New insurance rules come into force to protect consumers

New measures to guarantee customers receive the same level of consumer protection wherever in the EU they buy insurance have come into force.

The Insurance Distribution Directive sets out the information that must be provided to customers before they sign up to an insurance contract. It also lays down rules for insurance-based investment products.

Conservative MEPs helped secure changes to the original proposals to ensure member states can impose tougher rules if they wish.

MEP for South East England, Richard Ashworth, said: “The Insurance Distribution Directive will enhance consumer protection, increase competition and create a more level playing field between insurance and investment products.

“It will ensure that the same protections are available to individuals when they by an insurance product in the UK as elsewhere in Europe, no matter where the insurance broker is based.”

“Allowing Member States, such as the UK, to have the flexibility to implement tougher rules is a great example of the EU recognising where its law-making is useful and where Member States should be in charge.”

Member states now have two years to incorporate the new rules into national law

Key changes secured to jobs website used by EU migrants

Conservative MEPs have secured key amendments to rules governing a Europe-wide job website used by EU migrants seeking work in Britain.

The European Parliament  approved changes which allows employers to choose whether or not to post vacancies on the EURES site and remove the need to advertise traineeships and apprenticeships across Europe.

Richard Ashworth, Conservative Member of the European Parliament for the South East of England said: “It makes sense that British residents and people in Britain get the first opportunity to secure these jobs,”

“However, where companies are unable to fill vacancies it can be useful to extend their search through EURES to attract the best people from Germany, France and elsewhere.”

“This is just another example where our partners in Europe have taken on board the legitimate concerns of the British people” Mr. Ashworth concluded.

Previous rules insisted that all positions advertised in UK job centres must also be posted on the EU-wide site. Since December 2014 the UK Government has given British firms the choice to opt out, but this position remained open to legal challenge.

The European Parliament has now formalised the UK’s position, allowing employers not to advertise a vacancy on EURES if the move is justified ‘on the basis of skills and competence requirements related to the job.’

Before the UK Government changed its rules in December 2014, 60 per cent of jobs on the EURES site were for posts in the UK. This has now dropped to 15 per cent, reducing one of the factors pulling EU migrants to Britain.

Ashworth: Oxford based SME gets vital EU funding for liver disease research

 

Oxford-based Perspectum Diagnostics Ltd will receive around £2.6m of EU funding to develop a rapid assessment of chronic liver disease using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Liver disease already affects over 10% of the UK population. A fundamental challenge is that liver disease generally does not cause symptoms until tissue damage is severe and irreversible: for this reason it has been called ‘the silent killer’.

The funding comes from the Commission’s Horizon 2020 SME Instrument and will help bring the product from pilot-phase to the market.

Commenting on the announcement, Conservative MEP for South-East England, Richard Ashworth said ‘this is an excellent example of how the EU can support innovative SMEs in the UK to develop technologies that will ultimately save lives.’

‘SMEs are the life-line of our economy and it is so important that we continue to provide stable sources of investment to enable them to grow successfully. SMEs provide 60% of all private sector employment in the UK and are vital to our long-term economic plan.

‘The EU SME Instrument enhances research and development, which, in turn, benefits the British people. Clearly, membership of the EU is good for the science and research that improves people’s lives.’

Britain will be stronger, safer and better off remaining a member of the European Union

The following letter was sent to local media on 24 February 2016

The Prime Minister has secured a historic reform deal which now paves the way for a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union as promised in the Conservative’s 2015 manifesto.

 

The Cameron package has put the UK in a unique place; and it is a good deal for Britain. We have full membership of and equal access to the largest and wealthiest single market in the world bigger than even the USA. We do not have to join the Euro and our taxpayers will not have to pay for Eurozone bailouts. We are not members of the Schengen zone; that means we are under no obligation to accept refugees, migrants or third country nationals unless we choose to do so. We have legal recognition that the UK is an independent sovereign country in charge of its own destiny; our parliament has a stronger role and we are not committed to ever closer union.

 

Far too often this debate is about emotions and not facts. The ‘out’ campaign has not offered any credible alternative, and it is not simply enough to say leave for leave’s sake.. Why step out of the world’s largest, wealthiest single market, putting industry, jobs and growth at risk for a leap into the dark?

 

I support the Prime Minister’s reform deal and Britain will be stronger, safer and better off remaining a member of the European Union.

 

Ashworth welcomes Cameron deal

Reacting to the Cameron deal, Richard Ashworth, MEP for South East England, said:

“I congratulate the Prime Minister for a successful conclusion of a very difficult negotiation. I welcome the fact that we will now have a straight-forward option to reject laws from Brussels that are not to the benefit of the British people. Furthermore, we can now reform our benefits system in a manner that is reasonable and fair to the British taxpayer. I believe that, in this fast changing and ever competitive world,  the best interests of this country, and of our children’s future, lies at the heart of the European Union.  I therefore welcome this deal and give my full support to the Prime Minister.”