Political peeps

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'One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors,' Plato

2022

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Nailsea Town Council - Golden Valley ward election candidates

Well, that’s one election over as MP Liz Truss pays tribute to booted out Boris Johnson after beating Rishi Sunak to become next Conservative UK prime minister.

Sadly our North Somerset MP Liam Fox backed the wrong horse.

Closer to home we have another election later this month.

Nailsea Town Council has a vacancy in Golden Valley ward following the second resignation of James Steel.

He said: "I quit because the decisions made by the collective council reflect on each councillor individually and if I remained on the council I would have been endorsing certain decisions which I personally felt were incompetent."

In the interests of democracy an election was requested and will be held on Thursday, September 22.

A polling station will be open at St Francis church hall, and we wait for confirmation that its opening hours will be the same as in a general or district election 7am-10pm.

Calling a town council election can cost local community taxpayers between £3-17,000 although the actual cost of this election is not known.

Only registered voters living within the Golden Valley ward will be able to vote and all should receive polling cards – people living in The Elms are not eligible as they are in Wraxall.

Candidates however do not have to live in the ward they are standing in.

Two candidates put their names forward – James R Turner, a published music book author and Mark Raby, a retired police officer.

Lloyds private banking relationship manager James has just celebrated his 45th birthday and lives with fiancé Charlotte, two dogs and three cats in Valley Way Road.

He said: “I've lived in Nailsea nearly five years although Charlotte has lived here pretty much all her life.”

For the past three decades James has been busy book reviewing for a variety of publications, being a union representative at the bank and in turn his first book about the Wizzard musician Roy Wood was reviewed by Nailsea People.

A keen Formula One fan James enjoys growing vegetables and cooking.

He added: “I believe I can bring a fresh pair of eyes and new ideas to the council and firmly believe in getting involved and having a positive impact on the town that I have no plans of leaving.”

James added in the Yorkshire village where he grew up there is a road named after his family due to their historic connections with the village – not sure if James means The Turner Trails inspired by the famous painter?

Image by Element5 Digital

Retired police sergeant Mark Raby, aged 55, has been a bit of an action man in his time and even now lists his sporting hobbies as cycling and scuba diving.

A known rugby fan Mark has lived in the town for 25 years with the past nine heading the community policing section.

Manning the football cage for youngsters at fundraising events and organising the Tough-as-Nails charity assault course family man Mark is a familiar face on the sidelines of a sports pitch and playing field.

He said: “As a police sergeant, I worked to tackle both crime and anti-social behaviour in and around Nailsea including the Golden Valley ward during the years of severe cutbacks.”

By supporting community and youth initiatives and bringing different people together Mark believes it will make ‘the town an even better place to live’.

He added: “Addressing crime and anti-social behaviour by strengthening the relationship with a Community, the Council and the Cops is my idea behind a three Cs initiative.

“I would collaborate with both Golden Valley ward and Nailsea residents by listening to the issues and ideas that matter, doing my best to address them, while always honest and transparent.”

TESTING TIME: North Somerset MP Liam Fox received a £20,000 donation in June from a Covid testing firm on whose behalf he had contacted the then health secretary Matt Hancock., according to the BBC, other national television channels and newspapers. Dr Fox recommended SureScreen Diagnostics to Mr Hancock in 2020, an email seen by campaign group Good Law Project and the BBC shows.

The company went on to win a £500m contract to provide tests without facing competition. A spokesman for Dr Fox called the allegations 'a swear'.

