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Catherine at Johnston Sweepers

Thank you for visiting my website. I am the Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament for South East England.

On this website you can find information about my work fighting for jobs for the people of South East England, campaigning against the horrendous crime of trafficking, and protecting our environment.

If there are issues I can help you with please get in touch.


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Recent updates

  • Catherine bearder
    Article: Mar 27, 2015

    Winchester and Oxfordshire are failing to meet EU environmental standards that protect local rivers from being contaminated by sewage, it was announced yesterday.

    The EU Commission is taking the UK to court for breaching EU standards on treating waste water in 18 towns including Winchester.

    The Winchester Wastewater Treatment Works at Morestead Road were found to be in breach of the rules despite undergoing a £9m upgrade that was completed last year, as well as the Islip Wastewater Treatment Works.

  • Article: Mar 26, 2015

    Catherine Bearder this week presented a letter co-signed by 32 fellow liberal MEPs from 16 differnet countries, laying out the issues with new EU VAT rules for sole traders.

    Since then, Vice President Frans Timmermans has said he will look carefully at these rules and will consider a change in them to lessen the burden for small businesses.

  • Document: Mar 25, 2015
    0 B document

    Rue Wiertz

    B-1047 Brussels

    24th March 2015

    Dear President Juncker,

    We are writing to you to express concern over the impact that the recent changes to EU VAT rules for digital services are having on micro-businesses in our countries across Europe.

    These changes were agreed by EU member states in 2008 with the aim of creating a level playing field and preventing large companies from gaining a competitive advantage by basing themselves in countries with lower VAT rates. However, six years ago, few could have predicted the dramatic rise in the number of micro-businesses across Europe selling digital services online.

    For these small traders, selling everything from e-books to knitting patterns, the new VAT rules have created a significant administrative burden that discourages them from selling their services to customers elsewhere in the EU. Paying VAT rates for 28 different EU countries is complex, time-consuming and requires changes to website design and pricing that risk driving potential customers elsewhere. In particular, the obligation to record and provide evidence for the location of each customer is a huge obstacle for very small businesses. As a result, while small digital firms now face a level playing field, it is one obstructed by mounds of bureaucracy. The unintended effect of this is to strengthen the position of the large companies which already dominate the online marketplace.

    This is particularly important because it risks stifling the small digital firms that are central to the EU's economic future. Europe is a world leader in the digital economy, with app developers in the EU accounting for 43% of global revenue in this sector. This is one of the key areas where the EU continues to punch well above its weight and where millions of jobs are set to be created in the coming years.

    Through introducing legislation to create a genuine Digital Single Market, the European Commission can help these firms to succeed and expand. However, the Commission must also consider whether existing EU legislation - in particular the recently implemented VAT rules - is fit-for-purpose and will allow the digital economy to thrive. The EU must establish common rules for the digital single market to function, but these must not result in overly burdening start-ups and micro-businesses and putting them out of business.

    We call on you to urgently consider measures to address the impact this legislation is having on Europe's smallest firms. Europe can only build the digital giants of tomorrow if it nurtures the small companies of today.

    Yours sincerely,

    Guy Verhofstadt MEP (Belgium)

    Catherine Bearder MEP (UK)

    Petras Auštrevičius (Lithuania)
    Beatriz Becerra MEP (Spain)

    Izaskun Bilbao MEP (Spain)

    Enrique Calvet Chambon MEP (Spain)

    Dita Charanzová MEP (Czech Republic)

    Martina Dlabajová MEP (Czech Republic)

    José Faria MEP (Portugal)

    Fredrick Federley MEP (Sweden)

    Juan Carlos Girauta Vidal MEP (Spain)

    Sylvie Goulard MEP (France)

    Antanas Guoga MEP (Lithuania)

    Marian Harkin MEP (Ireland)

    Kaja Kallas MEP (Estonia)

    Fernando Maura Barandiarán MEP (Spain)
    Louis Michel MEP (Belgium)

    Ulrike Müller MEP (Germany)

    Javier Nart MEP (Spain)

    Cora Van Nieuwenhuizen MEP (Netherlands)

    Urmas Paet MEP (Estonia)

    Maite Pagazaurtundúa MEP (Spain)

    Morten Helveg Petersen MEP (Denmark)

    Jens Rohde MEP (Denmark)

    Marietje Schaake MEP (Netherlands)

    Pavel Telička MEP (Czech Republic)

    Nils Torvalds MEP (Finland)

    Ramon Tremosa MEP (Spain)

    Viktor Uspaskich (Lithuania)

    Ivo Vajgl MEP (Slovenia)

    Sophie in 't Veld MEP (Netherlands)

    Renate Weber MEP (Romania)

    Cecilia Wikström MEP (Sweden)

    Article: Mar 25, 2015

    MEPs from 16 EU countries are calling for an urgent revision of new EU rules on VAT that are threatening the livelihoods of thousands of small traders selling services online.

    In a letter sent today by Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder and 32 other Liberal MEPs, including group leader and former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, European Commission President Juncker was urged to "urgently consider measures to address the impact this legislation is having on Europe's smallest digital firms."

  • Carer's bonus
    Article: Mar 25, 2015

    £297 million of EU funding is being made available for businesses and communities in South East England following the launch of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) this week.

    The funding is split into 3 separate streams and will work to improve increase competitiveness, reduce unemployment and support rural development.

  • Paris Pollution
    Article: Mar 19, 2015

    Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder is calling for new EU limits to combat air pollution following health concerns over a toxic smog cloud that has blown across the UK from the continent.

    Government officials have issued a health alert warning people with lung problems and heart conditions to avoid strenuous physical exercise, particularly outdoors, as high pollution levels are expected in large parts of the UK throughout the day.

  • Catherine bearder
    Article: Mar 18, 2015

    The European Commission has today unveiled plans that would oblige national governments in the EU to exchange information on cross-border tax rulings, in a bid to end sweetheart tax deals with multinational corporations.

    Under the proposals, EU countries would be required to automatically share basic information on their cross-border tax rulings with each other every three months. Other EU governments could then ask for more detailed information on a particular ruling if they were concerned it could lower their tax receipts.

  • Deforestation
    Article: Mar 17, 2015

    The UK is the largest importer of beef resulting from illegal deforestation in the EU according to a report published today by environmental NGO Fern.

    The study found that imports of beef into the UK caused around 1160km2 of illegal deforestation in 2012, an area more than two-thirds the size of London. Nearly all of this illegal deforestation was linked to beef imported into the UK from Brazil.

  • Lib Dem Lorries
    Article: Mar 10, 2015

    MEPs have voted in favour of life-saving changes to EU lorry design rules in a move that has been welcomed by cycling groups and safety campaigners.

    Current EU length restrictions force lorry manufacturers to design short cab fronts with dangerous blind spots and blunt cabin fronts, increasing the risk of serious accidents with cyclists and pedestrians.

  • Carer's bonus
    Article: Mar 10, 2015

    MEPs have given the final seal of approval to an EU cap on credit and debit card fees that is expected to save UK businesses £480 million a year.

    The fees that banks charge retailers for processing shoppers' payments will be capped at 0.2% of the transaction value for debit cards and 0.3% for credit cards.

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