Government must cancel October energy price rise to save families in South Gloucestershire over £1500 a year

South Gloucestershire's Liberal Democrats have called on the Government to spare families from soaring energy bills by cancelling October’s price cap increase, accusing the Conservatives of “stalling in the face of a national emergency”.

The bold plan would save a typical household in South Gloucestershire an extra £1570 a year. The 70% increase in the energy price cap expected to be announced by Ofgem later this month would be cancelled, with the Government instead paying the shortfall to energy suppliers so that they can afford to supply customers at the current rates.

The Liberal Democrats say the estimated £36 billion cost should be met by expanding the windfall tax on oil and gas company profits, and using the Government’s higher-than-expected VAT revenues as a result of soaring inflation.

The party is also calling for more targeted support for vulnerable and low income households. This would include doubling the Warm Homes Discount to £300 and extending it to all those on Universal Credit and Pension Credit, while investing in insulating fuel poor homes to bring prices down in the long term.

South Glos Lib Dem leader Cllr Claire Young says:

“Hard-working families in South Glos are already struggling to make ends meet, and are deeply concerned about how they will cope with the predicted rise in energy bills.

“This Conservative Government is stalling in the face of a national emergency and, yet again, is simply not doing enough to put money back in the pockets of hard-working people.

“Countless families and pensioners are already struggling, and they cannot wait for a new Conservative leader to act.

“This is an emergency, and the Government must step in now to help families and pensioners in cancelling the planned rise in energy bills this October.”

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The Conservative Government is failing to deliver the promised 456 more police officers for Avon and Somerset

Police on duty

Analysis of Home Office statistics by the Liberal Democrats has shown that a total of 318 extra officers have been recruited by Avon and Somerset Police under the Government’s uplift programme that started in September 2019.

It also reveals that Avon and Somerset Police only recruited an extra 25 officers under the campaign in the last three months – fewer than are needed to meet the Conservatives’ pledge of 20,000 more officers nationwide by March 2023.

To meet the Conservatives' own target of 456 by March 2023, that rate would have to increase to 15 per month over the final nine months of the programme.

South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats have slammed the government for failing to keep their promise to communities, adding that there needs to be a return to full and proper community policing. 

Responding to the figures, South Glos Lib Dem leader Cllr Claire Young said:

“People in the region are being let down and taken for granted by this Conservative Government. With so many local crimes going unsolved, we desperately need more police on our streets and in our communities. 

“Liberal Democrats are calling for a return to proper community policing, where officers are visible, trusted and known personally to local people. At the moment our local beat teams are having to do response work rather than community policing as they are so overstretched”

“The Conservatives’ pledge to boost police officer numbers looks set to become yet another of their broken promises. They are letting down victims of crime and our communities right across our area.”

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Frampton Cotterell to host Nature Reserve in victory for Lib Dems and Frampton Cotterell Nature Group

Cllrs Clark, Young & Lean at Frampton End farm

South Glos Council has proposed converting the council owned land at Frampton End Farm into a Nature Reserve to support the delivery of the council’s Climate Emergency Declaration.

The proposal is to use the land to promote nature recovery, biodiversity gain, floodplain reconnection and to create a River Reserve.

Frampton Cotterell Lib Dem councillors Claire Young, Tristan Clark and Jon Lean have been supporting a campaign based on ideas by the Frampton Cotterell Nature Group to see the land preserved for nature. They are delighted that the council has listened and made its intention for the land clear.

Claire Young, also the leader of the Lib Dem group on South Glos Council said,

“Many residents were horrified when Tory run South Glos put forward Frampton End Farm as a site suitable for development in the 2020 call for sites. From the start, we told council officials how important this site is to local people. We said this land should be preserved for wildlife, not built on – and we have kept pressure on the council since then by reiterating this message and supporting Frampton Cotterell Nature Group’s ideas for the land.”

Tristan Clark added,

“We thank the Frampton Cotterell Nature Group and want to make sure that the council works with them and other local people as they draw up the plans. Residents are happy at the prospect of this land being protected at a time when so much of our valuable countryside is under threat from inappropriate development.”