Read more HERE

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Liam backs Rishi for PM

What a difference a day make.
North Somerset MP Liam Fox posted on Twitter: "I have loyally supported every Conservatives Leader since 1992. 
"However, today I am withdrawing my support for the Prime Minister. Boris Johnson’s leadership is untenable."
And he shared his letter, top, explaining why.
Then barely 24hrs later he appeared on social media supporting Rishi Sunak's bid to become Tory leader with a promise to rebuild trust following the tumultuous premiership of Boris Johnson.
The former chancellor quit on Tuesday, helping to trigger an avalanche of ministerial resignations. 
Mr Sunak announced his bid on Twitter, saying: “Let’s restore trust, rebuild the economy and reunite the country.”
His move came as allies of former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, who was runner-up to Mr Johnson in 2019, said he was 'virtually certain' to stand again this time.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson was continuing to resist demands to stand down as Prime Minister and hand over to his deputy, Dominic Raab, until a permanent successor is in place.
Mr Sunak released a glossy launch video in which he set out his family history, saying: “Our country faces huge challenges, the most serious for a generation.
“And the decisions we make today will decide whether the next generation of British people will also have the chance of a better future.”
He has the backing of Commons Leader Mark Spencer, who said Mr Sunak has the “vision and the ability to take us through dark economic times”.
The Conservative MP for Sherwood told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: “Rishi’s got the skills, he’s got the ability, he’s got the experience, and I think he’s got the vision that we need to pull the country together and to get us moving in the right direction.”
Former Tory Party co-chairman Oliver Dowden and MP Paul Maynard together with Dr Fox also threw their support behind Mr Sunak’s leadership bid.

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LIAM AND BORIS: Once best of mates

Photo:  PA:Press Association Wire

They all shared a link to Mr Sunak’s campaign www.ready4rishi.com.

Mr Sunak enters what is likely to be a crowded field, with more than a dozen MPs either having announced their intentions or thought to be considering a run.

When Nailsea People shared the news on our Facebook page opinion was split with some very loyal Conservative votes furious that Boris had been blamed for the wrongs in the world and blaming others for his demise.

Dr Fox has twice stood unsuccessfully for the leadership of the Conservative Party, in 2005 and 2016.

In July 2019, he lost his cabinet position when new Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed his cabinet.

Boys inspect the black stuff

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Things that go bump in the street like potholes, uneven pavements and broken paving slabs are the bane of Nailsea people.

This week saw a meeting of minds when town and distirct councillors got together to discuss the problems.

Nailsea Town Council chairman Mike Bird with fellow town councillors James Tonkin and James Steel met with North Somerset executive members Mark Canniford (Weston Hillside), Steve Hogg (Wrington) and Ashley Cartman (Long Ashton, Leigh Woods, Failand and Wraxall).

The purpose was to highlight concern about the state of many of Nailsea’s roads, paths and pavements.

A presentation of 100 photographs covering 21 locations of the worse areas was handed over.

Mr Steel and councillor Dee Houlbrook, who had prepared the pictorial document after asking on social media for examples.

All present agreed the situation is districtwide and exasperated by lack of funds.

As well as the urgent improvements needed there were calls for more consultations especially with disabled groups whose access was being restricted by the lack of maintenance.

An increase in the number of disabled bays in the car park at Waitrose supermarket off The Link road was also requested.

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ROAD GANG: Roads and pavements in need of repairs should be reported on the North Somerset Council website here https://bit.ly/3sFCZqi.

Nailsea Town Council finance and policy committee will be discussing a new job description for a community wellbeing development officer and set the paygrade at its next meeting. 
This is on Wednesday, May 25, at 7.30pm at the Tithe Barn.
It is currently also trying to recruit a part-time communications and media officer (30 hours) and part-time wedding and events co-ordinator (16 hours).
Out of an annual budget of £525,040 the council is spending in this financial year nearly 40 per cent of its precept is on staff.
This does not include the multi-million pound housing developers money which has to be spent on capital projects. 
Finance officer Fran Bridge said in the committee report: "Staff costs were £203,538 at year end and are the full costs to the council of staff based at the Tithe Barn and No 65 including gross pay, employer NI and pension contributions. 
"Staff costs ended the year above budget however expenditure was lower than expected as the 2021-22 pay award was agreed at 1.75 per cent and lower than the four per cent forecasted."
To download an agenda click HERE.

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Nice Nailsea needs a lido 

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A High Street full of art galleries is not the answer for struggling shops, warned Somerset Farmers’ Market organiser Louise Hall at Nailsea’s annual town meeting.

