A terrible tragedy has taken place

Published on Dec 16, 2014

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• European Parliament, Strasbourg, 16 December 2014

• Amjad Bashir MEP, UK Independence Party (Yorkshire & Lincolnshire), Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) grouphttp://www.amjadbashirmep.co.uk – @AmjadBashirMEP

• Voting Time: Point of Order

Peshawar attack

Just spoke in the European parliament condemning the attacks in Peshawar. Our sympathies are with the families of the victims. This is an unimaginable crime – over 100 children lie dead, victims of extremist Taliban. No excuse for the taking of innocent lives.



Local MEP Amjad Bashir is backing calls for council powers to veto new betting shops.

The Local Government Association is pushing for an end to ‘clustering’ of betting shops and they also want a reduction in the risks of fixed odds betting terminals.

“There are 30,000 such machines – so-called ‘crack cocaine’  of gambling – in this country allowing punters to spend £100 in just 20 seconds,” said Mr Bashir, UKIP Euro-MP.

“Gamblers can become addicted to these machines and land themselves in terrible financial debt and they are also popular with drug dealers for laundering their ill-gotten gains.

“Councils are frustrated by the limited powers currently open to them to limit the numbers of shops opening in their areas even where there are community objections.

“This is not right and I support the LGA in their calls for councils to have more powers so they can better represent the views of local people who are fed up with the proliferation of betting shops,” he said.



VAT on listed Buildings


The punitive 20% VAT rate on listed buildings repairs should be slashed by three quarters, said local MEP Amjad Bashir.

UKIP is the first political party to pledge abolishing the discriminatory 20% tax introduced by George Osborne in his 2012 Budget, and replacing it with a rate of 5%.

“None of the other parties are committed to abolishing that VAT rate in their manifestos. We believe that abolishing the 20% rate is essential for maintaining Britain’s historic architectural heritage, which is the envy of the world and includes several ‘gems’ in Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire,” said Mr Bashir.

“Many buildings, from castles to cottages are crumbling away whilst the Treasury unfairly rewards developers of new buildings with zero VAT rates.

“This 20% VAT discriminates against not only the heritage tourism economy but also those who want to simply improve and repair their homes.”

There are 374,081 listed buildings in England, a further 47,000 in Scotland and 20.592 in Wales. Over 50% of Grade 1 listed buildings are churches. Although listed buildings are often perceived as being owned by families with historic houses – often open to the public- the reality is that listed buildings owners come from a very diverse socio-economic groups.

“It is not just the operators of the heritage tourism sector and listed homeowners who will benefit by reducing the VAT rate for listed buildings repair and maintenance to 5%,” said Mr Bashir, Communities spokesman.

The other group are the skilled British builders and other skilled craftsman – plasterers, bricklayers, stone masons, thatchers and carpenters whose traditional skills and businesses have been hard hit by the 20% VAT rate since 2012.

Many small self-employed local builders and architectural and specialist building  firms have been forced out of business by larger contractors who rely on less skilled, non-British born workers who will work for a cheaper wage.

The current 20% VAT rate charged in the UK on repairs and maintenance is the most onerous VAT rate in Europe for heritage repairs. This compares with much lower rates across Europe: Belgium 6; France: 7%; Germany: 19%; Greece: 18%; Ireland: 12.5%; Italy 10%; Netherlands; 6% Portugal; 6% Spain: 8%;  Switzerland; 7.5%.

“Listed buildings provide accommodation for over 1 million Britons, yet the issue is on the fringes of the political debate. Considering the importance of listed buildings to people’s livelihood and the large cultural contribution they make this must change,” said Mr Bashir.



Vampire Tax leaves nasty taste

garlicA new ruling by an EU court leaves a nasty taste in the mouth, said local UKIP MEP Amjad Bashir.

“On this occasion we’ve been forced to hand over £15m to Brussels in Vampire tax to settle a long running dispute over garlic shipped from China,” he explained.

“It doesn’t seem to matter how much of a stink we kick up we get treated like naughty school children and told to to get in line by Eurocrats in one role or another.

“Having right on our side is never enough and time and time again we are ordered to hand over millions, and on other occasions billions of pounds. It is all ridiculous and the only positive I can see is that it neatly highlights why we must shake ourselves free of the EU shackles.

This latest dispute with the European Commission about whether the garlic was frozen or fresh. Next time who knows, all we do know is that there will be a next time until we leave for good,” said Mr Bashir.


Foreign Aid bill should be stopped

A bill being debated in Parliament today, (Fri) which will set in law the UK’s commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on foreign aid, should be stopped in its tracks, said local UKIP MEP Amjad Bashir.

“And figures quietly released alongside George Osborne’s Autumn Statement – revealing we will have to spend almost £1bn more than forecast this year and next – highlight the nonsense of it,” he said.

“David Cameron set the target to show the Conservatives are not the ‘nasty party’ but instead it shows they are the short sighted party.

“We should not be legally committed to giving a set percentage of our income on international development each year and we certainly should not be giving the high amount that we do.

“Austerity cuts are to continue to bite and while figures can be massaged anyway you like the average person in this country is struggling to pay their bills.

“We need to get our own house in order before the House votes to set in stone pledging 0.7% in foreign aid,” said Mr Bashir, UKIP’s Communities spokesman.

Britain will have to pay more to meet its commitment for this year and next because forecast figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility show the estimate of the UK’s gross national income is much higher than had been believed.

A private members’ bill from Lib Dem MP Michael Moore making the 0.7% target a legal commitment is set to be debated in Parliament today.


Radicalisation conference cancelled

We regret to inform you of the cancellation of the radicalisation conference.

A spokesman for Mr Bashir said: “It is with regret that due to unforeseeable circumstances, the conference has been cancelled.

“The radicalisation of young people is an issue we need to deal with urgently, and Mr Bashir will continue his work to reduce the number of British young people becoming radicalised.”

Debate: Pakistan, blasphemy laws

• European Parliament, Strasbourg, 27 November 2014

• Amjad Bashir MEP, UK Independence Party (Yorkshire & Lincolnshire), Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group – @AmjadBashirMEP
Bluecard questions to:
– Pavel SVOBODA (Czech Rep.), EPP group
– Fabio Massimo CASTALDO (Italy, Movimento 5 Stelle)
Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group (EFDD)

• Debate: Pakistan: blasphemy laws

Video: Discussing Ethiopia

Water control of the Nile risking new famine in Ethiopia – Amjad Bashir MEP

• European Parliament, Strasbourg, 27 November 2014

• Amjad Bashir MEP, UK Independence Party (Yorkshire & Lincolnshire), Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group – @AmjadBashirMEP

• Debate: Child malnutrition in developing countries
– Oral question
Committee on Development

When rape is a weapon of war

• European Parliament, Strasbourg, 24 November 2014

• Amjad Bashir MEP, UK Independence Party (Yorkshire & Lincolnshire), Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group – @AmjadBashirMEP

• Exchange of views with the 2014 Sakharov Prize laureate – Denis Mukwege

• Joint meeting
Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI)
Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET)
Committee on Development (DEVE)