Archive Press Releases/News

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.

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

Tuebrook Reporter

Carlton Update
Lower Breck Road Waste Land Cleared
Clifton Road Land to be Compulsory Purchased for New Housing
Fighting HMO’s Across the Ward
Road Resurfacing and Street Lights Repaired

Tuebrook Reporter – December 2016

Carlton Update
Lower Breck Road Waste Land Cleared
Clifton Road Land to be Compulsory Purchased for New Housing
Fighting HMO’s Across the Ward
Road Resurfacing and Street Lights Repaired

NEC statement

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.

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.

Special Assembly

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 danielwood24@hotmail.com

NEC Elections

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 a member of the NEC. 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.

Letter printed in the Oxford Times

Sir,

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.

Dane Clouston
Oxfordshire Liberals
Member, Liberal Party National Executive Committee

Liberals Call for Public Enquiry into Orgreave Clashes

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.