Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

£1.3bn funding boost for Post Office

The Post Office will receive £1.3 billion of extra funding over the next four years, Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced.

Vince told the Commons the funding would be used to reform the network and secure its long term future, reversing years of decline. Outlining the boost during yesterday's second reading of the Postal Services Bill, which sets out plans to privatise Royal Mail, Mr Cable told MPs: "I can announce today £1.34 billion of new funding for the Post Office over the spending review period.

"The funding will be used to reform the current network, to change the underlying economics and so reverse the years of decline and secure its long-term future."

He said earlier this month that private buyers will be allowed to own up to 90% of the Royal Mail, with at least 10% of shares going to employees, while the Post Office may be mutualised.

The staff share scheme would be the biggest of its kind - larger than those of British Telecom, British Gas or British Airways, he said.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wind projects boost could bring 70,000 jobs

The Government yesterday announced moves aimed at creating up to 70,000 new jobs through a £60 million improvement to ports to boost offshore wind projects.

Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said: "We might be world leaders in offshore wind but we know there is still more to do. If we want the jobs, manufacturing and skills base for this exciting new industry to be here in the UK we need to make decisions that attract investment.

"We need world-class infrastructure to support our economic growth. So today we have made sure that even in the face of such pressure on public finances, we prioritise the areas that will help us dump the deficit."

The Prime Minister said the potential for Britain to lead the world in the offshore wind industry was "immense", especially as thousands of turbines would be needed in the next decade. "Manufacturing these needs large factories which have to be on the coast, yet neither the factories nor the large port sites exist and that, understandably, is putting off private investors,"

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "It is very positive news that three major players in the offshore wind industry, GE, Siemens and Gamesa, have plans to come to the UK and invest in manufacturing. The Government's approach to growth and investment is the right one. The global market for low carbon goods and services is expected to rise to over GBP4 trillion by the middle of the next decade. We are already the sixth largest market for low carbon economic goods and services so we are well placed in this sector."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Peter Black tops regional list again

The ballots for the Liberal Democrat regional lists were counted this evening. The order, as voted on a one-member one-vote basis, for each of the regions is as follows:

South Wales West
  1. Peter Black
  2. Stuart Rice
  3. Cheryl Green
  4. Wayne Morgan
  5. Frank Little

South Wales Central
  1. John Dixon
  2. Eluned Parrott
  3. Rachael Hitchinson
  4. Elgan Morgan
  5. Andrew Sherwood

South Wales East
  1. Veronica German
  2. Phil Hobson
  3. Bob Griffin
  4. Alison Willott

Mid and West Wales
  1. Bill Powell
  2. Mark Cox
  3. Ed Wilson
  4. Steffan John

North Wales
  1. Aled Roberts
  2. Eleanor Burnham

Elections for candidates for individual constituencies will follow shortly.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Welsh LibDem comments on the Comprehensive Spending Review

Freedom Central reports the views of leader Kirsty Williams and local AM and housing spokesman Peter Black. It should be emphasised that the cut in the money Westminster gives to Cardiff for day-to-day running falls only around 2%, and that after predicted inflation is taken into account. The Labour-Plaid Welsh Assembly Government coalition leader is trying to make the settlement look worse by adding in the closure of the Newport Passport Office, the cancellation of the Great Western electrification and the postponement of a decision on a military training establishment in the Vale of Glamorgan. I understand that the principal objection in the last case is to the PFI ("live now, pay later") nature of the scheme. These involve the loss of jobs, actual or potential, but not revenue to WAG, so it is misleading to lump them in with the rest of the cuts.

It is certainly no excuse for further cutting the grants to local authorities, in view of the way Cardiff bureaucracy has grown since the turn of the century, and of yesterday's revelation that the Health department has spent three-quarters of a million pounds on external consultants, including half a million on a report from McKinsey whose existence it tried to cover up.

Frank Little

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

European liberals attempt to save money on Strasbourg is thwarted

Yesterday, MEP Sarah Ludford reported on an attempt to save some money on the European Parliament's regular shuttling between Brussels and Strasbourg by combining two of the September sessions. (Cancelling the farcical transfer of MEPs, officials and documents requires a heads of government resolution.)

