Liberal Democrats back sustainable jobs

The proposals, which will be voted on by Lib Dem members at the conference in Brighton, are designed to boost green growth and jobs, support small businesses, open up access to finance, expand apprenticeships and unlock innovation.

The proposals include:

  • Expanding the Green Investment Bank’s scale and remit and relaxing restrictions on its borrowing
  • Creating Small Business Zones and New Enterprise Hubs
  • Facilitating the emergence and growth of new lenders, in particular by restructuring parts of RBS into local and community banks
  • Expanding apprenticeships on public infrastructure projects
  • Introducing a ‘supply chain buddying’ programme, whereby large companies already engaged in export undertake to support SMEs in their supply chain to find new overseas customers

The proposals are being put forward by Duncan Hames, Parliamentary Private Secretary to Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey.

Commenting, Duncan Hames said:

“The Liberal Democrats are determined to make this the greenest government ever.

“As we rebuild our economy it is crucial that green jobs and industry are at the heart of our recovery.

“Britain has the opportunity to be a world leader in clean, renewable technologies. Going green is good for business, good for consumers and good for the economy.

“Liberal Democrats want future generations to inherit a prosperous economy that is fair, sustainable and where every individual has a stake in society.”

You can read the policy paper here.

Manchester Pride 2012

Manchester Liberal Democrats were out in force during last weekend’s Manchester LGBT Pride Festival. Marc Ramsbottom, the Lib Dem candidate in the Manchester Central By-Election and local Lib Dem MP John Leech led the Lib Dem contingent on the Pride parade.

Around 20 Liberal Democrat Councillors and activists from around Greater Manchester marched in the parade  to promote Liberal Democrat campaigns for Equal Marriage and John Leech MP’s campaign to pardon Alan Turing, the Gay WW2 Hero and Father of Computer Science.  Many other Liberal Democrat activists were also taking part in the parade with organisations ranging from Manchester University to the Village Manchester Football Club. Manchester City Centre Liberal Democrat Cllr Elaine Boyes who is the current Lord Mayor of Manchester proudly represented Manchester City Council on the parade.

Liberal Democrats have a proud history of fighting for LGBT Equality and supporting Manchester Pride. You can view pictures of Manchester Liberal Democrats supporting Manchester Pride over the years on our new Facebook Page:

Thanks to everyone that came to watch the parade, came to support our stall and thanks to the Pride organisers for such a wonderful Festival. We’re already looking forward to Pride 2013!

Liberal Democrats champion investment in science and research

Proposals in three key areas – funding, people and skills, and the role of scientific advice – have been outlined by Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge, Julian Huppert in a policy motion which will be put to members at the party’s Autumn Conference. Julian was a research scientist at the University of Cambridge before his election to Parliament.

Key proposals include:

  • A target to increase the ring-fenced government science budget above inflation over the next 15 years
  • A commitment to improve science and maths teaching in schools
  • Immigration rules that encourage bona fide students and experts to come to the UK.

Commenting, Julian Huppert said:

“Despite low levels of funding, the UK has outperformed other countries, some which invest almost twice as much in research and development.

“There is clear evidence that government investment in research and development incentivises and creates the conditions for additional private sector investment.

“The UK must also develop an education and training system to produce a highly-skilled workforce that supports research and innovation. Improving science and maths education in schools must be a priority if we are to inspire the next generation.

“Finally, one of the key contributions to the UK’s success in the sciences has been our ability to attract researchers and scientists from across the world, allowing free exchange of knowledge and ideas. If we do not have an immigration system that actively encourages top scientists and academics to come to the UK then they will go elsewhere.

“These proposals challenge the way the government thinks about science, redirecting money to where it benefits the economy, improving our ability to attract the brightest minds and giving the next generation the skills they need to compete in an ever-changing world.”

Click here to download the “Policies for science and research” paper.

Coalition needn’t take lessons from Miliband on banking

While Labour knighted Fred the Shred, Vince Cable was calling for an end to casino banking

Commenting on Ed Miliband’s speech on banking, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson, Stephen Williams said:

“The Liberal Democrats have called for banking reform for more than 10 years. While Labour knighted Fred the Shred, Vince Cable was calling for an end to casino banking.

“The Coalition will have done more for a diverse banking sector in five years than Labour did in 13 years; we need not take any lessons from Ed Miliband on this.

“We are separating high street and casino banking, making it easier for new banks to set up and thoroughly investigating the Libor scandal and need for professional standards in the industry.

“I am glad that Ed Miliband has joined my call for a more ethical and professional banking industry.”

Davies presses for more EU rules to save money

Chris Davies MEP

Chris Davies MEP

Tameside Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies is calling for an EU law to be toughened up to help cut energy use and save money. 

