Long Ashton to Hengrove MetroBus re-added to the routemap after pressure from MP for Bristol South, Karin Smyth

Karin says “The restoration of the Ashton to Hengrove MetroBus link on the route-map was one of the key demands I made in April following the decision to drop it. Since then, I have brought together the key players and made the case for why this route matters so much, and have kept the pressure on week in, week out.

It’s great to see that our campaign has paid off, and this is a helpful first step. What we now need is a clear timetable for delivery of the route, and a confirmed launch date. It’s nothing less than people across south Bristol deserve”.

Karin Smyth MP for Bristol South responds to Tuesday’s formal decision on the Bristol Arena.

Karin Smyth MP for Bristol South vows to keep fighting for what was promised on the Bristol Arena.

“Tuesdays decision is the formal end of a process that has, in truth, been on the cards for some time. While deeply disappointing, in almost every respect it changes nothing for people in Bristol South. We are still waiting for proposals for the site that will deliver the financial, economic, cultural and community rebalancing and benefits we’ve been promised. Until these proposals come forward, I’ll continue to do the only thing we can – keep fighting for what we’ve been promised.

“I have been honest with the Mayor throughout this process, and wish very much that there had been a different outcome. I still hope people in south Bristol get an arena that delivers on the promises made years ago. I remain ready and willing to work with the Mayor to deliver what we both want and what my constituents need – a development that delivers real and lasting benefits.”

Karin Smyth MP restates her position on the Bristol Arena

Bristol South MP Karin Smyth today restated her position on the city’s long-awaited Arena.

“I welcome the discussion around the arena proposals – such debate is a good thing, especially with a project as important as this. However, I am increasingly concerned it is generating more heat than light, with unfair questioning of the motivations of those leading the project. While we may disagree, let’s have as our starting point an acceptance that we are all driven by a desire to do the right thing for Bristol.

“My position remains exactly as it was a few months ago when the Temple Meads site was side-lined in a consultants’ report commissioned by Bristol City Council.

“I said then that ‘… if the decision makers are of the opinion that the Temple Meads arena is not viable, a view I disagree with, they are duty bound to say what will take its place. One thing is certain – another twenty years of talk and associated uncertainty simply will not do.’ That was my position then – and remains my position now.

“The arena was always more than a jobs and business project – it was meant to transform and rebalance the cultural offer for people in South Bristol as well. The plan currently on the table simply does not do that.”

“Mr Hunt – we would like our money back” – Karin Smyth MP slams NHS property scandal in Parliamentary debate

“Mr Hunt – we would like our money back” – Karin Smyth MP slams NHS property scandal in Parliamentary debate

Bristol South MP Karin Smyth today (Wednesday, July 4th) slammed the ongoing scandal surrounding NHS property management – and the Government’s refusal to take action to fix the problem.

At the Westminster Hall debate, Karin Smyth explained why she had called for the debate – and outlined the terrible impact the disastrous Tory health reforms are having on patients, communities and local NHS services.

After today’s debate, Karin Smyth MP said:

“I wanted to raise these critical failings in NHS property management, and the total absence of local accountability, because they are causing real damage here in Bristol South – and in communities across England.

“This is about more than managing buildings – it is about the relationship people have with them. They are the places people go to when they need care, where they welcome their children into the world, and the places where they say a final goodbye to those they love. These are places hardwired into our emotional DNA, and the fabric of the communities in which they sit.

“The problems started with the Government’s botched NHS reorganisation, and have grown worse ever since. Put simply, poor planning and costly bureaucracy are endangering local services like the Knowle West Health Centre and stunting the growth of South Bristol Community Hospital.

“The lack of leadership and accountability is also draining millions of pounds from the local health economy, while making it impossible for local people and service deliverers to get problems fixed or questions answered.”

While Health Minister Stephen Barclay MP offered some reassurance on Knowle West Health Centre today, there was little by way of concrete action promised to resolve the root causes. He did, however, agree to meet with Karin Smyth to discuss the problems in greater detail.

