Lincoln, Sleaford and North Hykeham Liberal Democrats

Lincoln, Sleaford and North Hykeham Liberal Democrats


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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

Giving parents greater flexibility in how they share paternity leave

Parents will have greater flexibility in how they share the care of their child in the first year after birth thanks to changes delivered by Liberal Democrats in government.

The new rules, which apply to couples with babies due or children matched or placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015, will allow parents to choose whether they want to share the mother’s maternity leave.


There are expected to be around 285,000 working couples eligible to share paternity leave from next April.

The Shared Parental Leave scheme gives parents greater freedom in how they share the care of their child in the first year after birth. It also enables parents to keep a strong link to the workplace and encourage fathers to play a greater role in the early stages of their child’s life.

Liberal Democrat Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson said:

“The new Shared Parental Leave rules will give real choice to parents. We all know that every family has its own unique set of circumstances, and the Shared Parental Leave reflects that reality.

“Up until now, families have had very limited options when it comes to juggling the demands of work with the arrival of a new baby. The old maternity leave system reinforced the archaic assumptions that the bulk of childcare responsibilities should be done by mums, and failed to recognise the vitally important role that dads and partners have to play.

“Mothers and adopters will be able to choose when they return to work and fathers and partners will be able to spend more time bonding with their children during the precious early stages of their development.”

Posted by The Liberal Democrats on 01 December, 2014 @ 10:48 AM

National School Meals Week

This week is National School Meals Week. Because of the Liberal Democrats in Government, nearly 22,500 school children across Lincolnshire are having a free, hot and healthy meal each day.

Local campaigner, Ross Pepper said,

“It’s a very simple truth that if you don’t give children a healthy, balanced meal at lunchtime, you can’t expect them to sit down, concentrate and learn well in the afternoon.

“That’s why I’m so proud of the work Liberal Democrats have done in Government to put school food back on the agenda.

“This week is about not only encouraging children to really understand and enjoy the food they eat but to celebrate all the schools chefs and catering staff who work day-in day-out to help provide school meals and ensure that we live in a fairer society where every child can get the best possible start in life, regardless of their background.”

Millions to benefit from cold weather cash

An estimated 4 million people are in line for extra Government help to turn up the heating during the coldest days this year, as the Cold Weather Payments season begins today.

The Liberal Democrats in Government have ensured the permanent increase of Cold Weather Payments from £8.50 to £25 to help vulnerable people over the Winter months.

This means that poorer pensions and low-income households, including disabled people and children under the age of five, could be due a £25 Cold Weather Payment each time temperatures dip below an average of zero degrees Celsius for seven consecutive days, or are forecast to do so.


Liberal Democrat Minister for Pensions Steve Webb said:

“It is vital that pensioners and vulnerable people are given extra help to turn up the thermostat and keep warm when temperatures plunge.

“This help, combined with the Winter Fuel Allowance and Warm Home Discount Scheme, is making a real difference to help the most vulnerable people in our society.

“In most cases, Cold Weather Payments are paid automatically to those eligible. But I urge anyone, especially older people who might be missing out on Pension Credit, to call us.”

Posted by The Liberal Democrats on 01 November, 2014 @ 1:00 PM

There must be parity of esteem between physical and mental health

Mental health charity Mind has said that the amount of public budgets spent on mental health prevention is too low.

In a report published by Mind today (October 28), figures reveal that £40m of council funds will go on mental health compared to £900m for physical health.

Responding to the report, Liberal Democrat Care Minister Norman Lamb Tweeted:


Liberal Democrats are calling for parity of esteem between physical and mental health and want to stamp out the stigma surrounding mental health.

That’s why Liberal Democrats in government have enshrined in law, the equal status of mental and physical health.

And because we believe that mental health conditions should be taken as seriously as physical health, we have also announced that from April 2015, there will be the first ever waiting time standards for mental health treatment.

This means that patients needing talking therapies will be guaranteed treatment in six weeks with a maximum waiting time set to 18 weeks.

Our 2015 general election manifesto includes a commitment to £500m of extra funding for mental health care.

Posted by The Liberal Democrats on 28 October, 2014 @ 3:20 PM

Nick Clegg: We are making sure parental leave can be shared as mothers and fathers see fit

Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has written the following article for Mumsnet, in response to comments made regarding his announcement on equalising paternity and maternity pay in the civil service.

Nick announced this week that fathers in the civil service who choose to share parental leave with their partners will be entitled to the same paternity pay as mothers.

You can have your say on the new paternity pay system here.


In his article for Mumsnet, Nick writes

Let’s bankrupt Britain’s businesses and, once we’re done, burn the buildings to the ground.

