Liberal Party Internal Elections
The closing date of 10th February for nominations in our internal Party elections has now passed.
We have ten nominations for the National Executive and as this is fewer than the number of places on the NEC we do not need a ballot. All of those nominated below are duly elected as members of the National Executive of the Liberal Party for the next two years.
Only Cllr Steve Radford presented a nomination to be Party President, and is therefore duly elected without the need for a ballot, for the next two years.
Cllr Steve Radford
Members of the National Executive Committee
13 February 2017
Spring Special Assembly
Briar Rose Hotel, 25 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham, West Midlands, B2 5RE
Saturday 25th February 2017 - 12 noon to 4pm
Prison Reform Joint Motion for debate sponsored by Colin France
Click here to download the PDF of the Prison Reform Joint Motion.
NEC Statement - Thames Water Prosecution
The Liberal Party views with concern:
- The continuing failure of our privatised water companies to provide pure water for residents at a fair price.
- The continuing breach of regulations by our privatised water companies as evidenced, for example, by the repeated conviction of Thames Water for polluting the Thames and tributaries by the illegal discharge of sewage into the river to the detriment of river fish and other wildlife.
- The continuing decisions, as revealed by internal whistle-blowers, of Thames Water management "to pay the pollution fines rather than install new filtering systems".
- The repeated changes in ownership of our privatised water companies as new owners display more interest in asset stripping than the provision of pure water, or to a halt to the illegal discharge of sewage, or to a reduction in the high number of serious leaks.
- The recent decision by Thames Water to charge all its customers a special fee to help to pay for management failures, in particular water leaks which reached a peak of nearly 30% of water lost to leaks.
The Liberal Party recognise that pure water is essential to life and believes that everyone has a natural right to pure water. The Liberal Party also believes that it is morally wrong and environmentally damaging to allow our water supply to be under the control of profiteers and asset strippers. Accordingly, the Liberal Party calls for the restoration of our water supply to public ownership and public accountability.
13 February 2017
Click here to download the PDF of the Tuebrook Reporter - January 2017.
6 February 2017
Increasing council tax to fund social care
The Conservative Government has recently proposed that local authorities in the UK will be able to increase local Council tax by up to 6% to fund social care.
At a time when the Government is talking about helping the Just Managing or Squeezed Middle, it is simultaneously talking about passing the burden of funding vital public services back onto these already struggling groups.
Yet the Conservatives, both in coalition, and now in power in their own right, have ruthlessly cut the transfer to local government year on year in the name of austerity and cutting the national debt.
The best estimate is that during the last parliament overall funding for public services fell by about 29%, whilst Social care funding has fallen by 9% in real terms over the past five years alone.
The Liberal Party opposes un-necessary and counterproductive austerity, which plainly doesn't mean we are all in it together as David Cameron oft claimed.
In a nation estimated in 2014 to be worth 8 trillion pounds, even with 5 trillion pound of this in property, surely we can afford adequately funded public service without adding to the burden on...
Funding needs to come from an adequate settlement from central government, which in turn needs to ensure all in our society pay their fair share of taxes and contribute to the provision of fully funded local services for the most dependent in our society.
13 January 2017
Investigatory Powers Act
The Liberal Party notes with concern that the Investigatory Powers Act has now received royal assent. It's not an exaggeration to say that it represents one of the most significant transfers of power from people to the state in our lifetime.
The bill will allow the surveillance of anyone (and potentially everyone) in the UK, without the need for suspicion of involvement in a crime or evidence of wrongdoing, without the need to target a person or premise and without ever notifying anyone that they have been spied on.
It would be hard to imagine a more uncomfortable situation for political movements than to know that every communication they made was being intercepted and stored by the government they may be challenging or competing with. It would potentially make a Watergate lawful.
The lack of Parliamentary and media opposition is truly alarming, with the opposition Labour and SNP MPs almost exclusively abstaining in the final vote on this legislation.
Privacy from State Intrusion and Democracy are pillars of a free society which risk being systematically undermined in the name of law enforcement and national security.
The Liberal Party believes these are principles which should take precedence and the party strives to promote these principles in all its actions.
18 December 2016
Motion for debate at February's Assembly - Penal Reform sponsored by Colin Francis Sheffield
The Liberal Party recognises !o address the increasing number of prison inmates, since 1993 the population has risen to 84 405 that is an extra 41000 inmates a 92 percent increase in England and Wales on the failing prison system. (The following day is from the bromley briefing for the prison reform trust july 2016.)
