South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrat Leader demands urgent explanation of new Covid-19 Tiers

Covid Virus

Councillor Claire Young, Liberal Democrat Leader of the Opposition on South Gloucestershire Council has written to the Conservative Leader of the Council, asking for urgent clarification of the rationale behind today’s Government decision to keep South Gloucestershire in Tier 3, whilst moving Bristol and North Somerset down into Tier 2.

In an open letter to Councillor Savage, Councillor Young has asked the Leader of the Council to press the Government to urgently release the rational behind today’s decision.

Councillor Young said:

“Over the course of the pandemic the Government’s communication and messaging has been confused and confusing. More and more people are struggling to understand which rules they are meant to be following. Today’s decision, without explanation, will do nothing to bolster public confidence in the rules.

“I am asking the Leader of the Council to urgently clarify with his colleagues and friends in Central Government, why the decision has been taken to place South Gloucestershire and Bristol in separate Tiers.”

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Lib Dems urge Chancellor to increase support for South Gloucestershire's 6,610 Universal Credit claimants

Job Centre (Credit: HelenCobain)

Stephen Williams, Lib Dem candidate for West of England mayor, has condemned the Chancellor for failing to introduce a comprehensive plan to save jobs.  31,595 people in the West of England - 6,610 of whom live in South Gloucestershire - are currently on Universal Credit.

Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine criticised Rishi Sunak's "constant chop-and-change approach", urging him to put in place a proper plan to protect jobs as the Government still struggles to get a grip over rising cases of coronavirus.

The figures revealed that 5.1% of people of working age in West of England, and 3.7% of those in South Gloucestershire, are on Universal Credit.

The Liberal Democrats urged the Conservative West of England Mayor Tim Bowles to join their calls for the Chancellor to ensure that the furlough scheme remains in place until at least June 2021.  The Lib Dems also want the Government to overturn their decision to ignore the 3 million individuals still locked out of any Government coronavirus support schemes.

This follows the Liberal Democrats' call for the Prime Minister to negotiate a 6 month Brexit Adjustment Period to give local businesses crucial breathing space when the transition period finishes on 31st December.

Stephen Williams, Liberal Democrat candidate for the Mayor of the West of England said:

"These unemployment figures reveal just how many people in the West have been let down by this Conservative Government. Too many families will be worrying about how they're going to put food on the table this Christmas thanks to Rishi Sunak's failure to keep his promise that no-one would be left behind.

"That is why the Liberal Democrats have urged Tim Bowles to join us in urging the Chancellor to roll out more support for people in the West of England. Unfortunately, the pandemic is far from over and it is crucial we see the Government step up to support the most vulnerable in the coming months."

Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

“The Chancellor's constant chop-and-change approach to the furlough scheme and his inability to put together a comprehensive plan to save jobs is taking a huge toll.

“The Government must ensure furlough stays in place until at least June – and extend support to the three million people who still remain excluded from any support whatsoever. Just as crucially, Ministers must ensure there is an Adjustment Period for businesses before new trade rules begin, to avoid a second spike in redundancies.”

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Frampton Cotterell Councillors welcome fly tipping action

Flay Tipping Hoovers Lane

The Liberal Democrat councillors for Frampton Cotterell have welcomed news that bollards are due to be installed to at the entrances to Hoover’s Lane in the New Year to prevent fly tipping.

The lane, which is also known as Hover’s Lane and runs between Frampton End Road and Bristol Road, is a popular route for walkers and horse-riders but also a fly tipping hotspot. Last autumn Cllrs Tristan Clark and Claire Young met officers there to discuss local concerns and officers promised to talk to landowners about possible solutions. Covid delayed progress but in October Claire attended a further site meeting to discuss options.

Tristan Clark & Claire Young Hoover's Lane Oct 2019

It has now been agreed that bollards will be installed to prevent vehicle access to the bridleway. The bollards and fixings will be designed to be difficult to remove or damage and those authorised to access the lane in a vehicle (eg the council and landowners) will be able to fold them down. They will be spaced so horses and people can pass safely between them and will have hi-visibility, reflective tape around them so they can be easily seen and avoided.

Work to install the bollards is planned for January, providing the order arrives.

