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Ross Pepper selected by Lib Dems to fight for Lincoln

The Liberal Democrats have chosen to select local candidate Ross Pepper to challenge for the Lincoln Parliamentary seat in a meeting on Wednesday night.

Ross, who has lived in Lincoln all his life, currently lives with his family in the Boultham area of Lincoln and currently works for a well known high-street opticians. Mr Pepper, 28, has stood for the Lib Dems in the local council elections for many years. He joined the party whilst studying International Relations at the University of Lincoln.

Ross Pepper said on his selection, “I am thrilled and honoured to be given the chance to stand for Parliament in my home city of Lincoln and for the chance to represent the city I am so proud of. I have Lincoln change so much since my childhood, both for the better and in some cases the worst. I want to ensure Lincoln will continue to flourish.

“Lincoln needs a stronger economy to help it through the recovery, but we also need to deliver a fairer society to ensure everyone has the opportunity to reach their potential. Neither the Conservative or Labour candidate for Lincoln can deliver this for our great city.”

Ross Pepper

The Vice Chair of the Lincoln, Sleaford and North Hykeham Liberal Democrat Party, Ben Atkinson welcomed the selection of Ross Pepper saying, “”I am delighted that Ross has been chosen to fight on behalf of the Lib Dems for the Lincoln seat at the General Election. As someone who was born and brought up in the city, he understands the needs of Lincoln and its residents. He would be a true representative for our city.”

Danny Alexander calls for bus fare cuts as fuel prices continue to fall

Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has called for a nationwide bus fare cut in light of falling fuel prices.

Danny has also called on coach and package holiday operators to reduce prices to reflect the lower cost of fuel.

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In a series of interventions Danny has:

  • Written to five major bus operators calling on them to pass on the dramatic falls in the diesel price to customers through lower fares. In his letter he points out that bus operators receive taxpayer support via a fuel subsidy and that fare paying passengers and tax payers will want reassurance that falls in diesel costs are being passed on.
  • Written to London Mayor Boris Johnson urging him to ensure savings are passed on to bus users in London as swiftly as possible.
  • Written to coach companies seeking re-assurance that long distance and commuting coach fares are reflecting the falling oil price fall as swiftly as possible.
  • Written to package holiday firms pressing them to pass on savings accrued through lower air, coach and other holiday costs.

Danny said:

“With fuel prices dropping across the country it’s right that the full benefits are passed on.  Falling oil prices are like a giant tax cut to the economy.  But the positive effect will only be felt if the oil price falls are passed on.  While drivers are already seeing the cost of filling up the car come down, the millions of Britons who use the bus are still paying what they did a few months ago.

“On top of that many people will be planning their summer holidays now and looking for an early bargain. I want package tour operators to reflect the lower costs of fuel in their prices now.”

“Consumers have suffered the pain of high oil prices, it’s only right that companies and organisations do all they can to pass on as quickly as possible every last penny of oil price falls.”

“At the same time, these are worrying times for our valued North Sea Oil & Gas sector and they can be assured that I am committed to providing support where possible.”

Posted by The Liberal Democrats on 13 January, 2015 @ 12:01 AM

Liberal Democrats are the party of fair and successful economic policy

The Liberal Democrats are the party of fair and successful economic policy, Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander has said today (Monday 12 January).

Responding to the Conservatives plans to reduce the deficit by cutting spending and not increasing taxes for the wealthy, Danny said:

“The Tory approach to the nation’s finances in the next Parliament is an extraordinary about turn from the balanced, fair and successful economic policy Liberal Democrats have insisted on up to now.

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“By pledging that there will be no tax rises on the wealthy, the Tories are committed to putting all of the remaining burden on the working people of this country. That is unfair and wrong.

“There is no need to carrying on cutting spending after the books are balanced. It is public services and the people who use them whose future opportunities would be limited by the Tories ideological drive for an ever smaller state.

“Most people understand that we have to finish the job of balancing the books. But there should be light at the end of the tunnel – the Tories have confirmed that they want to switch it off!

“The vast majority want to balance the books fairly and for our country to turn the corner as soon as the job is done. Only the Liberal Democrats will deliver that.”

Posted by The Liberal Democrats on 12 January, 2015 @ 11:37 AM

Our plans for the NHS will protect it for the future

The Liberal Democrats spending plans for the NHS provide a clear roadmap that will safeguard it for the future.

We are the only party to commit to investing £8bn a year in the NHS, in real terms by 2020.

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Despite their rhetoric, neither Labour nor the Conservatives have a credible response to the funding challenges the NHS faces.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party to set out an NHS plan that meets that meet the financial needs of the NHS as set out by the Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens in his Five Year Forward View.

The Conservatives have made no specific real terms commitments to NHS funding and Labour have pledged only £2.65bn to be fully introduced by the third year of the next parliament.

