June 2023: News from MP Thangam Debbonaire

Celebrating the 60th anniversary of Bristol Bus Boycott

Last month, I attended a celebratory event to mark the 60th anniversary of the most important moments in the history of struggle for race equality – the Bristol bus boycott. This was in response to a ban on employing black bus drivers and led to the Race Relations Act.

This campaign was led by Bristol activists such as Guy Bailey, Barbara Dettering and the late Roy Hackett. It was an honour to meet some of them at this event.

We are far from a racially just society. Events like this remind us that the hard work and determination of a handful of people can bring about monumental change. You can find out more about the Bristol Bus Boycott on BBC Radio Bristol .

Standing up for Bristol’s renters in the House of Commons

I was very glad to see that after pressure from me and other colleagues, and after much delay, the government has finally brought forward the Renters’ Reform Bill. I pushed for this Bill as Shadow Housing Secretary three years ago – as well as for as well as for ensuring greater protections for tenants during the covid crisis at the time. Only last week as Shadow Leader of the House I took the government to task again for continued delays that have been letting renters down.

I will now go through the Bill carefully and push to make sure it includes as many as possible of the measures Labour has been long calling for – including the banning of no-fault evictions. Looking forward, the next Labour government will bring in a powerful new renters’ charter to make renting in Bristol fairer, more secure, and more affordable.

Support for businesses affected by the fire at Underfall Yard 

Some readers may not be aware but there was a massive fire at Underfall Yard on Bristol’s harbourside, early last month.

I commend officers from Fire and Rescue, Police, City Council and the Harbour Master who were on the scene within minutes. Thanks to their efforts the fire was brought under control and the residents at risk were evacuated safely.

I recently met with people affected by the fire. Many had their entire life’s work destroyed. It was heart wrenching to hear their stories of working so hard and putting all their savings together to to start a business, for it all to be taken away one night.

The Underfall Yard celebrates an important part of Bristol’s industrial heritage as one of the foremost centres for ship building and marine trade in the world. Today the Yard doesn’t only play host to ship builders, but also blacksmiths, a café, a ferry operator, a composites manufacturer and an adventure activity company. 

I would like to encourage everyone to visit this wonderful, functioning, industrial heritage of Bristol and to support them in any way you can. 

You can find details on how you can do so on the Trust’s website: https://underfallyard.co.uk/2023/05/08/fire-restoration-fundraising/