Prison has a poor record for reducing re-offending 46 percent of adults are re-convicted within 1 year of release, this has risen to 60 percent for those serving a less than 1 year sentence.
48 percent of women leave prison are re-convicted within 1 year of release, this goes to 77 percent for women who have had 11 consecutive short sentences.,68 percent of under 18s are re-convicted within 1 year of release.
Short prison sentences are less effective than community sentences at reducing re-offending....they are 7 percentage points higher of re-offending than an offender serving a community sentence and they commit more offences than those on community sentences.
Re-offending costs the taxpayer billions per year between 9.5 and 13 billion per annum of which 7to 10 billion are spent on short sentence prisoners.
The use of release on temporay licence in 2012 only 26 cases involved prisoners being arrested on suspicion of committing an offence, that is a 99.95 percent success rate. Lately sadly RoTL are 37percent down being used and soe employers say they have recieved no one on RoTL saying that though when used it still is 99.93 percent success rate.
The Liberal Party see the prison system to rehabilitation of offenders rather just a form of punishment! Prisons need to punish the offenders but they should also be given appropriate assistance to prevent the offender being caught in the prison vicious cycle of being in and out of custody throughout their lives.
The Liberal Party will look to address the causes why people offend, offenders to have a planned care plan to help with drug addiction debt and gambling addiction programmes to be run. Mental health treatments to help offenders cope and manage their conditions. The goal of these reforms is to prevent people entering a lifestyle of crime and.if they had to prepare the person when they have served their sentence.
Prisoners to be given the opportunity to undertake meaningful employment, day release to work at actual companies, training and educationsl studies so on their release they have qualifications for potential employers or if they wish to become self employed advice given to them.
The Liberal Party to look at removing certain victimless offences from acts of criminality such as prostitution, offenders being given community sentences that will enable offenders to keep their jobs if they are employed but it will also help to keep the family unit together.
New or young offenders to not be just put in the general prison population but away from seasoned and hardened criminals who may coach and mentor these green inmates and encourage them not to better themselves but turn to a life of crime.
Prison officers to have the appropriate training so they can become effective mentors and role models to the offenders they care for.
Prison officers to be given the recognition, rewards, protection and tools to continue the hardwork and vitual service they do for society.
The Liberal Party seeks to ensure those guilty of victimnless criems like prostitution are not sent to jail but more appropriate measures
18 December 2016
Click here to download the PDF of the Liberal News - Winter 2016
2 December 2016
Click here to download the PDF of the Tuebrook Reporter - December 2016
2 December 2016
The Liberal Party NEC today expressed concern about the dangerously growing inequality of capital ownership in each new generation in the UK. It called for the abolition of unlimited exemptions and reliefs from Inheritance Tax for land and businesses and for taxation of inherited capital be progressive according to how much is received, in addition to a lowered rate flat tax on what is given or bequeathed.
In line with the party's traditional constitution calling for liberty, property and security for all, this would finance a gradually increasing UK Universal Inheritance capital endowment for all 25 year old UK citizens with at least one UK citizen parent. No longer will some UK citizens inherit billions or millions free of tax while others inherit no capital at all.
30 November 2016
The NEC agreed the following extended schedule for nominations for the NEC and Party President to encourage maximum participation.
Anyone wishing to nomination or self nominate for the NEC should email email@example.com. Only 3 members are required to nominate anyone standing for the NEC.
For the position of Party President 40 nominations are required.
The closing date will be 10th February and information will also go out with the current Liberal News.
The next NEC will be on Saturday 25th February at 12.00 at the Briar Rose Hotel, Bennetts Hill, Birmingham.
27 November 2016
There will be a special assembly at 12.30 on Saturday 25th Feb at 12.30 at the Briar Rose Hotel, Bennetts Hill Birmingham with a view to update Education and Penal Reform.
However members may wish to table any other items of interest for debate and should email them to Danny at the earliest opportunity at firstname.lastname@example.org
27 November 2016
NEC Statement on falling wages
The Liberal Party notes with concern recent media reports that living standards in this country are likely to stagnate for the foreseeable future. These reports further suggest that some of the poorest households will see their income falling back to levels last seen in 2008.