Our plans also include to increase NHS spending in line with the growth of the economy, once we have finished the job of tackling the deficit in 2017/18.

By building a stronger economy we can safeguard a strong NHS for the future.

Only the Liberal Democrats have committed to investing £8bn a year by 2020 in the NHS.

Posted by The Liberal Democrats on 09 January, 2015 @ 10:40 AM

Liberal Democrat General Election Cabinet

Nick Clegg has today announced his Liberal Democrat General Election Cabinet. 

The team will fight to build the stronger economy and fairer society Britain needs – one with opportunity at its heart.

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(Photo: James Gourley)

The Liberal Democrat General Election Cabinet comprises of:

Leader of the Liberal Democrats – Nick Clegg

Treasury – Danny Alexander

Home Affairs – Lynne Featherstone

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – Tim Farron

Business, Innovation and Skills – Vince Cable

Energy and Climate Change – Ed Davey

Defence – Nick Harvey

Transport – Susan Kramer

Women, Equalities & Families – Jo Swinson

Europe – Mike Moore

Education – David Laws

Health – Norman Lamb

Work and Pensions – Steve Webb

Communities and Local Government – Stephen Williams

Older people, Ageing and Care – Paul Burstow

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – Dan Rogerson

International Development – Martin Horwood

Culture, Media and Sport – John Leech

Scotland – Alistair Carmichael

Wales – Jenny Randerson

Northern Ireland – Lorely Burt

Justice and Attorney General – Simon Hughes

Leader of the House of Commons and Minister for London – Tom Brake

Constitutional & Political Reform, Leader of the House of Lords – Jim Wallace

Chief Whip in the House of Commons – Don Foster

Chief Whip in the House of Lords – Dick Newby

Parliamentary Private Secretary to the DPM – Simon Wright

The Election Campaign Team 2015 comprises of:

Chair of the General Election Committee – Paddy Ashdown

Deputy Chair of the General Election Committee – Olly Grender

Deputy Leader of the Parliamentary Party – Malcolm Bruce

Party President – Sal Brinton

Chair of Diversity Engagement Group – Navnit Dholakia

Posted by The Liberal Democrats on 07 January, 2015 @ 9:30 AM

Nick Clegg launches search for the country’s unsung mental health heroes

Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has launched a search to find the country’s unsung mental health heroes.

As part of his campaign to increase awareness of mental health issues, Nick is calling on people to nominate those in their areas who have helped support those with mental illnesses or to change perceptions of mental health conditions.

One in four people will experience a mental health condition but for many the stigma surrounding mental health will prevent them from speaking out or getting the help they need.

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Liberal Democrats are campaigning to stamp out the mental health stigma.

From healthcare professionals to next door neighbours, Nick is calling for people to nominate those who have gone above and beyond to help, support or inspire people with mental health conditions in their local area.

Nick said:

“It could be the woman sitting next to you on the bus, the dad picking his child up at the school gates or a colleague from work – everyone knows someone living with a mental health problem.

“I want to celebrate those who have gone that extra mile, whose passion and commitment have helped someone get through their darkest days and helped challenge the taboo around mental health which has existed for far too long.

“It is my ambition to bring mental health out of the shadows and create a fairer society where people can speak up about how they feel and get the support and treatment they need to live the life that they choose.”

To nominate someone complete and return the nomination form.

The winning nominees will be invited to a ceremony in London on Thursday 5 February, which will mark Time to Change’s ‘Time to Talk Day’ to encourage people to speak out about mental health and spread the message that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of.

Liberal Democrat Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said:

“Mental illness touches us all and, everyday, people in our communities are doing amazing things to improve the lives of those affected. We want to recognise and reward them.

“I am determined to end discrimination faced by people with mental illness, which us why we’re continuing to fund Time to Change and support Time to Talk Day.

“Everyone has a part to play in tackling stigma and this is an important opportunity to start the conversations that will make lasting change.”

Posted by The Liberal Democrats on 02 January, 2015 @ 12:00 PM

Record number of disadvantaged students getting university places

As the number of university entrants passed 500,000 for the first time this year, the gap between the most advantaged and the most disadvantaged students is at its lowest.

Liberal Democrats put safeguards in place to encourage disadvantaged young people to go to university. Setting the system on a sustainable footing, with the poorest 30% of graduates paying less overall than under the old system. 

According to a UCAS report released today, disadvantaged young people are over 10% more likely to enter higher education than they were a year ago.

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The Liberal Democrats recognise that we couldn’t deliver our policy on tuition fees. The truth is that both Labour and the Conservatives supported higher fees, so we were unable to carry out our promise without backing from the two parties.

However, we have worked to make sure the system is as fair as possible in order to protect lower earning graduates. No student pays up front and they only pay back once they’re earning over £21,000.

