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- 03 January 2018
Would you pay an extra £1 a month to support policing? Currently the Government grant for policing has been frozen, at a time of rising costs and new demands such as combatting terrorism. Avon and Somerset Police are considering a proposal to raise the policing portion of Council Tax by 6.6%, meaning a rise of around £12 a year for an average D Band property, so they can continue providing the current level of service and protection. PCC Sue Mountstevens is inviting you to send her your views on the proposal: On Wednesday, January 10, 2018 you can speak to the PCC in person at one of her public drop-in sessions across the area: 10-11.30am – Broadmead Shopping Centre, Bristol 1-2.30pm – Angel Place Shopping Centre, Bridgwater 3.15-4.30pm – Sovereign Shopping Centre, Weston-super-Mare You can also share your views by emailing pcc@avonandsomerset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 01275 816377. I’ve also been lobbying the Government to increase the funding they give to Avon and Some
- 02 January 2018
I’ve written to the Home Secretary urging her to take action to improve the way visa applications are handled. It’s not acceptable how many people are left in limbo, often for years, waiting for UK Visas and Immigration to process their applications. This is in part due to the steep cuts to the Home Office - it’s lost a quarter of its budget - under the Tories, and it causes undue distress for many.
- 02 January 2018
I’ve been at Temple Meads Station this morning talking to commuters who are facing yet another rail faire increase this year. The price of train tickets has risen by 32% since 2010, a steep rise which has vastly outstripped inflation. The state still puts billions of taxpayers money into improving our country’s rail network, but it’s the privately owned companies who make hundreds of millions of pounds in profit each year. Labour are campaigning for a cap on rail fare increases, and ultimately for the franchises to be brought back into public ownership. Please share this video if you agree.
- 26 December 2017
#trailhunting is a cover for the chasing & killing of animals! Don't believe the lies this Boxing Day. #keeptheban http://thndr.me/80CXE2 Last month I asked the Government a series of Written Questions about what plans they had to legislate on trail hunting. I'm disappointed that they revealed they had no plans to do so and they they made no assessment of the potential impacts on wildlife and their habitats.
- 26 December 2017
I hope everyone had a very pleasant Christmas! For Boxing Day and January sales, when stores are busy and tempers can become frayed, it’s important everyone remembers to treat retail staff with the respect they deserve. Findings from the trade union USDAW show that a worrying number of shop workers face violence, threats and abuse, and that this increases particularly during the post-Christmas sales. This is clearly unacceptable and I hope we all remember to treat staff with respect all year round.
- 23 December 2017
Do you have a poor broadband connection? The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is for a limited time offering vouchers worth £500 towards the cost of getting gigabit-ready broadband installed in local homes as part of the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. I would encourage interested residents to get together to apply for the scheme, which is a great opportunity to address the lagging broadband speeds in some parts of Bristol East. Further information on the scheme, including how to contact the suppliers, is available by visiting - https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk
- 22 December 2017
It’s cool to see that under major new reforms announced by Ofcom switching mobile phone provider will become as easy as sending a free text message. Waiting for a PAC code and having to physically swap sim cards is an unnecessary burden, and two in five phone users experienced at least one major problem when switching, while seven in ten encountered at least some difficulty. I welcome reforms such as this one which empower consumers, although it’s a shame it won’t come into effect for another 18 months.
- 22 December 2017
Last week the Foreign Affairs Select Committee published an excellent report on the violence against the Rohingya people in the Rakhine State in Burma/ Myanmar and the UK Government’s response. The report was critical of the Government’s early ‘hesitation and equivocation’ over defining the violence – which does amount to ethnic cleansing and possibly even genocide. I questioned the Committee Chair in Parliament on whether he believed the Rohingya would ever find a safe haven in Rakhine, or whether there was a need to find a permanent home for them elsewhere, as some from the Bristol Muslim community have urged. Clearly the priority at the moment, however, is delivering humanitarian assistance and keeping people safe, whether that be in Burma or over the border in Bangladesh, but longer-term solutions also need to be explored.
- 21 December 2017
Now even Tory politicians and right-wing papers like the Daily Mail are attacking the Government for its cuts to local government; the audacious deception that they are increasing funding, which the Communities Secretary tried to spin yesterday, has been effectively exposed. The only way councils like Bristol will be able to get more funding for local services is through putting up council tax. There is no new money from the Government. Only a Labour Government will properly resource councils like Bristol so they can deliver the services local people need.
- 21 December 2017
Yesterday in a debate on the Blue Belt and the need for enhanced marine protection around UK overseas territories such as South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, I raised the issue of plastic pollution. Recent research by the University of Hull and the British Antarctic Survey has shown that levels of plastic pollution in the Antarctic are now, shockingly, at five times the expected level. I very much support calls for a Marine Sanctuary in the Antarctic, but we also need to do more to tackle plastic pollution at source.
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