Tackling homophobia, biphobia & transphobia in schools

Jo Swinson MP

Jo Swinson MP

Eight organisations will share £2 million of government funding to help prevent and eradicate homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools. The funding was announced by Jo Swinson, Minister for Women and Equalities, in October 2014, following a review of existing work begun at the start of last year.

Liberal Democrat Minister for Women and Equalities, Jo Swinson MP, said:

“It’s good news that schools are making progress on homophobic bullying, but it must be eradicated entirely.

“The trauma of being bullied at school can stay with you for life, and it is absolutely unacceptable that those who may be gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender are being targeted.”

The organisations awarded funding are:

  • Anne Frank Trust – to run workshops and educate young people about prejudice and the impact of the Holocaust on lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
  • Barnardo’s – to provide face-to-face support for victims of homophobic, biphobic & transphobic (HBT) bullying and training for staff with a focus on cultural issues in schools in Leeds and Wakefield.
  • Diversity Role Models with Brook – to develop and deliver training on tackling HBT bullying to 10,000 teachers and staff in 400 schools.
  • EACH – to deliver a training and resource programme in schools across Avon and Somerset.
  • Educate & Celebrate – to train staff in 60 schools, giving them confidence and strategies to address HBT language and bullying and promote inclusiveness throughout the school environment and the curriculum.
  • National Children’s Bureau – to train 1,500 teachers on tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia through PSHE.
  • Show Racism the Red Card – to hold workshops with 2,000 young people at football clubs around England, train 200 teachers and run a film competition for young people on tackling HBT bullying.
  • Stonewall – to extend and share its ‘train the trainer’ course with 60 partner organisations, enabling them to run the programme with schools in their local communities and giving them the skills to tackle HBT bullying.

Safeguarding the environment with Five Green Laws

Bold policies to protect the future of the environment were debated and accepted as a key plank of the Liberal Democrat General Election Manifesto at the party’s Spring Conference.

Building on the success of the party’s environmental record in government including the launch of the Green Investment Bank and record investment in railways and renewable energy.

Lib Dems have detailed plans to go further and put green commitments at the heart of the next Parliament’s legislative programme.

The five green laws will include regulations to cut household bills by increasing energy efficiency, legal targets for clean air and water, radical waste reduction plans, the introduction of a decarbonisation bill and reforms to planning law to encourage cycling.

Lib Dem Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change Ed Davey said: “The Lib Dems are the only party to have nailed their green credentials to the mast, and set out how this radical agenda will be delivered in a way that is both credible and affordable.

“Protecting the environment is in the Lib Dem’s DNA, and having these five Green Laws on the front page of our Manifesto shows our intent.

“From day one of the next Parliament we will have our green commitments on the table, from cleaning up the air we breathe, to greening the energy and transport we use.”

Details of the five green laws are below:

Zero Carbon Bill

Introducing a Zero Carbon Britain Bill in the next parliament to end Britain’s adverse impact on climate change for good by 2050.

Zero Waste Bill

Treble fines and claw back £500 million for the taxpayer by clamping down on organisations which fly-tip to deliberately evade tax and review the tax structure across landfill, incineration and collection.

Green Homes Bill

New Green Homes Bill will insulate up to 10 million homes by 2025 and offer at least £100 a year off Council Tax for ten years when energy improvements are carried out.

Nature Bill

Establish the Natural Capital Committee on a statutory footing to provide advice to Government to ensure that nature is at the heart of government decision-making and that government departments are held to account for achieving progress against commitments to improving the natural environment.

Green Transport Bill

Transport has a significant role to play in reducing carbon emissions. In the UK, transport is responsible for around 25% of our carbon emissions and is the fastest growing source of carbon emissions. We will bring forward a comprehensive package of transport policies to continue to build a people-centred, sustainable, safe travel system that helps the economy grow.

Children’s mental health to get £1.25 billion boost

Nick Clegg has announced £1.25 billion of new funding for children’s mental health services.

The money, spread over five years, will help treat 110,000 more children with mental health issues, and also provides rapid access to treatment for pregnant women and new mothers.

As part of the package, Nick also announced that the first ever-waiting time standards for children’s mental health will be introduced, and specialists in children’s talking therapy will be available in every part of the country by 2018. The funding will also extend access to services for children under five and those with autism and learning disabilities.

Three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health condition and research shows that left untreated it can blight their adult lives. But until now, provision of appropriate care has been insufficient to meet their needs.

Children and young people with conditions like depression or anxiety, self harm or at risk of suicide will now get access to more therapy, parenting support and care closer to home or in their community (such as local cafes, youth centres and shopping centres).

The Liberal Democrats have made improving mental health a priority, both in Government, but also in our Manifesto for the next parliament. This announcement is just the latest in a series of improvements to mental health services that we have delivered over the last five years, including:

  • £7 million in new beds for children and young people, as well as more case managers to make sure they are cared for in a suitable environment
  • £150 million over the next five years to help young people deal with issues like self-harm and eating disorder
  • Introduction of a new waiting time standard, backed by £33 million, to make sure young people with psychosis get prompt treatments
  • £54 million investment into improving access to Psychological Therapies for children and young people

Commenting on the announcement, Nick said:

“There would be an outcry if a child with diabetes was left to cope without support or treatment. But that’s exactly what’s been happening with young people’s mental health services

“I have heard, time and again, harrowing stories from young people and their families about how they suffered and their condition deteriorated waiting to get the right treatment for serious mental health problems.

