Tag Archives: Wales

The Independent View: Without thriving city economies, there can be no sustained national recovery

New Skyscraper Under ConstructionThis year, George Osborne delivered his Budget against a backdrop of better than expected growth, higher than expected employment, and a deficit reduction plan that exceeded previous OBR forecasts.

His speech, unsurprisingly, made much of the success of the “long-term economic plan delivered by a coalition Government and a Conservative Chancellor”. Yet the fact that our cities still lack the powers they need to fulfil their economic potential, and drive growth locally, will constrain future growth for large parts of the UK economy.

photo by: Martin Pettitt
Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged , , , , and | 7 Comments

Kirsty Williams AM writes… An important step towards minimum nurse staffing levels in Wales

Today, the National Assembly for Wales voted to give me permission to bring forward a Private Members Bill to set minimum nurse staffing levels in law.

I believe this is necessary in Wales because we currently have the highest number of patients per nurse in the UK, which means that all too often our nurses are unable to give the time to perform their role to their highest caring ability.

Evidence is increasing from across the world on the positive impact that nurse staffing levels have on patient care and the recruitment and retention of staff. Nurses who have fewer patients to …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

LibLink: Kirsty Williams: St David’s Day – Wales has every right to be up there with the best

I actually got goosebumps reading this St David’s Day piece Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams wrote for Endeavour Public Affairs. It’s brimming with passion, expressing pride in and love for Wales. It’s a real uplifting read, and folk on both sides of Scotland’s independence referendum should note that this is how you inspire people.

She grabs you right from the start:

 Identity isn’t a fixed status; it is a feeling.  Personally, first and foremost, I feel Welsh; then British; then European.  Being Welsh is always the overriding sense of who I am.  I believe a reason for this is how comfortable

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

William Powell AM writes…How will we power Wales’ future?

This weekend Gregynog Hall, Montgomeryshire will host the Welsh Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference for the first time in many years. This iconic setting is the perfect place to debate the policies that matter to Wales. Our Leader Kirsty Williams, Montgomeryshire Parliamentary Candidate Jane Dodds and I will be speaking, and Lord Alex Carlile will be addressing our Conference Dinner. In a real sense, it promises to be a case of Welsh Liberalism coming home.

The event will also mark the launch of the Welsh Liberal Democrat’s consultation on Energy Policy in Wales: Powering Wales’ Future.

It is no understatement to say that …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 12 Comments

Kirsty Williams interview: “Scary” Paddy, women in the Cabinet and the reality of a Labour government

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams has given a lively and often funny interview to Total Politics magazine in which she talks about everything from her success in persuading the minority  Labour government in Wales to implement the Pupil Premium.

What happened to the last person who said no to Paddy?

Anyone who knows Kirsty will know how down to earth she is and that comes across very much in the interview. She’s asked about whether she would move to Westminster and said that Paddy Ashdown has already asked that question:

Paddy says I should think about going to London,” Williams reveals. “He’s

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , and | 13 Comments

Kirsty Williams writes… Welsh Lib Dems more than double Welsh Pupil Premium

nick clegg kirsty williams - 1The Welsh Liberal Democrats were delighted to announce yesterday that we are more than doubling the Welsh Pupil Premium.

Two years ago, in a similar situation, we worked with the Welsh Government to ensure that Wales would have our own Welsh Pupil Premium. This meant that each school would get £450 per child on free school meals. This was an achievement we were rightly very proud of. However, while Liberal Democrats in England continued to increase the Pupil Premium, the unambitious Welsh Labour Government refused to do the same in Wales.

We have now changed that. Thanks to the Welsh Liberal Democrats we have more than doubled the value of the Welsh Pupil Premium, increasing funding to £918 per pupil.

Posted in Op-eds and Wales | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

Opinion: Nick’s journey

It’s natural for defeated political leaders to make up stories which absolve themselves from blame.  After every by-election, those who have done less well offer unconvincing explanations. Nick Clegg is no exception, but his story last week that “the Liberal Democrats are on a journey from a party of protest to a party of government” is curious for two reasons. First, because no previous Liberal or Liberal Democrat leader has presented the party as one of protest and second because the party was very much a party of government before he became leader.

It is wrong and insulting to suggest that …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 31 Comments

Welsh LIberal Democrat councillor charged with causing an explosion

The BBC reports:

A councillor has been charged with causing an explosion after a series of blasts saw residents evacuated from homes in the north Wales town of Denbigh.

