Air Balloon solution stalling

Last year the Department of Transport approved funding to Highways England for fixing the A417 'Missing Link', as part of a £15 billion countrywide road improvement scheme, but it has now been confirmed that a solution will not be delivered before 2021.


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Councillors to hold residents surgery this weekend

Cirencester’s two County Councillors are holding an advice surgery this weekend to give residents the opportunity to raise any issues they have about the local area. 


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Help for refugees welcomed by Lib Dems

content_regugeeswelcome.jpgLeader of the opposition at Cotswold District Council, Councillor Joe Harris has welcomed news that the authority is to look at what it can do to help support refugees fleeing conflict in the Middle East and North Africa.

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Council approves new ways to grow local apprenticeships

County Councillors have approved a report that proposes how best to promote and grow apprenticeships across Gloucestershire.

At a full council meeting council members unanimously agreed recommendations put forward by the ‘Apprenticeship task group'. The proposals include doing more to put apprenticeships at the forefront of people’s minds earlier in a young persons’ school career.

To help inform the report, the task group ran a number of focus groups with employers, schools, training providers and young people to discover the challenges facing apprenticeships. Employers across Gloucestershire were also surveyed about their experiences.

The group discovered three key issues facing apprenticeships in the county; the perception of apprenticeships among some teachers, schools, young people and parents does not match reality, young people need high quality career advice and support to develop the skills they need to start their careers in the workplace and employers need to be better informed, supported and encouraged to take on apprentices. The task group then looked into ways to tackle these issues.

The apprenticeship task group was set up following a motion to council in June 2014 led by Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Bourton & Northleach) who has also chaired the cross-party initiative.

He said: “When I proposed last year that we set up a task force to boost the number of apprenticeships locally I didn't realise just how much we could achieve in a short time. Working cross-party we have seen that there's a lot of work to be done to get the message out loud and clear that apprenticeships are a brilliant way to enter the world of work.

“Now, we have come up with a set of recommendations which will give employers, schools and young people much more information about how to become an apprentice. Many employers have issues in finding the right people for roles and so getting people equipped with the right skills through apprenticeships is one way to help address this."

Using their knowledge of apprenticeships in the county the group has also been able to provide valuable advice to the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) on its commissioning of an apprenticeship hub.

Since 2010, 15560 apprenticeships have been created in the county.

Lib Dems slam public health budget cuts in the Cotswolds

Figures released last week by the Department for Health shows the Conservative Government is planning a £1,546,000 cut to the public health budget in Gloucestershire. The budget pays to help improve people's health so there is less pressure on the NHS. 

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Special Council meeting secured to discuss South Cerney waste site

The Liberal Democrats on Cotswold District Council (CDC) have been successful in ensuring a special Council meeting will be held to discuss the suitability of South Cerney as a home for an expanded waste vehicle depot.

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Lib Dem dismay at waste depot planning breach

Liberal Democrat Councillors in the Cotswolds have reacted with concern at news that the waste company SITA have been operating unlawfully at the firm’s waste depot site in South Cerney for over ten years.

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Tim Farron elected as leader of the Liberal Democrats

Watch Tim Farron's fantastic first speech as Leader of the Liberal Democrats below.




All ears for better phone coverage in Gloucestershire

A call is being made to improve mobile phone coverage across the county. The issue will be discussed at a County Council meeting next Wednesday at Shire Hall.

Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance & Change and recently appointed Chair of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee, Cllr. Paul Hodgkinson will call for an investigation on how mobile phone companies can provide better coverage in Gloucestershire. 

Cllr. Hodgkinson said: “There are many black holes across the county in so many villages and even towns where there is little or even worse no mobile coverage.

“If you live in an isolated village or travel on quiet roads you want some reassurance that you can contact someone easily.

“Better mobile coverage not only adds to personal security but is also an essential pre-requisite for running a business from home. There are many small businesses based in our villages and they require easy communication.”

“As I travel around my own district in the Cotswolds there are only two areas I can get a 3G or 4G signal – around Tetbury and Cirencester. In lots of other places people would be happy with 1G let alone anything else!

Cllr. Joe Harris who will be supporting calls for better phone coverage also said that:

Residents and businesses across the county should be getting the service that they rightly deserve. It is for the mobile phone operators to start listening to people’s frustrations and get on with providing good and reliable coverage.

“Calling for better mobile phone coverage goes hand in hand with calling for personal security something that really must be taken seriously by those operators across Gloucestershire”.

Votes at 16

Do you back our campaign to give young people the vote?

Here's a statement from Cllr Paul Hodgkinson about giving 16 and 17 year olds the right to have their say:

"We need to stop denying our young people their rights.

I regularly meet lots of young people in the Cotswolds. They’re passionate about such a wide range of issues - from the cost of local buses and their education, to climate change and international affairs.

The time has now come to give 16 and 17-year-olds a say on the issues that affect their lives.

We often hear people say they don’t understand politics. But this can’t be said of the younger generation, who are the first to receive a proper education in citizenship and democracy.

They understand what’s at stake. We’re teaching them how to be a full and active citizen but not letting them take part.

Most of us are quite happy to allow a 16 year old to serve us in a shop or to help protect us in the Army. We allow them to get married, have sex, pay taxes and drive cars.

Yet we are stopping them from having a say in how their taxes are spent or what direction our country goes in. Imagine how frustrated and angry you’d be if you were denied the same rights.

In the next two years we are going to decide whether Britain stay or leaves in the EU. This decision matters – it matters to our jobs and prosperity, and its impact will be felt for decades.

It would be so wrong to prevent those young people in the Cotswolds whose future we are talking about from having a say in this decision.

Last year, 16 and 17 year olds were allowed for the first time to vote in the Scottish Independence Referendum. Three-quarters of them did.

This proves young people can and will engage when given the opportunity. That’s why I am pleased Liberal Democrat MPs voted to amend the bill on the EU referendum to give 16 and 17 year olds the vote.

Liberal Democrats have actively supported changing the law on this issue for over ten years. Now there is growing support throughout Parliament and the Conservative Government must listen to us and stop denying young people a voice.

If you support this, please sign our petition:

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