Today, even this modest cost-cutting proposal has been stymied by Conservatives and Socialists at the behest of their French and German leaders.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Construction of Trident submarines put back to next parliament

Party President Ros Scott writes:

The Liberal Democrats have long argued that Trident is an out of date, unnecessary and hugely expensive weapons system that the UK has no need of in modern times. In this period of fiscal constraint it is also a luxury we can ill afford. Nick Clegg was right to argue powerfully against Trident renewal during the Leader's Debates. Our party was right to stand in contrast to both the Conservatives and Labour on this issue.

Today, within the Strategic Defence Review, the Coalition Government announced that there will be no final decision on the like-for-like replacement of Trident during this parliament. So Trident will not be renewed this parliament - not on a Liberal Democrat watch. Let us be clear, this is a significant victory for Liberal Democrat campaigners, and a fantastic example of what our Ministers can and do achieve in government.

But the Coalition Government is not just saying no to replacing Trident this parliament. It is going further. It is also taking important steps towards the goal of multilateral nuclear disarmament. The announcement today sees a 25% cut in warheads.

Today is yet another day that we can all feel hugely proud to be a party of government, delivering key Liberal Democrat priorities.

Phil Willis on Browne

Frank Little writes:

There is an interesting contribution to the debate on the Browne report at Liberal Democrat Voice by Lord Willis of Knaresborough, who, as MP for Harrogate was the chairman of the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee. He writes:

"As they stand Vince Cable and the Liberal Democrats, rather than hide their heads in embarrassment should be congratulated in fighting for elements in the package that meet Liberal Democrat aspirations. As the IFS (not noted for their pro-liberal stance) concluded – the Browne proposals 'are highly progressive and ensure that the poorest 30% of graduates are better off, whilst ensuring that the richest 30% of graduates pay off their loans in full'. Hardly an outcome that would have resulted from a Conservative government."

The Institute for Fiscal Studies was hard on the Osborne Emergency Budget. Labour seized on its report at the time (though glossing over the parts which do not suit their spin), but has been silent on the IFS judgment on Browne.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Chris Huhne: half of new power will be renewable

Chris Huhne has today published a written ministerial statement on the UK’s future energy provision.

New power generation capacity equal to three-quarters of current capacity will be needed between now and 2025. It must and will be a low-carbon mix, with renewables will be over half of this new power capacity.

Of the remainder new nuclear without public subsidy is free to contribute, and today the Coalition is taking two regulatory steps to enable this.

The Government will not pursue a Severn tidal scheme at this time as there is currently not an economic or environmental case for the Severn Barrage. Instead we must focus on technologies that can create jobs at home and tackle climate change globally – such as offshore wind and carbon capture and storage.

What is being published?

Today DECC publishes the energy National Policy Statements (NPS), alongside two regulatory steps that must be taken to permit new nuclear stations to be built.

What new power generation is needed?

The NPS projects a need for 59GW of new capacity by 2025.

  • Over half (33GW) will be from renewables, and 8 GW of non-renewable technology is already under construction.
  • This leaves 18GW to come from new non-renewable capacity, and nuclear is free to contribute to this capacity – without public subsidy.
  • The sites potentially suitable for nuclear by 2025 are identified as Bradwell; Hartlepool; Heysham; Hinkley Point; Oldbury; Sizewell; Sellafield; and Wylfa.
    • Rejected from the list were Dungeness in Kent, Braystones and Kirksanton in Cumbria.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Labour's Browne review attacked by Welsh LibDems

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference in Brecon today passed the following motion, proposed by Liberal Youth:

Conference notes:
  1. The "Browne Review" of October 12th and its recommendations for Higher Education funding in England
  2. That the implementation of this will have major effects on the future of student finance in Wales
  3. That the Welsh Liberal Democrats are opposed to Tuition fees, and that our MPs pledged to vote against any increase in fees ahead of the General Election

Conference believes:
  1. that there are alternative ways to fund higher education that do not involve burdening the students of today with high levels of debt
  2. that higher education should remain affordable and an option to people, whatever their economic background

Conference calls for
  1. Welsh Liberal Democrats to reject the wholesale implementation of the proposals of the Browne Review
  2. the Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Group to do everything possible to mitigate the effect on Welsh students of any change in funding in England
  3. The Welsh Assembly Government to urgently address the Higher Education Funding Gap, and divert wasteful economic development spending to fund Welsh Universities.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Comprehensive Spending Review

“There is a hard road to recovery ahead, but we are determined to ensure it is a road that leads to fairness too.”

