7 Things the Lib Dems Put the Brakes On

The coalition government of 2010-2015 must have been a frustrating time for the Conservative party. While they managed to get many of their proposals through (raising university tuition fees, for example), their Liberal Democrat coalition partners blocked a number of others.

Mark Pack has put together a list of “21 extreme Tory policies the Lib Dems blocked“. However, that article was written in 2015, so here I’ve commented on seven areas where the Conservatives have finally got their own way. (OK, so technically its six that they’ve actually done, and one big one they’re still trying to get round to doing.)

 

1) The Snoopers’ Charter (aka the Investigatory Powers Act)

Described as providing “totalitarian-style surveillance powers – the most intrusive system of any democracy in history”, this law requires (amongst other things) that internet service providers to keep a record of your internet browsing history for 12 months, and share it with a host of government agencies if requested.

 

2) Ditching the Human Rights Act

This is the one which technically hasn’t happened yet (partly because of the need to sort out Brexit, and partly because of significant opposition), but it is still very much on the agenda. A major reason for getting rid of the Human Rights Act is the desire to get rid of the link between the European Court of Human Rights and British courts.

 

3) Removing help with housing costs for young people

Since 1 April 2017, 18- to 21-year-olds making new claims for universal credit have not been able to claim for the cost of housing (with certain exceptions). This change has less scope than that originally proposed (covering 16- to 24-year-olds), but has still raised serious concern from homelessness charities.

 

4) Cutting inheritance tax

In the first budget after the 2015 General Election, a £175,000 “family home allowance” was announced, in addition to the existing £325,000 allowance before 40% inheritance tax is payable. Married couples and civil partners can “pool” their allowance, so this means couples with a combined wealth of up to £1 million will no longer have to pay anything. Note that only around 3.5% of deaths were liable for inheritance tax in 2013-14, and so only the wealthiest will benefit from this change.

 

5) Requiring landlords nation-wide to carry out immigration checks on all new tenants and lodgers

Since 1 February 2016, landlords have been required to act as immigration enforcers, checking that anyone to whom they let is in the country lawfully. Landlords can receive penalties of up to £3000 for every adult without right to rent living in their property.

 

6) Renewing Trident

In July 2016, MPs voted to renew the UK’s Trident system of nuclear missiles, at an estimated cost of £31 billion. The Conservatives voted overwhelmingly in favour of renewal, and the Liberal Democrats and SNP voted against. Labour were split, with approximately three times as many voting for as against. Furthermore, Teresa May has said that she would, if necessary, “press the button” to use the nuclear weapons.

 

7) Cutting investment in green energy

Since its formation in 2012 the Green Investment Bank has provided £3.4 billion to 99 green energy projects.  There is no guarantee that the buyer will continue to use it to fund eco-friendly projects.

 

And finally…

For something more positive, take a look at this infographic, also by Mark Pack, showing what the Liberal Democrats achieved while in government.

 

References 
  1. Pack, M. 21 extreme Tory policies the Lib Dems blocked. [online] Mark Pack. Available at: http://www.markpack.org.uk/129190/what-the-lib-dems-have-stopped-the-tories-doing/ [Accessed 22 Apr. 2017].
  2. Carlo, S. (2016). The Government just passed the most extreme surveillance law in history – say goodbye to your privacy. [online] The Independent. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/snoopers-charter-theresa-may-online-privacy-investigatory-powers-act-a7426461.html [Accessed 22 Apr. 2017].
  3. Investigatory Powers Act 2016. (2016). [pdf] Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2016/25/pdfs/ukpga_20160025_en.pdf [Accessed 22 Apr. 2017].
  4. The Week UK. (2017). Will the Human Rights Act be scrapped?. [online] Available at: http://www.theweek.co.uk/63635/will-the-human-rights-act-be-scrapped [Accessed 22 Apr. 2017].
  5. Wilson, W., Keen, R. and Barton, C. (2017). Housing cost element of Universal Credit: withdrawing entitlement from 18-21 year olds. [online] Researchbriefings.parliament.uk. Available at: http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN06473 [Accessed 22 Apr. 2017].
  6. Inheritance Tax: main residence nil-rate band and the existing nil-rate band – GOV.UK. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inheritance-tax-main-residence-nil-rate-band-and-the-existing-nil-rate-band/inheritance-tax-main-residence-nil-rate-band-and-the-existing-nil-rate-band [Accessed 22 Apr. 2017].
  7. Inheritance Tax Statistics 2013-14. (2016). p.7. [pdf] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/541725/IHTNationalStatisticsCommentary.pdf [Accessed 22 Apr. 2017].
  8. Citizensadvice.org.uk. Immigration checks by landlords. [online] Available at: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/renting-a-home/immigration-checks-by-landlords/ [Accessed 22 Apr. 2017].
  9. BBC News. (2016). MPs vote to renew Trident weapons system – BBC News. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36830923 [Accessed 22 Apr. 2017].
  10. Greeninvestmentbank.com. (2017). Our investments | UK Green Investment Bank. [online] Available at: http://www.greeninvestmentbank.com/our-investments/ [Accessed 22 Apr. 2017].
  11. Pratley, N. (2017). Green Investment Bank sell-off: only time will tell how green it is | Nils Pratley. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/nils-pratley-on-finance/2017/apr/20/green-investment-bank-sell-off-only-time-will-tell-how-green-it-is [Accessed 22 Apr. 2017].

