Figures reveal 4 in 5 Christmas burglaries in Avon & Somerset go unsolved

Crime

Most burglaries committed in Avon & Somerset during the Christmas period go unsolved by the police, new analysis by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

960 burglaries in Avon & Somerset went unsolved by police in the period between October and December 2020.

Overall, 81.6% of burglary cases in Avon & Somerset recorded between October and December over the past five years went unsolved. This compares to 78.6% burglaries going unsolved during the rest of the year.

The figures also reveal there is usually a spike in burglaries over the Christmas period in the area. In the last five years, police recorded an average of 119 domestic burglaries per week in October, November and December. This compares to an average of 116 burglaries a week during the rest of the year.

The period between Christmas and New Year can prove particularly fruitful for burglars, with homes full of new presents left empty as occupants visit family elsewhere. The Liberal Democrats are calling for a return to community policing to keep families safe and bring criminals committing burglaries to justice. 

Claire Young, Leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition on South Glos Council said:

“Everyone should be able to feel safe in their own homes over the Christmas period, and know that if someone does break in they will be caught and punished. But with the vast majority of burglaries going unsolved, that’s simply not the case for far too many people.

“This Conservative government’s failure to tackle crime is letting victims down and letting criminals get away with it.

“Liberal Democrats are working hard to make our communities safe and help residents feel safe too. We need a return to proper community policing, where officers are visible, trusted and known personally to local people.”

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Liberal Democrats demand fairer fares for our villages

Bus in Yate

South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats have renewed their calls for fairer bus fares in the area covering Yate and Thornbury.

This Christmas First Bus has allowed people to travel anywhere in the Bristol Travel Zone in the evening for £1 – but there has been no equivalent for those of us in the West of England Zone. Speaking at the December South Gloucestershire Council meeting, Councillor Claire Young, Liberal Democrat Leader of the Opposition on the Council, said:

“The unfairness of rural bus prices in South Gloucestershire isn’t just for Christmas.

"If I lived in Lympsham, just over 4 miles from the Grand Pier Weston-super-Mare, I could travel not only there but anywhere in Weston Super Mare and the surrounding villages for £2.20 for all my journeys for the whole day. Just to get a single ticket for the 2 mile journey from my home in Coalpit Heath to Yate Bus Station costs £2.50 and if I want to get a day pass I have to spend £6.60 to get one for the whole of the West of England.

"First Bus heeded our calls for a low flat rate fare within Yate and Thornbury. Will the Executive Member now join us in pushing for a travel zone for Yate and Thornbury and the nearby villages, like the one round Weston Super Mare?”

The Liberal Democrats have started a petition calling for a new zone around Yate and Thornbury, so that people making multiple bus journeys in the area don’t have to pay as much to travel to and around their local town as they would to travel all the way to Weston-super-Mare, Devizes or Street. 

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Top South Gloucestershire Tory admits Government “could do more” on Social Care Funding

Hands of Elderly Woman

Following the Chair of the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP’s criticism of the Government over the inadequate funding of social care (£1.7 billion over 3 years, rather than the £7 billion a year needed), Councillor Ben Nutland tabled a question at last week’s South Gloucestershire Council meeting, asking the council’s Conservative Cabinet Member for Adults and Housing if he agreed with his party colleague Mr Hunt.

Councillor Ben Nutland, Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet Member for Adults, Public Health and Equality of Opportunity asked:

“As you state in your written response there is a need for more funding to meet the pressures we face, would you concede that the Government has failed to adequately fund South Gloucestershire Council to meet the need of local residents.”

Having been pushed for an answer on the adequacy of the Government’s funding of South Gloucestershire Council, Councillor Ben Stokes said:

“I feel the Government could do more, I feel the Government could always do more, is it an issue of failure? No. Because the issue of social care exists beyond purely the Government coming up with financial solutions. The issue of social care funding is a much bigger dimension than individual Government solutions. I would not say that, is my answer.”

Commenting after the meeting, Councillor Ben Nutland said:

“However much he tries to dodge the question, the Cabinet Member cannot get away from the fact that social care in South Gloucestershire, and across the country, is facing a funding and resources crisis.

“When he took office the Prime Minister said he had an oven ready plan to fix social care, but his oven ready plan has turned out to be half baked.

“Earlier this year the Government announced higher taxes on workers, apparently to fix the care crisis, but as time goes by we are learning that most of the extra money they are taking from (often low-paid) workers isn’t going to fund the social care crisis at all and the limited new money which will go to social care falls far short of what is needed.

“I welcome the Cabinet Member’s reluctant acknowledgement that the Government is still a long way from fixing the crisis.

“We need urgent action now from the Government to build a fair and sustainable social care system.”

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Shock by-election win paves way for Lib Dem gains in South Gloucestershire

South Glos Campaigners in North Shropshire

Liberal Democrats across the country are celebrating the extraordinary by-election victory overnight in North Shropshire. Many South Gloucestershire members contributed to the campaign. Some visited in-person to deliver literature or canvas voters, while others manned the phones or simply made a financial contribution.

The Liberal Democrats are on track to win seats across the country at the next General Election, including in South Gloucestershire, following this historic victory. 

North Shropshire was previously considered a safe Conservative seat, with a majority of almost 23,000 votes. It is the second parliamentary by-election the Liberal Democrats have won against the Conservatives this year, following their victory in Chesham and Amersham over the summer. 

The Liberal Democrats have been winning locally in recent elections. In South Gloucestershire they were the only party to gain seats in the last Local Elections, and came extremely close to winning the previously safe Conservative ward of Frenchay and Downend in a by-election earlier this year.

Claire Young, Leader of the Lib Dem Opposition on South Glos Council, and candidate for Thornbury and Yate Westminster Constituency in 2019, believes the party’s win in North Shropshire could pave the way for wins at the next General Election locally. 

She said:

“We saw last night in North Shropshire that people are fed up with being ignored and taken for granted by the Conservatives. 

“In South Gloucestershire, just like in North Shropshire, voters can back the Liberal Democrats to send Boris Johnson’s Conservatives a clear message.

“If we can win in North Shropshire, then we can win here.

“I have been swamped by messages from local people who are appalled by Boris Johnson’s behaviour over alleged illegal parties under his own roof and his inability to be honest about it.

“The Liberal Democrats believe people deserve a fair deal where everyone plays by the same rules – including those in Downing Street. We will deliver that fair deal with good schools, safe streets, and high-quality healthcare.”

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Local Tory MPs must condemn No.10 Christmas Party behaviour

Boris Johnson Clown Street Art

Responding to the ITV video which shows Downing Street staff laughing last year about a Christmas party being held, the leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition group on South Gloucestershire Council, Claire Young, said:

"Our local Conservative MPs - Luke Hall, Jack Lopresti and Chris Skidmore - must condemn Boris Johnson's behaviour and apologise on behalf of their party.
 
"Boris Johnson's Conservative party is taking this country for fools. People in this area will see right through his poor excuses and evasive answers.
 
"People in South Gloucestershire spent their Christmas away from loved ones, and sadly too many, lost family and friends to this awful virus. At a time of great sacrifice when the pandemic was at it's worst, it is disgraceful to think that people in Downing Street were laughing about holding a Christmas party
 
"Enough is enough. This government must be held accountable to an inquiry into all their rule breaking; from Barnard Castle to this latest episode. It cannot be one rule for them and another for the rest of us"
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