Many congratulations to Steve Webb on being awarded a Knighthood for Political and Public Service in the New Year Honours.
As our MP for 18 years, he was a passionate local campaigner, dedicated to helping people in our constituency. He was also a highly regarded Minister for Pensions for five years. Thanks to Steve, the state pension is protected by the "triple lock", people have more freedom about how they use their pension pots and millions of low paid workers are saving for a pension for the first time. It's great to see his hard work both locally and nationally being recognised.
Steve has been keen to say that his honour is the end result of a fabulous team effort over so many years. If you would like to help continue this, please get involved. You can get in touch at http://www.southgloslibdems.org.uk/volunteer
As we approach the Christmas and New Year period, we thought it might be useful to bring together in one place some information about the availability of local services over the holiday period. This includes everything from opening hours for emergency chemists to arrangements for recycling your Christmas tree.
We hope that this information is helpful. May we take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very Happy Christmas.
Bin Collection Dates
There are some changes to waste and recycling collection over the Christmas period:
|If your collection should be:||It will take place on:|
|Monday 26 December||Tuesday 27 December|
|Tuesday 27 December||Wednesday 28 December|
|Wednesday 28 December||Thursday 29 December|
|Thursday 29 December||Friday 30 December|
|Friday 30 December||Saturday 31 December|
You can check your precise date and what will be collected at http://www.southglos.gov.uk/environment-and-planning/recycling-rubbish-and-waste/check-your-collection-date/
Recycling your Christmas Tree
Before you recycle your tree remove all decorations, pots and stands.
Using the garden waste service
Green bin collection (subscription only): If you have subscribed to the garden waste service you can put your tree into or next to your green bin. Alternatively you can buy a single use garden waste sack for £2 from your nearest library or Country Stores at 48 High Street, Marshfield, SN14 8LP. Just attach the sack to the tree for a special one off collection after Christmas. If your tree is over 6ft, it must be cut up into smaller sections for collection or taken to the Sort It recycling centre
Taking it to a recycling centre
You can recycle your tree at one of four Sort It recycling centres. Real Christmas trees need to go into the skip for garden (green) waste, not the wood waste skip. Don’t forget to remove all decorations, pots and stands before recycling.
Out of Hours Pharmacies Times
You can view all opening times for South Gloucestershire pharmacies over the Christmas period here: https://www.southgloucestershireccg.nhs.uk/your-health-local-services/health-services/self-care-pharmacies-and-gps/gp-pharmacy-opening-hours/
Train engineering times over the Christmas period
From Saturday 24th December until Thursday 29th December London Paddington will be closed to all rail services. This will mean that GWR rail services will start and finish at Ealing Broadway, from where you can take the underground or a bus. However, the station does not have step-free access. So if you are travelling with heavy luggage or find steps difficult for any reason you will need to change at Reading and use services from there to London Waterloo. Unfortunately that will mean a longer journey.
You can find out more on the GWR website.
Certain buses in the West of England will be running different timetables over the Christmas period. Some may be running Saturday timetables on weekdays, or running Sunday & Public Holiday timetables on public holidays. Some are running special timetables which are neither their weekday nor weekend timetables.
More information is available here.
Broadband campaigners have welcomed the announcement that a number of villages across the Thornbury and Yate area will get a better, more future-proof service.
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Thornbury and Yate, Claire Young, said:
"We are delighted that South Gloucestershire Council has finally listened to our pleas for a more future-proof solution taking fibre all the way to individual houses. We have been campaigning with people living in the rural areas who know that the simply upgrading the lines going into the green cabinets to fibre doesn't work. If your house is connected to the cabinet by a long copper wire your broadband will still be slow and unreliable. Yet until now tax-payers' money has been spent on this out-dated solution in South Gloucestershire."
Cllr Sue Hope (Lib Dem, Cotswold Edge) said:
"This is great news for the villages that will be upgraded. Broadband is becoming an essential service, with everything from booking a doctor's appointment to tracking what your MP is up to happening online. Our businesses need fast internet access to remain competitive, it's central to the modern economy."
She added, "There will still be villages crying out for faster broadband, places like West Littleton where Claire and I met campaigners in the summer. We will keep fighting until all our residents have broadband access that's fast enough for today's needs and well into the future."
Statement from South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats on the withdrawal of the Oasis Community Learning bid to take over Winterbourne International Academy:
Eva Lily Fielding, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Filton and Bradley Stoke and Claire Young, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Thornbury and Yate, said:
"We welcome today's news that Oasis Community Learning has withdrawn its bid to take over Winterbourne International Academy. They faced overwhelming opposition from parents, students, teachers and the local community. Well done to everyone involved in the campaign.
This is not the end of the story. The Ridings Federation still has a Financial Notice to Improve hanging over it and needs a recovery plan to get it back on track. We're sure everyone locally will want to work together to ensure a bright future for both Winterbourne International Academy and Yate International Academy."
"This has also thrown up wider issues about how the Government deals with academies that face difficulties. Parents have been shocked by the lack of transparency and the fact that there is no direct way for them to have their say. I have written to the National Schools Commissioner expressing concerns not just about this situation but also the wider questions it raises."
After an angry debate where the Conservative deputy Leader of Council was ordered to apologise, South Glos Tories voted to exclude most councillors from future decision making. Instead, power will be concentrated in the hands of just a few cabinet members, who can make decisions behind closed doors.
Ruth Davis, Lib Dem leader and former leader of a Cabinet in South Glos, said:
“Cabinets are the worst system we have tried. You either believe in allowing members to speak, or you do not. We have been through all the configurations – and we would always come back to the one we currently have. We shouldn’t be concentrating power like this. We were one of the first councils in the country to go back to committees, to involve as many members as possible. We achieved a 4* rating through collegiate working! Now that’s all gone.”
Deputy Lib Dem leader Cllr Claire Young (Westerleigh) proposed that the new scrutiny commission – which will question the decisions of the administration – should be chaired by a member of an opposition group.
“As liberals, we believe in open, democratic decision making. We feel that it is vital for proper scrutiny that the ruling group does not manage the meetings where the administration is being scrutinised. They shouldn’t be left to scrutinise themselves.”
Tories unanimously voted down this amendment, and another suggesting that all parties be involved in writing the new constitution.