Bristol charity backs Lib Dem campaign for end of life care for homeless people

Help Bristol’s Homeless have given their backing to the campaign to provide housing and end of life care to homeless people who are diagnosed with terminal illnesses.

Liberal Democrat MP Ed Davey presented his Ten-minute rule bill in 2018 on the issue and is due to have its second reading on Friday. The bill will make provisions about end of life care and support for homeless people with terminal illnesses, including through the provision of housing for such people; and for connected purposes, support which is currently inaccessible.

ONS statistics released in December revealed that an estimated 597 homeless people died in England and Wales in 2017, with many dying as a result of long-term fatal illnesses. As a result, the average life expectancy for homeless people is between only 42 and 47.

Jasper Thompson, founder of Help Bristol’s Homeless, said:

“Everyone should be entitled to live out their last weeks and months in a safe and secure place with dignity.

"The homeless community should not have to have the additional worry of how they are going to manage their end of life diagnosis and instead it should be automatic that they are accommodated.”

James Cox, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Bristol West, added:

“It’s great to have Jasper and his team’s support for this vital campaign to ensure that everyone in our community has a right to dignity in death.

“Being diagnosed with a terminal illness is one of the most frightening things a person can go through. Knowing that you will likely spend your final days on the streets alone and in pain must be a terror which is beyond most of our imaginations.

“This is a campaign on dignity that I believe Bristol and the rest of the country can get behind. We are asking the government to make this small change that can make such a huge difference. I’m proud to start it here and I look forward to where it can go.

Ed Davey MP, who introduced the bill, added:

“In the 21st century, it’s a scandal that people are dying on our streets with no home and often in great pain.

“Liberal Democrats demand better. We must change the law so anyone that is terminally ill gets the treatment, the shelter, and the dignity they deserve.”

 

ENDS


Cox: Time to Call a People's Vote

Following tonight's overwhelming defeat of the government's Brexit bill, James Cox, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Bristol West, said:

"Parliament has delivered its verdict on the Brexit deal and it is overwhelming. This deal is wrong for Bristol and wrong for Britain. 

"The only way forward now is to give the people the final say on the deal through a people's vote with the option to remain in the European Union. Liberal Democrats have been calling for it from day one and we will continue to lead the fight in Parliament, Bristol and the country. 

"Our MP and the Labour Party needs to find their backbone, drop their plans to deliver a Labour Brexit and join me and the Liberal Democrats in calling for a People's Vote. 

The government has lost by a majority of 230 and a vote of no confidence in the government has been called for Wednesday. 


Demand Better for Bristol Energy

Bristol Liberal Democrats have criticised the City Council's handling of Bristol Energy, after the community energy company posted over £11million in loses for 2018.

Whilst the idea was conceived in 2010 under the Liberal Democrat administration, due to implementation delays under the Ferguson administration it was launched to much fanfare in 2016 by Mayor Rees. The company is funded by taxpayers and has yet to place a profit.

Cllr Tim Kent, Lib Dem Councillor for Hengrove & Whitchurch Park, said:

"This could be the largest financial mess in the history of the council. Possibly dwarfs even the Bundred Report.

"It would appear very unlikely that the tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers loans to the company will ever be repaid.

"Liberal Democrats demand better. It's important to encourage community energy schemes and diversify the energy market, but when you're playing with taxpayers' money, you need to make sure you have a plan to make a profit. We are yet to see that plan."

The Liberal Democrats want to expand community energy schemes, encourage councils to develop community energy saving projects and local electricity generation and promote city-scale demonstration projects in electric vehicles and clean energy and continue to back new entrants to the energy market, aiming for at least 30% of the household market to be supplied by competitors to the ‘Big 6’ by 2022.


Bristol Lib Dems Remember Paddy Ashdown

Former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown has died, aged 77, following a short spell with cancer. 

Paddy Ashdown served as MP for Yeovil from 1983-2001, before becoming the UN High Commissioner to Bosnia & Herzegovina. Paddy more than doubled the number of Lib Dem MPs during his time as leader and will be remembered for his integrity, compassion and optimism.

Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat leader, has said:

"He inspired the Liberal Democrats from a polling position he famously described as ‘represented by an asterisk’, to become a formidable campaigning force, doubling the party’s representation to 46 MPs and laying the ground for the strength which later took the party into government."

"He will be sadly missed in all parts of politics and Parliament."

Stephen Williams, former MP for Bristol West and colleagues with Paddy, added:

"This news makes me very sad and tearful. So many memories. At a time when liberalism was on the floor he picked it up, marshalled its forces, gave orders and sent us into battle with so many victories as a result."

James Cox, Parliamentary Candidate for Bristol West, also added:

"Paddy was a hero. He saved Liberalism in Britain, he stood up for the underdog and won and was one of politics' greatest thinkers. His voice of reassurance, hope and justice is needed now more than ever. Thank you, Paddy, for everything. We will miss you."

Andrew Brown, Parliamentary Candidate for Bristol South, commented:

"The party and the country has lost a statesman, at a time when people of his calibre are in short supply."

On online book of condolence has been set up. Please feel free to add your comments to it: www.libdems.org.uk/book-of-condolence-paddy-ashdown


Nation to follow Bristol with weekly food waste collection

The Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has today announced its intentions to introduce nationwide weekly food waste collections. 

The move follows the example of several local authorities, such as Bristol, as a means to increase recycling rates and reduce landfill emissions. 

This development has been welcomed by the Bristol Liberal Democrats, who have pointed out the environmental damage and economic cost that has been enforced on the country whilst it waited to follow Bristol's example. 

Cllr Gary Hopkins, Deputy Leader of the Bristol Lib Dem Group and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Waste & Environment in 2006, said:

"The Liberal Democrats introduced weekly food waste collection to Bristol in 2006. Many, but not all, councils have since followed, but in those 13 years how many tons of methane, which is 23 times more damaging to the atmosphere than CO2, have been pumped into our air and how much energy has been wasted producing fertilisers that we have recovered from waste food?"

The Local Government Association warned the plans ‘need to be fully funded’. Latest figures show 248 out of 326 councils in England — 76 per cent — have only fortnightly rubbish collections.

Every year, it is estimated, the UK wastes 10 million tonnes of food with a value of over £17 billion. It is associated with around 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Environmental groups have given their measured support for the scheme but have raised concerns over the perceived reliance on 'voluntary' measures. 

Defra has said they will seek to address all raised concerns during the consultation in 2019.


Government immigration plan 'threatens the heart of Bristol'

Govt immigration plan 'threatens the heart of Bristol'

The Home Secretary has announced his intentions to cut the number of EU nationals migrating to the UK by 80% as part of the government's post-Brexit immigration shake-up. 

The move has been heavily criticised as an extension of the controversial 'hostile environment' toward migrants. The government is expected to publish its long-awaited immigration white paper by the end of the year, which is already set to include a new minimum salary of £30,000 a year. 

The plans, as outlined by Bristol-raised Sajid Javid, would see high-skilled migration from the EU fall from 14,000 to 11,000 a year. Meanwhile, medium-skilled migrants are set to plummet from 18,500 to just 4,500 in the government's attempts to reach its own targets. 

Responding to the announcement, James Cox, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Bristol West said:

"To want to actively deter high skilled people from contributing to our country is ridiculous and tells the world that far from opening ourselves up, Britain is closed for business. 

"EU nationals, including those who earn less than the arbitrary minimum, work for our digital industries, our NHS, our schools and higher-education sector. 

"An immigration system based on ideological prejudice rather than the needs of our communities threatens the heart of Bristol. We are a city which is strong not in spite of our differences, but because of them. 

"Liberal Democrats demand better. Our immigration system should be fair and indicate the ambition that we have for Bristol and for the country. The government hasn't learned the lessons from Windrush and the livelihoods of my constituents are once again being put at risk by the very worst of our politics. 


Mayor accused of 'cover-up' over CEO Payout

Mayor accused of 'cover-up' over CEO Payout

Mayor Marvin Rees has been accused of a 'cover-up' over the payout to former Bristol City Council CEO Anna Klonowski.