This is what you might have thought I’d said last week, if you saw some of the reaction to my plans to increase fathers’ rights when it comes to shared parental leave.

From now on the Civil Service will pay the same to fathers who take parental leave after their babies are born as it pays mothers who do so.

Let’s be clear: we are not doubling the leave and pay that is available, we are just making sure it can be shared between mothers and fathers as they see fit. Whether it’s mums or dads who take the leave, they’ll receive equal pay – and we’d like businesses to follow suit.

A significant change, yes, but highly controversial? I didn’t think so, until I saw the outrage it prompted from parts of the right wing press.

Such a step, they declared, will be ‘crippling’ to taxpayers and business. But why, when there is no extra cost to the economy attached? For every day a man spends at home, a woman will be back at work, so what’s the problem?

What the critics are really saying is that companies can afford to lose a woman for a few months, but they can’t afford to lose a man. The message is loud and clear: women, we don’t need you. Or, at least, we don’t need you as much.

What utter rubbish – and a sorry glimpse into the dated misogyny that still stalks part of the British establishment. It feels ridiculous for me to even write in this article that women are as valuable to their employers as their male counterparts – of course they are! – and yet it seems the flamingly obvious still needs to be said.

Thankfully the dinosaurs and naysayers are not reflective of the country at large. The broader reaction was much more positive. Indeed, many businesses understand the difference a contented, valued workforce can make to their bottom line.

Where I do agree that there are legitimate questions to be asked is on the issue of take up. From next spring we are radically transforming Britain’s leave rules. For the first time ever parents will have a legal right to divvy up between them the year off that is available after a baby is born, in whichever way they see fit – a far cry from the previous system, under which women were given a year and men a paltry two weeks. But we need to encourage fathers to take advantage of this new right.

Better pay arrangements will help. Many men are reluctant to take time off when their children are born, discouraged by the raised eyebrows of their bosses and colleagues. But they are also put off by the drop in earnings they’d face – especially if they’re the bigger earner. That’s why the Civil Service will make it more affordable for fathers to make this choice, and we want as many companies as possible to do the same. In government again the Liberal Democrats would also introduce a “daddy month” – a new, additional use-it-or-lose block of time for new dads to stay at home. We know more men want to be more involved with their children home and, crucially, we know the difference it makes to a child’s development when they do.

As more and more couples enjoy these new rights, I hope we’ll see another big benefit too – helping us tackle the pay gap, which still stands at women, on average, being paid 20% less than men. It’s after children are born that the gap really begins to grow, with women being passed over for promotion or else moving into part time work. But if both sexes are equally likely to take time out of their career to look after young children, and if both are equally likely to go part-time to help them juggle work and home – employers won’t have an excuse for letting women fall behind.

So the only thing that will be “crippled” by new, fairer leave rules is the outdated assumption that women should be in the kitchen while men bring home the bacon. There is certainly still a lot more to be done before mothers and fathers enjoy real equality of choice, and we won’t get there overnight. But we won’t get there at all if the everyday misogynists get their way. So long as my party has a say over things, they won’t.

Posted by The Liberal Democrats on 26 October, 2014 @ 1:01 AM

Norman Lamb’s article on NHS spending

Today Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of NHS England, published his 5-year Forward Look setting out the challenges facing our health and care system in the coming years.

It makes sobering reading. Simon Stevens sets out the huge scale of the financial challenge facing us in the years ahead as we continue to adapt to an ageing population, and increasing numbers of people living longer with multiple chronic conditions.  We also need more investment to ensure that people with mental health problems can get the same standard of care and support as with physical health.

Earlier this month, the Liberal Democrats set out their priorities for the NHS.  We committed to investing at least £1bn extra in our health and care system in each year in the next parliament.  £500m of that will go to mental health to ensure mental health patients get fair treatment, and can access the support they need.  And by the end of the next parliament we will give each carer £250 a year to recognise the immense contribution they make to society.

We also made clear that we would be arguing strongly this year for significant additional funding for the health and care system as part of the Autumn Statement.  We are the only major party arguing for money next year for the NHS.  And Simon Stevens has today made our case for us in the most powerful terms possible.

I know that when I speak to voters in my North Norfolk constituency, and when I meet people across the country, health and care are consistently among their highest priorities for government investment.  But the Conservatives are not making the case for investment in health and care: they are just promising to maintain the current level of spending.  If that’s the deal, the NHS would crash.  Liam Fox has argued for an end to the NHS ringfence – but this could damage our NHS beyond recognition.