Speaking on Wednesday night, May 11, at the Tithe Barn, Louise said ‘be careful about what you wish for’ citing the situation in Frome where this cultural choice had led to spiralling house prices.

Shops like greengrocers Burchills, closing its Colliers Walk store after more than 30 years trading, and others like the owners of Simply Green and the new tuck shop Sweetz saying the low footfall post-Covid was having a worrying impact on their businesses.

High rents and rates are not the sole reason for the change in shopping habits, the meeting heard.

Failing high streets is a national problem not confided to one town, said Louise.

She added: “This is happening everywhere.

“I would say don’t beat yourself up, Nailsea seems to me a really nice place to live with strong community groups.

“I live just outside Frome which is the ‘arts capital’ of the southwest and no one can afford to live there anymore.”

She urged Nailsea to ‘get yourself a lido’ instead of investing solely in the arts and crafts scene.

Attracting tourists is not the answer, catering for local people is more important, she concluded to loud applause.

Vice-chairman Emily Miller said: “We have started looking at how arts and culture can build the town centre and how we can bring more people into the town and made a start with the heritage trail - a town centre isn’t a draw anymore as more people shop online.

”Whenever I talk about Nailsea I talk about our green fields, our nature reserves, we need to highlight what we do have.”

Nailsea Farmers’ Market which for 2022-23 will operate with a £4,850 town council grant is the biggest Somerset Farmers’ Market with more than 40 stalls monthly.

Nailsea people can get regular updates by going to info@somersetfarmersmarkets.co.uk and subscribing.

Chairman Mike Bird said there is an initiative in the planning stages to rent empty units in the shopping centre specifically for fledging businesses.

This is a joint venture with North Somerset Council who has a High Street heritage enhancement scheme running in Weston-super-Mare.

The Ask Nailsea survey should be sorted within the next month when options for spending the monies from developers will be decided.

Ms Miller said: “It is my hope within the next month to share with the public the ideas we are taking forward.”

Many asked for a swimming pool however there are concerns about running costs and maintenance.

On top of its £500,000 annual precept the town council currently has more than £3M in its saving accounts but the windfall monies has to be a capital expenditure - a fixed asset.

The full minutes, chairman’s address and accounts will be published on Nailsea Town Council here https://www.nailseatowncouncil.gov.uk/.

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IN THE CHAIR

Councillor Mike Bird who was recently re-elected for a second term remarked in this annual report about another strange ‘Covid’ year adding he was first elected via a Zoom meeting. In response to criticism on social media he said his tenure as a district councillor was an advantage as it gave him easier access to North Somerset Council officers. He indefatigably disputed it was a conflict of interest – rather the opposite. He said: “My focus is always Nailsea.”

SKATEFEST 2022

Nailsea Skatepark spokesman Phil Williams said: “Our first skatefest was 19 years ago and the original crew is now all grown up with children of their own. This year we are celebrating our 20th anniversary. During the past two years we haven’t been able to hold the skatefest although we held one online which was quite good fun.” With the help of a police grant floodlighting of the skate park is nearer fruition.

65 HIGH STREET

The cost of staff, repairs and updates to the community owned High Street hub are being measured against its wider benefits to the NHS and Social Services, the town meeting was told. The new manager is Trudy Hollow.

THERAPY THINKING

Wellspring Counselling therapy service was set up in 1994 initially for adults on low incomes but since 2004 it has been helping young people aged 11-18 as well. For 2022-23 it has a £4,000 town council grant. Spokesman Louise Alison explained with poor mental health and Covid putting pressure on the NHS and a cost-of-living crisis ‘our work is more relevant that ever’.

SHARED OWNERSHIP

Barrett Homes has more than 40 local people interested in the shared ownership scheme initiated by Nailsea Town Council when it sold the Engine Lane site for development. Unfortunately, the building delay caused by National Grid added an average £100,000 house price rise.

IT’S HEAVY

A speed and weight restriction should be introduced in Nailsea High Street by the end of May.

