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  • Article: Oct 28, 2020

    Ed Davey has called on the Government to back his Bill to abolish Section 60 'suspicionless' Stop and Search powers, as new official figures published yesterday revealed that a Black person is 18 times more likely to be stopped under them than a White person.

    • Disproportionate, suspicionless Stop and Search does not work to stop crime. It's a waste of police time, and it leaves too many Black communities feeling over-policed and under-protected.
    • Stop and Search can be used fairly and effectively if it is focused on people who commit crime. That requires the police to build trust and confidence through community policing, so they can gather the intelligence they need to identify weapon-carriers and base stops on accurate descriptions of suspects.
    • The disproportionate use of Stop and Search undermines the very trust and confidence in the police that is vital to prevent crime. That's why I'm calling on the Government to back the Liberal Democrat Bill to abolish suspicionless Stop and Search.
  • Four nations of the UK
    Article: Oct 28, 2020

    Liberal Democrats in Scotland, Wales and England have joined with the Alliance Party in calling for a "four nations summit" to consider a united approach to keeping family gatherings safe during the festive season.

    In a joint letter to the four governments of the UK, the Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey, Scottish Leader Willie Rennie, Welsh Leader Jane Dodds and Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry MP warned the "interlinked nature of life in the United Kingdom means no one government can devise guidance for the festive season in isolation."

    The letter follows uncertainty about students returning for Christmas and conflicting comments about family gatherings, with Scotland's National Clinical Director Jason Leitch branding multi-household gatherings "fiction" while the Prime Minister indicated rules could be relaxed.

    To enable travel to happen safely, the Liberal Democrat and Alliance politicians believe a "four nations summit" must agree:

    • Uniform guidance for family gatherings.
    • A common approach to student return and asymptomatic testing.
    • Cooperative measures to expand transport over the Christmas period.

    Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

    "No one country can manage this challenge in isolation. The fractured rules across the UK have already been incredibly difficult to piece together.

    "We need a four nations summit to agree on one set of uniform guidance for Christmas that works for families across the UK. Ministers across Britain need to start work on it now."

    Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie said:

    "The countries across these isles are knitted closely together. Many families are split across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and inevitably want to be back together for Christmas.

    "Leaders across the United Kingdom need to embrace the inevitability that people are going to travel to be with their loved ones at Christmas. They must therefore explore workable solutions to ensure that can happen safely."

    Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds said:

    "I cannot imagine a Christmas without spending it with the people I love. I am therefore pleased Liberal Democrat Education Secretary Kirsty Williams is bolstering mental health services and made students returning for Christmas a priority.

    "While the priority must continue to be keeping people safe and ensuring no one is left behind, the four governments of the United Kingdom would do well to do all they can to bring some Christmas cheer to a tough year."

    Deputy Leader of Alliance Stephen Farry MP said:

    "Many people from Northern Ireland live and work across Great Britain or in the Republic of Ireland. It is important that lessons are learned from mixed or conflicting messages and there is co-ordinated guidance on how people can travel and gather around Christmas and the holiday season.

    "I warmly endorse a four nation approach, and especially for us in Northern Ireland we also need a joint approach with the Irish Government."

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Please see below the text of a joint letter to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Welsh First Mark Drakeford and to First Minister of Northern Ireland Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill.



    Dear

    The festive season is fast approaching. Families across the United Kingdom are now facing tough choices over whether to press ahead with plans for their usual festive gatherings.

    With many families split across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, conflicting measures introduced by the respective governments of the UK nations could cause further confusion and complications.

    This year has already seen Muslim communities across the country miss out on reuniting families for Eid al-Adha, with some communities impacted because of last-minute lockdown rules. After months apart, it was devastating news and we must learn from it.

    We must accept the inevitability that people are going to travel to be with their loved ones during the festive time of year. The interlinked nature of life in the United Kingdom means no one government can devise this guidance in isolation.

    It therefore falls on you and your counterparts to work across governments to explore workable solutions that can enable travel to happen safely.

    To manage the implications for public health, we are urging you to hold a four nations summit to cooperate on students' return, to agree uniform guidance on the number of people who can gather and to explore how best to expand travel options to allow social distancing.

    We look forward to your response.

    Kind regards,

    Ed Davey MP
    Leader of the Liberal Democrats

    Willie Rennie MSP
    Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats

    Jane Dodds
    Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats

    Dr Stephen Farry MP
    Deputy Leader of Alliance

  • Article: Oct 27, 2020
    By Stewart Palmen in Trowbridge Nub News

    Stewart Palmen Leader of Trowbridge Town Council


    IN the very near future, we, in Trowbridge, will hear if we are gaining any funding from our bid to the Government's Future High Street Fund. So I thought it would be useful to look at what this fund is exactly and what it could do for Trowbridge. Again in a simple question and answer format.


    What is The Future High Street Fund"

    The fund is £1 billion that the Government has allocated to help regenerate the high streets of towns across the UK. The local County Council have had to apply for the funding, so, in our case, it was Wiltshire Council who have applied and not the Town Council although we have supported the bid.


    How many places will it help?

    Well, one hundred towns/cities made it through the first stage of the bid and have all submitted final bids


    Will all the bids get the same amount of money?

    Wicker Hill and all of Fore Street to be pedestrianised

    The funding will be allocated depending on the strength of the bid so some will get more than others and some could get nothing.


    How much did we go for?

    The average, assuming all bids were equally valid, would be £10 million. But we believe the case for Trowbridge is very strong and to achieve all we want to achieve, we have asked for £23.85 million.


    Are there any other places in Wiltshire applying?

    Yes. Wiltshire Council initially put forward bids for Chippenham, Salisbury and Trowbridge. Chippenham did not make it past the first stage but Salisbury and Trowbridge are still in the running.

