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Thank You

Sadly we lost in our three seats on Thursday night on what was a bruising night for Lib Dems nationally. Labour held all three Parliamentary seats.

Yet nothing could show just how much Britain needs a strong, liberal party than Theresa May’s announcement – while the election results were still coming in – that she will immediately be introducing the snoopers charter, which will give the state unprecedented power to monitor your personal communications.

Those of us who believe in our values of liberty, community and individual freedom must stand together and defend them. Please join us today and be part of our future.

And thank you to the 943 who supported Carly Hicks in Ashton-Under-Lyne, 957 who voted for Mark Jewell in Denton & Reddish, and 1,256 who gave Pete Flynn their vote in Stalybridge & Hyde.

Our Agenda for Change

manifesto-2015-coverWhen Liberal Democrats launched our 2010 General Election manifesto, few people expected that many of the policies it contained would be implemented by the next Government. But that’s what happened: three quarters of those policies formed the backbone of the Coalition’s programme.

In Government, Liberal Democrats delivered on front-page commitments like raising the Income Tax threshold and investing in the poorest schoolchildren through the Pupil Premium.

But our mission has only just begun. You can’t build the future we want in just five years.

For the first time, this is a Liberal Democrat manifesto that builds on a record of policies delivered in national government.

That’s why, in Government for the next five years, Liberal Democrats will continue to build a stronger economy and a fairer society with opportunity for everyone. This manifesto sets out how.

Read it here

‘Help to Rent’ scheme getting young workers a home

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The Liberal Democrats announced plans today for a new Help to Rent scheme targeting support at young working adults who still live with their parents but want to move out and rent their own place. 

Research shows that around two million young working adults – sometimes dubbed the ‘boomerang generation’ or ‘clipped wing generation’ – still live with their parents despite being in paid work. Rising rental costs mean they can’t afford the cash needed for a tenancy deposit or the one-to-two month’s rent expected in advance by some landlords unless they have financial help from their parents or friends. The knock-on effect of having young working adults in the family home can also lead to parents having to upsize or delay the downsizing of family homes to accommodate older children, thereby reducing the availability of family homes.

Under the ‘Help to Rent’ scheme, young working people in England will be able to borrow up to £1,500 (£2,000 in London) from the Government to go towards their tenancy deposit. To be eligible, tenants would need to be between 18-30 years old, in paid employment and not be home owners or seeking social housing tenancy. Loans could be paid over one or two years and once paid off, could be used for future rental properties.

Launching the innovative Help to Rent scheme, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg said:

“Increasingly we see young people stuck in the family home as they can’t afford the upfront costs of a deposit to rent a property despite having a paid job.

“It’s simply unfair that thousands of hard-working young people still have to live in the same bedroom they lived in when children.

“When you get your own job, you want to stand on your own two feet, have your own space, and not have to rely on the bank of mum and dad.

“Our Help to Rent scheme removes this barrier to young people’s independence, providing access to up to £2,000 towards their tenancy deposit so they can fly the nest and rent their own space.”

Help to Rent adds to the suite of Liberal Democrat housing proposals aimed at young people, including a ‘Rent to Own’ scheme to help first-time buyers get on the property ladder by renting their way to ownership, and proposals to build 300,000 new homes a year.

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.