Lib Dems stand up for carers in North Somerset
More than 22,000 people in North Somerset are full-time unpaid carers for their loved ones.
In the recent North Somerset Budget, Lib Dem councillors in North Somerset have stood up for local carers with a £160,000 boost for the children and adult services budget to pay for much-needed breaks for carers of adults and children.
An extra £80,000 is being allocated to support the MockingBird Project, launched last year to create support networks for foster carers and their families, to give these carers access to better respite care. We are also allocating a further £80,000 to provide respite support to carers of adults
The Liberal Democrat team in North Somerset are committed to ensuring that carers are supported in their caring responsibilities, have time out from caring and are able to focus on their own needs. This is needed now more than ever, as the pandemic has made this vital role tougher than ever, and made it harder for carers to rely on their usual support networks.
Research from Carers UK found that 64% of carers have not been able to take any breaks from their caring role during the pandemic. 74% said they feel exhausted and worn out as a result of caring during Covid, and 44% said they are reaching breaking point.
Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Ed Davey, recently launched the party’s ‘Give Carers A Break’ campaign, calling on the Government to provide councils with immediate emergency funding so they can provide the support services unpaid carers need to take a weekly break.
Launching the campaign, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:
“Our wonderful carers deserve more support, but they are too often forgotten and ignored by people in power.
“The Chancellor mustn’t ignore carers any longer. He must provide local councils with emergency funding now, to finally give carers a break.
“Liberal Democrats are working to build a more caring society as we emerge from this pandemic.”
Lib Dem Executive Member for Finance on North Somerset, Ash Cartman said:
“The leadership of Ed Davey on this issue, which is clearly of great personal importance to him, has really highlighted the plight of carers across the country.
“Here in North Somerset, we wanted to do something to improve the lives of carers in our area, and this is an important first step, but we could do even with more support from Government.”
The Liberal Democrats in Parliament are calling on the Government to provide emergency funding for all local councils to give carers a break from dramatically increased caring responsibilities during the Covid pandemic.
Will you help us put pressure on the Government to provide this vital funding by signing our petition? https://change.libdems.org.uk/helpcarers
February 2021 Edition
This is the first of what will hopefully become a monthly newsletter for Liberal Democrat members and supporters across North Somerset from your Liberal Democrat Group of councillors.
Building on the green belt: Why North Somerset Council is thinking the unthinkable
The government have told North Somerset council that over the next 15 years, we need to build 20,475 new homes in North Somerset. That’s like building two new Clevedons.
This work is key to the future of North Somerset - creating much-needed new homes in communities across North Somerset, bringing new people, skills and businesses to the area as a result.
But with this ambitious target comes a very real challenge - finding places to put all these new houses.
The map below, taken from North Somerset Council’s Choices for the Future consultation document, shows that outside of Green Belt, Flood Zones, and Areas of Outstanding Beauty there are very few options for places we could build them.
We have to hit the government target - so we have to find a solution to this challenge that works for our communities.
We have a range of options, before building on the greenbelt, which we will look to use, including:
- Making use of all suitable brownfield and previously developed land.
- Optimising the density of all new and existing developments i.e. seeking to fit more homes on existing sites.
- Talking to our neighbouring local authorities to see if they could accommodate some of the growth (in addition to their own requirement).
But even with these options, it looks unlikely that we can meet our target without building in at least some green belt areas. Which is why it is important to us that we keep in contact with the neighbouring communities, and find the best solutions we can for everyone involved.
In early February, Lib Dem councillor for Long Ashton, Leigh Woods, Failand and Wraxall, Ash Cartman (link to his NSLD contact page), gave an update to Failand and Wraxall Parish Council on the current situation with the Local Plan, a key planning strategy document, and what it means for the green belt.
You can watch his presentation to the group by clicking here
North Somerset Council are investing in restoring North Somerset's 'Great Lakes', with £700,000 reallocated in the 21/22 Council Budget to improve the Marine Lakes and Lakegrounds in Weston, Clevedon and Portishead.
The proposals have been led by Lib Dem Executive Member for Finance, Cllr Ashley Cartman, after extensive talks with Cllr Sue Mason of Portishead's 'Clean Our Lake' campaign, and Clevedon Councillors Caroline Cherry and Geoff Richardson.
Papers for this week’s executive meeting say initial proposals are currently being scoped and costed. An engagement process will ensure that details are shared with residents before decisions are made.
Cllr Huw James is the Chair of the North Somerset Housing Issues Group and sits on North Somerset Council's Adult services and housing policy and scrutiny panel. Find out more about Cladding and North Somerset on February 18, 2021 at 7pm - 8:30pm
Since the Grenfell Tower disaster in June 2017 there have been strengthened calls for greater protections for leaseholders and tenants who are currently living in blocks with Grenfell style cladding or blocks that were previously certified as compliant and safe but which now fail new standards after Grenfell. As Chair of North Somerset's Housing Issues Group, I am working with the council to ensure that North Somerset is proactive in assisting leaseholders and tenants affected locally.
In North Somerset, the majority of affected residents are currently based in Portishead, around the Portishead Marina Development - however, there may be more affected developments that the Council are just not aware of until the government guidelines change to affect smaller developments.