Tag Archives: andrew stunell

Opinion: How we made policy on asylum issues

Advocates disrupt transfer of asylum seekers from VillawoodEver wondered how party policy is made? I was on the “Immigration, Asylum and Identity” Policy Working Group, and the process has taken a whole year. Living in the north east, I daren’t begin to add up the cost of the fares, and food on the move, for meetings every 10 days on an evening in London, but it was an opportunity to get some good and Liberal policies for the Party for those asylum seekers who seek sanctuary in the UK.

Between March and …

photo by: kateausburn
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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.

 

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Nick Clegg’s Letter from the Leader: Sticking to the task

The letter is much more interesting than its uninspiring title. A very personal tribute to Andrew Stunell, standing down as MP for Hazel Grove in 2015  and praise for Lisa Smart, who was this week  selected to fight the seat. The underlying theme is that Liberal Democrats are anchoring Britain in the liberal centre ground while the other parties lurch to left and right. 

The personal stuff about Andrew and Lisa made me think that it would be good if, over the next few months, he highlighted the successes of some of our local councillors as well as parliamentary candidate as

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Andrew Stunell to stand down in 2015; Lisa Smart selected

stunnell and smartAndrew Stunell has announced that in 2015 he will be retiring as the MP for Hazel Grove, where he was first elected in 1997.

Andrew, who was knighted in this summer’s Birthday Honours, has held several roles within the Parliamentary party, including Chief Whip, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and more recently as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in the Coalition.

Before entering Parliament he had a wealth of experience in local government, serving as a councillor for many years, as an …

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Immigration, Asylum and Identity consultation paper now available

The working group focusing on the party’s policies on immigration, asylum and identity, chaired by Andrew Stunell MP, has just released its consultation paper ahead of next month’s conference.

The paper’s introduction sets out its aims thus:

1.1.1 The policy working group Immigration, Asylum & Identity aims to craft a practical, liberalpolicy which rebuilds public confidence in an immigration system that should be robust, efficient,and fair.

1.1.2 This consultation paper focuses on the future of migration as it affects the UK, theoperation of the asylum process in the context of our obligations under international law, and theintegration of immigrant communities and new citizens

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Don Foster MP writes… Access to finance for ethnic minority businesses

Liberal Democrats want to create a Stronger Economy in a Fairer Society. In order to do this it is vital that no one section of society is unnecessarily prevented from starting a new business should they wish to do so. However, evidence suggests that people from black and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are often keen to start a business but for a variety of reasons don’t go through with it. The National Audit Office estimates that the cost to our economy from the failure to fully use the talents of people from our ethnic minority population could be more than …

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Congratulations to Sir Andrew, Alison, Flick, Kirsty and Sir Menzies

The Queen’s Birthday Honours have been announced and so far we are aware of four Liberal Democrats who feature. There may well be more and we will update you as the day goes on.

The first Voice congratulations go to Sir Andrew Stunell who receives a knighthood for public and political service. Andrew has served this party in many capacities. I first knew him back in the 90s when he worked for ALDC and I’m glad to see his service at all levels of Government being recognised.

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Kirsty Williams becomes a CBE. She has led the …

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Battle of the Andrews over 5 Days in May: Lib Dem Stunell lambasts Labour’s Adonis for “spurious rubbish”

adonis stunellLord (Andrew) Adonis, a former SDP councillor and the very model of a modern Blairite New Labourite, has a new book out offering his assessment of those five heady days in May when the alternative Lib-Con and Lib-Lab coalition options were discussed.

In the main it confirms what was already known: that Labour had not given any thought to the fact they might have to work with the Lib Dems in the event of a hung parliament.

But his Lordship, having conceded how ill-prepared Labour was, is nonetheless mustard-keen to lay much of the blame for the failure of the Lib-Lab option at the door of Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems. Andrew Stunell, Lib Dem MP and one of the party’s five-strong negotiating team, is having none of this revisionism — as he points out punchily in a letter in today’s Guardian.

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Nick Clegg’s speech on immigration: the good, the bad and the ugly

The much-missed Conrad Russell said you should read something three times before you pass comment on it. I’ve done that with today’s speech on immigration by Nick Clegg. I’ve also had several cups of tea and am frantically hunting for some smelling salts to revive me. Leaders are supposed to lead and to challenge established thinking. I have no problem with him sticking his neck out on an issue if that is what he wants to do. It’s important that we listen to him and if we don’t like his ideas, to calmly and respectfully tell him so.