GREEN SPACE

The Uplands district council-owned open space is lost forever for housing but ‘town green’ status for The Perrings slope is still with the legal team.

GRAFFITI GURU

Councillor James Steel, who wasn’t at the meeting, helped by a team of volunteers is planning a grand graffiti clean-up in Nailsea.

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WORLD DOWN SYNDROME DAY: Nailsea college student Freddie Tall sporting a new haircut visits No10 Downing Street for World Down Syndrome Day on Monday, March 21. He was accompanied by mum Annabel and in London met with North Somerset MP Liam Fox. Dr Fox’s private members bill to meet the needs of those with this syndrome is currently at committee stage and likely to become law shortly. A delegation meet PM Boris Johnston at No10 and attended a reception on the terrace at the House of Commons. Annabel says she hopes by next Monday the bill will have passed the commitee stage without a hitch. Dr Fox, a family friend, tweeted: 'Today is #WorldDownSyndromeDay, a time when we celebrate those around the world who have Down Syndrome and the contributions they make to their families, communities and society as a whole."

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ACCOUNTING FOR SPEND: What an excellent graphic prepared by Nailsea Town Council staff explaining how our community tax gets spent locally. With an annual budget of half a million can't wait for the budget in similar format when the £4+ developers windfall is included. Top spend is admin but that's the way of the world followed by grants of various sizes to community groups...

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ANSWERING BACK: Always nice to know what our North Somerset MP Liam Fox is doing. Well part of his busy schedule included appearing on BBC Radio 4 Any Questions. He was jooined on the panel broadcast from Chorley in Lancashire by fellow guests Chris Bryant, Bronwend Maddox and Mary Dejevshy. He thanks the audience for all their excellent questionh. Still in the north he is hosting Conservative Friends of America spring conference in Blackpool but has been popping up at lots of constituency events too like the Portishead spring flower show and is also included in the Ukrairian slideshow in the gallery

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£340 millions to spend

North Somerset Council members will meet this month to set the budget for the year ahead and are expected to approve a financial strategy which protects vital council-services while also investing an extra £40m in long-term local projects to improve services for children, green initiatives and local facilities.

With an overall theme of protection and investment, the budget priorities are:

  • backing our children and young people

  • delivering better basic services

  • investing in our communities

  • tackling the climate emergency.

The £40m additional investment is in addition to the £300m already committed for long-term investment in local projects.

Residents will continue to get good services from the council with key services like social care, recycling and waste and roads and pavement maintenance protected. The budget also protects local people from the impact of cuts, and increases in fees and charges are being kept to a minimum.

North Somerset Council executive member for finance Ash Cartman is the Lib Dem ward councillor for Long Ashton, Leigh Woods, Failand and Wraxall.

He said: "Our administration is continuing to work hard together to deliver for the common good of the people of North Somerset.

"Through our collaborative approach we are committed to making North Somerset open, fairer and greener, and this budget does just that.

"The past two years have been incredibly hard for everyone.

"As we emerge from the pandemic we want North Somerset to thrive.

"We are committed to supporting our children and young people to have the best start in life and also to protecting our care services for adults.

"We're passionate about tackling the climate emergency and this budget sets out a series of initiatives that will accelerate our commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030."

Subject to approval by councillors, council tax will increase by 2.99 per cent.

 

This increase is driven by social care pressures and won’t even cover the gap in costs to provide these services.

This increase includes a one per cent increase specifically to support adult social care services. Almost every council in the country will be increasing council tax at this rate.Following the central government announcement last week that properties in council tax bands A to D will receive a £150 payment to support increasing energy bills, the council is expecting further advice about handling these payments.

British Pound Notes

When council tax bills are sent out in March they will not reflect the reduced amount for affected properties. This will follow a separate process and more information will be available when guidance from government is received.

Adult social care remains under-funded by central government, and the pressures in this area will not be solved by the precept increase. Therefore it will receive £8.7m of new money to help address the pressures in this area.

