South Gloucestershire Council’s opposition Liberal Democrat Group have announced Westerleigh Councillor, Claire Young, as their new Group Leader. Cllr Young was elected by her fellow Lib Dem councillors at a meeting in Yate last night. She will now lead her party into the local elections in 2019 against the ruling Conservative group.
Claire Young said: “I am grateful to have the chance to lead South Gloucestershire’s largest opposition group at a crucial time for our area. Nationally and locally the Conservatives are cutting services to the bone. Council tax continues to go up and up, but the state of our roads and services gets worse and worse. In next May’s crucial local elections, local people have a chance to elect a Lib Dem-lead Council and send the Conservatives a message that they can’t take South Gloucestershire for granted anymore.”
“I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor, Ruth Davis, who has led the South Glos Lib Dem Group for thirteen years, and who has always been a terrific champion for local people and community causes. She is a great mentor and friend and I’m honoured to be following in her footsteps.”
Outgoing Lib Dem Group Leader Cllr Ruth Davis said:
“I am delighted that Claire has been chosen as my successor, and I have every confidence that she is the best person to lead the fight for better public services in next May’s elections. Although I am stepping down as group leader, I am not going anywhere. I hope to be re-elected as councillor for Yate Central in 2019, so I can continue to stand up for local residents.”
An anti-Brexit campaign bus made its way to Bradley Stoke today, as part of an 8 day tour of the country to tell the truth about the costs of leaving the EU. Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Thornbury & Yate, Claire Young, spoke at the “Is It Worth It?” campaign’s event.
Claire Young said: “Many people in South Gloucestershire voted for Brexit on the back of promises made by Boris Johnson that an extra £350 million a week would be available for the NHS. It’s now clear from the Government’s own economic analysis that this was a lie, and that the UK economy could stand to lose £2 billion a week as a result of Brexit, with a real cost in jobs, incomes, and the amount of money we have to spend on public services like the NHS. The point of the “Is it Worth It?” campaign is to call upon voters to demand a referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal – terms which were not set out in the 2016 referendum.”
Speaking at the event, Claire said:
“Brexit will dent public finances. That’s money that can’t be used to cut waiting times at Southmead hospital or to keep facilities like the Minor Injuries Unit at Yate open longer. That’s money that can’t be used to help care for the older people in our communities. That’s money that can’t be used to give better funding to our schools, which here in South Gloucestershire are now the worst funded in the country. That worries me as a parent.
“And it’s not just about money. The NHS and social care services rely heavily on EU staff who are already leaving the country, afraid for their future. Freedom of Information requests have revealed an alarming rise in the number of ambulance service staff from the rest of the EU leaving the service, at a time when there are increasing concerns about response times. A survey suggested that one in five European NHS doctors plan to leave the UK. Doctors can’t be replaced overnight. It takes around 10 years to train a GP, more like 14 for a surgeon.
“If in return for all the hits to the NHS, our jobs and so many other areas of our lives the final Brexit deal doesn’t give us more control, if instead it loses us power and influence, shouldn’t we have the chance to reject it and keep the good deal we already have in the EU?”
You can read more about the “Is It Worth It?” campaign at: www.isitworthit.org.uk
Liberal Democrat Councillors have spoken out about confusion over new recycling arrangements. Residents have complained that leaflets are difficult to understand and even the waste collection crews have been getting it wrong.
Lib Dem Communities spokesperson, Cllr Claire Young, said: “Many residents have told us that they have found the leaflets about the new recycling rules confusing. The leaflets say that items of the same kind should be grouped together in boxes, but don’t make it clear that all items can go into one box.”
Thornbury Councillor, Maggie Tyrrell, said: “Residents aren’t the only ones confused by the new rules. Even the collection crews seem to be unsure of how recycling should be sorted in boxes. When I, and other Thornbury residents, presented recycling in a single box, the crews refused to collect it. They gave us new recycling bags and a flyer telling us that we should sort our recycling into bags. This completely goes against the Council has told us!
“The Cabinet Member for Communities has apologised for the flyer and admitted that the new recycling bags should not have been issued. But honestly, how are residents supposed to get recycling rules right, when even the people collecting their waste aren’t sure of them?”
Cllr Young added, “The Conservative Cabinet Member responsible tells me that the leaflets were produced by professional designers to be easily understandable – but she admits that no members of the public were consulted over the wording of the leaflet. Perhaps in future local people could be asked to give it a ‘common sense’ test.”
Liberal Democrat councillor for Westerleigh ward, Claire Young, has called upon South Gloucestershire Council to step up their efforts to kick-start the regeneration of the “western gateway to Yate.”
Cllr Young said: “The recent sale of the Stover Road trading estate offers a golden opportunity for the Council to work with the new owners to map out a plan for redeveloping the site. The Conservative administration have been very good at setting out their plans for the vast numbers of new houses they intend to build around Yate, but they also need to offer a vision for how they intend to improve life for local residents. I would like to see a far greater ambition from this administration – with plans to improve the range of local employment opportunities and a much improved Yate station with better train and bus services.
“At last week’s meeting of Council I asked Cllr Matthew Riddle whether he would seek to bring together the owners of all the trading estates in order to kick start the regeneration of the western gateway to Yate - and whether he would commit to involving local councillors in that process. Cllr Riddle was non-comital, but said that he would think about it. I, and the other local councillors for the Yate area, would be happy to sit down with Cllr Riddle on a cross-party basis to advise him of what we think the Council’s priorities should be for the western gateway area. It would be a shame if the regeneration stalls because of a lack of leadership.”