Welcome to all, either existing Liberal Democrats or those who are interested in our views. This post is intended to give a little background about us as a Local Party and what we have done and stand for in Bristol City Council. A .pdf copy can be downloaded by clicking here.
Let's firstly look at a statement of principle that all Liberal Democrats sign up to:
“The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We aim to disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity. We believe that the role of the state is to enable all citizens to attain these ideals, to contribute fully to their communities and to take part in the decisions which affect their lives”.
All Liberal Democrat Councillors also sign up to serving their community. In our view the first job of a local Councillor is to listen to, communicate with and serve the people in their local area. Very often our local campaigners become Councillors because they work harder than the previous Councillors from another Party.
For very many years Bristol City Council had a very poor reputation in terms of service and achievement. We started to change that as we took power in the early 2000s and we started to make progress. There was a remarkable improvement in our schools and in their results (worst in the country to above average), we revolutionised recycling and became national leaders, we invested in schools, parks and started initiatives on transport planning. Despite the reducing Government grants following the financial crisis, we balanced the books, froze Council Tax and maintained services. With a short break we ran the Council until 2012 when Bristol moved to the mayor system.
You may compare the record since.
We would also like to lay out a list of some of the policies our Council group stand for. These are not our national policies as they can be found elsewhere and we make very clear what the responsibilities of a Councillor or council group are and they do not include influencing foreign policy.
- Develop Park and Ride on all practical arterial routes.
- Move to a franchise system for public transport within the city and with neighbouring councils.
- Move as quickly as possible to Low Emission zones
- Re-enter the hydrogen economy.
- Support suburban railways.
- Integrated ticketing.
- RPZ Not for profit/exploitation.
- Walking routes to be made safer and more attractive.
- Get back on track for zero waste.
- Re energise Avon Barrage.
- Cooperate with other local authorities to develop Severn Tidal lagoons.
- Re-examine district heating from sustainable sources.
- Assist residents to make most of new sustainable technologies.
- Protect and invest in our parks.
- Radical shake up of housing management.
- Lead all sectors on housing delivery.
- Re-examine affordability on social housing obligation.
- Enhance provision of key worker housing.
- Empty land and property to be taxed.
- Extension of private landlord licencing.
- Controlling land sales to maximum social housing.
- Set up innovative housing development company.
Social Services and Education
- Increase effort in early intervention.
- Invest in more extra care housing.
- Set up a system of independent trustees and guardians.
- Re invigorate buddying scheme and enhance framework. Title ‘Old Peoples Party’ (bringing younger potential carers and older and disabled people together).
- Provide properly supported spaces for dyslexia and special needs education where presently absent.
- Improve integration with NHS and review transitional arrangement
- Push for local decision making.
- Support voluntary workers and organisations.
- Work with Universities to develop resources.
- Encourage university assistance to schools.
Sport and Culture
- Seek to attract funding to build a velodrome at Whitchurch.
- Encourage shared use of playing fields and facilities.
- Support Colston Hall.
- Build on Bristol’s success in diverse culture.
- Review support for community events and festivals.
- Deliver East Bristol pool.
- Promote Bristol events and attractions nationally and international
- Reduce centralisation of Neighbourhood Partnerships. Support for partnership working for Councillors to work with residents to deliver local priorities.
- Increase openness and accountability.
Happy to hear from you (member or not) and I will always aim to give a realistic answer.
Cllr Gary Hopkins
Council Group Leader