“That’s why I am determined to start a seismic shift to revolutionise children’s mental healthcare and end this unacceptable injustice.

“By introducing waiting time standards and committing to talking therapies for children in every region, we are helping to build a fairer society where young people can get the right treatment and support they deserve to live a better life.”

Increasing the National Minimum Wage for apprentices by 20 per cent

Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced that the National Minimum Wage for apprentices will increase by 20 per cent going up by 57p an hour, from £2.73 to £3.30 this October.

This is the largest ever increase in the National Minimum Wage for apprentices.

key_nick-apprentices

Nick has also announced that the adult National Minimum Wage will increase by three per cent to a new rate of £6.70 this October.

This is the largest real-terms increase in the National Minimum Wage since 2008 and is set to benefit more than 1.4m of Britain’s lowest paid workers.

The increase in the apprentice National Minimum Wage will halve the gap with the rate for 16 to 17 year olds, which will increase by two per cent, from £3.79 to £3.87 per hour.

There will also be a three per cent increase in the rate for 18 to 20 year olds from £5.13 to £5.30 an hour.

Nick said, “This is just one of the many ways in which we’ve created a fairer society whilst building a stronger economy.

“If you work hard, this government is behind you all the way. Whether you’re on low pay or starting your dream career through an apprenticeship, you will get more support to help you go further and faster.”

Nick Clegg’s message for National Apprenticeship Week

To mark National Apprenticeship Week 2015, Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is urging young people and businesses alike to draw on the many benefits of apprenticeships.

National Apprenticeship Week runs from 9-13 March and celebrates the positive impact that apprenticeships have on individuals and businesses.

Liberal Democrats in government have created more than 2 million apprenticeships, helping people of all ages develop new skills and helping British businesses to grow.

In his message, Nick highlights research showing that a fifth of all apprentices progress to higher education and that gaining a higher-level apprenticeship can boost lifetime earnings by £150,000.

Nick adds: “Whatever your professional interests, there’s a high-quality apprenticeship available to help you develop the skills that you need. And, whatever your sector, there’s a hard-working, dedicated apprentice out there ready to help your organisation thrive.”

Euro-MP wins another fish fight

Chris Davies MEP

Chris Davies MEP

Our local Euro-MP Chris Davies won support from MEPs for beleaguered fish stocks in a marathon voting session today in Strasbourg.  MEPs from France and Spain attempted to put aside large amounts of taxpayer money for fleet renewal – effectively giving fishermen cash for better boats that could catch more fish.

Chris, who founded the cross party Fish for the Future group of MEPs, led the fight to prevent more subsidy cash being wasted on measures that would encourage overfishing and the further decline of fish stocks.

The European Maritime & Fisheries Fund (EMFF) will provide €6 billion towards the fishing industry between 2014 and 2020.  MEPs approved payment of subsidies to help fishermen adjust to change but not to catch more fish.

Chris welcomed the decision as proof that the EU was serious about improving its fisheries policy, saying “We still have too many boats chasing too few fish, so to use public money to pay for building new boats would only make the problem worse. Grants of this kind were scrapped a decade ago, when 90% of the money was going to France, Spain and Portugal.  To have reinstated them would have been a massive step backwards.”

“Fishermen only have a future if we can help fish stocks to recover.  That is why Lib Dem MEPs supported investment based on sound science rather than subsidies for the few.”

The Parliament supported the use of funds to help fishermen buy more selective gear, to improve port facilities, and to obtain more scientific data about the state of fish stocks.

Davies welcomes launch of million job campaign

Chris Davies MEP

Chris Davies MEP

Tameside Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies has welcomed the Liberal Democrat Million Jobs Campaign, which was launched by Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg today. More than one million private sector jobs have been created since the Coalition Government came to power. Liberal Democrats now want to create a million more.

This will build on what Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government have already achieved. Business Secretary, Vince Cable has overseen a record rise in apprenticeships, including over 207,830 in the North West. To support jobs in manufacturing, £5.5bn extra has been invested into science, high-tech manufacturing and renewable energy and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander has introduced £2,000 cash back on National Insurance contributions for employers who take on more staff.

The Liberal Democrats are aiming to create more jobs outside London and have invested £2.6 billion in a Regional growth fund that is already benefiting northern England.

Commenting, Chris said: “The Liberal Democrats are building a stronger economy in a fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life.

“That’s why Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government have helped businesses create more than one million private sector jobs, and now we’re working to help them create a million more. I am also working to bring more European investment to the area, to invest in new skills and give new businesses the premises and capital they need to get going.

“I look forward to me and my fellow Liberal Democrats working with local businesses, community groups and schools and colleges to turn this ambition into reality in Tameside.”