As you read this, you will be well into the New Year and muted festivities will be over - though I’m writing this in mid-December, wishing everyone a recovering 2021. looking back and to the future.
The Bristol Lib Dems are immensely pleased that Cllr Mark Wright’s motion to end the cladding scandal in Bristol has been unanimously passed at Full Council this afternoon with cross party support. This motion is an important first step to ending the cladding nightmare for thousands of Bristol’s residents.
The motion calls on Bristol City Council to officially back the #EndOurCladdingScandal campaign, to provide more training to Cllrs and staff to allow them to assist residents and leaseholders with all matters relating to ESW1 forms, and to lobby MPs & the Govt to devolve powers to Bristol Council and to obtain the funds to fix the issues locally.
The Bristol Lib Dems will continue to fight for affected residents, through lobbying our MPs, working with the Lib Dem parliamentary group, and working with local residents’ groups to do what we can to alleviate the pain that they are suffering. We promise to continue fighting tooth and nail until this injustice is righted.
In his speech proposing the motion, Cllr Mark Wright (Hotwells & Harbourside) said ‘the vast majority of flat owners affected by this are not penthouse owners, they are very ordinary people who bought fairly ordinary flats right across Bristol. Many of them spent all their savings doing so, and they were told by every organisation along the way that their flats were safe. They clearly never would have bought the flat if they’d known they were going to get hit with a bill for 20, 30 or even £40thousand - money that most of them simply don’t have.’
Alex Hartley, Lib Dem candidate for Hotwells & Harbourside, who has been running the campaign on the cladding issue said ‘I am so pleased that this motion has been passed by Bristol City Council. This is the first step in ending the cladding nightmare for Bristol’s residents. I would like to thank Cllrs of all parties, as well as Mayor Rees, for putting party politics to one side, and choosing to back the Lib Dems’ motion today. I will keep fighting for local residents on this issue.
The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to raise Carer’s Allowance by £1,000 a year, to help support 7,880 unpaid carers in Bristol during the coronavirus pandemic.
The party’s leader, Ed Davey, who has promised to “be the voice of the 9 million carers in our country”, has written to the Prime Minister urging him to recognise the “challenges that have been made even harder by coronavirus.”
The Liberal Democrat proposals centre around increasing Carer’s Allowance from its current rate of £67.25 a week to £87.25, in line with the £20 a week uplift in Universal Credit announced at the start of the pandemic.
The latest government figures show that 5,667 unpaid carers in Bristol currently receive Carer’s Allowance.
However, the Liberal Democrats are also calling for the 2,213 people who are entitled to Carer’s Allowance but do not receive it due to overlapping benefits – mostly older carers on low incomes – to be given the extra £20 a week as well.
Launching the campaign, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:
“Unpaid carers face big challenges every single day; challenges that have been made even harder by coronavirus.
“Many carers are facing extreme financial hardship. They have been struggling for months, often relying on foodbanks to feed themselves and the people they care for.
“So Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to support carers by raising Carer’s Allowance by £1,000 a year, now.”
Cllr Tim Kent, Bristol Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Care in Bristol and Cllr for Hengrove & Whitchurch Park added:
“Unpaid carers in Bristol are doing a remarkable and important job in very difficult circumstances.
“Our wonderful carers deserve our support, but they are too often forgotten or ignored.
“Liberal Democrats will stand up for carers and lead the way to a more caring society.”