Liberal Democrat John Larsen, 46, from Lenten Pool, was arrested on Friday.

He is due to appear at Prestatyn Magistrates’ Court later on Monday.

Residents in Lenten Pool were evacuated from their homes on Friday night and again on Saturday after police and army explosive experts searched a house.

The incidents have been concentrated around the Lenten Pool area of Denbigh

North Wales Police said Mr Larsen, who represents the Central ward, was charged with causing

Posted in News | Also tagged | 11 Comments

LibLink: Kirsty Williams on taking up the baton from Lloyd George

As Kirsty Williams notes in opening a piece to mark the anniversary yesterday, 17 January would have been David Lloyd George’s 150th birthday, and she took the opportunity to raise the issue of tax varying powers for Wales;

Today seems like an opportune moment to consider how a future Welsh government can continue David Lloyd George’s radical and redistributive legacy.

We must take the opportunity of the Silk Commission to think big. As Lloyd George himself said, “You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.” We must take the opportunity to create a new People’s Budget for Wales.

For the first

Posted in LibLink, News and Wales | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

LibLink…Eluned Parrott AM: Looks to be game, set and match to Abertis

Welsh Liberal Democrats are questioning the Labour First Minister’s actions in entering into an exclusive relationship to buy Cardiff Airport for the nation with no prior consultation of the Assembly and without publishing any clear idea of how it will be run.

Eluned Parrott, Liberal Democrat Shadow Economy and Transport Minister has written an article on this over at Freedom Central. She said:

This is of course without consulting the Assembly, without revealing the price he’s offered, without revealing a business plan for the airports future, or without even stating what his government is planning on doing with it or who he

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William Powell AM writes… Why we must protect rural banking

Almost every week brings news of the closure of bank branches in rural areas. As an Assembly Member in Wales representing a large rural region, I know at first hand the real effects of bank closures on local communities and businesses. Latest figures from the Campaign for Community Banking Services, published in September, show that in the last ten years just under 2,000 bank branches have closed. There are now 900 communities that have only one bank branch and 1,200 communities with no bank branch at all. The traditional ‘Big 4’ banks closed 178 branches in 2011. Estimates

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Opinion: more freedom, more responsibility, more accountability for Wales

The launch of the Silk Commission’s first report this week is a real win for liberalism.

The report looks at the financial powers that the National Assembly for Wales should have, how accountable it is for its spending and how we ensure effective economic policy is rewarded. I welcome the report’s declaration that a number of taxes, such as air passenger duty and landfill tax, should be devolved. But more significantly, the report also recommends that by 2020, …

Posted in News and Wales | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Aled Roberts AM writes … Assessing the outcomes of a pupil premium in Wales

Education is a cornerstone of Liberal Democrat policy and principle. As Lib Dems we subscribe to the view that education is a crucial means by which individuals can realise their full potential. It was only fitting, therefore, that one of our key 2010 election pledges was the implementation of a policy which could address the inequalities in our education system – the Pupil Premium. It was a clear and straightforward manifesto pledge, easy to campaign on and one of the major Lib Dem policy accomplishments for England when Lib Dems went into Coalition Government. Accompanied by the Sutton Trust Toolkit …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Kirsty Williams writes: A lack of transparency in the Welsh Government

At a time when the public has so little confidence in our political system, it is essential that Governments do all they can to create a more transparent system.

The Coalition Government in Westminster has recognised this and put in place significant changes for the good of democracy. It was only as a result of the UK government’s decision to publish all departmental spending over

Posted in News | Also tagged | 8 Comments

New economic think-tank for Wales

Last Thursday saw the launch of a centre-right think tank in Wales called Gorwel (Horizon) chaired by the Conservative Assembly Member, David Melding, and including Lib Dems, such as Russell Deacon, Plaid Cymru members and non-party people.

It’s an attempt to challenge the status quo in Wales try and improve Wales economically.

Posted in News and Wales | 2 Comments

Good morning, voters

If you have just joined us after a heavy night at the count, or watching the results on TV, then welcome. LDV readers have been reporting and commenting on the results all through the night, so please join in the discussion on the local elections open thread.

Later this morning we will be starting a London elections open thread to reflect on the results at City Hall.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

The local elections results open thread

The polls have closed, so where are we?

England

Elections have been held for 128 councils. In most cases one third of the seats were being contested. Altogether 6706 seats were up for election, of which 1170 were held by Liberal Democrats.

Ten English cities have been holding referendums on whether to have a directly elected mayor. They are Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield.