Cllr Claire Young (Lib Dem, Frampton Cotterell) said:

“I’m delighted that the council is installing bollards to prevent fly tipping on this lane, after we raised local people’s concerns. Fly tips are an eyesore, a danger to wildlife and expensive for landowners and the council to clear up. We will of course continue to push for action to prevent fly tipping on Frampton End Road.”

Cllr Tristan Clark (Lib Dem, Frampton Cotterell) said:

“After raising the recurring problem of fly tipping along the bridleway with council officers 18 months ago we welcome these new security measures. The illegal dumping of waste is a blight on our countryside and we’ll continue to work with the council to stop it from happening”

Cllr Jon Lean (Lib Dem, Frampton Cotterell) said:

“Fly tipping on Hover’s lane has been a long-standing problem. I welcome this solution which deters fly tipping whilst retaining access to the lane for authorised vehicles and other lane users.”

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Liberal Democrats call for more trains for Yate

Stephen Williams at Yate Railway Station

Liberal Democrat transport campaigners say the new rail timetable highlights once again the poor service received by the people in Yate.

There will still be just one train an hour into Bristol serving South Gloucestershire’s largest town. There is also one train per hour heading north into Gloucester. Many other trains pass through the station without stopping.

Local Liberal Democrats successfully campaigned to get the station re-opened in the 1980s and have been pushing for years to get extra services. Over 300,000 passenger journeys are made from the station each year, but many more of the 35,000 plus people who live in Yate and Chipping Sodbury would catch the train with more frequent services.

Planning the future of local rail services is led by The West of England regional Combined Authority. Stephen Williams, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of the West of England in next year’s election, said:

“The West of England must have the worst city region rail network in the country. Potential passengers can only look with envy at the level of service in nearby Cardiff or Birmingham. Yate residents have had to endure just one train per hour for the last 30 years when in that period there has been a huge expansion of houses in the town.

“The prospect of extra trains has been discussed for over a decade but nothing has changed. We don’t need more talk, we need action. The current Conservative Mayor has failed to deliver any local rail improvements.

“I want to see an extra train each hour stopping at Yate, which could come in at the same time as the re-opening of Charfield station in a few years time. If I were Regional Mayor there would be a much greater sense of urgency about delivering a transformation of our local rail and bus services, helping to turn the region carbon neutral by 2030.”

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Council gives unanimous support to Liberal Democrat motion on tackling stalkers and domestic abusers

Domestic Abuse

South Gloucestershire councillors have unanimously supported a motion proposed by the opposition Liberal Democrat Group on tackling stalkers and domestic abusers.

The motion, proposed by Yate North councillor Ben Nutland, highlighted the scale of the scourge that is domestic abuse across the country – with evidence having shown that domestic abuse has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Proposing the motion, Councillor Nutland said:

“On average a woman is killed by a man every three days in this country.

“One in four women in this country will suffer domestic violence in their lifetime.  One in four.

“Three-quarters of violence against women happens in a place where a woman should feel safest – her own home.

“I think colleagues on all sides will agree with me that these are truly shocking statistics.

“By passing this motion tonight we send out a clear signal for those who suffer in silence, that they can speak out and receive the help they need. We can change the narrative from ‘Why doesn’t she just leave?’ to ‘Why doesn’t he just stop?’.

“Domestic abuse is everyone’s problem and the solution must be too.”

Seconding the motion, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Yate Central, Ruth Davis said:

“It’s about stopping the perpetrators not stigmatising the victims.

“We’ve got to get this right, if anything the most important things are the cultural shift, that we prioritise stopping perpetrators and asking them why they do it and including the details of stalkers and domestic abusers on the Violent and Sexual Offenders Register.”

By passing Councillor Nutland’s motion, the Council gave it’s support to:

  • The proactive identification, assessment and management, by the police and probation service, of domestic abusers.
  • A cultural shift, whereby greater emphasis is given to identifying and stopping the perpetrators of domestic abuse.
  • The details of stalkers and domestic abusers being included in the Violent and Sexual Offenders Register.

The Chief Executive of the Council will now write to the Home Secretary and the Avon & Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner setting out the Council’s position and asking her to take action.

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