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Lib Dem Councillors in B&NES have called for the new West of England combined authority to prioritise financial responsibility and democratic accountability.
In a motion to Council, which was approved by all those voting in Bath this evening, Councillors called for the new Mayor of the West of England and the Leaders of the three Councils to minimise the running costs of the new Authority and to maximise transparency.
Local Councillors in B&NES have added their voices to calls for the government to resolve the situation of EU nationals in the UK as soon as possible. There are over 6,000 residents from other EU countries in the district and around 3 million in the UK as a whole.
Councillors debated a motion on the issue at this evening’s meeting of full Council, which called for the government to prioritise reaching an agreement on EU nationals’ rights in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. The motion was approved by Councillors from all political groups. The motion was adopted by all Councillors, bar one abstention.
Former government minister Lynne Featherstone will use her keynote speech to Lib Dem Conference to call for greater restrictions on diesel cars.
Lynne Featherstone will say: “Four cities around the world have pledged to ban diesel cars by 2025 – but none of our great cities are on that list. If Paris can do it, why can’t our major cities do it too?"
She will highlight the terrible air quality across the UK, and the Conservative Government implementing a succession of anti-green bills.
She will say: "We have had less than two full years of Conservative-only government, and already the list of anti-green measures is shocking. It is now clear the crucial role the Liberal Democrats played in securing and maintaining key climate change policy during the Coalition."
Lynne will warn: “you cannot have a safe environment with a hard Brexit.
“Theresa May might not be a climate denier but she is a climate ignorer, if the Liberal Democrats do not lead this fight, then who will?”
Featherstone’s speech calls to reduce “carbon emissions by 100% by 2050” to start a “new green industrial revolution” to “be bold” and for the Lib Dems to take the lead.
Stephen Williams, the Lib Dem candidate to be the regional mayor of the West of England, has slammed a planned hike in bus fares and outlined his plans to combat the rising cost of travelling by bus.
The fare rise, due to take place on 2nd April on First Bus services in Bristol, is the second in less than a year. It will see a journey of less than three miles rise from £1.70 to £2 and a longer single go up from £2.70 to £3.
The election of the West of England regional mayor will be followed by the awarding of new transport powers by central government, which will give the West of England combined authority the ability to establish Transport for London-style franchise bus services. These powers will allow the region greater control over setting standards for operators, ticketing, branding and service frequencies.
Lib Dem Councillors in B&NES are warning that the Conservative plan to reduce waste collections to fortnightly could lead to bin chaos this winter.
B&NES residents have been receiving letters from the Council in recent days, announcing the change and explaining whether they will be issued with a wheelie bin or (in Bath city centre) a gull-proof sack.
There were almost 5,000 same-sex marriages in the year equal marriage was introduced, new figures from the Office of National Statistics have revealed.
The figures show there were 4,850 marriages between same-sex couples in 2014, 44% (2,129) between male couples and 56% (2,721) between female couples. In total 1 in 46 marriages that year were between same-sex couples.
Baroness Lynne Featherstone, who as Liberal Democrat equalities minister was responsible for introducing same-sex marriage, commented:
"Almost 5,000 same-sex couples were married in 2014 thanks to the Liberal Democrats in coalition making equal marriage a reality.
"This is a fact to be celebrated and I wish each of these couples a long and happy union."
Commenting on the news that the British Chamber of Commerce has downgraded its growth expectations slightly for 2018 from 1.4% to 1.3%, Shadow Chancellor Susan Kramer said:
“The economy has been propped up by consumer spending but this report makes clear that is due to fall as the public starts to feel the full force of the Brexit squeeze, with a falling pound and rising prices.
“Investment is down and with ministers openly flirting with crashing out of the Single Market on World Trade Organisation terms, business confidence will be hit further.
“Only the Liberal Democrats are fighting to remain in the Single Market. It is very clear from this report that you can’t have a hard Brexit and strong economic growth.”
Tim Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, has attacked the Brexit squeeze budget, saying the government’s decision to take us out of the Single Market will cost the average UK household over £700 a year. Meanwhile, the Chancellor has clobbered “white van man” with £193 increase by next year in National Insurance Charges.
Liberal Democrats calculate households will be £744 pounds a year worse off. Average disposable incomes are forecast to be £29,465 a year by 2020 but they would have been £30,209 without Brexit.
Tim Farron said: “This is an OmNICshambles. This slimmed down budget is only 64 pages long but shows the slimmed down ambition of this government. They are short of cash, short of ideas and short on ambition. Everything today, was overshadowed by a massive Brexit black hole at the heart of the Treasury’s forecasts.
“They have ignored the plight of the NHS, showing you can’t have a hard Brexit and a strong NHS. And they have broken the spirit of their manifesto commitments.
“This government is giving tax cuts to the richest and tax hikes for hard-working entrepreneurs. Targeting the self-employed by hitting white van man with a tax hike betrays Theresa May’s pledge to help the just about managing.
“If that were not bad enough, many public sector workers suffering a pay cap will be almost £3,000 a year worse off by 2020 – another painful example of the Brexit squeeze, caused by the Conservative Brexit government.”
On March 8, people in dozens of countries all over the world will observe International Women’s Day, a day that for more than a century has been set aside to celebrate women’s achievements and campaign for gender equality. On International Women's Day 2017, everyone is becoming asked to #BeBoldForChange.
Councillor Dine Romero, Leader of the Lib Dems on B&NES Council said:
"I am pleased to add my support to International Women's Day. It is crucial that people are able to come together to celebrate the achievements of women around the world. However this is not a time to just be reflective but also a time to look forwards and work together to stamp out all signs of inequality that threaten to undermine our society."
"I'm supporting International Women's Day because women can answer many of the world's problems and investing in women's education, empowerment, and entrepreneurship will change the world. To all young girls, I say one thing - become the woman you want to be."
In Bath and North East Somerset, the local team are calling for more women to register to vote. This can be done easily at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
"I think it's important we remember the struggle of women both past and present to win the right to vote and to stand for election."
"You can register online in just a few minutes. If going online is not suitable, a paper registration form is still available."
"Being able to vote gives you a say on who represents you in your local council and in the UK Parliament. If you're registered, you'll have that chance to have your say."
Local Liberal Democrats have called on local Tory MPs Ben Howlett and Jacob Rees-Mogg to vote to ensure that thousands of EU nationals in our region are guaranteed the right to remain in Britain.
A total of 466 doctors and 3,100 nurses from the EU live and work in our region and their departure would badly impact the NHS in our area.
The news comes after the government was defeated in a historic vote in the House of Lords, after Peers – including local Liberal Democrat Lord Strasburger – voted for an amendment to guarantee the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK.
The issue will now be voted on by MPs this week as pressure mounts on the government to change position.
Richard Samuel, Lib Dem candidate in Walcot ward, said:
“The government needs to think again over how it is treating the thousands of EU citizens living in our area.
“The NHS and care services in B&NES would struggle to cope if all the doctors, nurses and care workers from the EU left because they no longer felt welcome.
“This shows you can’t have a hard Brexit and a strong NHS.
“These people are looking after our sick and elderly. Theresa May must not use them as bargaining chips at the Brexit negotiations.
“The Liberal Democrats will stand up against this Conservative Brexit Government for a Britain that is open, tolerant and united.”