We are taking action to cut the deficit because we have to. Last year, one in every four pounds the government spent was borrowed. That’s not how you’d run a home, and it’s not how you should run a government. It won’t be easy, but it’s the right thing to do, and is in our long term national interest.

The least progressive thing of all would be to burden future generations with the debts that Labour left us. Instead the choices we make will invest in their future - to give everyone the opportunity for a fair start in life regardless, of their background.

Even in the toughest of times, the right thing to do is to invest in the future. This is how we will carry out Britain’s unavoidable spending cuts: in a way that brings the country together and makes it stronger.

  • These are Labour’s cuts:
    • Gordon Brown and the Labour party’s parting gift was the largest structural deficit in the G20.
    • In 2009-10, one pound in every four of Government spending was borrowed.
    • Furthermore, we’re spending more money on the interest on our debt, £120 million per day, than on many key public services- more than on transport or law and order
  • Delayed pain would be greater pain for longer:
    • If we did not take action, interest rates would inevitably rise. That would push up debt interest payments, mortgage payments and damage growth.
    • Delaying the implementation of fiscal consolidation, as Labour proposed, prolongs the adjustment and so requires further action – through tax rises or spending reductions – to offset higher debt interest costs. Labour’s plan means greater pain for longer.
    • Since the General Election market interest rates (10yr Gilt) have fallen by 0.94%.
  • In support of our actions:
    • The OECD described the Budget as a “courageous move”, saying that “It provides the necessary degree of fiscal consolidation over the coming years to restore public finances to a sustainable path, while still supporting the recovery.
    • The Governor of the Bank of England stated that the Budget had “reduced downside risks... through removing the possibility of a sharper downturn in output resulting from higher long-term interest rates”
    • The IMF said: “The government's strong and credible multi-year fiscal deficit reduction plan is essential to ensure debt sustainability.”

Nick Clegg announces ‘fairness premium’

Next week's comprehensive spending review (CSR) will include a £7 billion "fairness premium" to help children from poorer families as they go through nursery, school and university, Nick Clegg announced today.

The package will include free pre-school education for two-year-olds from disadvantaged households, a "pupil premium" providing extra cash while they are at school and a "student premium" to help them in higher education. The new cash is expected to support children from the poorest 20% of families.

  • This was a key Liberal Democrat election pledge that we are now delivering in Government
  • In the Spending Review we will provide extra funds – a total of over £7 billion – for a “fairness premium”, stretching from the age of two to the age of twenty. This is money spent on giving the poorest children a better start in life.
  • So while the CSR will cut spending, it will increase our investments in fairness, and in particular in the promotion of social mobility and life chances.

1. Early Years

· The 15hrs a week currently available for all 3 and 4 year olds will be protected.

· In addition, we will be adding an additional 15hrs a week of early years education for 2 year olds for the poorest families (the bottom 20% - children who receive full school meals).

2. The Pupil Premium

· The Pupil Premium means schools will receive additional funds to offer targeted help to every pupil eligible for free school meals. This will reduce educational inequalities.

· This is longstanding Liberal Democrat policy and one of our four key manifesto pledges.

· It is not up to Whitehall or politicians how they spend that money. It is up to the schools themselves.

o It is earmarked to help those who need it most but it can be used for one-to-one tuition; catch-up classes; after school projects; new equipment. Whatever schools and teachers feel will help their children the most.

· It is not just the poorest students which will benefit from this. All the evidence shows that the increase in funds will help drag the whole class along. For example, all children in the school (not just the poorest students at whom the Premium is targeted) would benefit from new equipment.

· In the long-term, this will benefit everyone. Targeted intervention at our poorest students will cut crime, mean less spending on damaged adults etc.

3. University

· Vince Cable will make an announcement in the next couple of weeks about how we will provide a student premium to the least advantaged students to ensure that bright children from disadvantaged backgrounds are not held back by the circumstances of their birth.