Labour, too, have not argued for any increase in funding next year.  In Wales Labour has cut NHS spending by 8%, missing targets on A&E and cancer treatment and presiding over the worst ambulance response times in the UK.  Over 13 years in government, Labour wasted money with PFI schemes and special favours to private companies.  What is more, they just don’t understand that you can’t secure the future of our NHS without securing our economic recovery too.

I am passionately committed to our National Health Service, and the role it plays in giving every person the opportunity to enjoy a decent and fulfilled life regardless of their health needs.

And I recognise, as most people do, that if we want to have a sustainable NHS which is able to provide good care to those in need, we have to pay for it.  Britain currently spends less than almost any other major country on its health and care system.

And we will be making the case relentlessly in the coming weeks to make sure the NHS gets the funding it needs next year so it can continue to provide excellent care to those in need.  Liberal Democrats want to create opportunity for everyone by building a stronger economy and a fairer society.  We cannot do this by neglecting our health and care system.

Posted by The Liberal Democrats on 23 October, 2014 @ 3:53 PM

Nick Clegg launches the Workload Challenge giving teachers their say

Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will launch the Workload Challenge and invite teachers from across the country to have their say on the causes of unnecessary workload.

Nick recently said that many teachers had been left feeling “browbeaten” and undervalued. He also expressed concern for the rising workloads face by teachers.

To address this, Nick will today announce the Workload Challenge, which gives teachers the opportunity to tell the government what they think should be done to reduce this increasing problem.


Nick wants to free teachers up to spend the time outside the classroom doing what they know will help their class do better.

He will officially launch the Workload Challenge when he gives a speech to an audience of public sector workers today.

Nick is expected to say:

“Firstly, every time I speak to a teacher, nurse, social worker, Jobcentre Plus Manager, police officer or council worker one issue comes up again and again: their battle with bureaucracy.

“Take teaching. Some people are still under the misguided impression that it’s a profession built around short days and long holidays. But talk to a teacher and they’ll tell you about their working week of 50 hours or more. They’ll also tell you how much of this time they feel is wasted on unnecessary processes, box ticking and form filling.

“We’re talking about hours spent struggling to stay on top of piles of incident reports, over-detailed lesson plan templates, health and safety forms, departmental updates, training requests and so on that threaten to engulf them every week. Not to mention the reams of additional evidence which teachers pull together because of a long-held belief that Ofsted inspectors want to see everything written down.

“Some of this work is unavoidable. Every school needs to ensure the safety of its pupils and staff and maintain the highest standards possible. But should you really have to fill in multiple risk assessment forms for every school trip when just one form would be better

“Ask any teacher and they’ll give you at least two more examples like that: whether it’s having to highlight their lesson plans in five different colours or inputting every pupil’s marks into countless different spreadsheets in countless different ways at regular points in the year.

“I believe it’s time for us to stop that runaway train of bureaucracy in its tracks, giving our teachers more time to do what they do best: creating and planning the best possible lessons and experiences for our children. In Government, we’ve already done this for businesses: freeing up money and resources for millions of companies.

“It has already produced a new myth busting document from Ofsted, which clarifies what’s expected of teachers for school inspections.

“And, today, I’m pleased to announce with Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education, the launch of our new Workload Challenge for teachers.

“We’re asking teachers across the country to take a long hard look at how they spend their working day and what pointless processes and paperwork they think should be cut or scrapped altogether.

“We want you to then send us your ideas via the Workload Challenge page available on the TES website.”

Posted by The Liberal Democrats on 22 October, 2014 @ 12:01 AM

Crime fallen by a quarter under this government

The latest independent crime survey of England and Wales shows crime continuing to fall. It has fallen by 16% over the year June 2013 to June 2014 and 25% under this government.

Liberal Democrats have been working in government to make our communities safer. We have freed front-line police officers from unnecessary bureaucracy and given communities more powers to tackle anti-social behaviour.


Liberal Democrat Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said:

“Police reform is working and crime is down by more than 20 per cent under this government according to the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales.

“There are now 2.3 million fewer crimes per year than when the coalition government took office. That includes 413,000 fewer acts of violence and 160,000 fewer burglaries, with criminal damage down by 962,000 incidents. This is good news for a safer England and Wales.

“There are also positive signs that police recording of crime is improving, and that more victims of crimes such as sexual offences and fraud are coming forward – which is something we welcome.

“It is vital that police recorded crime statistics are as robust as they can be. That is why the Home Secretary asked HMIC to carry out a detailed investigation of recording practices in all 43 forces. HMIC’s final report is due shortly and we expect Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners to act on its recommendations.”

Posted by The Liberal Democrats on 16 October, 2014 @ 5:25 PM
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