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News from our Parliamentary Candidate

Email: ellen@swwiltslibdems.org.uk

South West Wiltshire Prospective Parliamentary Candidate - Ellen Nicholson

  • Car industry
    Article: Jul 31, 2020
    By Ellen Nicholson

    Reports state that the UK car industry is likely to have its worst year since 1954.

    "This pandemic has left the car industry on its knees. The Government must step in to stem the tide of job losses. But the recovery must also be an opportunity: the car industry must change to produce low emission, green vehicles said Acting Leader of the Lib Dems Ed Davey.

  • NHS App
    Article: Jul 30, 2020
    By Ellen Nicholson
    Ellen Nicholson had the opportunity to speak on LBC this evening in response to Matt Hancock's announcement for more online consultations.
    Aside from being spokesperson for the Lib Dems in SW Wilts, Ellen works for the NHS and advocates the use of online consultations as they free up time taken going to appointments but also advocated some caution on the programme this evening in the rush to online first consultations, as some people who are less tech savvy or have specific difficulties, may find themselves excluded.
  • Schools ()
    Article: Jul 21, 2020
    By Ellen Nicholson
    How convenient on the day when the #RussiaReport was due to be released ...
    Suddenly there is an announcement about pay rises for some public sector workers, almost as if deflection of the real story is in progress.
    But the pay offer doesn't cover all sectors, neither nursing nor social care are included in this offer.
  • psaw (Thanks to Renee Fisher for sharing their work on Unsplash.)
    Article: Jul 19, 2020
    By Ellen Nicholson

    The arts in Wiltshire covers a wide range of creative opportunities including visual arts and crafts, media arts, performing arts and literature. Think Trowbridge Arts, together, The Drawing project, Live music venues, Warminsters's athenaeum centre, Mere's literary festival and even with those few examples you're just touching a small range of the creativity across South West Wiltshire. Covid-19, lockdown and the impending funding crisis has put this rich sector of our heritage and society in question.

    Leonardo da Vinci wrote "principles for the development of a complete mind, that studying the science of art enabled aperson to develop their senses - and to learn to see that everything connects to everything else." (paraphrased)

    Recently elected Liberal Democrat MP Daisy Cooper ( Pictured below) has said the £120m of taxpayers' money promised by the government for a "Festival of Brexit" in 2022 would be better diverted to existing cultural events to offer support to the creative industries, which employed 2 million people and made an annual contribution to the economy of more than £110bn last year, but now risks emerging depleted from the Covid-19 crisis.

    A £1.57bn emergency coronavirus package provided by the Government, earlier this month has done nothing for thousands of small businesses and freelancers within the arts industry who have been excluded from support, she said.

    "The UK's creative industries went into the Covid-19 pandemic as world leaders, but without the necessary recovery support, they will emerge smaller, weaker and with lasting damage," said Ms Cooper.

    "But with so much continuing uncertainty, the government must step in to prevent a cultural catastrophe and protect people's livelihoods from the twin threats of Covid and Brexit.

    "The government's support package was welcome, but the details remain unclear and still nothing has been done to help support the thousands of small businesses and freelancers who have been left penniless."

    The Lib Dem "agenda for immediate survival, recovery and renewal" for the creative industries includes:

    • Inclusion of creative workers in government support schemes;
    • Reallocation of funds for the Festival of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to existing festivals and events;
    • Unconditional reset grants to help existing micro-businesses in the sector get going again;
    • Reform of the apprenticeship scheme and levy to keep the £55m paid by the sector within the sector;
    • The targeting of new training and vocational courses to areas suffering significant redundancies;
    • Retention of "gold standard" intellectual property and data protections, currently guaranteed under EU laws.
    This approach was supported by the director of the British Arts Festivals Association (BAFA), Fiona Goh, who said the money would be better spent sustaining the existing network of cultural experiences across the country, most of which have been cancelled this year with many feared never to return.

    Wiltshire Council provides an arts service which aims to help and encourage everybody in the community to have equal access to a range of high quality arts opportunities, whether as participants or audiences.

    The arts service hosts its own blog The Arts In Wiltshire. The blog is used to help identify and share opportunities and ideas that come to the arts service from the arts sector, and help those with a great project to reach out across the county to connect with other artists and communities. As well as being a creative space, the blog is a place for those working in arts and culture to keep up to date with jobs, opportunities, funding, resources and training.

    If you would like to contribute please contact arts@wiltshire.gov.uk

  • ISC ()
    Article: Jul 15, 2020
    By Ellen Nicholson

    They say a day in politics is a long time.

    This afternoon Julian Lewis was voted as the Chair of the Intelligence & Security Committee, against the wishes of Boris Johnson.

    Johnson's choice of Grayling, an attempt to appoint 'yes-men' to the intelligence committee was undone. Lewis is a eminently more sensible choice as the chair.

  • Article: Jun 23, 2020
    By Ellen Nicholson

    In a letter addressed to the local MP, Andrew Murrison, Liberal Democrat spokesperson Ellen Nicholson for South West Wiltshire said: "as the Prime Minister continues to refuse to rethink his position on accepting an extension to the transition period, it is time the facts were laid bare about what this will mean for our country."

