Author Archives: Jeremy Hargreaves

Federal Policy Committee report – 10 January 2018

The Federal Policy Committee met on Wednesday night, with an agenda mostly of finalising items for debate at spring conference.

First up was reviewing the policy paper produced by the working group on education, and finalising it for proposal to spring conference. This is an impressive paper covering a wide range of aspects of education, especially funding, supporting and promoting teachers and good teaching, and inspection and improvement arrangements. It also covers the curriculum, schools structures, Further Education, Early Years, SEND and health (including mental health) in education. FPC has discussed this twice through the autumn and last night had a further good discussion on it, especially around arrangements for inspection, testing and league tables. The motion and paper will of course be published and launched publicly once the agenda for spring conference is decided and published.

The second policy paper item was on rural affairs. The discussion of this last night focussed in particular the section on agriculture following the important speech by the secretary of state last Friday on the planned post-EU future for agriculture and land. We have also discussed fully on previous occasions its sections on supporting local rural economies more broadly, tackling the housing problems, supporting greater communications, both physical and electronic, and flood protection. Other areas such as animal welfare were also discussed in some more detail. This will also be published in due course.

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Opinion: Fairer taxes

You don’t have to talk to many people about tax these days before someone brings up how unfair it is that some of the biggest international companies and brands seem to be able to find ways of getting out of paying any.

And at the same time, many people are themselves feeling the financial squeeze in their own budgets.

So in preparing new tax policy for the party to debate at autumn conference, we have worked to create a fairer balance: a tax system which helps those on low and middle incomes, and ensures that the richest companies and individuals …

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That ‘jewelry tax’ proposal

Jewellery shot for RK Jewellers 01“Now they want to tax jewellery: New Lib Dem wealth plan to target ALL assets” screamed a headline in the Mail on Sunday yesterday, warning their readers of the latest appalling imposition that Lib Dems in government were about to put upon the public.

“Families will be forced to pay tax on jewellery and other heirlooms under controversial new plans drawn up by the Liberal Democrats. Under the scheme, tax inspectors would get unprecedented new powers to go into homes and value rings, necklaces, paintings, furniture and other family treasures.” they said. If you really want to, read the full article here.

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Opinion: Creating a fairer tax system

As Benjamin Franklin wrote back in the eighteenth century, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. So while tax policy may not set hearts racing, anything that takes money from people’s pockets will provoke a strong response.

Already, in government, we’ve had major successes. Our flagship tax policy of a £10,000 tax-free allowance is being implemented, which will provide millions of taxpayers with an tax cut of £705 per annum by the end of this Parliament; we’ve raised capital gains tax for higher rate taxpayers; and we are clawing back £7bn worth …

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Tagged and | 13 Comments

Launch: Engage, the new Lib Dem Policy Network

The chances are that when you join the Liberal Democrats, just about the first thing that will happen to you is that a friendly local member will welcome you to the party, and ask you if you’d be willing to help out by delivering a round of leaflets in your area. Or would you perhaps be willing to come out and knock on some doors one evening? It’s certainly what happened to me when I joined the party nineteen years ago in a ‘black hole’ seat.

This overwhelming focus on campaigning has served the party well: it’s been the engine …

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | 9 Comments

How to sign up to the Lib Dem Hospital Governors’ Network

Liberal Democrats have had an interesting relationship with the government’s policy of turning NHS hospitals into ‘Foundation Trusts’. When the government first proposed them in 2002, we opposed the legislation in Parliament – so you might expect us to be straightforwardly against them.

But in fact the picture is a little more complicated than that – because at the time what we were in fact saying was that the freedoms which the government proposed to give only to Foundation Trust hospitals, in fact ought to be available to all NHS hospitals. And the government’s policy is indeed now that pretty …

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Your chance to shape Lib Dem policy on… the UK’s response to Globalisation

Globalisation is changing our world.

Liberal Democrats have generally welcomed it – as well as putting forward views about how we should seek to influence its development.

But it is a fact – and it has consequences for own domestic UK economy.

A policy working group chaired by Lord (Robin) Teverson is looking at what Britain needs to do respond to the processes of globalisation and to equip ourselves for the globalised twenty-first century economy.

Their consultation paper – on which they are inviting comments from all party members – looks at several aspects of this.

A first group of questions are around …

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | 13 Comments
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