(Although the pupil premium as such will be delivered only in England, the settlement for the Welsh Assembly Government will take account of it.)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Neath North by-election, 14th October

Protheroe (Labour) (elected) 437
Howells (Neath Port Talbot Independent Party) 144
Maccathail (Plaid Cymru) 132
McCarthy (Liberal Democrat) 51
Turnout 24.08%

Frank Little writes: We were defeated on largely national issues (the issue of the Browne report, recommending a lifting of the cap on the cost of university courses did not help), and the untrue allegation that our candidate would stop the rebuilding of the Gwyn Hall. However, it was the first time that we had seriously contested this ward. I consider our campaign was a good one and a start on which we can build.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Welsh success in ALDC elections

Frank Little writes:
Regrettably, I was unable to attend Federal Conference and thus also the AGM of the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors, or I would have been able to post this sooner. The new president is Cllr Veronica German AM (Torfaen). A former LibDem Lliw Valley councillor now resident in Warwickshire, Sarah Boad, is secretary.

The official Welsh representative is Cllr Kevin O’Connor (Merthyr Tydfil).

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Welsh LibDem leader objects to Passport Office closure proposal

Kirsty Williams AM, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats has responded to reports that the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) is considering closing the Newport passport office:

“To suggest that every passport office should remain open except for the only one serving South Wales and South West England is at best high handed and will leave millions of people with an inferior service to the rest of the UK, as well as threatening hundreds of jobs.

“Of course, all public agencies must seek to achieve best value for money in very difficult times but this must be done sensitively with the aim of providing a good service across the UK.

“My understanding is that, at this stage, this is a proposal for consultation and I shall be responding to express my concerns as I am sure many others will.”

Labour Shadow Cabinet elections

Every single member of Ed Miliband’s new shadow cabinet served in Gordon Brown’s government.

Of the 19 members of the new shadow cabinet, 11 served as cabinet ministers under Brown, while the other eight held ministerial posts.

Every member of the new shadow cabinet voted for ID cards. Of the 14 who were MPs at the time, 12 voted for the invasion of Iraq.

Miliband himself was a key adviser to Brown in the Treasury, including chairing his Council of Economic Advisers, responsible for long-term economic planning. He was then parachuted into a safe seat and fast-tracked into the cabinet before writing Brown’s election manifesto.

Miliband claimed his election heralded a new generation in Labour politics, but his shadow cabinet is made of the same New Labour politicians that spent recklessly and left the economy in tatters, stole our freedoms, left our political system in disgrace and failed to close the huge gap between the richest and the poorest.

The Daily Telegraph has analysed the background of all the new Shadow Cabinet members and has found that they are overwhelmingly white, privileged and heterosexual. Social diversity was delivered a blow with Diane Abbott, Ben Bradshaw and Chris Bryant not getting a place.

The full list of the new Shadow Cabinet can be found here.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Ex-Labour leader falsely accused by press

Frank Little writes: I wish to correct a story, published on this party website in good faith, that Derek Vaughan claimed money to which he was not entitled. In fact, the South Wales Police Authority allowance was paid automatically, not claimed, and Mr Vaughan has returned the sums involved. In our defence, it should be noted that we merely relayed, without addition, a "news item" in the Evening Post.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Ed Miliband's record

In his leadership speech to the Labour conference in Manchester, Ed Miliband tried to rewrite history by putting distance between himself and New Labour and presenting himself as part of a new generation of Labour politicians.

The truth is Ed Miliband spent the last 13 years at the heart of the New Labour project. He was an adviser in Gordon Brown’s Treasury from 1997 and went on to chair the Council of Economic Advisers, responsible for long-term economic planning, in 2004.

He was then parachuted into a safe seat and quickly appointed as a minister in Brown’s cabinet before writing his 2010 election manifesto. He was an integral part of the Labour Government that left the economy in tatters, faced allegations of complicity in torture, stole our freedoms,
left our political system in disgrace and failed to close the huge gap between the richest and the poorest.

In the Treasury he was reckless with our money. When he was in charge of environment policy he was timid and weak, including giving the green light to the third runway at Heathrow.

