As a city, and as a nation, we have experienced a tumultuous time through the COVID- 19 pandemic, which has tragically seen many deaths. It has been a time of great worry and anxiety for people, affecting us all in different ways.
The pandemic has reminded us of many things: the importance of family and friends; the importance of green spaces and fresh air; the importance of community and working together with shared goals in mind.
Our manifesto focuses on areas which we believe will bring positive benefits to our communities and the environment we live in. The environment has always been at the heart of our vision and there has never been a more important time for environmental protections and improvements.
The Liberal Democrats seek solutions which are practical, creative and evidence-based. If elected, we will work hard for our residents, so that their concerns can be addressed and their ideas can be acted upon.
As a party, we stand up for values that unite, rather than divide us. We want to encourage rational and compassionate politics and this needs to start at a local level.
We believe in the importance of local communities and their ability to make changes that have a positive impact on individuals' lives. We stand for an open, tolerant and united society and this begins with local people, local communities and local government.
Plymouth Liberal Democrats will build stronger local communities, with cleaner, greener streets and spaces.
Our priorities for Plymouth:
Listening to those navigating the social care system and trying to access essential services.
Supporting young people in the city by taking a holistic approach to their wellbeing.
Enhancing local plans to deal with the climate emergency, improving recycling and reducing single-use plastic.
Protecting and developing our local environment and green spaces, and improving biodiversity.
Fighting for mental health to be treated the same as physical health and reducing waiting times.
Phasing out the most polluting vehicles, installing more electric car charging points, and improving public transport.
1) Listening to residents
A large number of residents in Plymouth feel that they aren't being listened to. Many of these residents are trying to work their way through the social care system or are trying to access help from the council, local councillors or other organisations. Too often we hear that no one takes ownership of the problem, causing anxiety to residents who are often already the most vulnerable in our community. We want to see a more individually focused approach which is sensitive to the needs of people in our communities.
2) Supporting young people
Young people have experienced serious disruption and difficulties due to the pandemic. We will take a holistic approach to supporting their wellbeing and education. We would like to provide young people with activities they can do: areas for free running, parkour and other hobbies. We would like to support and encourage spaces for young people to use and to ensure there are events available for them to participate in during school holidays. Whilst schools deliver their own PSHEE (Personal Social Health and Economic Education) programmes we would like to support the sharing of best practice around citizenship and PSHEE to encourage schools to cover topics such as finances and debt, sexual harassment and consent and political education, to name just a few.
3) Climate emergency
Plymouth Liberal Democrats will redevelop and enhance the Plymouth Climate Emergency plan by setting deliverable goals and carrying out a local consultation with businesses, organisations and residents. We will ensure that local promises for a household food recycling service are delivered. Food recycling is already offered by neighbouring local authorities and has been implemented by the University of Plymouth. We will provide education and public information for rubbish and recycling, because recycling rates are low in Plymouth (34.1% according to recent DEFRA statistics). We also support Plymouth's aim to be free of single-use plastic.
4) Local Environment
The local environment is a shared resource for all Plymouth residents. We will enhance and expand our local environment and green spaces, using a number of initiatives that have been successful in other cities. This includes fitting living walls (i.e. vertical gardens) onto buildings, developing pocket parks (small green spaces) on under-utilised land, and installing bus stop roof gardens. Such initiatives are visually attractive, whilst also providing a haven for pollinating insects, increasing biodiversity, and helping to clean the air that we breathe. We will also expand existing tree planting plans, and look into options for local rewilding.
5) Mental health
Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for mental health to be treated the same as physical health. We will prioritise the expansion of facilities across the city, with the goal of reducing waiting-list times for mental health support and treatment. We will also take action to improve mental health in schools. Additionally, we will provide public information so that those most in need of help have better awareness of the support available.
6) Air Quality
Air quality is of increasing concern to the public, particularly the impact of exhaust fumes on children's health. Plymouth Liberal Democrats will develop a fair and workable plan for phasing out the use of high emission vehicles within the city - especially near schools. We will increase the number of electric charging points to encourage the use of electric vehicles, while also making improvements to public transport, including more environmentally friendly buses. We will also provide better provision for cyclists. These measures will help to reduce Plymouth's carbon footprint.
Further goals to enhance our city:
● Promote the advantages of Plymouth as a hi-tech base, to encourage businesses to locate here.
● Ensure that children can take advantage of physical activities by making sure all schools have access to sport and outdoor areas to help keep our children healthy.
● Fight for every child to have access to a good or outstanding school within walking distance of where they live.
● Engage with local groups to discuss the best way forward for cyclists in the city.
● Fight for better rail connectivity to the rest of the country.
● Continue to campaign at a local level for the national initiative of a penny in the pound tax to fund health and social care.
● Protect libraries from closure and develop them to become focal points of the local community.
● Continue to fight for the Vagrancy Act to be scrapped and take a compassionate approach to helping the homeless.
● Campaign for a pragmatic, evidence-based approach to managing the pandemic and lifting of restrictions.
Published and promoted by Christopher Oram on behalf of Plymouth Liberal Democrats, at 4 Holmer Down, Woolwell, Plymouth, PL6 7QW.
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