The Bristol Liberal Democrats have written to Mayor Marvin Rees imploring him to explore the possibility of Bristol City Council paying for free school meals for poorer families now that the government has voted down Marcus Rashford’s campaign to stop child holiday hunger.
The Liberal Democrats have condemned the Conservative Government’s plans to reform the planning system, arguing that proposed changes will do nothing to alleviate the housing crisis in the West of England.
The Liberal Democrats are calling for EU citizens to be given the automatic right to stay in the UK, as new official figures show 15,780 EU nationals living in Bristol have not been granted permanent Settled Status to remain in the UK.
Pointing to the contribution of EU nationals working in the NHS during the Covid-19 crisis, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine urged the Government to “show its own support for the people’s heroes by extending the right to remain to all EU and foreign nationals, many of whom are fighting for our lives."
Of the 32,530 EU nationals across Bristol who have applied for permanent residency, only 16,430 have been granted settled status.
2,690 EU nationals living in Bristol have applied to the Home Office scheme but are still waiting for a final decision to be made. Another 13,090 have been given only temporary Pre-Settled Status, meaning they will have to reapply within five years or be forced to leave the UK.
Although the Home Office has announced a one-year visa extensions for certain health and care staff, the Liberal Democrats have secured cross-party support for their campaign to give all health and social care workers on the frontline of this crisis indefinite leave to remain.
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:
“The coronavirus crisis is an unprecedented threat. NHS staff, social care workers and other health professionals are putting themselves in harm’s way each and every day to keep us safe.
“The Government has a chance to show its own support for the people’s heroes by extending the right to remain to all EU and foreign nationals, many of whom are fighting for our lives during the Covid-19 pandemic."
Liberal Democrat Mayoral Candidate for Bristol, Mary Page added:
“Bristol is a dynamic, internationalist, modern city which so many people have made their home and added positive value to our cultural mix. Too many EU nationals in Bristol are deeply anxious about their right to stay, like them I wasn't born here but equally like them I've made this wonderful city my home. With the uncertainty of both Covid 19 pandemic and Brexit, it is disgraceful to leave them in legal limbo like this.
“We are a city of sanctuary and have opened our heart and arms to welcome all, which we can see that with acts of Covid kindness to support everyone regardless of their status. Families and children must not be made to live under a cloud of uncertainty any longer. The Liberal Democrats will continue to stand up for EU citizens by fighting to guarantee their rights to live and work in the UK and make a positive contribution to our shared society.”
The Liberal Democrats are today calling on the Government to ramp up mental health support for health and care staff to ensure “world-class” support for those tackling the virus head-on.
Labour's proposed policy of deferring rent payments has been criticised for unfairly punishing renters and creating new debt.
Bristol West MP Thangam Debbonaire today announced her first policy as Shadow Housing Secretary to lobby the government to implement a system whereby tenants who fall into rent arrears during the COVID-19 crisis will have to pay back the debt in full on top of their monthly rent payments.
The Liberal Democrats are leading a cross-party campaign calling on the Government to support local and independent media through an increased share of public health communications spending.
Writing to the government, Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael had warned that although the "All in, All together" campaign had provided public health information as well as advertising revenue for major media groups, the National Union of Journalists, local press organisations and individual journalists had raised the Government's lack of support for local independent media.
The government is being called on to provide financial and employment support to university students and recent graduates in view of fears they will be severely impacted during the COVID-19 crisis.
In a letter to Universities Minister Michelle Donelan, Liberal Democrat Bristol West Spokesperson and Young Liberals Honorary Vice President James Cox has called on the government to model a support package on the new announcements from the Canadian government, who are offering an emergency student benefit to assist with accommodation and living costs during the summer.
The Liberal Democrats have launched a campaign calling for a 'Frontline Support Package', a five-point plan to give frontline workers the support they need and the recognition they deserve as they get us through this appalling coronavirus crisis.
Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey thanked the “army of workers protecting us” in hospitals, care homes and hospices and asked the Government to support these “coronavirus heroes” properly.
The Liberal Democrats are leading a cross-party effort to secure Government agreement for an economic package to support Bristol's world leading creative industries, including a timeline for its urgent implementation.