Walsall Advertiser 5 Dec 13 and The YamYam 05 Dec 13
MORE than half of residents consulted in Walsall’s largest-ever budget feedback exercise have welcomed plans to close Walsall Museum.
The building, in Lichfield Street, is facing closure as the council needs to save 19 million in next year’s budget.Bosses say that closing the building will save them 70,000 and figures have revealed that 52 per cent of more than 1,300 responses received from residents were in favour of the plans. But residents have…
Our greatest achievement in Government has been bringing our economy back from the brink of Labour’s disaster.
Today, we have delivered an Autumn Statement that clearly shows we are making real progress in rebuilding our economy after the ‘car crash’ Labour years. Growth is improving. There are record levels of employment. Business confidence is returning. Even the most cynical commentators are accepting that the economy is turning the corner.
All of us, in every part of our Party should feel proud. This recovery would not have been possible without us, and neither would the vast majority of the positive measures in today’s Autumn Statement.
In fact, setting the Tory Marriage Tax break to one side, the Autumn Statement is packed full of Liberal Democrat ideas.
Nick Clegg was right to tell Parliament yesterday that the recovery would not be happening without the Liberal Democrats.
To deliver fairness, we need a stable and growing economy. Our economy grew by the highest amount of any G7 country in the period July to September. We’ve delivered the climate in which UK businesses have been able to create 1.4 Million jobs. All this, whilst keeping on track to halve the deficit by 2015.
And we’re not just investing in Britain’s infrastructure. We are making sure that we are building the economic foundations of our country by investing in our young people. We’ve helped our young people by investing £40 Million to boost the number of apprenticeships by 20,000. We’ve increased the number of people who can go to university. And we’ve boosted employment opportunities for young people by scrapping the National Insurance contributions that companies have to pay on employees under 21.
We’ve recognised the importance of small and medium sized businesses too – the ‘engine room’ of our economy, by knocking £1,000 off the rates bill for small retail premises to help our High Streets. And we’ve extended schemes that mean 360,000 small businesses will pay no business rates at all.
Because we have a sound plan to tackle the economic aftermath of the Labour years, we’ve also been able to take decisive measures to help families through the tough times. We’ve frozen Fuel Duty. We are saving families £50 on their electricity/gas bills. We’ve extended free school meals to all 5 to 7 year olds and have further capped rail fares. And don’t forget that by April next year, the income tax cuts that we promised in our manifesto will make working people £700 a year better off.
There is still a long way to go and a lot of work to be done. But we are making real progress and I hope you’ll feel able to tell that story with pride.
Danny Alexander MP
Published on Liberal Democrat Voice by NewsHound | Wed 4th December 2013 – 4:45 pm
Anyone who watched Prime Minister’s Question Time or listens to Call Clegg regularly will know that Nick Clegg is often in relaxed, confident mood these days. He answers questions with ease and authenticity.
Writing in today’s Times, Alice Thomson writes about the “increasingly confident and powerful Mr Clegg” in a way that makes you think she doesn’t really like it.
But the bizarre paradox is that the more scandals they have overcome and the worse the Lib Dems do in the polls, the more confident their high command has become.
She doesn’t really take into account that national polls don’t really mean that much and that, actually, Liberal Democrats are going to be able to present quite a good record of promises kept at the next election. Three of the four major priorities on the front of the manifesto are delivered and the fourth wasn’t solely because of the conservative nature of our coalition and the opposition.
She looks at the relative state of the two other parties:
Labour, consistently ahead in the polls, should be buoyed up. Yet they are holed by union shenanigans and personal feuds. “Ed Balls plays the piano while the Titanic sinks,’ said one despondent former Blairite. The two Eds can’t agree on the economy or election tactics.
The Tories should be taking the credit for turning the economy round, but the bulk of the party is in despair. Able junior ministers are privately panicking that the next election is already lost.