It seems …

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Don Foster MP writes… The Integration Strategy: one year on

The Government’s Integration Strategy, Creating the Conditions for Integration was published a year ago on 21 February 2012. Since becoming a minister a few months ago, this is one of the areas about which I’ve had some of the strongest feedback from party members.

The views I’ve heard range from “the strategy is welcome, but not enough” to “it isn’t a serious substitute for a strategy to tackle racism and racial injustice”. Some have said that the document skates over the fact that integration is a two way process of mutual accommodation. Those with this view argue that there’s …

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Polls and predictions: The Chris Rennard Interview

Chris RennardLiberal Democrat News has just published extracts from an interview with Lord (Chris) Rennard, former Lib Dem Chief Executive, and Director of Campaigns and Elections. The interview appears in full below.
Journalist York Membery is a regular contributor to the nationals. He is also a contributing editor to the Journal of Liberal History.

Chris is credited with masterminding a string of past by-election victories as well as the target seat strategy that increased our number of MPs from 19 to 63. He tells York Membery that we should look to the future with hope not fear…

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Opinion: Good news on affordable housing, but spare me the house builders’ crocodile tears – their share prices have doubled

Winning an extra £300m from the Treasury for affordable housing and tackling empty homes is good news by any standard (well done, Andrew Stunell, and thanks for all you did at DCLG). Moving forward on the £10 billion government guarantees for infrastructure spending is positive too. And if the Montague Review to encourage private renting is implemented, that’s proof patience can be rewarded…. I spent ten years on the London Assembly calling for both Labour and Conservative mayors to act. Back in June I had put housing at the heart of a four-point plan for a sustainable recovery. So it is great to see this issue come to the fore.

But forgive me for not believing the crocodile tears from developers about how they can’t afford to start work on ‘commercially unviable’ sites. The Times just revealed they’ve been quietly squirreling away land banks big enough for a quarter of a million homes. Not unviable, so much as slightly less massively profitable. Just look at their share prices. They’ve doubled over the last year even before the boost this announcement gave them (Taylor Wimpey up from 30p to 54p; Barratt up from 76p to 150p; Persimmon up from 425p to 700p). Yes, doubled. Not bumping along the bottom, like the rest of the economy.

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Tim Farron MP writes… My thoughts on the Cabinet reshuffle

The first proper reshuffle for our party since the 1920s was always going to be a weird situation. I am extremely sad to see Sarah Teather, Nick Harvey, Paul Burstow and Andrew Stunell leave the government. Sarah’s work on the Pupil Premium will leave an outstanding legacy for the next generation, Andrew’s work on releasing empty homes to meet the needs of those in desperate circumstances will make the difference to thousands of people and Nick Harvey’s tenacity in ensuring that a like for like replacement for Trident is kicked off into the long grass has been a quite immense …

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Transfer deadline day: Laws, Brake, Foster & Swinson in, Burstow, Teather, Harvey & Stunell out, Clarke loan finishes

I love reshuffle days, they’re just like transfer deadline day. You sit there at your office computer pretending to work while secretly updating the Guardian live blog to see who your side has brought in and let go.

So, have we strengthened the side for the second half of the season or left gaping holes in our defence?

Well, we have managed to hold on to all our big players – Cable, Alexander, Davey and Moore – and, despite losing his place to Alexander after his suspension early in the season, we now have a fighting fit Laws back and ready …

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Reshuffle thoughts: how does it score against my four criteria?

Ahead of the reshuffle, I posted four criteria against which the Liberal Democrat part of the shuffling should be judged. Now nearly all the details are in, how does it look?

 

Most importantly, have people been put in jobs they’ve got a decent chance of doing well? It’s hard enough being a minister in the smaller party in a coalition government without having lots of people thrown into policy areas they are completely new to.

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Lib Dems push for ‘blind marking’ to level the playing field for ethnic communities

The Observer this weekend reported on the Lib Dems’ latest attempts to push for more equal treatment of citizens from different ethnic backgrounds:

Ministers are seeking to introduce “blind marking” of pupils’ schoolwork by teachers as part of a push to tackle a history of underachievement among black and ethnic minority groups, while banks will be required to carry out ethnic monitoring of people to whom they lend money. Under the proposals, the identities of pupils would not be a factor when teachers mark work, and banks could be held accountable for the racial profile of their customers. The controversial

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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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Which of the five Lib Dem reshuffle options will Nick Clegg pick?