In the immediate aftermath of the recent Autumn Statement the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has cautioned that real wages may be depressed for 10 years or more, with some groups seeing an effective cut to their income.
Continuous cuts in social benefits and tax credits, low wage growth, reduced hours of work, and increased inflation will further erode the standard of living for a whole swath of the most vulnerable households in this country.
The Liberal Party’s constitution clearly states that the party exists in part to ensure no member of our society is enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We remain robust in demanding that this government take clear steps to lift the low paid out of the spiral of fuel poverty and debt.
We believe in a fair society, work ethic and a simplified tax and benefits system which lifts’ people out of poverty rather than force them into the queues of food banks.
27 November 2016
Letter printed in the Oxford Times
Put VAT on school fees
Trevor Stevens, in his letter to the Oxford Times this week, prominently headlined “Abolishing private schools might help”, writes that private schools are one of the ways, along with buying houses in good school catchment areas, by which the wealthy buy themselves the privilege of a better education. Indeed so, but abolition thereof is a rather startlingly illiberal suggestion!
However it would not be illiberal, and it would be good, to tax them by putting VAT on the substantial fees paid by those wealthy enough to afford them. Some parents would be influenced to send their children to state supported schools instead. The tax proceeds from others, including many from overseas, could be used to increase resources and raise standards in state supported schools, including the sporting facilities so sadly reduced by the Conservative Party in the past.
Such a policy, of VAT on private school fees, is for these reasons the party policy of the Liberal Party. It would be good if the Liberal Democrats and other political parties were to follow suit.
Member, Liberal Party National Executive Committee
25 November 2016
Liberals Call for Public Enquiry into Orgreave Classhes
The Liberal Party notes with disappointment the decision of the Home Secretary Amber Rudd to decline to convene a public enquiry into the events surrounding the policing of the Orgreave coking plant during the 1984 miners' strike.
In light of the inquest and findings of the Hillsborough enquiry in relation to the behaviour and culture of the police, the party finds merit in examining police records and the conduct of both officers and pickets at what is now commonly referred to as the Battle Of Orgreave.
There remains public disquiet at the events which unfolded and the subsequent collapse of a trial of 95 arrested pickets, 39 of who later received compensation payments from South Yorkshire Police.
A public enquiry would do much to restore public faith in the accountability of politicians and central government. It would also address deep seated concerns over the events and the way they reflect on the public perception of the impartiality of the police in the handling of events as they unfolded.
06 November 2016
Press release: Liverpool approves tower in World Heritage Site buffer zone, despite serious concern from UNESCO
Liverpool City Council has approved proposals for a 22-storey tower on Skelhorne Street in the buffer zone of the city’s World Heritage Site (WHS).
The decision on 11 October 2016 was approved by five votes to two, despite specific requests from UNESCO not to grant planning approval for this application, as well as objections from SAVE and the Victorian Society.
Reacting to the decision the UK National Committee of ICOMOS, the official advisor to UNESCO on cultural heritage sites, said: "ICOMOS-UK regrets that Liverpool City Council have pushed ahead with a decision on this planning application at this time. Such a move ignores the UNESCO World Heritage Committee's request not to approve the project until a Desired State of Conservation for the Liverpool - Maritime Mercantile City World Heritage Site as a whole is defined and adopted. It is the responsibility of all key stakeholders to work together to ensure that Liverpool's World Heritage status can be assured for the future."
SAVE wrote to each member of the planning committee ahead of the meeting to highlight our serious concerns and those of UNESCO, requesting that the decision be deferred until the Desired State of Conservation Report (DSOCR) is submitted in December. Our letter can be viewed here.
The DSOCR for a World Heritage property is a document outlining the state of conservation which needs to be achieved through corrective measures in order to remove it from the Danger List. Once the Desired State of Conservation is achieved, the World Heritage Committee will remove the property from the Danger List.
The Council’s decision to ignore UNESCO’s request and approve the scheme is needlessly hasty. The draft DSOCR is due to be submitted on 1 December, and a period of two months wait before making a more informed decision, based on the DSOCR report, is reasonable.
The proposal is for a 22 storey student accommodation tower, within the WHS buffer zone and opposite the Grade II listed Lime Street Station, the Grade II listed Crown public house, and within clear viewing distance of the Grade I listed St George’s Hall.