Meanwhile the Lib Dems danced the night away at their Christmas party at the Ministry of Sound with seemingly few cares. While the other two parties attack each other over education and energy, HS2 and hospital waiting times, stealing each other’s policies and trading insults, they have slipped through the middle, less scrutinised than the other two parties.
Less scrutinised? Really?
On Lib Dem influence
The Deputy PM has seen off all his leadership challenges. Vince Cable has become remarkably on message. Danny Alexander enjoys his role as number two to George Osborne. Alistair Carmichael is settling in as the Scottish Secretary, saving the Union.
The Lib Dems are also becoming more influential. Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, is presiding over a growing number of expensive wind farms and has protected most of the so-called green levies that are pushing up the cost of electricity. He only allowed the Chancellor to make a token £50 cut in energy bills — financed by higher taxes.
Mr Clegg has become increasingly bold at bartering after his refusal to let Mr Cameron have his boundary changes. When the Tory leader insisted on a transferable tax allowance for married couples, Mr Clegg insisted that he receive the same amount of money to increase free school meals for infants. “Totally bonkers and counter to everything the coalition stands for but we had to swallow it,” said a Downing Street aide. Last week Mr Clegg announced new plans for shared parental leave for up to a year, again angering Tories.
No Tory should have been surprised about shared parental leave. Not if they’d read page 20 of the Coalition Agreement, anyway:
We will encourage shared parenting from the earliest stages of pregnancy – including the promotion of a system of flexible parental leave.
Apparently, Cameron is seen as pandering to Clegg by some Tories:
The other party leaders are letting them get away with it because they also believe they are facing a hung Parliament and don’t want to get on the wrong side of El Cid. “In the last few weeks Clegg has become more aggressive and the Prime Minister just keeps giving in,” said one disgruntled minister.
Some Tories are worrying that they are fighting the wrong battle:
The two main leaders are short-sighted if they let Mr Clegg continue unchallenged. “We are focusing on the wrong enemy, trying to out-UKIP UKIP, when in fact many of our biggest battles for seats will be against the Liberal Democrats,” said one Tory moderniser.
Mr Clegg cleverly refuses to say whom he will install as PM. He says it will be the people who will decide if Labour or the Tories end up as the largest party.
You can read the whole article here (£)
* Newshound: bringing you the best Lib Dem commentary published in print or online.
Published on Liberal Democrat Voice By Edward Davey MP | Wed 4th December 2013 – 1:01 pm
It may seem to Lib Dem Voice readers that important energy announcements are a bit like buses. You wait some time for one and then several come along together. So hard on the heels of Monday’s energy bills package today Danny Alexander announced the final strike prices for renewable technologies and also which companies had qualified for the final stage of being awarded early investment contracts. This is good news for investment in the UK’s infrastructure and good news for our move to a low carbon economy.
On the back of these announcements we expect an additional £40 billion of investment in renewable energy by 2020 to build on the £30 billion which has already been invested since 2010. And we are on track to meet our aim of generating over 30% of our electricity from renewables by 2020 compared to 15% today and less than 7% under the last Labour government.
Inevitably there will be some who criticise our decision to cut our support for onshore wind and large scale solar projects. I make no apology for that – indeed I welcome it as a sign of the success of our policies as have organisations such as Greenpeace and the Renewable Energy Association.
Our projections for the building of onshore wind and solar generation capacity are the same as when we published the higher strike prices in June. It is good news that our policies are driving down the costs of the more mature renewable technologies for consumers so that we can cut the subsidy levels. It means that we have been able to adjust upwards the subsidy levels for offshore wind so that we can get more capacity built – all within the same total budget. And the more offshore wind capacity is built the faster the costs will come down.
So despite the fervent opposition to renewable energy from the climate change deniers on the right and Labour doing their best to deter low carbon investment through their economically illiterate price freeze, Liberal Democrats in government are delivering record levels of renewable electricity and investment.
