September 2023: News from MP Thangam Debbonaire

Improving engagement for renewable projects

I met with Bristol-based Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) who briefed me on their community engagement strategy for the development of new renewable energy sites.

Their process could be a springboard for community projects – such as small scale solar and wind -and is aimed at supporting local authorities and communities in the transition to net zero.

I regularly meet with local businesses who are leading the way to net zero but are being held back the Tories. They want better grid connectivity and an improved planning process. Businesses who are excited about the prospects of harnessing tidal energy in the Severn Estuary or building green hydrogen networks in the South-West.

A Labour government will back the UK to reach net zero with a bold ambition to lead the world in clean and cheap power by 2030 which will involve ramping up to £28bn a year in capital investment in the green economy during its first term.

Meeting Bristol’s arts and culture organisations

I had a roundtable meeting with some of Bristol’s most loved arts organisations. Theatres, independent cinemas and radio channels, music and art venues, freelance artists and more were represented.

They told me how challenging the circumstances have been since the pandemic. Audience numbers have still not completely recovered and even where audiences have returned, they are spending a lot less due to an inflationary economy.  I also heard about the huge energy costs organisations were paying due to old buildings.

People expressed the need for a holistic government strategy for job creation in the sector.

I highly value Bristol’s position as a leading arts and culture destination in the UK. I mirror the views of one of the attendees who said that ‘e’ve had a good past but it needs to translate to a great future.’

Arts and culture give us identity, belonging, shared experiences and joy. A Labour government will ensure that Britain’s cultural and creative industries are driving growth and prosperity for everyone.

I will write to the government and my colleagues in Labour’s Culture team with the suggestions from the roundtable meeting. Watch this space for more.

Pushing for support for families affected by violence in Sudan

I recently met with a group of women with family members living in Darfur. They shared harrowing tales of mass killings, internet blockages and severe shortages of food and medicines in the region. Everyone I met simply wanted their family members to be safe.

I have been pushing the government to do more for British citizens to help get their loved ones to safety. There are no visa application centres in Sudan and armed militia are blocking escape routes to other countries. Even those that have been able to leave Sudan and apply for a visa through a standard route, have had their applications rejected.

I have written to the Foreign Secretary and followed up with the Immigration Minister once again. You can find my letters and the government’s response on my website –