Author Archives: Stephen Williams MP

Stephen Williams writes … Energy efficient homes, house building and minority rights for Cornwall

Terraced housingAs we have now begun the summer recess, I wanted to write an update on the progress that has been made at the Department for Communities and Local Government in recent months. Despite differences in priority between our Conservative coalition partners we have made huge strides in key policy areas and I believe that we should be proud and confident highlighting these achievements on the door step.

One of the most crucial recent breakthroughs has been in regards to zero carbon homes. As I am sure you are aware, if we are to meet our carbon emissions targets then we have to make our housing stock more energy efficient by introducing strict new regulations. This, of course, is easier said than done and we have had to work extensively with developers, industry representatives and environmental groups in order to agree ambitious yet practical energy efficiency targets.  As a result of drawn out negotiations with the Conservatives, the government is now legislating, through the Infrastructure Bill, to introduce a list of ‘allowable solutions’. This is the final measure needed to enable house builders to construct all new homes to a zero-carbon standard from 2016. Zero carbon homes has been a key priority for me since becoming a minister and I am delighted that this incredibly important green policy is now being delivered.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 9 Comments

Stephen Williams MP writes… Giving councils more power over betting shops

fixed-odd-betting-machinesThe remit of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is huge. Ministers are responsible for housing, local economic development, planning policy, parking, local government finance, localism and community integration. Often these issues spark controversy. But all CLG ministers are in complete agreement that there is an urgent need to revitalise the Great British High Street, to bring back the bustling centres of retail and leisure which served their communities so well prior to the financial crash. We want high streets and town centres that encourage people to spend a …

photo by: Chingster23
Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 9 Comments

Stephen Williams writes: Social housing stock rises back above 4 million

Houses being builtWhen the Liberal Democrats entered government in 2010, it was clear we had inherited a housing crisis. House prices and private sector rents were becoming more and more unaffordable. House building had slowed to its lowest level since the 1920s and social housing waiting lists had soared to 1.7 million households. Added to that, successive governments had also let the social housing stock wither on the vine, with 1.5 million homes lost by Labour and Conservative governments alike since 1979.

I know that if we are to solve the housing crisis, we need to reverse the decline in social homes and build more. That is why I was delighted recently to see new statistics published by my department (DCLG) showing that the number of social homes has increased for the fifth year running, taking the overall stock back above the 4 million mark for the first time in a decade.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 23 Comments

Stephen Williams MP writes… Making self build accessible

Houses being builtI was honoured to be appointed as Liberal Democrat Communities and Local Government Minister in the recent reshuffle. As a former councillor and passionate advocate of localism, I am excited to take up my post in the Department for Communities and Local Government and hope to continue the good work of my predecessors Don Foster and Andrew Stunell.

At last month’s autumn conference in Glasgow, Don announced measures to open up the self build market to those on lower incomes.

 

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 4 Comments

Stephen Williams writes: Stand up to Big Tobacco and help us win a vote in Parliament

1920s woman in silk kimono smoking using a cigarette holderCalling all Voting Reps - Vote for Emergency Motion 7 on Tobacco Plain Packaging

At this year’s autumn conference in Glasgow Lib Dem voting reps have the chance to change history, to go up against Big Tobacco and their secretive lobbyists, some of them at the heart of the Tory Party, and to help us win a vote in Parliament to protect young people from tobacco advertising. Nearly two thirds of smokers started before they were 18.

Currently tobacco companies can market …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 89 Comments

Stephen Williams MP writes… Making tax taxing again – 2013 is the Year of Tax Justice

“I do believe that as leaders, we all have a common interest in being able to tell our taxpayers who work hard and pay their fair share of taxes, that we will make sure others do the same…But to achieve this will require strong political leadership…I hope we can be ambitious.”
(David Cameron, Prime Minister’s Letter to G8 Leaders, 2 January 2013)

This year the UK holds the Presidency of the G8, with the world’s top leaders coming to Lough Erne in Northern Ireland in June. This is a momentous and perfectly timed opportunity to turn public anger, evident around the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 1 Comment

Stephen Williams MP writes… What would you do with £60 extra every month?

The Liberal Democrats are demanding that our Coalition Government gives you a much needed tax cut. We want to give hard-working people over £700 extra a year; that’s about £60 extra in your wages every month. Instead of helping millionaires, the Lib Dems want to give millions of deserving people a break. You can help us to get this tax cut announced in the Budget on 21st March.

Please tell me today what you’d do with an extra £60 a month.

By telling me how you’d use the £60 tax cut you’ll not only be spreading the word, you’ll also …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 22 Comments

Stephen Williams MP writes: How to damage tobacco brands

The Australian Senate has just passed landmark legislation in the long fight to prevent young people from starting smoking. From next July, all cigarette packs sold in Australia will look the same: a murky green box with big health warnings and the brand name in a standard font. The tobacco industry desperately fought the plans with millions spent on adverts, dubious research, front groups and legal action. But despite their unprecedented campaign, the idea is widely supported by the public and was passed unanimously in the Australian House of Representatives.

Now it’s our turn. The Coalition Government understands …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 54 Comments

Stephen Williams MP writes: Backbench committees and the louder Lib Dem voice

There has been much talk in recent weeks about how Liberal Democrats show our distinctiveness and make the party’s voice heard more loudly in government.

A key part of this is the role of the Lib Dem parliamentary committees, one of which I co-chair.

These committees are not simply talking shops. They perform two important functions: making our influence felt within government and preparing the ground for party policy in the future.

Increasingly, the fruits of these committees are being seen.

The Coalition Agreement is the contract that underwrites this government. It sets out the policy agenda agreed between ourselves and our Coalition …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , , , and | 5 Comments

Opinion: Tobacco control

As Liberal Democrats we are unique in our commitment to personal freedom. Our battles for liberty have gone hand in hand with a dedication to social progress. We want freedom but not a society that walks on by.

Getting this balance right is a central part of our party’s policy consultation recently launched by Health Minister Paul Burstow.

It asks whether tobacco should be one of the main areas of focus for public health. The answer to this was given very clearly in the inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Smoking and Health, which I chair.

We heard evidence that …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 93 Comments



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRichard Duncalf 1st Sep - 8:45pm
    I went on a British Youth Council Delegation to Yugoslavia, way back in 1980 with Simon - when I belonged to another Political Youth Organisation...
  • User Avatarjedibeeftrix 1st Sep - 8:32pm
    bang up interest rates then...
  • User AvatarDave G Fawcett 1st Sep - 8:22pm
    What if.......? What if Chris Huhne had been elected party leader instead of Nick. Howe much would have changed in the long term. Nick would...
  • User Avatarsimon 1st Sep - 8:19pm
    "We have enough trouble just being in a fractious coalition with them." Politics is about working with people you hate more than your nominal opponents....
  • User AvatarCaractatus 1st Sep - 8:18pm
    Welcome back - the only problem I have is I don't see any of the 'leaders' in the party addressing the issues you raise and...
  • User AvatarMark Valladares 1st Sep - 8:09pm
    @ MIke, And what exactly are you in favour of?