The Bristol Lib Dem 2021 local election manifesto is centred around three things: Sustainability, Better Service & Better Governance. Our ambitious but achievable vision for Bristol is is an embodiment of the Lib Dem preamble in our constitution '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.'
Today Labour and Green councillors joined forces to save the Mayor from the people of Bristol. The Liberal Democrat motion, to give the people of Bristol a referendum on the Mayoral system that was voted on today lost by 11 votes, after Labour & Green councillors voted against it (with some Green councillors abstaining), meaning the motion didn't pass.
The Liberal Democrats have been listening to local people, whose frustration is clear with the Mayor, his failures, and the lack of accountability and democracy in the Mayoral system. 77% of the people of Bristol feel the elected Mayor isn't improving the leadership of the city, and we feel they deserve the chance to scrap the Mayor if they want to.
While we want to offer a special thanks to the two Labour rebels that broke the Labour whip to vote for democracy and their residents, we are disappointed that Green councillors chose to vote against or abstain on the motion, even though their national party policy is to scrap directly elected mayors.
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.”
The Bristol Lib Dems regretfully announce that Mayoral Candidate Mary Page has had to stand down for personal reasons.
The postponement of the election has caused disruption for many people but most particularly for candidates, who have had to put their lives on hold for a further twelve months.
Financial circumstances have forced Mary to seek a new employment and her employer does not support her active involvement in politics.
The Bristol Lib Dems have begun the process of selecting a new candidate. We will continue campaigning energetically. Our campaign to Scrap the Mayor has been gathering strong local support. We want to save Bristolians millions annually, restore council democracy, and increase involvement of local people by reinvigorating our neighbourhood councils.
Baroness Barbara Janke said ‘Due to changed personal circumstances Mary Page will no longer be the Lib Dem Mayoral candidate. We are sorry to lose her but recognise that the postponing of the election has caused her to reconsider her candidacy.
I know she found it a privilege and a pleasure to be our candidate. Mary made great progress in promoting our campaign to Scrap the Bristol Mayoral position. We send her our thanks for her hard work and all good wishes for her future in her new job.”
The Bristol Liberal Democrats
are fully supporting the ten demands of the End Our Cladding Scandal campaign
, which is fighting for greater protections for leaseholders and tenants who are currently living in blocks with Grenfell style cladding or blocks that were previously certified as compliant and safe but which now fail new standards rushed in after Grenfell. We have launched a petition, and are putting forward a motion to Council to make Bristol City Council back the campaign. There are numerous buildings in Bristol that are affected, with residents numbering in the thousands.
Fire safety is essential, yet the current system in place to identify and remediate cladding and fire safety issues including dangerous cladding is not only perilously slow, presenting significant safety risks but is also leaving thousands of leaseholders facing financial ruin.
Capricorn Place is just one of the many buildings affected
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.”