Karin Smyth MP added:

“My message to the Secretary of State today was crystal clear – we want the money back in our local NHS, and local people to be given their voices back when it comes to NHS services.

“While his colleague didn’t deliver either of these in his response to my appeals today, I will take him up on the offer of a meeting to look at these problems in greater detail.

“But the Government should be under no illusions – I will not stop campaigning until this scandal is resolved.”

Karin Smyth MP’s response to the news that Bristol City Council has withdrawn the anticipated Cabinet update on Bristol Arena from the Cabinet Agenda


“I welcome this period of consideration and am pleased to see signs that Bristol City Council is engaging as I asked them to. It’s no more that the people of south Bristol deserve.

“There is now a real chance to pause, reassess, and do the right thing, properly assessing the value of the Temple Meads arena plan. The process should ditch the management-speak that ran through recent consulting reports, and put people and communities first.

“We should seize the opportunity to think big, and not view this as a building project but a rare chance to invest in people and place, rebalancing the city and our economy.

“As I have made clear already, I will not support anything that makes Bristol South worse off.”

Karin Smyth MP comments on KPMG reports into plans for a new arena in Bristol

Following the publication of KPMG reports into plans for a new arena in Bristol, Bristol South MP Karin Smyth said:

“However you cut it up, the KPMG reports are very bad news for south Bristol. The top line is no arena and no investment – in fact, the only guarantee that residents have is years of uncertainty around the Temple Meads site.

“Bristol South needs investment, jobs, improved infrastructure – and a signal from those running the city that they are not forgotten. Instead, we are looking at a process which has not only failed to deliver in every regard, but actually cost millions of tax payers’ money to achieve precisely nothing. My constituents deserve better than this.

“In many ways, these reports pose more questions than they answer. They lead the reader through a maze, hedging bets throughout, and relying on the purposefully narrow terms of reference they accepted to avoid assessing crucial issues.

“Too often, Bristol South seems to be at the back of queue for crucial investment, and this announcement is similar to the recent Metrobus mess. Where there are challenges – financial or otherwise – I’ll work with anyone to overcome them. But I will not support proposals which will leave Bristol South worse off.”


Karin Smyth MP comments on the uncertainty of the Ashton to Hengrove Metrobus link

Following the launch this week of some Metrobus routes, Bristol South MP Karin Smyth said:

“While I welcome the launch this week of some Metrobus routes, I’m extremely concerned that the Ashton to Hengrove link seems to have fallen by the wayside.

I immediately contacted Metrobus following their announcement, but as yet have received no meaningful response.

I have asked Bristol City Council to reinstate the link to the route map, and will be writing to the West of England Combined Authority to ask for confirmation that any support needed to ensure the route is launched as promised is delivered promptly.

This crucial route, designed to properly connect communities currently poorly served by public transport links, was a central part of the Metrobus offer – indeed, it still features prominently on their promotional website.

The Metrobus link is also essential to the success of South Bristol Community Hospital. bringing patients and staff to and from the hospital, while also servicing customers using other facilities nearby.

Local residents have lived with significant disruption and inconvenience while the road that the Metrobus is to use was built. But it would seem that once again, people in this part of South Bristol have been pushed down the pecking order when it comes to community investment.

It is my sincere hope that this route is continuing as planned, and will soon launch as promised. Anything less than would be entirely unacceptable, and a betrayal of promises made to local communities.”