    The intervention coincides with the fourth anniversary of the EU referendum result this week, the 23rd of June. Despite concerns, the Government formally rejected the option to extend the transition period earlier this month.

    Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

    "Even before coronavirus, the Government had a tight timetable for the Brexit talks. As the Prime Minister continues to oppose extending the transition period, he must at least be honest about what this means for our country.

    "By reviewing the impact assessments done last Autumn, as well as undertaking an economic assessment, the Government can be transparent with the public about the consequence of refusing to extend the transition period."

    Liberal Democrat spokesperson Ellen Nicholson for South West Wiltshire added:

    "Boris Johnson's refusal to even consider requesting an extension to the Brexit transition as we face a global health and economic crisis shows he is putting his Brexit ideology before the UK's national interest.

    "The pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on jobs, businesses and the wider UK economy. Tackling the coronavirus crisis must be the Conservative Government's priority, and people have a right to know to what extent a no deal puts this at risk.

    "In the interests of everyone living across South West Wiltshire, the Liberal Democrats are urging Andrew Murrison to join us in calling for this review."

  • Immigration Statistics (ONS) ()
    Article: Jun 23, 2020
    By Ellen Nicholson

    4 years ago today the U.K. voted for Brexit.
    It has not been as envisaged by either side.

    The U.K. left the European Union in January 2020 and currently in a holding zone of a transistion period until December 2020.

    There are few trade deals on the current horizon, and those offered by the US require the UK to downgrade its food and farming standards.

    Freedom of movement across the EU has altered for UK citizens. EU migration has fallen whilst non EU migration to the U.K. has risen, both have always been within the control of the U.K. government.

    Blue passports are now made in France, the irony.

    The government elected, have shown themselves to be inadequate and unprepared to dealing with a global pandemic and less than swift of foot dealing with trade negotiators. 'Taking back control' of fishing was sadly sold out long ago.

    Money wasted on ferry services, defunct test and trace apps, servo - the list of failed projects the tax payer funds feels endless.

    The Lords Brexit consultation paper makes sobering reading for the new normal in Britain.


    "Brexit has resulted in two new forms of EU-derived law operating in the UK, and a future relationship agreement with the EU could well add a third. This is not widely appreciated, but it is just one of the significant issues facing Parliament, the Government and the country in the months and years ahead. For those who were hoping, for whatever reason, that discussion of Brexit might cease, it may be disappointing to find that it is not yet at an end.

    This will not be a period of business as usual and #COVID-19 must not blind us to the challenges that Parliament will face in its scrutiny of Brexit. Indeed, Brexit and COVID-19 place into sharp focus the inadequacies of Parliament's capacity to hold the Government to account."

    It's sobering to realise four years have passed.
    Was it all really worth it is the question today?

  • Windrush day
    Article: Jun 22, 2020

    The Liberal Democrats are marking Windrush Day by renewing calls on the Government to give all NHS and social care workers who have worked in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic indefinite leave to remain.

    Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine urged Ministers to make clear by backing these calls that "those who have put their lives at risk for our country are welcome to live in it."

    The Royal College of Nursing are also calling for reform, citing statistics from the Nursery and Midwifery Council which shows more than 10% of the total registered nursing workforce in the UK come from overseas.

  • Facts Matter
    Article: Jun 18, 2020
    By Ellen Nicholson

    Yet another poorly worded and inaccurate article in the #WiltshireTimes yesterday requiring a complaint and redaction.

    Wiltshire Times has now taken down the article while it is re-written to be more objective. The article published a biased and inaccurate article on a decision made at full council almost a month ago, one wonders if the paper have this particular Tory town councillor on speed dial as a number of articles quote him then require editing when inaccuracies come to light.

    We are seeing what appears to be a concerted effort by a handful of Tory town councillors to undermine the trust between the residents of #Trowbridge and the Trowbridge Town Council.

    Town councillors are often more collaborative rather than combative for the good of the town, something that appears to have changed this year. Is this really about a wish to see Trowbridge Town Council responsibilities closed and revert to Wiltshire Council?

    Such a move would disempower local residents and give less scope for making local decisions.

    Cllr Palmer said "Councillors who want to achieve anything for the Town need to be able to get a majority of councillors to back their motions and ideas. That will not happen when one faction's stated dream is to disband The Town Council, remove all the valuable services they offer and cease any investment in our future!."

    "The recent vote on the TTC was a vote on bureaucracy and not on whether or not we support Equality. As we all know equality is Enshrined in Equalities Act 2010 and TTC comply to that!

    The reason for the vote against was it would have meant 'everything' done would need a detailed assessment. Simple things such as deciding who the stationery is purchased from would need a report. This would be a poor use of councils time and residents money.To further discuss the issue and to draft a better worded version for all major dec isions, the matter will be discussed at P and R."

  • GWR
    Article: Jun 15, 2020
    By Ellen Nicholson

    The Lib Dems have succeeded in getting the Department for Transport to look into flexible rail tickets to help commuters getting back to work after the coronavirus pandemic.

    With traditional season tickets unlikely to be attractive for many commuters in the future the Lib Dems have called on the Government and train companies to provide more flexible ticket options including 'carnet' ticketing. Carnet ticketing would provide for 10 or 20 single journeys at a discount on the individual ticket price and crucially would allow much more flexibility than traditional season tickets.