As 2022 draws to a close, Bath’s MP Wera Hobouse has set out her thoughts on what she would like to achieve and see happen in the new year. Everything from buses to affordable housing and the NHS are included in her thoughts for 2023.
“This year has been an extremely challenging one and a lot of the issues we all face will roll on. It is my sincerest hope that I can play a small part in bringing some positive change to my beloved city of Bath by continuing to work closely with my excellent Lib Dem colleagues on the Council. Also, I will continue to push for wider, national changes that will sort out the many issues plaguing our nation currently.
“In Bath, we have seen scores of bus routes cut and threatened to be cut. Addressing this will be one of my top priorities in the new year. I will work with the Council to try and save as many routes as possible and where we cannot, provide alternatives so vulnerable residents are not left isolated. I will continue to call for a reform of how the system works and that means giving local authorities like B&NES Council the powers to ensure they can make these services operate smoothly for the public.
“The pressure on our NHS will of course continue to be a sharp focus in my mind. The superb staff at the RUH are serving us well through the toughest of winters yet the Government currently has no plan to resolve the immense pressure on our health service. What the Government needs to present, and what I will continue to call for in Parliament, is a long-term workforce plan so staffing shortages can be addressed. Alongside this needs to be social care reform so more care is moved into the community and out of hospitals. Only then can we start to rebuild our precious NHS.
“The tragic events in Rochdale and the terrible state of housing generally which it exposed needs solving urgently. I will use my platform to pressure the Government into doing this. The Government has for a time long promised the Renters Reform Bill, yet it has delayed its passage through Parliament and has left renters without the protections they need from rogue landlords. B&NES Council has started an excellent scheme which provides affordable, social housing and I would love to see this replicated more broadly. The Liberal Democrats have long called for 150,000 more affordable homes to be built a year and a scheme to enable this needs to begin immediately.
“The awful column written by Jeremy Clarkson in the Sun once again exposed the deeply ingrained misogynistic attitudes that are still pertinent in society. It is imperative that we make clear these kinds of behaviours are not acceptable and bring about a cultural shift to enable this. My Private Members’ Bill, which would ensure that employers must make workplaces safe from sexual harassment, is currently passing through the Commons and should be signed into law in the coming months. Legislation such as this, I hope, will start this cultural shift. I will also continue to call for misogyny to be categorised as hate speech. Violent language towards women is completely unacceptable and this needs to be made clear in the law.
“The climate crisis, as has been the case for many years, will be at the forefront of my thinking over the next year. The Government has slammed the brakes on progress towards Net Zero and it is imperative that we do not let them get away with this. I am currently gathering support in Parliament for a Local Net Zero Bill which would increase the devolved powers over Net Zero decisions to local authorities so they can push ahead with the green transition even if the Government would prefer to dither over meaningful action. We must reclaim our spot as a world leader in the fight against climate change and this Bill would go some way to doing this.
“I am of course extremely grateful for your continued faith in me as your MP and I will never stop fighting for Bath. Over the next year I hope to make a real difference in the areas I have outlined and that I hope this will lead to a prosperous 2023 for us all.”