Voting record: Ed Miliband’s voting record shows that he was fully signed up to New Labour’s assault on civil liberties and voted against an investigation into the Iraq war. He was also weak on tackling climate change and bringing greater transparency to Parliament.

Voted for:
  • Control orders
  • Identity Cards
  • Reducing parliamentary scrutiny (eg. The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act)
  • All the Terrorism Bill’s clauses including 42 and 90 day detention
  • Trident replacement
Voted against:
  • Introducing Parliamentary approval to be required for deployment of the Armed Forces
  • An investigation into the Iraq war
Patchy record on:
Climate Change – He introduced legislation which included a pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 (Miliband’s 60% target was only increased after pressure by the Liberal Democrats) but:
  • Voted against a 2007 Liberal Democrat motion calling on the Government to do significantly more on climate change
  • Was absent in 2008 on a vote to allow consumers to be paid renewable energy feed-in tariffs
  • Was absent in 2008 on a Planning Bill amendment to consider climate change in applications
  • Voted against a clause in the Climate Change Bill allowing the Secretary of State to set a maximum level of carbon emissions for energy plants in 2008
  • Voted against the 2009 Lib Dem 10:10 motion calling on the House to reduce energy usage by 10% during 2010

Transparency of Parliament:

Voted for MPs’ expenses and financial interests to be made public in 2009 but was absent on all other Freedom of Information amendments relating to making Parliament more transparent (most notably the 2008 vote on the report from the Members Estimate Committee which recommended external audits of the Additional Costs Allowance).

Friday, October 01, 2010

The Minimum Wage rises

The national minimum wage increased by 13p an hour to £5.93 this week, benefiting an estimated one million, mainly women, workers.

A new hourly rate of £2.50 was introduced at the same time for apprentices, who previously did not qualify for a statutory wage. The age threshold for paying the adult rate will be reduced from 22 to 21, giving an estimated 50,000 people a pay rise of more than 20%.

To mark the increase, the Government announced that employers who deliberately flouted minimum wage laws will be publicly named under a new scheme.

Liberal Democrat Employment Relations minister Ed Davey said: "Bad publicity can be a powerful weapon in the fight against employers who try to cheat their workers and their competitors. Their reputation can be badly damaged if they are seen to be flouting the law.

"Responsible employers should also make themselves aware of the new rates that come into effect today. The increases to the national minimum wage this year are appropriate for the economic climate. They will strike a balance between helping the lowest paid whilst at the same time not jeopardising their employment.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "This increase will put extra cash in the pockets of some of the UK's lowest paid workers and today there are also significant gains for apprentices and young workers."

Liberal Democrat policies in action

This is a list of policies that were in our manifesto, and not the Tories', that are in the coalition agreement:

We will bring forward detailed proposals for robust action to tackle
unacceptable bonuses in the financial services sector; in developing these
proposals, we will ensure they are effective in reducing risk.

We want the banking system to serve business, not the other way round. We
will bring forward detailed proposals to foster diversity in financial
services, promote mutuals and create a more competitive banking industry.

We will take steps to reduce systemic risk in the banking system and will
establish an independent commission to investigate the complex issue of
separating retail and investment banking in a sustainable way; while
recognising that this will take time to get right, the commission will be
given an initial time frame of one year to report.

We will cut red tape by introducing a ‘one-in, one-out’ rule whereby no
new regulation is brought in without other regulation being cut by a
greater amount.

We will impose ‘sunset clauses’ on regulations and regulators to ensure
that the need for each regulation is regularly reviewed.

We will find a practical way to make small business rate relief automatic.

We will seek to ensure an injection of private capital into Royal Mail,
including opportunities for employee ownership. We will retain Post Office
Ltd in public ownership.

We will seek to ensure a level playing field between small and large
retailers by enabling councils to take competition issues into account
when drawing up their local plans to shape the direction and type of new
retail development.

We will review the range of factors that can be considered by regulators
when takeovers are proposed.

We will reinstate an Operating and Financial Review to ensure that
directors’ social and environmental duties have to be covered in company
reporting, and investigate further ways of improving corporate
accountability and transparency.

