Tackling Child Poverty in North Somerset

The Government has decided that schools will not be required to provide free school meals during February half term. The North Somerset Lib Dems agree with the NEU that "these are battles which should not have to be repeatedly fought" and that the government's plans represent a logistical nightmare. It should not be this difficult to do the right thing.

Families across North Somerset are being encouraged to continue accessing free school meals during the latest lockdown restrictions following reports from other parts of the country that inadequate meals have been provided.
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Here’s some ways you can get Online during this pandemic if you’re from North Somerset:

North Somerset Council has opened a free service aimed at increasing the level of basic digital skills and abilities in North Somerset residents and providing residents with the internet devices that have become essential over the pandemic.

The Council’s digital inclusion project ‘Get Connected’ is open to low-income residents on Universal Credit or with little or no qualifications. The council has 120 laptops available for loan for a period of 12 months to eligible residents. They will be supported throughout the year and encouraged to sign up for courses which aim to improve their confidence, employment prospects and connectivity and reduce social isolation.

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New Year's Covid-19 Update from North Somerset Lib Dem Councillors

Happy New Year to all our readers and friends. We know the last thing any of us wanted to face in the New Year was another lockdown; however, we are at a very challenging moment in the course of the pandemic and action is needed to save lives and protect our NHS. This update gives details of the new national lockdown rules and other useful information. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

from the North Somerset Lib Dem Council Group

New national lockdown

   

The Prime Minister announced a new national lockdown for England on 4 January, with immediate effect. The lockdown is very similar to the rules that existed in the first lockdown in March last year and the key message is please stay at home as much as possible. Most non-essential businesses will be closed and schools will not reopen for face-to-face learning until after the February half-term at the earliest.

   

You can read the full guidance on the lockdown rules here.

If you need help

If you need help during lockdown and you are shielding or unable to access support from family or friends, please contact North Somerset Together - the voluntary network set up by North Somerset Council to support communities.

You can access support via the website or by ringing 01934 427 437.

Support for businesses

At the moment, it is unclear what support will be available for businesses or self-employed people affected by the new lockdown. We expect further grants to made available through the lockdown period. As soon as information and application processes are clear, the North Somerset business website will be the best place to look for details.

Vaccinations well underway

The good news is that the local vaccination programme is well underway. Priority groups, including those over 80 years old and care home residents and staff, are being vaccinated at great pace thanks to the hard work of NHS staff. The Government has set the target of vaccinating all those in priority groups 1-4 by the end of February. This will include all those aged 70 or over and all those in the clinically extremely vulnerable group. This will protect those at the very greatest risk from serious effects from Covid-19.

The NHS have asked us to remind residents that they do not need to get in touch with their GP or hospital, and they will be contacted directly and offered an appointment for a vaccination in due course.

Local Covid-19 case data

The latest seven-day Covid-19 case rate for North Somerset (for the seven days up to 30 December) is 372.0 cases per 100,000. This is a 14% increase on the week before. This is now the highest case rate that North Somerset has seen since the pandemic began, overtaking our previous peak in early November.

By way of comparison, the North Somerset case rate at the beginning of October was 42.3, at the beginning of November was 178.6, and at the beginning of December 129.3. Cases accelerated during October and early November and then fell again during the second national restrictions in November. Since the November restrictions were lifted, case numbers have again risen in North Somerset to our current pandemic peak.

You can access the full data here.

Get in touch

  • Contact Councillor Ashley Cartman (Long Ashton) on 07904 188 187 or email [email protected]  
  • Contact Councillor Huw James (Portishead South) on 07716902189 or email [email protected]
  • Contact Councillor Caroline Cherry (Clevedon Walton) on 07906 068 777 or email [email protected]
  • Contact Councillor Geoff Richardson (Clevedon West) on 07986 433 640 or email [email protected]  
  • Contact Councillor Stuart Treadaway (Congresbury and Puxton) on 07762 314 887 or email [email protected]
  • Contact Councillor Patrick Keating (Blagdon and Churchill) on 07584 674 740 or email [email protected]
  • Contact Councillor Mike Bell (Weston Central) on 07881 320 279 or email [email protected] 
  • Contact Councillor Robert Payne (Weston Central) on 07904 026 096 or email [email protected] 
  • Contact Councillor Mark Canniford (Weston Hillside) on 07881 320 283 or email [email protected]
  • Contact Councillor John Crockford Hawley (Weston Hillside) by email [email protected]

Lib Dems Back Hospitality Industry in North Somerset

North Somerset Liberal Democrats have pushed for additional funding to the district’s pubs, restaurants and cafes which have all been hit by curtailed trading opportunities due to the coronavirus restrictions in place. This funding boost will go beyond the government's hospitality funding to assist hospitality traders who may otherwise struggle to remain afloat.

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£473,750 Awarded to Improve Walking and Cycling in North Somerset

North Somerset towns have been awarded an additional £473,750 from Central Government to introduce a wave of permanent walking and cycling routes that give additional choice to local residents looking to use active travel in a socially distanced environment. 

The Councill's bid to the government follows a raft of cycling investment and improvement in cycling, long-term walking and cycling infrastructure plans, and free bike loans. 

Cycling rates skyrocketed this summer as people dusted off their old bikes and sales of cycles boomed during lockdown and beyond. Locally in North Somerset, there was a 29 per cent increase in people using local cycle paths compared to last summer.

North Somerset was among the only Local Authorities in the country to be given more money than they asked for as a result of proactive engagement with local communities and the strength of local policymakers' ambition to encourage the healthy, safe, and thriving future of walking and cycle travel in the district.

The funding is part of a national £175m grant from the Department for Transport (DfT), which will see new safe routes for people to walk and cycle safely built rapidly in 2021.

The new permanent schemes, which will be completed next year, will include:

  • Improvements to Hill Road and The Beach in Clevedon with a one-way system to allow better pedestrian access and cycling
  • Creating a cycling corridor on Baker Street and Milton Road in Weston-super-Mare, introducing a 20mph limit, preventing rat-running of cars and offering better links from residential areas to the town centre
  • Introducing a segregated cycling route over Hildesheim Bridge to the town centre in Weston-super-Mare
  • Several school schemes that offer safe cycling and walking routes to school for children and parents
  • Establishing a quiet lanes network of cycle and pedestrian routes between Yatton, Clevedon and Nailsea, while maintaining essential and farm accesses.
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