Author Archives: Steve Gilbert MP

Stephen Gilbert MP writes… Welcome news for park home residents

We all deserve a safe and secure place to live. But all too often for the 160,000 people living in park homes up and down the country the reality fails to live up to the utopian dream offered in the marketing brochure.

For those readers not familiar with the term, a ‘park home’ is a static caravan. Usually found grouped together in modestly sized communities (2,000 of them in all) often by the coast or in areas of natural beauty. This ‘peaceful’ life primarily attracts the retired, the elderly and the infirm – often seeking more peaceful surroundings to live out …

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Stephen Gilbert MP writes… The Pasty Tax is unfair, unworkable and unenforceable

There’s an awful lot that we, as Liberal Democrats, should be proud of in this year’s budget: the uplift in the personal allowance that takes almost 2million of the lowest earners out of income tax; the support for small businesses to help stimulate growth and create jobs; and measures to give a helping hand to aspiring home owners.

But, there’s one measure which I’ve been unable to accept. Not just because it’s politically unpopular, but also because I believe Osborne has – on this occasion – got it wrong. I’m talking, of course, about the VAT extension to hot food dubbed …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 32 Comments

Steve Gilbert MP writes…Government must wake up to the flood insurance risk

In 1952 a flood ripped through the Devon village of Lynmouth wrecking scores of homes, taking the lives of dozens of people and costing millions in rebuilding work. In 2010 Cornwall was hit by flash-flooding with hundreds of homes and businesses devastated across the south of my constituency.

In the 50-odd years between the two events most parts of our country were hit by floods at some point. Over five million people in the UK are now at risk of flooding from …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 6 Comments

Steve Gilbert MP writes… Church opposition to gay marriage is “intolerant, out of touch, and wrong”

Another Sunday and another set of intolerant and out of touch comments from senior Church leaders who have set their face against the Coalition plans for equal marriage. It’s clear that some parts of the Church are on a collision course with Parliament and the people. But, rather than showing themselves to be modern defenders of values we all share, they are showing how out of touch they are with British society today and the institution they seek to protect. They are also plain wrong: extending marriage to same-sex couples will not undermine the institution; it will renew and reinforce …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 22 Comments

Stephen Gilbert MP writes… Park home residents must be looked after properly

For us all, the home we live in is one of the most important factors in how we live our lives. Whether it be a house, a flat, shared accommodation, or – as it is for almost a quarter of a million people in the UK – a ‘Park Home’.

Park Homes are modern, bungalow-style residential properties usually sited on private estates. The park home industry is a billion pound business. There are over two thousand park home sites within the UK, primarily but not exclusively centred in rural areas like my constituency in Cornwall.

For the vast majority of the quarter …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 4 Comments

Stephen Gilbert MP writes: How do we deal with the high prevalence of suicides in the LGBT community?

We all know how the following story works. Governments use stats to demonstrate the problem. And then they give us their answer. The more shocking the figures, so it goes, the greater the need for bold action. But too often we don’t consider the human impact of these figures.

Let me give you an example. This week I learnt that every two hours one person dies as a result of suicide in England. It is truly harrowing to think that each and every day, so many people feel they have nowhere else to turn and end up taking their lives. We …

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 3 Comments

Stephen Gilbert MP writes: UK housing policy in crisis

Last year I was probably the only MP to be elected while still living with my parents. Of course, I’d moved out of home and, like many others, had to move back again. It’s a symptom of the fact that housing policy in the UK is in crisis. We have millions of people languishing on social housing waiting lists, first-time-buyers priced out of the market and in private rented sector tenants facing increased rents with decreased security of tenure and standards.

Let’s be clear: Governments of all hues have failed on housing and, frankly, the Coalition has barely begun to acknowledge …

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Stephen Gilbert writes… “Supporting People Funding” – for the most vulnerable in our society

We are all just a few steps from being homeless. We know that we will get older. Some of us may end up in abusive relationships. All of these things can happen through no fault of our own.

When this happens, surely we deserve a chance to turn our lives around. That is what Supporting People funding has been there for. It provides for local services, delivered by housing providers and community groups, supporting some of our most vulnerable people. It’s helped over one million people live …

Posted in Op-eds | 7 Comments

Stephen Gilbert MP writes: True LGBT equality finally on the horizon

Today’s announcement, that religious settings are able to hold civil partnerships, is a huge step toward achieving the Liberal Democrat policy of full equal civil marriage and partnerships for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the UK.

I’ve always believed that equality is a black and white issue. You’re either equal or you are not, there’s no grey area and no room for ambiguity. And, despite the real achievements over the last decade, the LGBT community is still not fully equal in the eyes of the law.

This wouldn’t be considered acceptable if we were talking about ethnic …

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Stephen Gilbert MP’s maiden speech

The second maiden speech republished here this weekend after Michael Crockart’s, as Lib Dem Voice continues a tradition started on Cix of reposting maiden speeches for the comment of interested parties.

Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for allowing me to speak here today for the first time. I am delighted to follow Jonathan Edwards, and I share his determination to secure a Robin Hood tax on international financial transactions. As it happens, I had the pleasure of knowing his predecessor from my time studying in Aberystwyth, and I am sure he will be a worthy successor.

St Austell and Newquay is …

Posted in Parliament | Tagged , , , , and | 3 Comments

Opinion: A very modern problem – Cornwall Council, Sita UK and the incinerator

PFI has created a very modern problem – how should councils manage relationships with contractors when they stretch over decades and involve multi-million pound sums but also remain responsive to political change, advances in technology and moving priorities? It’s a problem that has come to the fore in Cornwall.

In 1998 consultants outlined a vision for Cornwall’s waste management that included incineration. In 2002 a waste plan was adopted by the council. In 2006 the council appointed a contractor, Sita, to run the contract in a £400 million 30-year deal. In 2008 Sita submitted a planning application to build an incinerator in …

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 22nd Sep - 2:51am
    Someone needs to explain to Clegg that devo on demand will increase resentment about democratic inequality and complication.
  • User Avataralec dauncey 21st Sep - 11:57pm
    Federalism demands either an English Parliament or Regional English federal entities. There really does not seem to be a demand for actual 'state' level entities...
  • User AvatarMack (Not a Lib Dem) 21st Sep - 11:52pm
    @simon Hunt I absolutely agree but this issue transcends everything. Cameron' s duplicity over our pledge to the Scottish People has made me ashamed to...
  • User AvatarSimon Hunt 21st Sep - 10:25pm
    Seems a bit rich for a senior Lib Dem to be blaming the 'old parties' for broken promises and a disconnect from Westminster. Paddy may...
  • User AvatarRoland 21st Sep - 9:29pm
    "(1) The three party leaders neglected to get the permission of their parties to do what they did." [Sesenco 21st Sep '14 - 7:18pm] They...
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    David Allen. I've heard variation on the Tories will barnstorm into power if we do this or don't that for years. The fact is they...