Click here to find out more about tuition fees.

Posted by The Liberal Democrats on 19 December, 2014 @ 1:58 PM

13 #LibDemWins in the Autumn Statement

The Autumn Statement this week is packed with Liberal Democrat policies, and has our priorities at its core. Read on for 13 wins which are helping to build a stronger economy in a fairer society.

1. Our economic plan is working

Our economic plan is working and the economy is recovering faster than forecast and the UK is the fastest growing major advanced economy. Thanks to Liberal Democrats in Government, we are restoring the public finances to a sustainable path and delivering economic security. The deficit is forecast to have halved from its 2009/10 peak in 2014/15 as a share of GDP. Inflation is low, supporting households and businesses, and a record number of people – 30.8 million – are in work. By 2018/19, the Government is forecast to run the first surplus for 18 years. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said, “After many difficult decisions and with the hard work of people up and down the country, the British economy is doing well. As the economy continues to grow stronger, we are making sure that it does so in a society that is fairer.”

2. Another tax cut for low and middle income workers

Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander is delivering a further tax cut for low and middle income workers by increasing the Personal Tax Allowance to £10,600 in April, giving basic rate taxpayers a cut of £120. That means the typical basic rate taxpayer will be £825 better off in cash terms over the course of this Parliament. Someone working full time on the National Minimum Wage will pay £618 less in tax in 2015/16 than they did in 2010/11 – a reduction of 77%. 27 million are benefiting from our income tax cuts and by April, 3.4 million people will pay no income tax at all.

3. Stamp duty reforms will help first-time buyers

Stamp duty land tax will be reformed to help first time buyers get onto the property ladder, Danny Alexander has announced. The new system, based on long-standing Lib Dem policy to help first-time buyers, is being made fairer so that people buying houses worth £935,000 or less will pay the same or less stamp duty than at present, and people buying the most expensive properties will pay more. From 4 December 2014, the stamp duty paid on the average house price will be £4,500 lower, while those buying a home for £5m will pay £163,750 more.

4. £150m will be invested in tackling eating disorders

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb have secured £150m to tackle eating disorders as part of the Autumn Statement. The new investment will radically reform the treatment of children and young people with eating disorders and pave the way for new waiting time standards. It comes just a month after research showed the number of young people being admitted to hospital for treatment for eating disorders was increasing. Nick said, “Too often children with mental health problems are being completely let down, with many suffering from eating disorders that go unreported and untreated.”

5. Extra cash will boost the NHS

Norman Lamb has also secured £2bn extra cash for the NHS in 2015/16 in the Autumn Statement. Norman has led calls for the extra funds, including additional money for mental healthcare. The extra cash comes from a combination of bank fines collected by the Financial Conduct Authority and a variety of departmental savings. Norman said, “Liberal Democrats want to create opportunity for everyone by building a stronger economy and a fairer society. That means properly funding the NHS for the future and providing better care both for physical and mental health.”

6. More investment for affordable housing

More affordable homes will be built in the next five years than at any point for more than two decades, Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has announced. The Government will invest an extra £975m to extend the affordable housing programme from 2018 to 2020. 55,000 homes will be built each year from 2015, giving a total of 275,000 to be built in the next Parliament. This new funding builds on the Liberal Democrats excellent record in Government that has already seen us deliver the first increase in the social housing stock since the 1970s.

7. Small businesses will get more help

Small businesses will get more help thanks to an extension of the doubling of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR), Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced. The SBRR scheme will now be extended for a further year through to 31st March 2016 to provide particular support for 575,000 of the smallest businesses. We have also announced as part of the Autumn Statement that the forthcoming increase in business rates will be capped at 2% and we will provide extra support for the high street by giving a £1,500 discount to retail properties.

8. More homes to get flood protection

300,000 homes will be better protected from flooding after more than 1,400 new flood defence projects were announced in the Autumn Statement by Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander. The flood defence scheme is a six year programme, worth £2.3bn, to help prevent more than £30bn of economic damage caused as a result of flooding. It forms part of the National Infrastructure Plan and will help reduce total flood risk by 5%. Danny said, “The projects we are announcing at the Autumn Statement will protect some of the country’s most at risk locations ensuring that we will be as prepared as possible for future severe weather.”

9. Tidal Power will get investment

The UK will start closer discussion with Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd to establish whether a potential tidal lagoon project at Swansea Bay is affordable and value for money for consumers, Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey has announced. The UK is the world’s foremost centre for tidal energy development. If the project were to progress, it could become the first tidal lagoon project in the world. Ed said, “Tidal energy is a huge opportunity for Britain. That’s why we’re showing investors and developers that we’re serious about tidal lagoon potential and have started in-depth discussions for what could become the world’s first tidal lagoon.”