    Town Hall and The Old Market Building to be reworked


    What type of things will the money go towards?

    There are four "theme" areas we are trying to address with the funding. These are:
    1) Better movement and legibility at the town centre gateways
    2) A unique and culture-and-leisure-led offer
    3) A resilient and diverse high street
    4) Unlocking good growth


    Sorry, that sounds like waffle. What does it mean?

    Ok, let's unpack each one a little

    1) Better movement and legibility at the town centre gateways

    Potential Castle Place redevelopment

    This involves further pedestrianisation of Fore Street and Wicker Hill and improvement of the road system together with more sensible signposting for both pedestrians and vehicles (wayfinding). Improvement of the River Biss area giving us a lovely riverside walk from the train station to St Stephen's Place making it a real asset to the town.

    2) A unique and culture-and-leisure-led offer

    Town centres now, more than ever, need to provide more than just retail outlets and become more 'experiential'. So we are planning to invest in the refurbishment of Trowbridge Town Hall (opening up the Ballroom etc.) and encouraging it's links with The Civic. Also reactivating nearby vacant properties to create Artisan Market type space in the old Market Hall (formerly a Weatherspoons pub).

    3) A resilient and diverse high street

    We need to achieve a more compact and vibrant high street by relocating existing retail units in Castle Place to vacant shops along the high street. We will never again need the level of retail we used to have because so much of our shopping is done online or via large supermarkets. We will also encourage conversion of units to facilitate a wider range of shops moving into the area and convert empty upper floors to residential through a programme of grants. We will also create some guidance for uses that are needed or wanted in the high street to steer how the town needs to develop to ensure sustainability.

    Three Town councillors promoting the Future High Street Fund Bid back in January this year

    4) Unlocking good growth

    A comprehensive redevelopment of Castle Place to include a large leisure facility, residential, co-working spaces and a small retail element. Potential location for the Chamber of Commerce also being considered. We have to face it as it is. Castle Place is unlikely ever to be full of retail outlets again. It is better to relocate some of those businesses to the vacant units in the Fore Street, etc, and use that space by the Park used as outlined above. I also think this helps unlock for Wiltshire Council funding for a Trowbridge Leisure Centre which we have been promised for so long.

    So that is a very brief overview.

    This article was published in Trowbridge Nub News https://trowbridge.nub.news/n/trowbridge-town-council-leaders-articles-what-is-the-future-high-street-fund-and-how-can-it-help-trowbridge34

  • Article: Oct 27, 2020
    In New Valley News

    Wiltshire Conservatives are claiming credit for the hard work done by Wiltshire Council employees during the coronavirus crisis.

    A group of Wiltshire Liberal Democrat has issued a statement which read: "Given the Conservative Government's repeated calls not to politicise the public health crisis, we condemn the local Conservatives' actions which are politicising the crisis. We all should be rightly proud of the massive efforts over many months by local volunteers and officers at parish, town and Wiltshire council levels which has, so far, led to a relatively good outcome compared to the country as a whole.

    "By attempting to claim credit for work which is not theirs, Wiltshire Conservative councillors reduce trust in public authorities which is essential to continue to keep people and jobs safe. We hope we will see no more of these awful attempts by the local Conservative parties to claim credit for the hard work done by many others.

    The statement is signed by leader Cllr Ian Thorn and all of the party's councillors and constituency spokespersons.

    https://www.newvalleynews.co.uk/news/lib-dems-accuse-tories-of-politicising-covid-19/

  • Halloween
    Article: Oct 27, 2020
    By Ellen Nicholson

    Wilts Lib Dems are urging everyone to celebrate safely.

    Coronavirus doesn't mean the end to fun, we just need to think of different ways to celebrate Halloween and other events. Suggestions include:

    • Have a Halloween movie night in
    • Decorate your home for Halloween
    • Have an indoor Trick and Treat hunt, or in your garden if you have one
    • Pumpkin carving - you can share these on social media using the hashtag #SpookyBedford
    • Have a virtual Halloween costume contest with friends and family
    • Bake some Halloween treats - some ideas for Halloween Treats are found here
  • The Weekly Whip
    Article: Oct 26, 2020

    Welcome to the Weekly Whip. Your one-stop shop for Lib Dem Parliamentary updates, covering the week that was and the week to come.

    For up to date information from the Lib Dem Whips Office, follow us on Twitter: @LibDemWhips

    Weekly Whip w/c 19th October

    Monday 19th October

    Before we moved onto the main business of the day, we had two Ministerial Statements.

  • cild
    Article: Oct 26, 2020

    Following pressure from the Lib Dems Wiltshire Council has agreed to fund food over the half term.

    To help keep them honest and to make sure this applies to Christmas as well, please sign the petition

    at: https://wiltshirelibdems.org.uk/en/petition/demand-wiltshire-council-provide-free-school-meals

    .

    This comes as the national government shows signs of weakening in the face of public pressure, with arguments by Conservative MPs against the feeding of children failing to convince.

  • Article: Oct 25, 2020
    By SW Wilts Lib Dems
    Productive day for local residents and Lib Dem's, out litter picking next to the Gloucester Rd allotments.
    Lots of rubbish collected, great the sun was out.
  • Westbury Incinerator
    Article: Oct 24, 2020
    The objections to the Westbury incinerator continue to be uploaded, and there are well over a thousand objections on the Wiltshire Council Website now. Good to see local South West Wiltshire residents and local Lib Dems so passionate about protecting the residents and environment in Westbury.
    One of the latest ones is the #Westbury Arla consultants' report and has recommended refusal for planning of the Westbury Incinerator (The report is added under the name of Redmore Environmental Ltd.).