We held our South Glos Annual General Meeting on 19 Nov (by video conferencing) with Martin Horwood - former MP for Cheltenham and MEP for South-West England - giving an insightful talk about the current state of populist politics and what we can do about it.
The following roles have been filled within the local party.
- President (Honorary) – Eddie Gadsby
- Chair – Karl Tomasin
- Vice Chair (Kingswood) – Ayrden Pocock
- Vice Chair (FABs) – Roger Allinson
- Secretary – Chris Willmore
- Treasurer – Andy Daer
- Membership Development Officer – Philippa Marsden
- Data Officer – Stephen Bingham
- Young Liberals – James Arrowsmith
- Diversity Officer – Recruitment in progress
- Ordinary Members – Claire Young, Louise Harris, Ruth Davis
The Liberal Democrats are asking people across our community who care for relatives to get in touch and share their story – to mark national Carers Rights Day.
Liberal Democrat party leader Ed Davey has said he wants the party to be a "strong voice" for the millions across the country – including 27 thousand [*] people in South Gloucestershire - who care for those who need it.
Ed himself knows the burden put on carers for family members - having been a carer for his mum when growing up and now caring for his disabled son.
Carers can get in touch and share their experiences at www.libdems.org.uk/carerssurvey
Claire Young, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on South Glos Council said:
"Millions of people across the country act as unpaid carers for loved ones. This year has highlighted more than ever the issues many of them face."
"If you are a carer - or someone who receives regular care support from a relative of a friend - we want to hear from you. Please get in touch with us and share your story."
* Unpaid carers reported in the last Census (2011)Read more
South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats have today called on the Chancellor to “level the playing field” to help small high streets compete with internet giants in the run up to Christmas.
The Liberal Democrats fear local shops hit by decreased footfall during the coronavirus pandemic will continue to struggle and have therefore proposed a new scheme in a similar vein to how the Eat Out to Help Out scheme aided restaurants.
To encourage people to shop local from home to save the high street, the Party wants to see the Government cover the costs of postage and have appealed to our three Conservative MPs - Luke Hall, Jack Lopresti & Chris Skidmore - to back the campaign.
The Federation of Small Businesses has welcomed the idea to help firms survive. Mike Cherry, National Chair of the Federation, said: "This is the type of creative idea that would boost small businesses and balance out the playing field.”
Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Thornbury & Yate, Claire Young, said:
“Small businesses in South Gloucestershire are worried about their ability to stay afloat over the coming months. For so many, Christmas is their most lucrative time of year but coronavirus restrictions have caused footfall to nosedive.
“When people turn online to do their Christmas shopping, free postage offers from online shopping giants are incredibly tempting. That makes it even tougher for small businesses, putting our high streets at further risk. Ministers must level the playing field.”
Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP added:
“In the Summer, the Chancellor launched a campaign to support the hospitality sector. We now need to see this Government go the extra mile to support small business in the festive period.
“We want the Chancellor to pay the postage on online purchases from small local independent shops to make them a more viable option for people hunting for Christmas presents and encourage people to shop small from home.”
Mike Cherry, National Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, said:
"This is the type of creative idea that would boost small businesses and balance out the playing field.
"We must do everything we can to help our small, independent stores.
“This is going to be the most important festive season our economy has ever seen and could be make-or-break for some of our small businesses.
"That's why we must pull out all the stops to help them survive the end of 2020 and beyond."Read more
People will not forget failure of South Glos MPs to back safe and legal routes for refugees, Lib Dems warn
The Liberal Democrats have today warned that people in South Gloucestershire "will not forget" the actions of their three Tory MPs, who voted against providing safe and legal routes to sanctuary for vulnerable refugees.
Last week Conservative MPs, including Luke Hall (Thornbury & Yate), Jack Lopresti (Filton & Bradley Stoke) and Chris Skidmore (Kingswood), rejected amendments to the Immigration Bill, despite four people, including children, tragically losing their lives trying to cross the Channel last week.
The Liberal Democrats, who are also urging the Public to back their petition, have committed to fight on.
In addition to safe and legal routes to sanctuary for vulnerable refugees, the Party wants to maintain the rights for refugees in Europe to be reunited with their families and ensure that unaccompanied child refugees can be resettled in the UK.
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Thornbury and Yate constituency, Claire Young said:
“With their inaction, this Conservative Government is leaving people to die.
“Providing safe and legal routes for refugees is the right thing to do. Not just because these are vulnerable people who deserve our help, but because it’s the best way to tackle criminal smugglers and stop people attempting dangerous Channel crossings.
“How our three Conservative MPs can look at themselves in the mirror knowing that they rejected proposals to ensure that unaccompanied child refugees can be resettled in the UK is beyond me. People will not forget.”
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael added:
"Just last week, yet more people tragically lost their lives trying to cross the Channel. It is utterly heartbreaking, especially for the friends and families left behind.
"It’s hard to imagine how desperate people must be to climb into these boats in search of a better life. It just isn't right that vulnerable people are left no choice but to make these perilous attempts.”
Image Credit: DVIDSHUB
Stephen Williams, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of the West of England, has told six local Conservative MPs, including our three South Gloucestershire MPs, that they should “hang their heads in shame for betraying their party’s promise to protect British farmers”.
The Tory MPs all voted against changes to the Agriculture Bill which would have ensured that Britain’s excellent food and animal welfare standards are guaranteed in any future trade deals.
The South Gloucestershire MPs who voted against protecting our farmers and our food were Luke Hall (Thornbury & Yate), Jack Lopresti (Filton & Bradley Stoke) and Chris Skidmore (Kingswood).
They all opposed measures to protect British farming and food standards from inferior imports. They did so despite over a million people signing a National Farmers' Union petition calling for the UK Government to put laws in place that prevent imports of food that is produced in ways that are illegal here in the UK.
The Liberal Democrats have committed to continuing the fight to protect British farmers, including exploring further amendments to the Trade Bill.
Stephen Williams added:
“The Conservatives promised to protect British farmers, but today they have betrayed that promise.
“We now risk seeing foods that are currently illegal in the UK - like hormone treated beef, and fruit and vegetables produced using banned pesticide - making it onto our supermarket shelves.
“The six local Tory MPs should hang their heads in shame. They have let everyone in the West Country down by putting loyalty to Boris Johnson ahead of the interests of farmers and consumers.”
Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat Rural Affairs Spokesperson said:
“Unlike the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats back British farming. We want the Government to work in partnership with UK farmers to protect our world class food and animal welfare standards, cut greenhouse gas emissions and support the recovery of our natural environment.”
Image: Stephen Williams (right) on a Somerset farm, standing up for local food and farmers