SAVE considers that the proposal will cause great harm to the setting of the WHS and surrounding listed buildings, and as a result of its height its impact will be far reaching; Cllr Steve Radford, one of the members of the planning committee who opposed the decision, described the proposal as ‘excessive’.
At the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee in July 2016, UNESCO took the decision to retain the Liverpool WHS on the at risk list for a fifth consecutive year, and also singled out two projects – towers at Skelhorne Street and Princes Reach - advising against the granting of planning permission. The decision stated that:
'[The World Heritage Committee] Notes furthermore the submission by the State Party on 8 July 2016 of new information about two projects: Princes Reach, Princes Dock, Liverpool and Proposed Student Residences in Skelhorne Street, Liverpool and also requests the State Party to ensure that neither project receives project approval, until the DSOCR has been finalized and adopted;'
Both schemes referred to have now been approved – the 34 storey Princes Reach tower was approved in September – and the council’s decisions flagrantly ignores UNESCO’s request.
These approvals further increase the risk that the city will be stripped of its WHS Status, something being seriously considered by UNESCO.
Henrietta Billings, Director of SAVE said: “This planning permission for a 22 storey tower deliberately flies in the face of serious international heritage concerns. Liverpool's World Heritage Status is a badge of honour which is slipping through its fingers because of short sighted planning decisions.”
Note to editors:
1. For more information please contact the SAVE office on 0207 253 3500 or mailto:email@example.com
11 October 2016
Liberal Party Annual Assembly - 15th October 2016
Please download our Registration Form to get all the information about the Liberal Party Assembly 2016.
14 September 2016
Draft NEC Statement - Grammar schools - 3rd draft
The Liberal Party is fundamentally and robustly opposed to a revival of the Grammar school system whereby young people are segregated at an early age into schools for achievement and schools for the underclass.
We note that early segregation advantages those young people born into families with educational professional backgrounds and acts as a barrier to young children of all backgrounds who may be late developers.
Like previous intensions to expand Academy schools, this move was not part of the government’s electoral manifesto, and is being couched in such language as to avoid legislation prohibiting such institutions.
The Liberal Party affirms its believe that educational opportunity is vital to a vibrant society and growing economy and should be open to all irrespective of social background.
As such the party opposes such proposals, as it does private education, as it distracts from a level playing field in education and does not provide opportunity for all or social mobility.
The Liberal Party would therefore look to work with all likeminded progressive opinion whilst promoting an inclusive and properly funded state education system fit for all.
11 September 2016
The effects of negative interest rates on businesses
The Liberal Party views with much concern media reports that both the RBS and Natwest bank are warning business and commercial customers of the possibility of them being charged negative interest rates.
This would in effect charge these businesses, reported to between 1 and 1.3 million, for holding money in their accounts, as well as an undisclosed number of charities and community groups.
This move is being prompted by the potential cut of domestic interest rates to zero, leaving banks to fund the cost of borrowing and their own businesses, whilst receiving no interest on loans.
The Liberal Party understands the economic reasoning behind this move, but this simply adds further pressure to businesses struggling to survive in uncertain economic times, and re-enforces the common perception that banks are not there to help businesses thrive.
Although this move would not affect personal customers with savings or current accounts, it encourages the move towards fee based accounts, which discriminate against the poorest in our society.
The RBS and Natwest via its parent Lloyds bank are both still partly state owned, and should be challenged by the government and the general public on this counter-productive and damaging development.
03 August 2016
We need stronger conventional forces not Trident
The Liberal Party notes with considerable disappointment the recent vote on the future of Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent.
At a time when one would have imagined national politicians would have been digesting the ramifications of the recent EU referendum, they have instead allowed themselves to be distracted by a polarising and highly contentious domestic issue.
It is even arguable that the Conservative government have seen this as an opportune moment to promote the renewal process, with the opposition Labour party lukewarm in its opposition to Trident and consumed with a potential leadership contest.
The replacement of Trident is expected to cost in excess of 31 billion pounds, at a time when further austerity and cuts to public services now seen inevitable.
It is a commitment to an unaffordable military asset over the next 20 years, when conventional forces are already stretched and the Chilcot inquiry report highlighted poor levels of equipment.
The recent Bastille Day tragedy in France should remind us that conventional and not nuclear deterrents are the most pressing consideration in this age. Not the renewal of a questionable military asset, with little relevance to modern geopolitics or domestic security.