The accusations come after a peculiar series of events at Tuesday’s Full Council meeting. At the meeting, Graham Donald, who started a petition for a full council debate over the CEO payoff, commented that the Mayor failed to answer his question and his supplementary.

Graham also noted that his question, which had been 'forgotten' from the last council meeting despite being submitted before the deadline, had also been edited. The question itself then appeared on the monitors in truncated form, unlike every other question which was asked. It was also noted by others that no paper copies of Questions from the public were available in the gallery, unlike most other previous meetings.

Responding to this Graham Donald, local Westbury-on-Trym & Henleaze campaigner, said:

“This all looks like a cover-up to me. Why was I not allowed even to mention Anna Klonowski’s name in my Question, despite this issue having been in the media for months – where did this new rule come from?

"The Mayor told me in March that the payment to her was £70K and required by her contract, but the city council’s auditors say that it wasn’t contractual and we now know her departure cost Bristol £98K. Why these differences? The Mayor just responded by attacking the auditors.

"When I asked the Mayor what lessons might be learnt in the recruitment and management of senior officers, we were treated to a speech about how much he had improved the city council’s governance and management. I do wonder if he’s living in a parallel universe.”


Cox: Labour now has the power to stop Brexit if it wants to

Following the Prime Minister's intention to delay the meaningful vote in Parliament on the Brexit deal, Bristol West Parliamentary Spokesperson James Cox has joined Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable in calling for a vote of no confidence in the government. 

Read more

Bristol can lead the way on drug reform

Liberal Democrats Home Affairs Spokesperson and former cabinet minister Sir Ed Davey MP joined Bristol West Prospective MP James Cox on a visit to Bristol Drugs Project to look at the drug and addiction-related issues faced in Bristol. 

Read more

Remain vote increases in Bristol as pressure grows for a People's Vote

Bristol Liberal Democrats are putting pressure on Bristol Labour MPs to back a People's Vote on the Brexit deal as constituency polling suggests that support for remaining in the EU has increased across the Bristol. 

The Survation poll, which was commisioned by Channel 4 and is the largest and most comprehensive poll since the referendum, has found that support for leaving the EU has fallen across Bristol, and with support for the Prime Minister's Brexit deal in a minority. 

Constituency estimates have now been published and show a clear swing from Leave to Remain. Bristol West remains one of the highest Remain-supporting constituencies in the country, with just 16.72% of voters wanting to leave the European Union. Despite this, Labour MP Thangam Debbonaire has consistently opposed a People's Vote. 

James Cox, Liberal Democrat Prospective MP for Bristol West, said:

"The numbers show very clearly that support for remaining in the EU has not dimmed but has grown in Bristol West. When I talk to people on the doorstep, they are very clear about their vision for their country. They want young people to have good opportunities, refugees to be welcomed not vilified, and for us to work with our neighbours to tackle climate change. I share that vision, which I believe will only be realised if we stay in the EU.

"Despite this, we have an MP who openly backs a Norway-style deal over a People's Vote. This is completely at odds with what is right for her constituents and what her constituents want. Bristol West wants a remain-supporting MP, not a soft Brexiteer. It's time Labour MPs stopped helping the Conservatives deliver Brexit and joined us in stopping it."

Bristol South had the highest leave vote in the city, with 47.1% of voters backing Leave. However, the poll now suggests that this number has shrunk to just 40%, with 60% now in favour of remaining in the EU.

Andrew Brown, Liberal Democrat Prospective MP for Bristol South, said:

"The data suggests that as the reality of Brexit has become clearer, people who previously voted leave are switching their view, with only 4 in 10 people in Bristol South now supporting leave. It is time for people to be 'given back control' of the Brexit process and for Karin Smyth to support a People's Vote."

The data also suggests that support for the Prime Minister's deal is in a significant majority in Bristol, with an estimated just 39.2% supporting the heavily criticised deal. 

MPs will be voting on Mrs May's deal on December 12th, with all Bristol's MPs expected to vote against it. 

   

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