Introducing Andy Graham, Broxbourne’s Lib Dem candidate for the General Election 2017

Andy Graham started his career as a teacher of French and Drama and then went on to run his own business, the internationally acclaimed Snap Theatre Company based in Hertfordshire which he ran for over 25 years pioneering theatre in education and winning the Prince Michael Award for Read Safety.. He has reached over 3.5 million children and young people with over 220 plays and educational projects touring the UK in theatres and schools.

He is also a writer of children-s books and has published plays including Sense and Sensibility (which also toured the USA,) The Borrowers and Maurice.

He set up a charity in 2005 to develop teacher training support in schools all over the world including Rwanda, Romania, Bangladesh, The Gambia and the UK.

Andy was chair of the Local Government Arts Forum between 1998 and 2003 and was a member of the Arts Council of GB during the same period

Andy has been elected a district councillor for 16 continuous years on East Herts District Council and 9 years as a town council becoming its Mayor in 1998/1999.

He has stood for parliament twice in the Clacton By Election 2014 and stood against David Cameron in 2015.

Andy is a strong advocate of ensuring in whatever walk of life but particularly in education, that has everyone has equal opportunity to reach their maximum potential.

Incinerator in Hoddesdon: An open letter to the Media

The Broxbourne Liberal Democrats would like to invite all to read our letter to the media regarding the proposed incinerator in Ratty’s Lane Hoddesdon. The Liberal Democrats are fighting for the rights of the community and trying to stop this proposal going ahead, the Conservative run county council meanwhile, has been trying to site the incinerator in Broxbourne for some time. To read the letter please click here

County Council Election Focus – Introducing Sara Mihajlovic For Hoddesdon South

Sara M

Sara Mihajlovic lives locally and has been an active member of the Liberal Democrats since the last general election when she felt stirred into action by the re-election of the Conservatives to government.  A parent and part-time languages teacher Sara is very worried that Brexit is not a good idea and she agrees with Tim Farron and Nick Clegg that we must hold the Leavers in government to account for every decision they make.

Sara Mihajlovic says

'As a parent I am extremely concerned about opportunities in the future for our children.  School budgets are having to be cut because of the Conservative government's continuation of austerity and our County Council has not prioritised what any parent would consider to be essential – that is education.  Instead the county council wastes money on press releases and marketing; road surfaces have to be repaired too often because corners are cut and our bus services have been severely reduced making it harder for our older children to travel to college.'

New Incinerator Proposal at Ratty’s Lane, Hoddesdon

The Broxbourne Liberal Democrats are actively opposing the proposed incinerator plant in Hoddesdon. Veolia has put forward this location for a new incinerator in Hertfordshire despite previously deciding it was ill-suited for a plant of this kind.

We oppose the proposal for these reasons (among others):

 

The proposal will increase pollution in the air and surrounding greenbelt land - The Lea Valley. The fact that the building is inside of the valley means that pollution from its chimneys will have trouble dispersing. This is pollution that all residents of Broxbourne will be breathing in.

The surrounding infrastructure is not designed for the extra vehicles that the incineration plant will place on Broxbourne’s roads. Veolia’s plans include 268 vehicle movements to and from the site 24 hours a day 365 days a year. This will add strain to our already poorly maintained roads and bridges.

The site is poorly located for the extra traffic it will create. Veolia has promised to minimise HGV moments at peak times, such as on the school run, but there is no way to actually enforce this if the incinerator gets built. It will had lots of traffic to our already busy streets!

The proposed building is huge! It will have a significant visual impact on the local area and be seen from public spaces located around it.

The site stands to have very little benefit to the local economy. It will create very little in the way of local employment opportunities and will have waste being driven in from Essex and Greater London.

 

For a full list of our objections to this proposal you can download the letter of objection sent to the planning department by clicking this link

 

If you would like to get involved in opposing the incinerator get in contact with us! You can also object on the Hoddesdon against incineration website by clicking this link https://www.hoddesdon-against-incineration.co.uk/