Lib Dems say Cross-party approval needed in Arena decision

Bristol Liberal Democrats have called for consensus and co-operation amongst councillors in the upcoming debate over the location of the Bristol Arena.

The Liberal Democrats, along with the Green Party, Conservatives and members of the Labour Group, have pushed for an extraordinary council debate aiming to deal with the confusion and controversy surrounding the latest developments in the Arena saga.

Cllr Anthony Negus, Leader of the Bristol Lib Dems Group, said:

"When we first proposed this way of having a meaningful open debate before a unilateral decision had been taken we stressed two intentions. Firstly, that this initiative should come from all parties and secondly that we needed to have published the latest papers and recommendation so that we were informed as we have never been before. The Lib Dems want to hear all shades of opinion about all aspects of this decision from councillors and the public which would otherwise have been denied.

“This decision will affect the development and belief in this city and the wellbeing of all its citizens for a generation or more and so this extraordinary meeting is justified as the mayor would not delay by one week the announcement of his Cabinet decision so that it could have been debated at the regular Full Council.”

Andrew Brown, Windmill Hill campaigner and Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson for Bristol South, added:

"If we concentrate solely on arguing about value for money, we are in danger of overlooking the social and cultural value that a city centre arena will provide, and the potential for Arena Island to be a vibrant, lively civic space and a public asset. Cancelling the current plans not only puts that at risk but condemns the site to further neglect pending any other plans being fully developed, being approved by the planning process, and being built.

"It is vitally important that Councillors from all sides get the chance to debate this."

The Liberal Democrat group have made clear their position to build the arena at the Temple Meads site, believing that the social and cultural benefits will have a huge impact on the city.

The extraordinary council debate will take place on September 3rd, with the Mayor also taking comments from the public forum.

Mayor's Cabinet must commit to Colston Hall

The Bristol Music Trust was formed by BCC in 2011 to blend this popular asset of the city with the expertise necessary to sustain a high quality and diverse programme of events. Since then BMT has exceeded expectations and received accolades from the Arts Council, the press and national education bodies for its high quality work, music development and the value and prestige it has brought to the city. It's work has been supported to varying degrees by all party groups on Bristol City Council.

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Councillor Clare Campion-Smith resigns from Bristol City Council

After 12 years serving Henleaze – and later Westbury – on Bristol City Council, Clare Campion-Smith has today announced her resignation.

Clare has had a distinguished career on the council, serving in two administrations’ cabinets and serving a term as Lord Mayor. In her time as councillor, Clare has made an active difference to the lives of her constituents, her accomplishments including her time as Cabinet member for Children’s Services where, with great effect, she solved the acute shortage of primary school places in Bristol.



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Labour ‘choose cuts over services’ as Lib Dem amendment is voted down

Bristol Liberal Democrats have expressed disappointment as their budget amendment was unanimously voted down by the Labour Council Group. The amendment, which would have diverted funds away from an Armageddon-scenario contingency funding, would have allowed for investment into libraries, parks and schools.

The amendment received cross-party support, with the Conservatives and Greens voting for the progressive policy proposal. But with no Labour councillors rebelling, the amendment was voted down by the majority of the Labour group.

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Lib Dems urge Mayor to ‘put people before politics’ as they introduce largest ever budget amendment

The Bristol Liberal Democrats have made a final plea to Mayor Marvin Rees and the Labour Council Group to set aside political loyalties and to back their amendment to save libraries, parks and other public services.

With the budget set to be debated at City Hall, the Mayor’s proposed budget would continue his programme of public spending cuts, putting the future of seventeen Bristol libraries, parks and green spaces, and school building programmes at serious risk.

The Bristol Liberal Democrats have identified the Mayor’s £50 million worth of proposed borrowing as a key source of revenue to find frontline public services. The extra £50 million in contingency borrowing in the proposed 5-year budget seemingly ignores the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) receipts over the period, and would simply act as an extra contingency plan for an unlikely Armageddon scenario.  The Liberal Democrat amendment represents the largest budget amendment the council has ever considered and would take money away from extra reserves and into frontline public services.

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Councillors asked to put people before party politics

A Bristol Councillor is challenging his fellow city councillors to stand up for their residents and put people before politics at next Tuesdays budget vote at Bristol City Council.

Cllr Tim Kent, the Finance Spokesperson for the Bristol Liberal Democrats, has submitted an amendment which has identified over £10m of funding from development (CIL) forgotten within the Mayor's budget. He has also proposed deleting a £50m capital contingency that the Mayor proposes to fund by borrowing money which would have to be repaid over 50 years at the cost of £2.5m a year. Instead, this would be reinvested into frontline services.

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Bristol Liberal Democrats back the end of Vagrancy Act

Bristol Liberal Democrats have put their support behind a bill that will see the end of the Vagrancy Act – ending councils like Bristol from putting homeless people behind bars for begging.

Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West & Abingdon, has introduced the bill that will end the criminalisation of rough sleeping. The Dickensian Vagrancy Act of 1824 has been used by multiple councils across the country as they seek to hide the homelessness issue, rather than finding more practical and humane solutions.

The Act has caught local attention after a homeless man was sent to prison for begging in Clifton Village. Adrian Hill was sentenced to six months for breaching an injunction banning him from merely entering Clifton Village and from begging elsewhere across the city.

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Lib Dems will cut Bristol Council borrowing by £50m to save vital services

Liberal Democrat councillors are proposing the largest budget amendment ever submitted to Bristol City Council which will see £50M of borrowing slashed from the Mayor's plans and a programme to invest in vital services including parks, libraries and social care.

The amendment will be heard at Bristol City Council’s budget council meeting on the 20th February where the Mayor will try to win support for his budget and five-year financial plan.

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A response to Cllr Smith

Cllr Anthony Negus responds to misleading statements from Bristol's Cabinet Member for Housing.

I am sorry that there has been some concerns about my housing questions to Cabinet last week. The first was about the new housing company which we broadly support as it can deliver a wide-ranging of affordable housing types. The second was about the poor state of the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) nationally, but particularly in Bristol. The Lib Dems are in favour of social housing and building more. The point of my question, but not the un-matching answer that was given by Cllr. Paul Smith and then widely picked up, was to highlight factors that made social house-building very difficult to achieve and, particularly, sustain in Bristol.

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Libraries - An Update

Following the reprieve granted to the library service last month, it has become clear that this is not, in fact, reviewing all the options at all. Lib Dem Cotham Councillor, Anthony Negus, explains:

The mayor and the executive member are not, as they have announced, making use of the libraries stay of execution to re-examine different ways of maintaining any more than their originally chosen ten libraries.

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