Mr Cartman added: "Increasing council tax is not something we do lightly given the other cost-of-living pressures our residents are facing, but the council is not immune to cost pressures either and we have worked to mitigate impacts on services and household budgets.

"There are still risks with pressures of inflation, demand and income which we'll need to manage and there continues to be a budget challenge in the years ahead with significant gaps forecast which will need to be addressed.

"We're actively contributing to the government funding reviews and making sure our voice is heard to campaign for fairer funding We face significant challenges in the next three years beyond this and with only annual settlements from government longer-term planning is virtually impossible."

The budget will be debated at the council meeting on Tuesday, February 15, starting at 6pm.

The meeting is at the Town Hall in Weston-super-Mare butcan be live-streamed at https://youtu.be/fuPR-ViS05I.

The full meeting agenda and papers are available on the council's website at https://n-somerset.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?MId=784&x=1.

APPROVED council tax rise

North Somerset Council met this week and set the budget for the year ahead.
Councillors approved a financial strategy which they believe protects vital council-services while also investing an extra £40m in long-term local projects to improve services for children, green initiatives and local facilities.
With an overall theme of protection and investment, the budget priorities as above.

The £40m additional investment is in addition to the £300m already committed for long-term investment in local projects.
Residents will continue to get good services from the council with key services like social care, recycling and waste and roads and pavement maintenance protected, said a spokesman.

The budget also protects local people from the impact of cuts, and increases in fees and charges are being kept to a minimum.
Council tax will increase by 2.99 per cent. 
 

This increase is driven by social care pressures and won’t even cover the gap in costs to provide these services.This increase includes a one per cent increase specifically to support adult social care services. Almost every council in the country will be increasing council tax at this rate.

Following the recent central government announcement that properties in council tax bands A to D will receive a £150 payment to support increasing energy bills, the council is expecting further advice about handling these payments. 
When council tax bills are sent out in March they will not reflect the reduced amount for affected properties. This will follow a separate process and more information will be available when guidance from government is received.
Adult social care remains under-funded by central government, and the pressures in this area will not be solved by the precept increase. Therefore it will receive £8.7m of new money to help address the pressures in this area.

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Ask Nailsea people

Nailsea Town Council intends to ask the people how it should spend its planning gain windfall from new housebuilding in the town.

Nailsea Town Council has gained a significant sum of money from the sale of the land at Engine Lane and is looking at how this money can be reinvested into the community to benefit residents.

The council discussed a proposal to ‘Ask Nailsea’.

It was agreed the question will be put directly to the people of Nailsea and will ask them how they would like the council to invest in the community for the future.

It will be contacting all residents to get views and will promote the questionnaire in local and social media.

It is hoped that a broad scope of ideas will come forward.

The information gathered by Nailsea Town Council will be read, collated, and the most suitable ideas will be selected, developed, and put out for public consultation, it was decided.

Councillors met new Nailsea police beat team constable Lee Kerslake at its extraordinary meeting on Wednesday, Janauary 5, which had been postponed from December.

PC Kerslake talked about future policing plans and anti-social behaviour and damage to the old Weston College site.

He is keen to build a positive rapport with Nailsea’s youth and wants to increase communication between police and the community.

The beat team intend to have a visible presence on the streets of Nailsea, which is an important aspect in gaining the public’s trust, he said.

Nailsea Town Council has upgraded the CCTV network during the past 12 months and has a mobile camera which can be deployed to locations not covered by existing cameras.

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All relay images to North Somerset Council CCTV unit and the police, the meeting heard.

Nailsea Town Council budget for 2022-2023 is £567,568 has been set considering increases in running costs and additional staffing.

This is an additional £6.38 a year for a householder in the B and D council tax band or just over 12p per week and is slightly more than the predicted inflation rate of 6.5 per cent by April this year.

For context a Band D household is currently billed £1,906.71 per annum.

Nailsea will be expanding as a town over the next few years and the town council recognises it needs to increase its communication with residents and expand the use of its buildings which has been factored into the 2022-23 budget, the meeting agreed.