Trailer safety campaign back on the national agenda following a major Lords debate

A trailer safety campaign launched in memory of Bristol toddler Freddie Hussey is back on the national agenda following a debate in the House of Lords.
Labour Peer Steve Bassam raised the issue at a Grand Committee meeting last Thursday, building on the work done by Freddie’s family and Bristol South MP Karin Smyth.
Karin Smyth MP, Labour MP for Bristol South, said:
“Thursday’s intervention is the latest step on a long journey for Freddie’s parents, Donna and Scott. Since Freddie’s death, their bravery and commitment to ensure that some good would come from their tragedy has been an inspiration.
“And together, we have made some amazing progress, including the #TowSafe4Freddie national trailer safety campaign run by the Driver and Vehicle Safety Agency in Freddie’s memory to educate drivers and raise the profile of trailer safety.
“It is my hope that this latest move in Westminster will put the spotlight back on trailer safety, and ensure that this important issue returns to the House of Commons Chamber, where we can keep up the pressure on Government Ministers to revisit the issue – and consider the case for a change in the law.”
Labour Peer Lord Bassam said:
“It is impossible to not be moved by the bravery of the Hussey family, and the huge impact their campaigning in Freddie’s memory has already achieved.
“I believe that this will provide new impetus to the work Karin Smyth has already done in Westminster, and will put this issue front and centre in the mind of Government Transport Ministers.”
The renewed activity in Westminster comes just weeks before the second Trailer Safety Summit being held in Bedminster. The summit, which follows a highly successful 2017 event, will be attended by Transport Minister Jesse Norman MP.

Hundreds of young people meet employers at the South Bristol Apprenticeships & Jobs Fair 2018

Some of Bristol’s biggest employers met hundreds of the city’s young jobseekers as part of an apprenticeship fair in Hengrove during National Apprenticeship Week 2018.

The South Bristol Jobs & Apprenticeship Fair, organised by Bristol South MP and City of Bristol College, took place at the South Bristol Skills Academy in Hengrove and was attended by people from across Bristol and beyond.

Airbus, Hargreaves Lansdown, Bristol Airport, The Bristol Port Company and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust were among the large Bristol employers exhibiting; they were joined by other key south Bristol employers such as Robbins Timber, Computershare and Babcock.

Manning many of the stalls were existing and former apprentices, who talked to young jobseekers and their parents about the benefits of undertaking an apprenticeship.

“I’d recommend it to anyone,” said Connor Murphy, a first year apprentice with The Bristol Port Company. “I’ve been doing it for 5 months and I’m loving it. It’s a two year apprenticeship and you’re almost guaranteed a job at the end of it.

“I always struggled at school so getting the hands on experience was the boost I needed really. I didn’t want to focus on getting good grades to then be stuck in an office, I wanted to do a lot of physical stuff which is what I’m doing. It’s ideal for me.”

Amanda Rogers, 20, started an apprenticeship with Hargreaves Lansdown and is now working towards a degree alongside her role in cyber security with the financial company. She said: “I applied for apprenticeships in IT via the government website and was lucky enough to get this one. It’s really good, you learn and get a wage which is really beneficial. I’ll get a degree and there will be no debt. Hargreaves Lansdown are really supportive – if you need time off to do the work, they’ll allow you that. I don’t see myself leaving Hargreaves Lansdown because there’s so many opportunities for progression.”

Bristol South MP Karin Smyth and City of Bristol College Principal and Chief Executive Lee Probert spent the afternoon meeting local families at the event – learning more about the support they need to be able to navigate the post-16 skills, training and job opportunities.

Speaking at the event on Thursday 8 March, Karin said: “It’s been a brilliant day – a great chance for me to meet employers, young people and parents to talk about apprenticeships. I learnt more about the challenges people are facing and how we might address these – something I’ll be taking back to Westminster with me.

“It’s clear that some of the biggest advocates of apprenticeships are apprentices themselves and I met some inspirational young people finding their way in the world of work – from apprentice engineers at Babcock to apprentice nurses with the local NHS, there are so many different opportunities available.”

Lee added: “”We were thrilled to be able to work with Karin on this event again – it was brilliant to see so many young people coming along to find out more about apprenticeship opportunities. City of Bristol College has apprentices itself, working in business administration, customer service and marketing functions of the college. It’s something that works well for both us as an organisation and the individuals who are getting on the job training.