Five scenarios for your delectation:

The Lib Dem night of the long beards

The drastic, dramatic and painful option. Clegg says the Liberal Democrats need David Laws’s expertise and media savvy at the heart of economic decision making, restoring him to Chief Secretary to the Treasury and expressing tearful regret that Danny Alexander is off out of the Cabinet, with a resting place as a new Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Cabinet Office where he will not have to handle quite so many tricky TV interviews.

Education, education, education

Too problematic to bring back Laws in a tax and cut role? Bring him …

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The Local Government Slot: Fighting for a Better Deal for Park Home Owners

We have recently seen a lot of activity in Parliament on the issue of park homes and the problems park home owners are facing across the country.

To some extent 2011 saw familiar frustrations and delays that have, unfortunately, often characterised attempts to solve park homes problems in the past.

However 2011 also saw headway being made. The tireless efforts of campaigners and activists have built real momentum and an appetite for change amongst my colleagues in Parliament. I firmly believe this is filtering through and that the Government will be drawn to action soon.

Events such as the Park Homes Justice Campaign’s demonstration in October have been hugely successful in raising awareness. As part of this campaign Downing Street was presented with new evidence showing that as many as 23,473 homes from across the UK could be living under the regime of an unscrupulous park owner. The fantastic work of this campaign, and of its organiser Sonia McColl, has had a real impact over these last months. Also of real importance has been the large number of letters written to MPs. I can only encourage this – the more letters that are written, the more MPs will push for change and the more chance we have of succeeding.

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In other news…

Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past week…

  • Lib Dem MP Tessa Munt is taking on sexism in the BBC: ‘The BBC must ensure there are more women presenters and executives working on its radio network if it is to justify its licence fee, MP Tessa Munt said today after she found that in some cases there were fewer female voices than 25 years ago.’
  • The FT reports how Danny Alexander, Lib Dem Treasury chief secretary, has highlighted a crackdown on high pay in the public sector: Danny has
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    That’s the way to do it! How Liberal Democrats made the running on the Localism Bill

    Annette Brooke MP and Lord (Graham) Tope are the Lib Dem Co-Chairs of the Parliamentary Policy Committee on Communities and Local Government, and led the Lib Dem response to the Localism Bill. Here they outline what they, working with colleagues in the party and many beyond, helped achieve.

    Last night the Localism Bill completed its final stage in Parliament and is set to become law when it achieves Royal Assent next week.

    As Co-Chairs of the Parliamentary Policy Committee on Communities and Local Government, it has been our job over the last ten months to lead on the Bill for the party. We’ve helped shepherd it through both Houses of Parliament, and have led a Lib Dem team that in many ways has made the running on the Bill.

    We’ve had strong engagement with Coalition ministers, who engaged with us constructively, particularly Greg Clark, Baroness Hanham and our very own Andrew Stunell, who was very helpful and willing to work together with us to improve the Bill considerably.

    Colleagues in local government were also a constant source of help and good ideas, which never ceased to better inform our Bill team as the process went on.

    Where we started from: “a good bill in theory, with several flaws in practice”

    When it was first introduced, I think many Liberal Democrats would agree that it was a good bill in theory, with several flaws in practice.

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    Should councils be able to cap the number of second and holiday homes in their area?

    Earlier this week, the Lib Dems’ Communities and Local Government Minister Andrew Stunell wrote here on LibDemVoice about the Coalition’s measures to increase councils’ powers to cut tax relief to those with second homes:

    … our plans to allow local authorities to charge an Empty Homes Premium – up to an extra 50% of council tax – on any property that has been vacant for two years or more. Crucially, we are retaining the exemptions for properties empty as a result of the death of an owner, or if the owner has moved into hospital or to give or

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    The Independent View: The General Power of Competence – Is the sky the limit?

    As the Localism Bill moves into Report stage in the Lords, local authorities are getting ever closer to gaining their much discussed General Power of Competence (GPoC).

    For Lib Dems the passage of the Localism Bill is an interesting moment. Many, one suspects, might echo the views of former Lib Dem LGA leader Cllr Richard Kemp who in January blogged his ‘support about 80% of the Bill, like the direction but have concerns about the deliverability of 15% of the Bill, and actively detest 5% of it.’