  • Nailsea People has a 'straw poll' on its February front page asking residents to vote for their favourite idea for spending the money. So far a swimming pool is by far the first choice of the majority. Privately councillors are saying this is a none starter but not why - cost, maintenance, we will pose the question. 

2021

Steel digest

Steel Framing

Nailsea Town Council
finance committee

Wednesday, December 8

I have had a few weeks without a town council meeting but on Wednesday night we had the finance committee meeting which was jam packed and led to a lot of healthy debate and conversation.

 

2022-23 Budget Proposal 

The budget proposal is not the agreed budget but is instead what each individual committee has requested. It provides a detailed overview of all income and expenditure for the following year which the council can then review.
The role of the finance committee on Wednesday was to discuss the budget proposal, possible amendments and then decide what should be ‘proposed’ to full town council for all councillors to vote on whether it is approved.
The ‘proposed’ budget showed a significant rise in costs which if unchanged would lead to a deficit next year of £147,000. It was highlighted within the agenda that to balance the ‘proposed’ budget with no changes then the town council would need to increase their council tax precept by 28 per cent next year.
Precepts are a share of your council tax payments that the town council receives to operate and improve the town. Last year Nailsea Town Council received £525,040 but this would need to rise by 28 per cent to around £672,000 if the ‘proposed’ budget remained unchanged.
However, after much debate and conversation on the ‘proposed’ budget the finance committee felt unable to make a recommendation to the full town council in relation to the proposed increase of the precept and this will now return to the finance committee for further discussion which will also give the staffing sub-committee a chance to meet to discuss recruitment plans as well as waiting for the precept calculator to be available.
I hope I’ve explained that correctly and clearly as trying to provide a succinct and objective overview on such an important item is difficult but a lot more information and context on this item can be found in the full agenda which can be found here https://www.nailseatowncouncil.gov.uk/minutes-agendas/. Select finance and policy committee and then choose the meeting dated Wednesday, December 8.


2022-23 Grant Applications


As a committee we then reviewed and discussed grant applications from local organisations and groups. The role of the councillors on the finance committee is to review and recommended to full town council whether they feel the grants should be awarded. 
Ultimately, it will be up to the full town council to vote and make the final decision on whether to award grants to the applicants. This vote will take place at the next full town council meeting on Wednesday, December 15.

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Matters for Information


A councillor requested that £50,000 is provided by Nailsea Town Council to create a pedestrian crossing on Clevedon Road. North Somerset Council has improvement works planned for the road and if the council provide the fee the crossing will be included in the improvements. This was not included within the proposed budget for next year.


The above is not the full agenda which can be found HERE.and the above is just my personal feedback on what I felt would be of interest and it is NOT an official statement from the town council who will publish agreed minutes in due course.
Nailsea Town Council exists to represent and support residents and all residents are invited to attend and speak at meetings during public participation.
Most meetings take place at the Tithe Barn at 7.30pm on Wednesday evenings.

The calendar of meetings can be found here: https://www.nailseatowncouncil.gov.uk/meetings/ where  the meeting agendas can be found seven days before each meeting.

More information on any item above can be found by contacting the town council offices on 01275 855277 or enquiries@nailseatowncouncil.gov.uk.

James Steel

Total support for Down Syndrome Bill

A Bill focussed on improving the lives of those living with Down syndrome has passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons on Friday, November 26.

It has full Government support and in fact in the debate no one spoke against it becoming law.

The Down Syndrome Bill was introduced as Dr Liam Fox’s Private Member’s Bill.

Annabel Tall is the constituency assistant to Dr Fox and mother of Freddie.

Freddie is a Foxes Academy student who has Down’s syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder and is also deaf. 

A disablility advocate and chartered engineeer Annabel stood unsuccessfully as the general election Conservative candidate for Bath in 2019.

She said: "Feeling very emotional.

"Today the Down Syndrome Bill passed its second reading in Parliament without a single vote against - a game changing moment.

"Awesome to watch Parliament, all parties, at their best where everyone just gets it

"Thank you to the most amazing team of people I have ever worked with for whom 9-5 has no meaning."