Doncaster was voting on whether to abolish its directly elected mayor.

Three cities – London, Salford and Liverpool – have been electing a mayor.

  • London: 7 candidates, with Brian Paddick waving the Lib Dem flag.
  • Salford: 10 candidates, including

Posted in Local government, London, Scotland and Wales | Also tagged , , and | 35 Comments

Kirsty Williams launches the 2012 Welsh Liberal Democrat campaign

Under the slogan ‘Wales CAN do better’, Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, launched the campaign for the 2012 local government elections in Cardiff yesterday.

I am extremely proud of our record in local councils all across Wales. When you vote for a Welsh Liberal Democrat councillor on May 3rd, you will be voting for a councillor who will work hard for you and your community and a councillor that will go that extra mile.

When people in a local authority put their trust in Welsh Liberal Democrat councillors,

Posted in Local government, News and Wales | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Peter Black AM writes: Welsh Liberal Democrats say no to regional pay

The Welsh Liberal Democrats believe that regional pay would further entrench Wales as a low-pay economy, both in the public and private sectors. More to the point it would lead to men and women doing the same job at different ends of the country, but receiving different rates of pay. I believe in the principle of an individual being paid a rate for a job, not in a multi-tier system which sees wages set on a postcode-by-postcode basis which will ultimately see the rich areas of south-east England become richer at the expense of the rest of the UK and …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 30 Comments

Opinion: Why Liberal Democrat Conference is good for you!

In 5 weeks’ time, the Scottish and Welsh parties meet for their respective Spring Conferences. The Welsh are going to Cardiff while the Scots head north to the beautiful highland capital of Inverness. As everywhere which meant anything to me as a child is within 20 minutes’ walk of the Conference venue, I’m delighted to be going there. Although it seems a long way north, it only costs £10 return on the bus or £22 on the train to get there.

Just one weekend later, Federal Conference takes place, for the first time ever, in Gateshead.

So, why, I wondered allowed on Facebook the other day, do Liberal Democrats like going to Conference? Here are some of the replies I received:

Why I like going – meeting up with old friends, listening to some of the debates & speeches, coming away feeling things are good (which invariably happens!)

Just a great chance to catch up, hear what is going on, make an input, cross-question the politicians.Gives you a chance to contribute to the democratic process. People are concentrated on Lib Dem ideas, not the agendas of others. Always come away with my mind buzzing with ideas.

I like meeting other Lib Dems being from Lib Dem Siberia.Talk to politicians, contribute on policy, meeting people I know online in real life.

Love policy debate – the opportunity to shape what we do. Also, general banter and drinks

I always leave inspired to go do stuff because people are talking about the kind of stuff they’re doing locally. Also, I like how social it is – I get to see friends that I don’t normally get to see because they live so far away. They’re MY main reasons for going but the actual conference is really useful too – fringes and training events are really helpful and I end up taking back loads of ideas and enthusiasm. The policy debates are interesting and it’s great to be involved in shaping the party’s policies (and the government’s policies as well now!)

Conference is somewhere I can be myself. In every possible way!

When Paddy was running for the leadership of the newly merged party he had this line about the Liberal Party fitting him like an old overcoat. Going to conference is a bit like getting that overcoat out of the cupboard and putting it back on.

One of the best bits is finally finding out what someone you’d known for years via their blog actually looks like.

Feel free to add your own answers in the comments. Please don’t confess to anything on anybody else’s behalf, though, and, specifically, don’t spill the beans about what happened that year in Pitlochry.

Vibrant conferences, full of debates and ideas, are just what we need as we head into local election campaigns in Scotland and England as well as the London Assembly elections. I always come home from Conference exhausted, but strangely invigorated. Being with the Lib Dem family really is good for the soul.

Cheap registration ends for Scotland tomorrow and Wales next week. You can register for Cardiff here, Inverness here and Gateshead here.

Not yet persuaded? Then Stuart Bonar’s video from last year’s Federal Conference in Birmingham gives an excellent insight to the event.

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Opinion: A New Approach to our Union

The current approach to the United Kingdom doesn’t work.

The current approach treats each home nation as an individual, yet this approach leads to everyone pulling the centre in every direction. It leads to infighting, or to one country taking control and dictating to the others how they should be run. Neither result leads to a strong union.