    Though Kemp’s reservations were reserved for the provisions concerning elected mayors, Lib Dems …

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    LibLink | Andrew Stunell: Social housing to get first boost in 30 years

    Andrew Stunell, the Communities and Local Government Minister, has an article in the Huffington Post today, announcing Government plans to increase social housing after decades of declining numbers and soaring waiting lists:

    Liberal Democrats in government are ensuring this trend is reversed. We fought hard to make sure that the Comprehensive Spending Review last October included money for a social housing building programme of 150,000 new social and affordable homes to be built up to 2015. A key part of this was the new Affordable Rent model that we introduced, with an invitation to social housing providers to bid for

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    Opinion: The Government’s new Prevent strategy – a missed opportunity

    The government has just launched a revamped version of the old failed and worn out counter-extremism strategy initiated by Labour whilst it was in power. Prevent was originally launched after the 7 July bombings in 2005 to stop the spread of home-grown terrorism. Labour’s approach failed, proved divisive and also led to inevitable alienation in Muslim communities. Can the new hardline approach succeed in preventing acts of Islamist violence on the streets of Britain?

    The new framework runs counter to the liberal and sensible arguments proposed and hard fought for within Government by Nick Clegg and Andrew Stunell for …

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    Opinion: The ‘democratic filter’ disempowers tenants

    As Liberal Democrats we should be very welcoming of the Localism Bill. The measures included in it to bring power back to local communities have been at the heart of our politics for many years, and will give people a real say in local decision making. Empowering people was key to me becoming active in the tenant’s movement in the 80’s, why I joined the Liberal Party back then and cut my teeth in politics in Tower Hamlets, and why I stood for Council in Islington years later.

    Empowering people is key to being a Liberal Democrat, Indeed, Andrew Stunell …

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    Our lost phrase: community politics

    On a hunch, earlier this year I did a little research ahead of writing a blog post for Liberal Democrat Voice: how often is the phrase “community politics” used by the party’s national spokespeople since the May 2010 election?

    The answer was far worse than I’d feared. Looking through all of Nick Clegg’s major speeches, all the news release from him and also all those from others issued via the Liberal Democrat press team, I could only find one use of “community politics” – by Paul Burstow. Andrew Stunell deserves an honourable mention for using it in an LGA pamphlet …

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    Good news for local government as capitalisation budget increased by half

    There was some good news for local government yesterday with the announcement that the capitalisation budget is being increased from £200m to £300m for 2011-12.

    Since the £200m figure was set in autumn spending settlement, Liberal Democrats in local government and also ministers such as Danny Alexander and Andrew Stunell have been pushing hard for an increase – with the result being yesterday’s news.

    Capitalisation is a technical financial measure but in brief it allows councils more flexibility in their financial decisions. It is the process of letting revenue costs be treated as capital expenditure in limited circumstances, the primary advantages of …

    Posted in Local government and News | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

    Nearly a fifth of homelessness funds to go to voluntary sector as new figures reveal true extent of problem

    The Government has overhauled the way in which the number of rough sleepers is counted in order to more accurately show the reality of what is happening around the country. The new figures show that on average 1,768 people sleep rough each night, compared to 440 under the old system.

    The big increase is due to every council taking part in the new counting measure. Previously figures were only gathered from areas considered hotspots for rough sleeping. In addition, the figures are now verified by the umbrella group Homeless Link rather than relying on government officials.

    Further details have also been published …

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    Community politics: is it set to disappear as a core Lib Dem belief?

    One of the reasons – in fact, probably the main reason – why so many Liberal Democrats are relaxed about the Conservative Party leadership’s enthusiasm for the Big Society idea is the overlap between the Big Society and the traditional Liberal Democrat belief in Community Politics. That’s a topic I wrote about at greater length before Christmas, but what has struck me since is how little senior Liberal Democrats talk about Community Politics now.

    Despite the frequent media discussion about the Big Society, which provides an opening to talk about the Liberal Democrat alternative/supplement (delete as you wish), Community

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      " These feelings can be particularly acute in London, especially around Heathrow, where residents endure noise and dread the prospect of more flights." Not just...
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      Expected, but still very sad, news. We have lost a thinker, a humourist, a connoisseur of life's finer things and an all round nice bloke....
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      Perhaps the awaited email was too complex for the team to handle. Actually, I thought the piece above was about the maximum we could expect...
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      Thanks Caron - whenever things like this happen and I throw up my hands in despair - your piece and most of the subsequent comments...
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      Can we do the same for defence?
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      Welcome back!