The council has said the Nature Reserve will be created over the next few years following input from a range of interested parties including local residents.

Jon Lean said,

“I’m pleased that the council has agreed to protect this widely used land for biodiversity gain and for residents. This is a very important announcement for our area, but we mustn’t stop here. Our next task is to set up a meeting between Frampton Cotterell Nature Group and council officials so the Nature Group can present their ideas in more detail. We must ensure a plan emerges that will allow wildlife to flourish within a unique and accessible area that can be enjoyed by all residents.”

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South Gloucestershire Lib Dems welcome new cycleway schemes

Missing cycle link campaign

At Friday's WECA meeting with the Metro Mayor, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on South Gloucestershire Council, Cllr Claire Young spoke in support of the Yate Spur and Alveston Hill Cycleway schemes.

In a statement ahead of the meeting, Cllr Young said:

“The Alveston Hill scheme will greatly improve cycle access between the A38 and Thornbury, where the narrowness of the road and the lack of land to widen it has been a major barrier to cycling in the area.  Parents don’t let their children cycle to Marlwood School from Thornbury because the hill is seen as dangerous. This proposed funding is the only realistic opportunity we’ve seen to acquire the land needed to make the scheme a reality.

“My Liberal Democrat colleagues and I have been campaigning for the Yate Spur cycle path for many years. With progress slowing, in 2014 we launched a petition calling for the completion of the route.  We hope that the decision made today will mean that the route will finally be completed. This will multiply many times the benefits of the investment in the previous stages and open up the Bristol Bath cycle path to more people. “

Speaking at the meeting Cllr Young said:

“I urge you to support those schemes this afternoon and bear in mind future opportunities to expand the network, such as the Frog Lane Colliery Dramway route.”

This route would link Coalpit Heath to the Yate spur. Cllr Young and her ward colleagues Cllr Jon Lean and Cllr Tristan Clark have already discussed it on site with South Gloucestershire’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Environment and Strategic Infrastructure.

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Save Our Buses Campaign Continues

Save Our Buses Campaign

Liberal Democrats are calling for the West of England Mayor to work with them to find creative ways to deliver better bus services for local people. 

South Gloucestershire residents have become increasingly frustrated following bus cuts in April and frequent delays and cancellations. Thornbury lost its T2 service, leaving local people without a direct service to Southmead Hospital and the college at Filton. Residents of Bradley Stoke were shocked when the 73 was re-routed without them being informed and the Y4 now terminates at Yate Park and Ride rather than the town centre. The Y2 was cut, leaving Yate residents without access to medical services in Downend and those from Downend unable to travel to Yate Shopping Centre. The services that are available have been plagued by unreliability.

At the WECA meeting on Friday 1st July, Cllr Claire Young, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on South Gloucestershire council, submitted a petition with over 700 signatures calling for the cuts in services to be reversed and for more frequent, reliable and affordable services.

Speaking at the meeting Cllr Young said:

“After the disruption of the lockdowns and with fuel prices soaring, we have a real opportunity now to convince people that there are better ways of getting around than always going by car. The problem is that when people look at trying the bus, the services aren’t available to go where they want to go, when they want to go, or if they are, they find them unreliable. Too many people are telling us they’ve tried, it didn’t work, never again.

“We need to be thinking in a radical way, not tinkering around the edges. We are really keen to work with you on creative solutions so that using the bus becomes an option for many more people for many more journeys.”

Lib Dem Councillor Maggie Tyrrell (Thornbury) has succeeded in getting WECA Mayor Dan Norris invited to a scrutiny meeting at South Glos council on 6th July to answer questions about exactly how he intends to provide a useful bus service. She said:

“We have heard from people the impact of losing bus services on their lives - not being able to get to college, missing hospital appointments and finding it difficult to get to work - which is why we were keen to get WECA mayor and bus operators to our meeting to answer how they will make improvements to bus services for residents of South Gloucestershire.”

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