Dr Fox was selected, for the first time in his 30 years as an MP for North Somerset, in the Private Members’ Ballot to bring forward a Bill of his own choosing for this Parliamentary session – only 20 MPs each parliamentary session are drawn at random in the ballot.

Dr Fox, a former NHS doctor and GP, decided to use this unique opportunity to bring forward the Down Syndrome Bill as his Private Members’ Bill.

The Bill is co-sponsored by cross-party MPs and politicians from across the political divide attended an event with Dr Fox in Parliament earlier this week in support of the Bill.

The Down Syndrome Bill would mean the establishment of a Down Syndrome Act and will be the first of its kind in the world.

The Act would improve the provision and outcomes for all those living with Down syndrome in England.

This will encompass, amongst other areas, maternity care, education, health and social care and employment.

Campaigners are calling for the Bill to receive Royal Assent before World Down Syndrome Day on Monday, March 21, 2022.

TV Personalities have also shown their support for the Bill, including: CBeebies presenter and self-advocate George Webster; BBC’s Line of Duty actor Tommy Jessop; writer and creator of Call the Midwife Heidi Thomas; and the actress Sally Phillips.

The National Down Syndrome Policy Group (NDSPG) has launched a campaign in support for the Bill.

The ‘Stand Up for Down Syndrome’ campaign includes a Change.org petition which has attracted the signatures of 30,400 people with Down syndrome, their families and supporters.

Thousands of constituents have written to their MPs as part of the campaign urging them to support the Bill.

Many of those taking part in the campaign have shared photos of their children with Down syndrome on social media to help send a strong message about the importance of the Bill.The NDSPG have organised a gathering outside Parliament today at 13:30hrs so that those in the Down syndrome community can publicly demonstrate their support of Dr Liam Fox’s Bill on the day of its second reading in the House of Commons.

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Battersea Power Station in London was lit in blue, pink, purple – to celebrate what campaigners are calling a 'historic and ground breaking moment'.

Health minister Gillian Keegan, whose nephew has Down Syndrome, told MPs during the debate: “People with Down syndrome should have the opportunity to enjoy all aspects of our society and to have access to the services and support that will enable them throughout their lifetime.

"iwholeheartedly support the Down syndrome bill.

“I know that today people with Down syndrome are struggling to access the services they need and I’ve seen this with my own family.

"It is not right, it must change and we will change it.”

Dr Liam Fox MP, the Down Syndrome Bill sponsor said: “I am thrilled to bring forward a Bill to deal with the issues faced by those with Down syndrome.

"My aim is to deal with three main areas.

"The first is to de-stigmatise Down syndrome.

"The second is to ensure that current provision of services is improved.

"The third is to look ahead and deal with future issues, such as long-term care, in an era where, for the first time, many of those with Down syndrome will outlive their parents.”

Heidi Thomas, writer and creator of Call the Midwife whose late brother had Down syndrome said: “Having David as a sibling enabled me to live my best life – he taught me so much, and brought joy to all who loved him.

"But I want everyone who has Down syndrome to live their best life, with their gifts acknowledged and their specific needs embraced, understood, and enabled.

"The Down Syndrome Bill could really open the door to that, and it has my full support.”

To read a full Hansard account of the debate go HERE.

Once second reading is complete the Bill proceeds to committee stage - where each clause (part) and any amendments (proposals for change) to the Bill may be debated.

Climate change crisis report

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Nailsea Town Council chairman Mike Bird spent two weeks working as a sound engineer at COP 26 and saw all the great and the good (and not-so-good) on the other end of a TV screen. 
He said:"I do think that we have a real climate emergency, but people don't seem in much hurry to call 999."


Here is his reflections:

  • UN Climate Change Conference (COP26)

  • Reflections on two weeks at COP26.

  • So was it all worth it?  Or was it just Blah Blah Blah?

  • Disaster Displacement at COP26

 

Is the COP26 agreement enough?

Clearly it isn’t enough, but coal is in the agreement for the first time and it was signed off by both China and the US – that in itself is a miracle!

