing in modern facilities and, more importantly, skills training is the way forward for modern businesses. I am delighted to have visited the Worcester dealership and met the new apprentices.”

 

Vertu Motors plc (which trades under the Bristol Street Motors, Macklin Motors, Vertu Honda and Bristol Street Motor Nation brands) was formed in late 2006 to acquire and consolidate UK motor retail businesses. The group was founded as a new entrant into the UK motor retail sector and is listed on the AIM market (UK:VTU).

Since flotation in December 2006, the Group has established itself as a major player in the United Kingdom automotive retail sector. The Group operates 106 outlets representing 19 manufacturers across the UK.

Anthea McIntyre MEP, the Conservative Employment Spokesman in Europe, today welcomed the further drop in the number of people out of work. 

She said: “Today’s announcement of a fall in unemployment of 167,000 is the biggest drop since the autumn of 1997 and comes hot on the heels of better growth forecasts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the fall in the rate of inflation and the recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey of  chief executives in the UK that found nearly two-thirds were planning to take on more staff in 2014.

“All of these indicators show that Britain is on the right track although there is still much to do.  It is clear that the Conservative long-term plan is creating the right environment for new jobs to be created and for new businesses to be formed.  It is the small business sector that creates 85% of all new jobs.

“It is now even more crucial that we maintain pressure on the EU to halt the introduction of legislation that would damage our recovery and impose unnecessary additional burdens on British business. Only the Conservatives are working every day in Brussels to support British entrepreneurs and businesses, cutting red-tape and helping made it easier for SMEs to grow.

“I particularly welcome the fact that unemployment in the West Midlands fell by 1.3% - that is a massive boost for the region but I am well aware that there are still many firms who want to recruit more staff but simply can’t find people with the skills required. 

“The skills-shortage is a major concern and, while the Government’s emphasis on creating thousands of additional apprenticeships is helping address the issue, the fact remains that too many would-be workers need more training.”