We currently have the Scotland Bill going through Parliament devolving more powers to the Scottish Parliament; Wales passed a referendum giving its citizens the ability to pass primary legislation; and Nick Clegg has set up a commission to address the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 26 Comments

Opinion: Why Wrexham Labour Party should be ashamed: The curious case of Aled Roberts

It’s estimated that well over 30% of the Welsh population speak Welsh as their first language – that is growing year on year. Hundreds of thousands more across the world speak it – even in a distant corner of Argentina – the valleys of a Patagonia. My partner from Rhosllanerchrugog and her family speak Welsh. They are fiercely proud of their heritage and would be absolutely disgusted with the treatment of Aled Roberts AM. It appears that they don’t speak Welsh at the Electoral Commission!

Now let me declare an interest, I don’t know Aled Roberts, I know his mum …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 21 Comments

Lib Dem Aled Roberts reinstated to Welsh Assembly

Aled Roberts, one of two Welsh Assembly members disqualified shortly after May’s election because they belonged to proscribed public bodies, has been reinstated after a vote by AMs today.

The BBC reports:

Members voted to reinstate Mr Roberts after an investigation found he was misled by out-of-date guidance for election candidates published in Welsh.

He said it had been a difficult period and he now wanted to represent voters.

AMs lifted his disqualification by 30 votes to 20 in the Senedd on Wednesday, with three abstaining after a near 50-minute debate.

Mr Roberts, elected for the North Wales region, was disqualified when it

Posted in Election law and News | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Kirsty Williams writes… Education is a cause that unites us all

Education has always been particularly important to Liberals. Wales has always prioritised education but this great tradition has been left to slide.

Alarm bells rang when last summer, our GCSE and A level results fell behind England for the first time.

Now, two recent reports have exposed just how badly Labour and Plaid Cymru have mismanaged the Welsh education system.

Firstly, an international assessment of performance (PISA, run by the OECD) has shown that Wales is the lowest achieving nation of the UK and falling behind many European countries. Welsh students have fallen behind in reading, mathematics and science. …

Posted in Op-eds and Wales | Also tagged | 11 Comments

Opinon: two referendums and an election – Wales and coalitions (part 3)

The third element of the coalition agreement relates to the powers of the Welsh Assembly. At present we can only pass laws piecemeal. An order passing legislative competence in a specified area of policy is requested by the Assembly, scrutinised by us and by the Welsh Affairs Select Committee and then passed in Cardiff Bay and in both houses of Parliament before receiving royal assent.

It is a long and expensive process not to mention frustrating. The Housing order for example took three years to be approved. The referendum, which is now scheduled to be held in the spring, will …

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Opinon: fighting for funding – Wales and coalitions (part 2)

Previously, I referred to the fact that the Coalition Agreement contained three specific provisions relating to Wales. One of these concerned the drawing down of legislative powers over housing.The second provision relates to the way that Wales (and Scotland for that matter) is funded. This is a matter of some controversy here and the coalition agreement offers little clarity on how it is to be resolved. It is safe to say that the rather esoteric phrase referring to it needs to be subject to negotiation with UK Treasury Ministers so as to establish the best way forward.

Funding has been …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Opinion: four party government – Wales and coalitions (part 1)

The Welsh Assembly is in a unique situation. Each of the four parties represented there are in government at some level. Whilst the Liberal Democrats have entered government in Westminster for the first time, Labour and Plaid Cymru are in their final year of coalition government in Cardiff Bay.

This has made for interesting Plenary sessions with both the Welsh governing parties intent on blaming the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives for long-standing problems, whilst we are intent on continuing our scrutiny of their record.

The Coalition Agreement contained three specific provisions relating to Wales. One of these concerned the drawing down …

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Y Barcud Oren #14

Well the lawyers have released me (the academic ones, things haven’t got that bad!) to fill you in on how things are developing in Wales. After all, there’s only an election on…

I Want You To Pull My Trigger

Whatever the result at Westminster, the first item in the new Secretary of State for Wales’s in-tray will be the referendum on extending the powers of the Welsh Assembly. With the final potential roadblock to a referendum removed when David Cameron announced that a Tory government in London wouldn’t block it, all should have been set fair for the …

Posted in Wales | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Empty homes policy launch

Details arrive at the Voice of a launch of our General Election housing policy:

The Liberal Democrats today set out plans to bring a quarter of a million empty homes back into use, making homes available for people who need them and creating 65,000 jobs.

There are over 760,000 empty properties across England which are no longer used as homes but can be brought back into use with some investment. People who own these homes will get a grant or a cheap loan to renovate them so they can be used: grants if the home is for social housing, loans for

Posted in General Election and Local government | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | 22 Comments



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