* Edward Davey is Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and MP for Kingston and Surbiton
Published by Bill Newton Dunn and the East Midlands Liberal Democrats: December 4, 2013 1:01 PM
Liberal Democrat MEP for the East Midlands Bill Newton Dunn has launched a scathing attack on UKIP’s sexist and patronising approach to women, following comments made by UKIP MEP Paul Nuttall over Nick Clegg’s proposals to update the system of parental leave.
Nuttall, UKIP’s Deputy Leader, claimed that “new mums can hardly breast-feed – as everyone knows is best – if they’ve gone back to work after a fortnight leaving dad in charge.”
Currently fathers have less right to parental leave than mothers but under Clegg’s proposals, both parents would have the right to choose whether to share parental leave.
Bill Newton Dunn commented:
“Nick Clegg’s proposals will let women and men decide for themselves how to divide up parental leave. Individual parents know what is best for their own situation and so we shouldn’t deny them the right to choose.
“Nuttall’s attitudes are straight out of the Victorian era. Perhaps that’s no surprise, as his comments on breast-feeding show he doesn’t know anything about 20th century inventions such as the breast pump or the fridge.
“Since Godfrey Bloom quit as a UKIP MEP there seems to have been a vacancy for blatant sexism at the top of the party. Clearly Paul Nuttall is filling it with glee.”
Find out how to join here http://bit.ly/1cVIemr
I received this email from Danny Alexander Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury today and thought it was important to share it with you.
Going on the link through to work that the Lib Dems have been doing in Government gives you an insight into the important work that is going on across Walsall. For instance Lib Dems in Government have given £5,501,883 to support Walsall Council to create 1964 homes, either new or by bringing back into use homes which have stood empty for a long time, helping to create local jobs in the construction industry.
Check out the email and I hope you find it interesting…….
‘Stronger Economy, Fairer Society’ is not just a slogan. It’s something that as a Party in Government we are making a reality. In Autumn Statement week, I want to give you a personal update on both the Autumn Statement and on another vital event that takes place today – National Infrastructure Day.
Rebuilding our economy from the catastrophe left by the Labour Government is an enormous task. It has meant us taking many difficult decisions to get the public finances back in control and to rebalance our economy. The good news is that growth is returning and we have record numbers of people in work. There is still a long way to go and we know that families are still under pressure. But because we have taken the difficult decisions, we are able to help by cutting gas/electricity bills, freezing fuel duty and holding down Council Tax.
As the senior Lib Dem in the Treasury it is my personal mission to make sure that our recovery is not just a repeat of the ‘boom and bust’ Labour years. No, this recovery has to be based on solid long term investment in our economy – and that means investing in the roads, railways, ports, and digital networks that make up our infrastructure. It also has to bring prosperity to every part of the UK, not just London and the South East. The case for investing in our infrastructure is overwhelming. It is the foundation on which the rest of the economy is built.
Here are just some of the main points that I’ll be making later today when I launch the update to our National Infrastructure Plan:
At the June Spending Round, we set out £100 billion of publically funded projects, including the largest investments in rail since Victorian times, the largest investment in roads since the 1970s.
Average annual spending on infrastructure is now running at £45 billion, as against £41 Billion under Labour between 2005 and 2010.
But the Government cannot renew our infrastructure on its own. We need the private sector on board. Later today, I’ll be announcing the wonderful news that the UK insurance industry is now committing £25 Billion of funding for investment in UK infrastructure.
As a Liberal Democrat, I am proud to be a member of the first Government in our history to make a proper strategic plan for this vital part of our economy. During today, I’ll be reporting on the progress that we have made in literally rebuilding our country together with some exciting news of new multi-billion pound announcements.
I hope that you feel able to follow both the media reports of the day and my twitter feed@dannyalexander.
There is so much that we can be proud of in our record in Government. Bringing our economy back from the brink of Labour’s disaster and rebuilding our economy is surely at the top of the list.