He  told the European Parliament’s environment committee today that the EU’s 2009 Eco-Design Directive was forcing manufacturers to introduce more efficient electrical devices.

The law sets new standards for a growing range of products, and bans the sale of equipment that does not comply.

Chris said: “EU rules come in for plenty of criticism but this one is driving forward industrial innovation, promoting more efficient design and saving people money.”

The improvements being promoted by the law are expected to reduce EU electricity use by as much as is generated by more than 60 coal power stations.

Stop the snoopers’ charter

Creation of a “snoopers’ charter’ giving law enforcement agencies easy access to details of phone calls and e-mails must be strongly resisted, says Tameside’s Liberal Democrat Euro-MP.

The Coalition Government is consulting on proposals intended to help in the fight against terrorism and organised crime, but Chris Davies says that any new law must include safeguards to respect civil liberties.

The MEP wants a balance struck between the need to detect the few who may plan murder and the right of the great majority to freedom and confidentiality.

He said: “Use of rapidly developing technology means that existing rules must be updated. So long as there are Liberal Democrats in the government I am confident that fundamental liberties will be properly respected.”

Delivering local growth while cutting emissions

Liberal Democrat Transport Minister Norman Baker has announced a £266m investment in local green transport schemes, bringing the total invested to more than £1bn.

The Liberal Democrat Local Sustainable Transport Fund was announced in 2010 following the Coalition commitment to “support sustainable travel initiatives, including the promotion of cycling and walking”. The fund supports projects across the country that will bring local economic growth while cutting carbon emissions from travel.

Commenting, Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Committee on Transport, Julian Huppert said:

“For two decades Liberal Democrats have called for proper support for green transport. Our support for active transport, such as walking and cycling, has been unrelenting. It’s sustainable, cheap and good for you, but successive Governments have consistently ignored our calls.

“I am delighted to see Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government delivering proper investment to promote growth and cut carbon emissions.

“With a large cycling component in most of these funds, the Coalition is investing hundreds of millions to promote cycling.

“Local, sustainable growth is what the country needs right now, and it’s what we’re delivering.”

Those found guilty of interest rates manipulation should be fired on the spot

We need to restore confidence in our banking system

Commenting on the Financial Service Authority’s findings that Barclays manipulated Libor rates, Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party Treasury Committee, Stephen Williams said:

“Barclays has challenged the fundamentals of the British banking system. This is yet another symptom of the broken and poisonous banking system which Labour allowed to flourish.

“A full investigation is needed to establish who knew and sanctioned this manipulation, with those found guilty fired on the spot. We need to restore public and market confidence in our banking system.”


EU cuts mobile charges again

Chris Davies MEP

Chris Davies MEP

Using your mobile phone abroad will be cheaper from this summer after MEPs voted to cut roaming charges again.  The new limits set in the European Parliament mean phone calls will cost no more than 28p per minute, while the cap on SMS charges is down to 8p per message.

For the first time, there will also be a cap on the amount charged for using data services abroad. MEPs managed to negotiate a much lower price ceiling than originally proposed, limiting the cost of using one megabyte of data to
67p, falling to 18p by July 2014.

Tameside Euro MP Chris Davies voted for the new package of cost cutting measures.

He said, “Everyone relies on being able to use their phones whether they are at home or away on business trips or on holiday.

“With the price of everything else increasing it is good that MEPs have taken action to keep the cost of keeping in touch down within the borders of the EU.

“With the proliferation of iPads and with people needing to access the internet wherever they go, the new limits on data charges will bring relief from shocking bills for millions of holidaymakers and travellers.

“If mobile providers were prepared to be responsible there would be no need for this legislation but as long as big companies want to rip off consumers the EU will step in.”

Davies says ‘No’ to new internet law

Chris Davies MEP

Chris Davies MEP

Tameside Euro-MP Chris Davies is joining his European Liberal colleagues to defeat legislation that could reduce internet freedom. The Lib Dem group in the European Parliament holds the swing 84 votes to ensure that ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) will not make it through the Brussels based assembly.

The law was intended to prevent illegal downloading and copying of films and music but concerns were expressed by free speech campaigners that ACTA could have been used by Government’s to crack down on everyday internet use.

European internet users have been lobbying MEPs against the proposed new law that could have affected the way Tameside people surf the web.

Said Davies, “I have had thousands of emails from all over the North West about ACTA and its potential impact on ordinary internet users.

“Piracy of copyrighted work is wrong but there are better ways of fighting it than making criminals out of everyone who goes online.

“I’m pleased that my political colleagues agree with my constituents that ACTA could have restricted freedom and should be thrown out.”