Evening with Vince Cable

Wokingham Borough local party invited Vince Cable to a question and answer session on Saturday 12th May 2018. It was good to see members from Wokingham, Reading, Newbury, Maidenhead, and Bracknell who came to meet and listen to Vince. Councillor Clive Jones asked wide-ranging questions with supplementary questions from the audience.

Some of the main points addressed by Vince were: –

  • Vince mentioned his meeting with the head of National Union of Students (NUS) and how the NUS talked about the neglect of further education (FE);
  • Vince highlighted the importance of vocational education and giving people a second chance;
  • FE education was different to University education as you pay cash up front for FE unlike for university courses when you start to pay after you start earning money. Vince also said that he was looking at how to reform both further education funding and university education funding and he hopes to have a proposal ready for the September conference;

On Brexit Vince made the following main comments: –

  • The UK suffered economically just by the mere expectation of us leaving Europe. This resulted in the largest devaluation of sterling since the second world war after the referendum that has reduced people’s living standards and is one of the reasons why consumer spending has struggled in the last year;
  • Vince gave an example of the reduction in investments in the car industry where investment is being only made to replace rather than investing in new machinery and technology because of the uncertainty regarding what will happen to the supply industry following an agreement on border controls;
  • Vince again confirmed that if the UK doesn’t remain in the customs union, we will have a hard border in Ireland. He was more optimistic that the government could lose the vote on this. He suggested this seems to be why we have Teresa May’s convoluted attempt to create something like a customs union which few people think will work;
  • He was less positive on any movement on the single market (and the four freedoms) as both the Tories brexiteers (gave Rees-Mogg as an example) and Labour (led by Corbyn) are very much against it;

Other points that Vince raised were: –

  • He talked about the success of the Green bank (and thanked Chris Huhne for all the work he did on it) and the success of the British Business bank (providing capital for small business);
  • Vince confirmed the party would put a penny on income tax to ring-fence extra money for the NHS and Adult social care;
  • Discussed councils borrowing (within limits available) in areas that will generate income for them and gave Eastleigh as an example;
  • He did not feel that we would have another general election anytime soon although a change in Tory leadership may require one;
  • When asked about his time on “Strictly come dancing”, he said he thoroughly enjoyed it. Sadly as leader, he does not have time to pursue his hobby of ballroom dancing;
  • Replying to another question Vince said he would not be appearing on MasterChef!

* Tahir Maher is the Wednesday editor and a member of the LDV editorial team

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This entry was posted in Events and Op-eds.
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