Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Welsh Lib Dems attack 'colossal waste of money' on Williams Commission

A Freedom of Information request by the Welsh Liberal Democrats found that a total of £130,332.51 was spent on the Williams Commission, not including staff costs funded from core funds.
Peter Black AM, the Welsh Liberal Democrat shadow local government minister, said: “For Labour Ministers to spend over £130,000 to set up a Commission, only to then completely ignore its recommendations, is a colossal waste of money. Why go through the effort and expense of a full consultation if the response is just going to be ignored?

“Labour Ministers have been stubborn on this issue from the outset – it’s their way or else. Sometimes they seem to forget that they failed to get a full mandate at the last election, and that they don’t have the right to rule like a majority Government with only half the seats.
“Welsh Liberal Democrats are trying to give this Bill a purpose by introducing a much-needed change to the voting system for local council elections.
“If Labour Ministers decide that protecting their dominance in County Halls is more important than voters being able to cast a fair vote at election time, the Welsh Lib Dems will have no choice but to vote down this Bill. I hope other parties will join us in doing so.”

Thursday, September 24, 2015

What did you think of THE speech?

http://www.markpack.org.uk/134668/what-did-you-think-of-tim-farrons-debut-conference-leader-speech/

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Euro porky pies

Thanks to the European Movement for this:


TODAY'S PORKY: We only Voted for Free Trade
“We thought we were only joining a free trade zone”
Not true. We were never hoodwinked. We actually left a free trade zone (EFTA) to join the EU, specifically because we felt free trade was not enough. The government, setting out its reasons for applying in 1967, stressed that “Europe is now faced with the opportunity of a great move forward in political unity and we can — and indeed we must — play our full part in it”. And before the referendum in 1975, national newspapers on both left and right were clear that political, not just economic, integration was proposed and would be a positive outcome. 
Email us here about your favourite PORKY and we will put it up on our website.  

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Liberal Democrats' big housing plans

In England, Liberal Democrats are working on a coherent and robust plan for building 300,000 houses a year for many years to come.


Welsh Liberal Democrats have also put housing at the top of their agenda. Peter Black AM writes:

Labour’s poverty of ambition is preventing many people from getting on the housing ladder. 

Yesterday in the National Assembly, Welsh Lib Dem Leader Kirsty Williams AM challenged the First Minister over his government’s failure to build enough affordable homes.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats is the only party with the ideas and ambition to tackle Wales' housing crisis.

We have a plan to double the budget for new affordable homes and build 20,000 homes by 2021. 

Please sign our petition today to support the campaign.

We will also introduce a Rent to Own scheme to allow people to earn a share in their homes over time through rent payments.

These are radical ideas which will help tackle the housing crisis. Please back the campaign.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Liberal Democrat federal conference on YouTube

Real debate and real decision-making. Pick a subject from this selection.



Sunday, September 20, 2015

Liberal Democrats vote to give boost to tourist trade

Federal Conference today voted to support cutting tax on tourism. Eluned Parrott, moving on behalf of Welsh Liberal Democrats, pointed out that 25 of 28 EU member states had taken advantage of a concession on VAT to reduce the tax on tourist accommodation and attractions. Backed by parties from the four corners of Britain, she pointed out that hospitality employed people at many different skill levels, unlike most of the newer industries, and had a good record in career development. Cutting VAT to 5% would initially hit the overall tax take, but would start to pay for itself after three years and would yield gains in the billions over a decade.

Eluned writes:

"Cutting VAT on hotels and attractions will boost tourism, create jobs and put our businesses on an equal footing with those across Europe.

"Now we need to turn this policy into reality. Please click here to sign our petition to cut tax on tourism."

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Most successful Liberal Democrat autumn conference ever

There were not only more attendees at this year's federal conference in Bournemouth, but there were more new members than ever for an autumn conference.

Members were roused by Tim Farron's speech at tonight's rally. The full text is here.


LibDems vote for compassion for refugees

At their federal conference in Bournemouth today, Liberal Democrats resolved, incorporating amendments, as follows:
Suzanne Fletcher (Stockton) moving a successful amendment

Creating Safe and Legal Routes for Refugees

Conference notes that:
I. There are currently almost 20 million refugees worldwide, who have fled war and persecution, including nearly four million refugees who have fled the ongoing conflict in Syria.
II. The vast majority of refugees are hosted by developing countries; for example, only six percent of Syrian refugees have sought safety in Europe.
III. Increasing numbers of people are attempting extremely dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean, with over 100,000 arriving in Europe by sea and nearly 2,000 people dying making the journey in the first five months of 2015 alone.
IV. 33% of those crossing the Mediterranean have fled war-torn Syria, 10% have fled Eritrea, and 18% have fled Somalia and Afghanistan.