“We also support many of our city’s employers in the recruitment of apprentices for their business as well as the delivery and assessment of relevant apprenticeship frameworks. I hope that this event has inspired more people to take part in apprenticeship schemes.”

National and local organisations which support people through apprenticeships were also on hand to help offer advice, including the National Careers Service, 3aaaa, N-Gaged and the south Bristol organisation Professional Apprenticeships.

The fair was one of many events taking place across Bristol for National Apprenticeship Week 2018. It followed on from a similarly successful event in 2017, which saw lots of young people go on to secure job and apprenticeship opportunities.

Karin regularly speaks about the need for quality apprenticeships in parliament and works with organisations in Bristol South to help promote apprenticeships as a stepping stone into a career.

Last year, Bristol South came out bottom of the table for the percentage of 18-year-olds going on to university in England – with just 1 in 6 school leavers taking up places at university.

Karin said: “Work is being done in Bristol South to address the lack of students going on to university but it’s important to recognise that university is not for everyone. There are other options available and apprenticeships offer a great opportunity to many young people to earn while they learn. One of my priorities as an MP is working to ensure decent employment opportunities for people in Bristol South and quality apprenticeships are an important part of this.”

To find out more about apprenticeships, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/topic/further-education-skills/apprenticeships


MP Karin Smyth teams up with City of Bristol College for the South Bristol Jobs & Apprenticeships Fair 2018


Following on from the success of last year’s event, Bristol South MP Karin Smyth has joined forces with City of Bristol College for another apprenticeships and jobs fair.

Taking place from 12 noon – 5.30pm on Thursday 8 March, the event will involve local businesses and organisations with job and apprenticeship opportunities.

Hundreds of young job seekers from across south Bristol and beyond are expected to attend the fair, which takes place at the South Bristol Skills Academy in Hengrove. It will feature a wide range of employers from a number of industries – including Kier Construction, Bristol Airport, Greene King, Marriott Hotels and Bristol Water among others.

The fair is part of Karin’s drive to improve job opportunities for people in south Bristol. “Improving prospects for young people living in my constituency is one of my key priorities,” said Karin. “Quality apprenticeships mean you can earn while learn. They can open up new opportunities.”

Not only will young people be able to talk to potential employers about the opportunities available, but businesses will be able to find out more about how apprenticeships could benefit them.

Apprenticeships are available to people aged 16 or older with a minimum of 5 GCSEs and combine paid work with training and typically last between one and five years. They offer a minimum apprenticeship wage of £3.70 an hour to those under the age of 20 and National Minimum Wage for older apprentices (between £5.90 and £7.83 depending on age).

The 2017 fair was the first of its kind with around 30 exhibitors and over 400 young people, many of whom went on to undertake apprenticeships.

“My apprenticeship gave me the inspiration I need to thrive for a great career,” says young apprentice Casey Abrams from City of Bristol College. “I feel motivated to train to become a business administration assessor so that I can help others achieve their goals and aspirations, just like I did.”

Lee Probert, Principal and Chief Executive for City of Bristol College, added: “We’ve seen many students benefit from apprenticeships, and we’re keen to support more young people in finding the right apprenticeship for them. Working with employers, we actively continue developing our apprenticeship offer to grow young talent in order to address local skills shortages.

“We’re delighted to be working with Karin on delivery of this event again and we’ll be on hand to offer help and advice on the day.”

Karin, who speaks regularly in Parliament about the need for quality apprenticeships, added: “It was great to see so many people at last year’s event, and I look forward to welcoming even more young people this year.”

The Bristol South Jobs & Apprenticeships Fair is once again being run in association with official media partners the Bristol Post. It coincides with International Women’s Day and there will be information on apprenticeships for young women.

The fair is free to attend with a limited number of free stands on offer for local businesses.

For more information or to book your stall, see: www.karinsmyth.com/apprenticeshipsfair2018