Although the Chinese targets are currently for 2060 -10 years too late - they now in the agreement to return every year to update commitments, which is good news.   
The US has 850 coal mines they need to wind down.

So while in a way the result of the conference was disappointing, in another it does keep hopes alive that we can stop climate change.

The launch of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance was an interesting event. https://beyondoilandgasalliance.com.
A lot of countries signed up including Ireland, Scotland and Wales...but not Westminster.
So what of my own two weeks there?  

I spent most of it sat in front of a sound desk listening to press conferences and saw many speeches and presentations.
As in the media, there was a lot of talk about 1.5 degrees, but I realised, like many people, I had little understanding of what this fully meant.

It is actually a measured figure of how much the global average temperatures have risen since 1980.

Records started in 1902, but the main temperature rise began in 1980. 
So why is a 1.5 degrees rise so significant?  

Because this is the scientifically calculated tipping point – if we go over 1.5 degrees rise, the climate will be in virtual run away and the chances of us reversing climate change could disappear.  

I leave you to imagine what a runaway increase in temperatures would mean for humanity!  
It needs pointing out that we are already at 1.1 degrees. 

If we carry on as we are, and don’t reach carbon zero* target by 2050, island nations like the Maldives will then literally cease to exist.  

  • * Carbon zero is another well used phrase not many understand. Fundimentaly it means we are only putting into the atmosphere what the earth has the capability to reabsorb.

There was a lot of representation from the island nations at COP26.  

With reefs dying already from the 1.1 sea temperature rise - bleaching it’s called - island erosion is already happening.  

Around the world the people most effected already by climate change, are actually those living the most environmentally friendly lives.  

They are helpless as the responsibility for reversing climate change and therfore sea levels, lies with the developed nations and fossil fuel producers.
There was a lot of talk of money and compensation at COP26.  

Personally, I did find this odd and rather out of place.  

If climate change happens, economies and societies will be destroyed, nature has little use for a few digits on a computer server somewhere, which is all money is these days.

How can money stop the sea rising and sweeping away an island?  

It's action that's needed not money.
I think that’s what’s changed for me having gone to COP26, is seeing the need for urgenct action now to be able plan towards 2050.  

Small token gestures are no longer enough, we need to change fundamentally our way of living. 

We’ve heard a lot about the rainforest over the years, about fights to preserve it as the ‘lungs of the planet’, it seems so distant to us and out of our hands.  

If we actually do make 2050 and only have 1.5 degrees increase, we still need to have restored nature by then to aid the earths ability to recover the climate, repairing the ‘lungs of the planet’.

Yes, we do need to reduce our carbon footprint by changing everyday things like buying locally produced food rather than imported, walking instead of taking the car, not going on that cruise or repeatedly flying to faraway lands on holiday.

There are many small things we can do that all add up to change the way our economy works and make it more environmentlly friendly.  

Liam's private members' bill gets government support

North Somerset MP Liam Fox said he is 'absolutely delighted that the Government have announced they will be supporting my Private Members’ Down Syndrome Bill'. 
This Bill is a world first and will make a real difference to many lives. 
People with Down syndrome will be legally recognised as a specific minority group after the government backed proposed new laws to ensure all public bodies meet their needs.
Ministers will announce within days that the government will back a new Down Syndrome Bill.
The move follows a campaign spearheaded by Tommy Jessop, who played Terry Boyle in Line of Duty, Dr Liam Fox, the former cabinet minister and Ken and Rachael Ross from the National Down Syndrome Policy Group.
The Bill will put people with Down syndrome on an equal footing with other minority groups to ensure that councils and public bodies such as schools,

Steel Framing

Steel digest

Nailsea Town Council
community engagement committee

Wednesday, November 10

* North Somerset Council to Empower Communities
* 2022/23 Grant Applications 
* Local Networking Event for Groups / Organisations


Last night we had a jam packed agenda at the community engagement committee.
We kicked off with a presentation from Richard Blows who led North Somerset’s Cov