News from Bristol East

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- 06 December 2017
I spent some time on Friday at the Tesco in Brislington supporting their Christmas food collection for Fair Share and The Trussell Trust. It’s always so rewarding to do this each year, and to see people’s generosity; some people donate a whole bag’s worth of food, while others clearly don’t have much money themselves, but still donate what they can. I would hope to one day live in a country where people aren’t forced to go hungry, but whilst they do please support your local food bank with whatever you can afford to give. https://eastbristol.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/
- 03 December 2017
I’m in the Bristol Cable talking about what we must do to protect music venues from closure. The ‘Agents of Change’ principle will make developers, instead of the pre-existing businesses, responsible for dealing with noise pollution and soundproofing, and I hope we can get it made into law soon. I’ve been in close touch with the Mayor regarding this issue, and we are both committed to ensuring that Bristol’s diverse and vibrant live music scene not only survives, but thrives.
- 02 December 2017
Avon and Somerset Police have said time after time that the cuts they are being forced to make are simply unsustainable, and I’m in the Bristol Post alongside the Police and Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable to raise awareness of this. It is clear that cuts are going to have consequences. Crime will rise and criminals will not be caught. I am deeply disappointed that the Autumn Budget contained no new money for policing, but that doesn’t mean the fight stops here. Please sign my petition calling for more money for Avon and Somerset Police - https://www.change.org/p/the-house-of-commons-increased-fun…
- 29 November 2017
I am saddened to hear that yet another music venue, The Surrey Vaults, has been forced to close following noise complaints from people in newly built luxury apartments nearby. This follows the #SaveThekla campaign, and earlier concerns about the impact of development near the Fleece and the Exchange. Bristol has the highest rate of office to residential conversions outside London, meaning many buildings near to music venues now have people living in them. I am sponsoring a Bill proposed by my colleague John Spellar, the ‘Agents of Change’ law, which will require property developers to take into account pre-existing businesses, like music venues, when planning new residential developments. This will place the burden on the developer, not the venue, to make sure that the venues and residents can co-exist in the same area. It will have its First Reading in Parliament on the 10th of January, and I hope we can get it into legislation soon.
- 28 November 2017
I am still working with the Council to try to find a way to protect library services in east Bristol. The swingeing Government cuts are putting immense pressure on Council finances, and unfortunately we cannot continue exactly as we are, so we need to explore imaginative solutions. This could include community groups running them as shared community spaces, volunteers staffing the library, or extended access via swipe-cards which has been trialled successfully elsewhere. We also need to explore other sources of funding, such as the Community Infrastructure Levy – this is money that developers have to pay into the Council’s coffers, for example, for the new development at Paintworks. I am pulling together information on what money is available, and what we need to do to get our hands on it! I had a very useful meeting with Deputy Mayor Asher Craig, whose cabinet portfolio includes libraries, the week before last. She was due to present proposals to the Cabinet this week but this has no
- 26 November 2017
Busy morning yesterday speaking to residents of Fishponds and Eastville about local issues and getting people to sign my police cuts petition. Campaigning all year round, not just at election time!
- 24 November 2017
Great news that so many numbers of film and TV studio jobs are being created by South Bristol’s Bottle Yard Studios. It’s yet another example of Bristol’s creative energy, and should add further weight to our case to become the new home for Channel 4.
- 21 November 2017
I had a useful meeting on Friday with the Principal of St Brendan’s Sixth Form College, along with some of their students. We discussed the challenges arising from the underfunding of 16-19 education, which has seen a real terms cut in spending per pupil of over £200 since 2013. The college is determined not to introduce any cuts to the curriculum so as to keep students’ options as wide as possible, but they have reached the limit of what they can do to make savings. I have lobbied the Government about unfair funding for sixth form colleges in the past, and have again written to the Chancellor about this in the run-up to the Budget. We also discussed what the college is doing to raise awareness of Meningitis, given the tragic deaths of two students in the last few years, and encourage take-up of the vaccine amongst students, who, along with babies, are the most vulnerable to this disease.
- 21 November 2017
This Guardian article provides a useful insight into what so many people in Bristol are already experiencing when it comes to the housing market – with high rents and unaffordable house prices. After seven years of failure to tackle this growing crisis, I hope the Government now takes on board the clear need to invest in house-building in the Autumn Budget, due to be announced tomorrow.
- 15 November 2017
Had a lovely and inspirational evening meeting the Bristol City Youth Council last week. Really impressive seeing these dedicated young people trying to bring about positive change in their local communities, and campaigns on issues like better PHSE in schools and opposing discrimination in all its forms. Those opposed to reducing the voting age to 16 should meet some of these guys!
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