Motions carried at the 2008 Liberal Party Assembly

Strategy and Party Alignment
Public Expenditure – “Spin” and the public purse
Arts Council funding
Drink driving
Employment and enterprise – co-ownership
Psychiatric health provision
The economic crisis (Emergency motion)

Strategy and Party Alignment

Assembly recognises that many parties having taken long term shelter in the idea of their being a ‘centre’ party are now, in their policy pronouncements, placing themselves on ground traditionally occupied by the political right.

The Liberal Party assembly asserts that the Liberal Party is a party of the left, the radical left. It believes that the rightward drift of national politics has weakened the ability of government to combat the great challenges to our society, and that of the wider world, which come from climate change, the widening gap between rich and poor and the growing sophistication of weapons of mass destruction. Assembly further asserts that to chase lowering of personal taxation (as now advocated by the Liberal Democrats) is a false goal that will further weaken the ability of the public services such as health and education to provide the care and opportunities in a society committed to equal opportunities in all spheres of life.

Assembly believes that a presentation of a radical programme from a party which is not afraid of seeing itself as being on the left would sharpen our identity. It would also clarify where we should be seeking to find other parties and organizations with whom we might co-operate.

Public expenditure – “Spin” and the public purse

Assembly notes with alarm the amount of public money spent, by both local and national Government on ‘Spin Doctors’ and public relations. Assembly believes that the taxpayer is, in effect, paying twice for the privilege of
receiving news from the public sector.

The Liberal Party thus calls for an immediate freeze on all aspects of local and national Government budgets which relate to such matters of ‘spin’, pending and urgent review of such expenditure by the National Audit Office.

Arts Council funding

Assembly calls for a review of all Regional Arts Councils with a view to making
them more accountable to the public in general and in particular the communities
they serve.
As a first step the Liberal Party calls for a provision to ensure that elected members making up at least 50% membership of Regional Arts Councils.

Drink driving

Assembly believes that there is clear and verifiable evidence of the link between excessive alcohol consumption and a range of serious health problems, there is also rising concern about the dangers of “drink driving”. It further believes that this is a general social problem but one which impacts most seriously on younger people.

Assembly, therefore, calls for the legal blood alcohol limit to be reduced to zero in England and Wales.

Employment and enterprise – Co-ownership

This assembly re-affirms the long standing commitment of the Liberal Party to co-operation and participation at work.

We as a party believe in the free market and free enterprise but believe that certain industries (‘natural monopolies’ such as the railways and the water industry) should be in the public ownership.

Taking the model of the Co Operative movement (Which Liberals founded) The  John Lewis Partnership and others we the Liberal Party aims to encourage employee participation and ownership. We will particularly assist young people and the long-term unemployed as well as those on benefit who are interested in working in partnership.

To this end assembly calls for:

1. the establishment of works councils and full participation by workers at all     levels in decision making in industry in order to give every employee a direct    share in the control of the enterprise in which they work. Companies with over 50 employees to have boards elected by shareholders and employees on the basis of 50% votes for each;
2. The stimulation of the growth of the worker co-operative movement by financial and taxation measures;
3. Profit sharing schemes as an important part of our co-ownership policies;
4. More opportunities for employee, consumer and community involvement in the running of state owned enterprises.

Psychiatric health provision

Assembly, whilst re-affirming the belief that people with psychiatric health problems should be cared for in the community wherever possible, believes that the provision for people with  issues is inadequate and the current care in the community policy is simply a cheaper, rather than more effective, option.

Further, Assembly notes the links between low level crime, anti-social behaviour, homelessness and those with mental health problems. Such links lead to any savings in public expenditure on mental health provision resulting in increased expenditure in other areas of public expenditure.

Assembly therefore calls for:

1. increased provision for residential care (both long and short term) for  those with mental health problems;
2. increased expenditure on the community care of those with mental  health issues with the aim of increasing the number of community psychiatric nurses and other professionals, thus allowing such health professionals to undertake a more interventionist and pro-active role;
3. increased availability of sheltered accommodation and ‘half-way’  accommodation for those with psychiatric problems.

The economic crisis

Assembly note with alarm the continuing and increasing financial crisis.

Assembly believes that the crisis is the result of a systemic failure of the banking and financial system as a result of its deregulation of the financial system.

Assembly therefore resolves:

1. That it essential that confidence in the financial system be restored but that it is undesirable to simply throw cash at the problem;
2. That therefore any cash injected into banks or other financial institution be granted only on the basis of the government taking equity shares in the company at the then current market price
3. That this Assembly has no confidence in the regulatory authorities, and that these authorities should be strengthened with a single controlling body;
4. Assembly recognises the international nature of capital but believes that internationally agreed banking standards are required to prevent a repetition of this crisis;
5. Noting that Mutual societies are largely unaffected by these events, that the UK should encourage the formation of new and regionally based mutual organisations.