20 July 2016
Letter in the weekly Oxford Times today - Tackle the Wealth Gap
Sir – Now the UK is to be fully independent, we must tackle the wealth gap between the rich and the poor which was partly responsible for the Brexit decision. All political parties, whether left, right or centre, should address the question, which they have ignored for too long, of the quasi-feudal inequality of inheritance of capital wealth.
The EU will no longer be able to object on grounds of discrimination if all 25-year-old UK-born, rather than EU-born, UK citizens, in London, Glasgow or anywhere else, receive, as they should, a basic minimum UK Universal Inheritance, financed out of taxation on the giving and receiving of capital gifts, bequests and inheritance from the previous generation of UK tax payers.
This real, continuation, traditional UK Liberal Party policy must now be introduced as soon as possible, because in order to be fair to adjacent year groups of 25-year-old UK-born UK citizens, it can only be introduced gradually.
The Liberal Party proposal is that UK Universal Inheritance should start at a mere £1,000 and be increased annually by that amount for ten years or more up to about 10% of average wealth in the UK.
Inheritance Tax on giving and bequeathing would be reduced and renamed Capital Donor Tax, with significantly reduced exemptions and reliefs.
UK Universal Inheritance would then be financed, and clawed back from the more fortunate, by a new cross-referred progressive tax on cumulative lifetime receipt of unearned capital gifts and bequests, including the UK Universal Inheritance itself.
As things are, some inherit unearned billions, free of tax, during their lifetime, while all too many others never inherit any capital at all. Other political parties should stop inveighing against inequality or demanding greater equality of opportunity for all without even mentioning the positive redistribution in each new generation of vastly unequal unearned inherited wealth.
Oxfordshire Liberal Party
Member, Liberal Party National Executive Committee
7 July 2016
Draft NEC Statement on response to George Osbornes vision of public finances - Second draft
The Liberal Party notes with considerable disappointment the comments attributed to the Chancellor George Osborne in the aftermath of the recent EU Referendum vote as he maps out the financial future of this country.
After 6 years of austerity, the chancellor’s only vision is one in which further cuts to public services and increases in tax feature prominently, whilst damaging austerity is conveniently dispensed with as politically redundant.
Although cuts in corporation tax are known to have a stimulating effect, such a phenomenon is not in itself a panacea for these nations’ long-term economic future and prosperity. As the Irish Republic discovered, low corporate taxes are not on their own a solid base on which to build a sustainable economy.
As a nation with a total net worth in excess of 7 trillion pounds, we should on the face it be able to afford to fund adequate public services, along with a properly funded NHS and education systems.
The Liberal Party calls for a more open and radical debate on our nation’s future economic journey in light of our eventual disengagement from the European Union, and the role of domestic and as well as business taxation in funding sustainable public services.
7 July 2016
Letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury's declaration that he supports a 'remain' vote on the basis that Britain 'belongs in the world' appears somewhat confused and to a degree perverse.
It is precisely because the UK needs to get back into the world, rather than being locked into a declining and economically precarious European Union that the Liberal Party is campaigning for a 'leave' vote.
The stereotype that those who wish to leave the EU are insular 'little Englanders' could not be further from the truth, rather we are worried that we will end up 'little Europeans'.
Given that the Archbishop of Canterbury is an Eton and Cambridge educated former oil executive it's perhaps unsurprising he has lept to the defence of the metropolitan elite from which he, like Cameron and Osborne, has sprung.
Acting Chair of the NEC
The Liberal Party
Principle Spokesperson - Liberals GO Global
12 June 2016
NEC statement on North Yorkshire fracking decision
The NEC notes with considerable disappointment the majority decision of the Conservative controlled North Yorkshire County Councils planning committee to approve an application for fracking at a site near Kirby Misperton in Ryedale.
The Liberal party, which has two serving councillors in the district, has debated fracking twice at its annual Assembly, and finds no merit in its continued promotion.
The entire process of high-pressure pumping of water and sand into the ground to collect the gas risks untold environmental and well as geological damage and only prolongs our society’s addition to unsustainable sources of energy.
The fact that the application attracted over 4000 objections, should be a clear indication of the public opposition to such schemes, which should form no part of this nation’s energy policy.
27 May 2016