We will ensure that Post Offices are allowed to offer a wide range of
services in order to sustain the network, and we will look at the case for
developing new sources of revenue, such as the creation of a Post Office

We will end the so-called ‘gold-plating’ of EU rules, so that British
businesses are not disadvantaged relative to their European competitors.

We will introduce a Freedom Bill.

We will scrap the ID card scheme, the National Identity register and the
ContactPoint database, and halt the next generation of biometric passports.

We will outlaw the finger-printing of children at school without parental

We will extend the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide
greater transparency.

We will protect historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury.

We will restore rights to non-violent protest.

We will end the storage of internet and email records without good reason.

We will introduce a new mechanism to prevent the proliferation of
unnecessary new criminal offences.

We will abolish the unelected Infrastructure Planning Commission and
replace it with an efficient and democratically accountable system that
provides a fast-track process for major infrastructure projects.

We will maintain the Green Belt, Sites of Special Scientific Interest
(SSSIs) and other environmental protections, and create a new designation
– similar to SSSIs – to protect green areas of particular importance to
local communities.

We will explore a range of measures to bring empty homes into use.

We will promote ‘Home on the Farm’ schemes that encourage farmers to
convert existing buildings into affordable housing.

We will phase out the ring-fencing of grants to local government and
review the unfair Housing Revenue Account.

We will require continuous improvements to the energy efficiency of new

We will introduce stronger consumer protections, including measures to end
unfair bank and financial transaction charges.

We will take forward measures to enhance customer service in the private
and public sectors.

We will increase households’ control over their energy costs by ensuring
that energy bills provide information on how to move to the cheapest
tariff offered by their supplier, and how each household’s energy usage
compares to similar households.

We will seek to extend protection and support to ‘off-grid’ energy

We will seek to spread information on which policing techniques and
sentences are most effective at cutting crime across the Criminal Justice

We will have a full review of the terms and conditions for police officer

We will make hospitals share non-confidential information with the police
so they know where gun and knife crime is happening and can target
stop-and-search in gun and knife crime hot spots.

We will promote better recording of hate crimes against disabled,
homosexual and transgender people, which are frequently not centrally

We will review the operation of the Extradition Act – and the US/UK
extradition treaty – to make sure it is even-handed.

We will maintain the independence of the BBC, and give the National Audit
Office full access to the BBC’s accounts to ensure transparency.

We will maintain free entry to national museums and galleries, and give
national museums greater freedoms.

We will examine the case for moving to a ‘gross profits tax’ system for
the National Lottery, and reform the National Lottery so that more money
goes into sport, the arts and heritage.

We will use cash in dormant betting accounts to improve local sports
facilities and support sports clubs.

We will cut red tape to encourage the performance of more live music.

We will look at whether there is scope to refurbish Armed Forces’
accommodation from efficiencies within the Ministry of Defence.

We will support defence jobs through exports that are used for legitimate
purposes, not internal repression, and will work for a full international
ban on cluster munitions.

We will hold a full Spending Review reporting this autumn, following a
fully consultative process involving all tiers of government and the
private sector.

We will push for the EU to demonstrate leadership in tackling
international climate change, including by supporting an increase in the
EU emission reduction target to 30% by 2020.

We will introduce measures to promote a huge increase in energy from waste
through anaerobic digestion.

We will refuse permission for additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted.

We will replace Air Passenger Duty with a per-flight duty.

We will work towards an ambitious global climate deal that will limit
emissions and explore the creation of new international sources of funding
for the purpose of climate change adaptation and mitigation.

We will work towards full compliance with European Air Quality standards.

We will investigate measures to help with fuel costs in remote rural
areas, starting with pilot schemes.

We will extend the right to request flexible working to all employees,
consulting with business on how best to do so.

We will undertake a fair pay review in the public sector to implement our
proposed ‘20 times’ pay multiple.

We will press for the European Parliament to have only one seat, in

We will maintain the goal of ending child poverty in the UK by 2020.

We will reform the administration of tax credits to reduce fraud and

We will publish serious case reviews, with identifying details removed.

We will regulate lobbying through introducing a statutory register of
lobbyists and ensuring greater transparency.

We will end the detention of children for immigration purposes.

We support E-borders and will reintroduce exit checks.

