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.

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.”

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.”


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.”

UKIP challenged over “dodgy” maths

“Only in the crazy world of UKIP does the average taxpayer earn well over £1 million per year.”

Latest Treasury figures have revealed claims made by UKIP about the costs of EU membership to be a “complete fabrication”, Tameside’s Lib Dem Euro-MP says.

MEP Chris Davies has accused UKIP of making up figures that suggest that EU costs are 50 times higher than that paid by the UK Treasury. He has challenged UKIP’s Tameside MEP Paul Nuttall to explain his “dodgy maths” in public.

Chris Davies MEP

Chris Davies MEP

Chris said: “UKIP must explain why its sums don’t add up.  There is a debate to be had about getting value for money from the EU, but there cannot be serious discussion with people who make up the figures as they go along.”

A draft Treasury letter that is due to be sent to every taxpayer shows how the money raised through taxes is spent.  It reveals that the UK’s net contribution to the EU costs a taxpayer earning the average £26,000 per year just £51, or less than £1 per week.  The figure compares to interest payments on the national debt that cost the same person £548 per year, and a welfare bill that requires average taxes of £3,537.

Administration costs for the UK government alone, at £172 per person, are three times higher than the entire contribution to the EU.

UKIP have claimed that our EU cost is £2,516 per year for the average taxpayer, but calculations made by Davies have shown that this is the amount that would be paid by someone earning £1,291,710 in salary.

Said Davies, “Only in the crazy world of UKIP does the average taxpayer earn well over £1 million per year.

“UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall has already had to apologise for one invented press story this year.  Will he now accept my challenge to explain why the Treasury has got it wrong or will he also apologise for his latest false claims?”

Budget 2012: For the many, not the few

“the biggest ever single uplift in the tax threshold”

The massive £3.5bn tax cut for working people delivers:

  • The biggest ever single uplift in the tax threshold
  • A personal allowance of £9,205 in April 2013
  • 21 million working people getting an extra £220 tax cut
  • Brings the total tax cut for basic rate tax payers to £550
  • Brings the total number of people lifted out of tax to 2 million.