Conference welcomes the Liberal Democrat commitment to give sanctuary to UN refugees, as stated in the party’s 2015 General Election Manifesto, Stronger Economy. Fairer Society. Opportunity for Everyone.

Conference expresses concern that:
A. In responding to the migration crisis, Conservative ministers have used dehumanising language to condemn the actions of refugees fleeing was and persecution, and have failed to recognise or address the humanitarian crisis. Some governments across Europe including the UK are making it increasingly difficult for those fleeing war and persecution to seek safety on the continent by removing safe and legal routes and creating ‘Fortress Europe’.
B. The lack of safe and legal routes is forcing refugees to make dangerous journeys, resulting in the loss of life.
C. Current UK policy limits the safe and legal routes available, including through a limited number of places for resettled refugees and overly restrictive family reunion rules that prevent, among others, adult children being reunited with their parents and siblings.
D. Last December, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees called on governments around the world to provide resettlement and other forms of admission for 130,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2016, yet the United Kingdom has only pledged to resettle several hundred of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees, and by the end of March 2015, just 187 Syrians had been resettled here.

Conference calls on the Government to:
1. Create more safe and legal routes for refugees to seek safety in the UK by:
a) Significantly increasing the number of refugees resettled in the UK through UNHCR programmes, offering thousands rather than hundreds of places to those fleeing war and persecution including via an EU resettlement scheme.
b) Making it easier for refugees to join relatives already living in safety through UNHCR programmes in the United Kingdom.
c) Accept that the best way of arresting smuggling is creating safe and legal routes for refugees, as well as participating fully in EU efforts to tackle criminal people-smuggling which exploits the misery and desperation of vulnerable people, instead of taking a minimalist approach to EU police and crime cooperation.
2. Work together with partners in the EU to find sustainable solutions to the current and long-term migration crisis which has particularly affected Italy and Greece, including opting into a relocation scheme to offer asylum to the most vulnerable refugees from Syria, Eritrea and Iraq.
3. Take leadership within the EU in support of multilateral efforts to help refugees and displaced persons within their own regions and in support of host countries in North Africa and the Middle East which are assisting large numbers of refugees.
4. Continue to advocate for, and contribute to, the European search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean to save the lives of those who are forced to make dangerous journeys.
5. In the long-term, tackle the root causes of why people become refugees so that fewer people feel compelled to flee their homes.
6. Reaffirm the UK’s international commitment to give protection to those fleeing war and persecution.  In addition, Conference calls on local councils, particularly those that are run by the Liberal Democrats to be generous in offering housing and other support to incoming refugees.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Liberal Democrats 4U



Go to  libdems.org.uk/join or contact Huw (see side-bar).

Friday, September 11, 2015

Euromyths

At http://blogs.ec.europa.eu/ECintheUK/euromyths-a-z-index/ there is an A-Z debunking of myths spread by the popular media in the UK.


Monday, September 07, 2015

Electoral Reform Society

At the recent AGM of the ERS, five Liberal Democrats were elected to the Council. There are also 4 Labour, 1 Green and 5 non politically aligned members.

No new resolutions were passed, but the feeling of the meeting was that the Society should continue to encourage moving away from first-past-the-post voting systems, and continue to press for fair votes in Westminster general elections and in English and Welsh local elections.

ERS is to hold two events at this month's federal conference in Bournemouth: a fringe meeting – ‘Like Minds to Change Minds’ – to be held on Sunday September 20 at 6.15pm in the main BIC Conference centre and a drinks reception on Monday September 21, at 6pm at the Dean Park Inn.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Labour misses police target

THE latest policing statistics published by the UK government have shown that the number of police community support officers (PCSOs) in Wales has been declining since September 2013, the Welsh Lib Dems said.
Commenting on the figures, Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West Peter Black said: “I applaud the Welsh Government for their initiative in funding these extra PCSOs. They have certainly made a difference in many communities around Wales. However, we need to be realistic about what was actually funded and note that the pledge to put 500 extra PCSOs on the beat was not achieved, albeit the Welsh Government missed their target by just 40.”