10. It will be cheaper to employ apprentices

Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable has delivered nearly 2 million apprenticeship starts since 2010 and we are working to give even more young people the opportunity to take one up. That’s why, from April 2016, employers will no longer be required to pay employer National Insurance contributions for the 500,000 apprentices under the age of 25 on earnings up to the upper earnings limit. This means that employers of all apprentices under the age of 25 will be exempt from paying employer NICs. This reduces the cost of employing young apprentices and will encourage employers to increase the number of apprentices they take on.

11. The British Business Bank will get a £400m boost

Vince Cable’s Business Bank will be boosted by a further £400 million following an announcement in the Autumn Statement. The British Business Bank operates on a commercial basis to support small businesses. It works with the private sector to support and increase the availability of finance and allows small firms access to help they might not otherwise have had. This extra money will be backed up by business expertise and shared risk so that small businesses get the best chance to be successful. Vince Cable said: “Today’s Autumn Statement shows real support for small business, manufacturing and science.”

12. Postgraduates can apply for student loans

The UK needs high-skilled workers so Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable has reformed higher education and removed the student numbers cap at undergraduate level in order to meet the demand. Liberal Democrats in Government are introducing income contingent loans of up to £10,000 from 2016/17 for those under the age of 30 to undertake a postgraduate taught Masters course. These loans will be structured so that on average, graduates will repay them fully, but they will beat commercial rates.

13. Roads and Rail getting big investment

A good quality road network is essential to the country’s economic sustainability. We need infrastructure fit for the 21st century, consistent with our economic, environmental and safety goals. Our Roads Investment Strategy – announced as part of the National Infrastructure Project – involves over 100 major schemes. £2 billion will be spend on the A303, A30 and A358 corridor, connecting the South West with a new expressway. £640 million will be used to improve the A1 to the west and north of Newcastle and £6 billion is being set aside to resurface up to 80% of the strategic road network by the end of the decade. Lib Dem Transport Minister Susan Kramer is spearheading an overhaul of our railways, improving accessibility at stations, carrying out a major electrification programme and improving capacity on key routes.

Posted by The Liberal Democrats on 04 December, 2014 @ 6:24 PM

Autumn Statement has Liberal Democrat policies at its core

Today’s Autumn Statement has Liberal Democrat policies at its core.

This Autumn Statement shows that Liberal Democrats are building a stronger economy and a fairer society where everyone is given the opportunity to get on in life.

Liberal Democrat policy is at the core of the Autumn Statement. This is a plan which sticks to our strategy to deal with the deficit, enabling us to release funds for key Liberal Democrat priorities.

We have protected our world class health service by providing an extra £3.1bn across the UK for the NHS. This includes making £2bn additional funding available for NHS services in England for the next financial year 2015/2016.

This is so that the NHS has the money it needs to meet the challenges of an ageing population and increasing demand. It will also provide the funding the NHS needs to deliver the first year of Simon Steven’s five year plan.

This Autumn Statement is packed full of policies that deliver Liberal Democrat priorities.

  • Help for lower and middle income earners by increasing the Personal Tax Allowance to £10,600, giving basic rate tax payers a tax cut of £120.
  • Help for people buying a home by cutting stamp duty for the majority of buyers. This will make it fairer, ensuring that 98 per cent of homebuyers pay the same or less stamp duty and delivering long standing Liberal Democrat policy from 2007. The stamp duty paid on the average house price will be £4,500 lower while those buying a property for £5m will pay £163,750.
  • Help for apprentices by making it cheaper for employers to take on an apprentice by abolishing employer National Insurance Contributions for apprentices aged under 25 on earnings up to upper earning up to the upper earnings limit.
  • Help for people with mental health problems by providing £150m over five years to transform the support provided to young people with eating disorders.

It is because there are Liberal Democrats in Government that we have an economic recovery and that this is Autumn Statement providing:

  • Support for enterprise by boosting Vince Cable’s Business Bank by a further £400m.
  • Support for businesses by extending the doubling of Small Business Rate Relief to April 2016, capping the increase in business rates at 2% and providing extra support for the high street by giving a £1,500 discount to retail properties.
  • Support for postgraduates by providing loans for those under 30 wishing to undertake postgraduate taught study.
  • Support to local economic growth by allocating a further £1bn for a second wave of growth deals to support local projects as part of their ambitious plans for growth.
  • Support for housing by trialling a radical new delivery model at Northstowe, as announced by Danny Alexander; supporting a new garden city at Bicester; and extending the affordable housing investment so that over the next Parliament the government will deliver 275,000 affordable homes-more than in any equivalent period in the last 20 years.

And it because there are Liberal Democrats in Government that the recovery will be sustainable and that the repair job will be done fairly.

Posted by The Liberal Democrats on 03 December, 2014 @ 1:24 PM
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