We will explore new ways to improve the current asylum system to speed up
the processing of applications.

We will support efforts to establish an International Arms Trade Treaty to
limit the sales of arms to dangerous regimes.

We will review what action can be taken against ‘vulture funds’.
We will support reform of global financial institutions such as the World
Bank and the International Monetary Fund in order to increase the
involvement of developing nations.

We will explore alternative forms of secure, treatment-based accommodation
for mentally ill and drugs offenders.

We will urgently review Control Orders, as part of a wider review of
counter-terrorist legislation, measures and programmes. We will seek to
find a practical way to allow the use of intercept evidence in court.

We will ensure that there is a stronger voice for patients locally through
directly elected individuals on the boards of their local primary care
trust (PCT). The remainder of the PCT’s board will be appointed by the
relevant local authority or authorities, and the Chief Executive and
principal officers will be appointed by the Secretary of State on the
advice of the new independent NHS board. This will ensure the right
balance between locally accountable individuals and technical expertise.

We will give every patient the right to choose to register with the GP
they want, without being restricted by where they live.

We will make the NHS work better by extending best practice on improving
discharge from hospital, maximising the number of day care operations,
reducing delays prior to operations, and where possible enabling community
access to care and treatments.

We will prioritise dementia research within the health research and
development budget.

We will seek to stop foreign healthcare professionals working in the NHS
unless they have passed robust language and competence tests.

Doctors and nurses need to be able to use their professional judgement
about what is right for patients and we will support this by giving
front-line staff more control of their working environment.

We will encourage NHS organisations to work better with their local police
forces to clamp down on anyone who is aggressive and abusive to staff.

We will restore the earnings link for the basic state pension from April
2011, with a ‘triple guarantee’ that pensions are raised by the higher of
earnings, prices or 2.5%.

We will commit to establishing an independent commission to review the
long-term affordability of public sector pensions, while protecting
accrued rights.

We will explore the potential to give people greater flexibility in
accessing part of their personal pension fund early.

We will establish five-year fixed-term Parliaments. We will put a binding
motion before the House of Commons stating that the next general election
will be held on the first Thursday of May 2015. Following this motion, we
will legislate to make provision for fixed-term Parliaments of five years.
This legislation will also provide for dissolution if 55% or more of the
House votes in favour.

We will bring forward a Referendum Bill on electoral reform, which
includes provision for the introduction of the Alternative Vote in the
event of a positive result in the referendum, as well as for the creation
of fewer and more equal sized constituencies. We will whip both
Parliamentary parties in both Houses to support a simple majority
referendum on the Alternative Vote, without prejudice to the positions
parties will take during such a referendum.

We will review the control and use of accumulated and future revenues from
the Fossil Fuel Levy in Scotland.

We will fund a significant premium for disadvantaged pupils from outside
the schools budget by reductions in spending elsewhere.

We will help schools tackle bullying in schools, especially homophobic
We will simplify the regulation of standards in education and target
inspection on areas of failure.

We will ensure that all new Academies follow an inclusive admissions
policy. We will work with faith groups to enable more faith schools and
facilitate inclusive admissions policies in as many of these schools as

We will reform Access to Work, so disabled people can apply for jobs with
funding already secured for any adaptations and equipment they will need.

We will increase the personal allowance for income tax to help lower and
middle income earners. We will announce in the first Budget a substantial
increase in the personal allowance from April 2011, with the benefits
focused on those with lower and middle incomes.

We will further increase the personal allowance to £10,000, making real
terms steps each year towards meeting this as a longer-term policy
objective. We will prioritise this over other tax cuts, including cuts to
Inheritance Tax.

We will reform the taxation of air travel by switching from a
per-passenger to a per-plane duty, and will ensure that a proportion of
any increased revenues over time will be used to help fund increases in
the personal allowance.

We will seek ways of taxing non-business capital gains at rates similar or
close to those applied to income, with generous exemptions for
entrepreneurial business activities.

We will make every effort to tackle tax avoidance, including detailed
development of Liberal Democrat proposals.

We will review the taxation of non-domiciled individuals.

We are committed to fair pricing for rail travel.

We will ensure that public funding mechanisms for university research
safeguard its academic integrity.