Federal Conference registration opens – but discounted period only lasts for a week

I got an email 24 minutes ago inviting me to register for Federal Autumn Conference. This year’s event takes place from 17-20 September.

I acted on it immediately and have secured my place. I’m not impressed with just a week being allocated for the early bird discount though.

We’re offering a special early bird rate of £60 for members who book by 27th April so register now!

Hang on a wee minute. It’s giving us a week to register at the early bird rate before whacking the price up? In the middle of an election when most of us are rushed off our feet? Before the end of the month when most people get paid?

I think that the Federal Conference Committee should at the very least extend the deadline for the early bird discount until the end of May. That gives people another month to budget for it. After all, registration normally opens after any May elections, round about the beginning of June.

If you agree with me, please comment below. You could also contact the members of the Federal Conference Committee directly, but it seems that the list of all Federal Committee members has been removed from the members’ section of the party website. Either that or it’s hiding so cleverly as to have completely outfoxed me. If you comment below, or email your views to [email protected], I will undertake to make sure that at the very least the FCC Chair Andrew Wiseman and the vice-chairs Geoff Payne and Zoe O’Connell see them. To be honest, though, they are usually quick to comment on these articles, so they probably will anyway.

The party should not be handing out a double whammy to those on lower incomes. More affluent members will be able to take advantage of unbudgeted expenditure before they get paid. Those who are struggling at the end of each month will not – and they’ll be charged an extra £13, a premium of over 20%. There’s an inherent injustice here. I’m sure that this must have been an oversight and I’m sure it can be changed quickly. Let’s hope that there’s a quick rethink.

Do come to Conference if you can, though – it is the most fun you will ever have. Seriously.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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13 Comments

  • Totally agree with your offering Caron. It disappoints me that FCC have consciously decided this, via only internal discussions.

  • Tristan Gray 20th Apr '16 - 2:42pm

    Agreed, I know I have no chance of paying either rate until after pay day at the earliest. Anyone too busy to notice will miss out and anyone on lower incomes who needs to save up for it will have to do so for longer.

    Unfair and not exactly in step with what we insist in government. We should walk the walk of supporting those on low incomes within the party.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 20th Apr '16 - 2:44pm

    I don’t think they realised when it was going to be opened, though. It MIGHT have made sense to have a week if it had been around the May payday when people would have been expecting it. I just hope that they can be persuaded to extend it to the end of May. The party needs to live its values and the effect of this particular scheme is that it isn’t as it is penalising the poorest.

  • Zoe O'connell 20th Apr '16 - 3:36pm

    Just a quick note – the FCC officers and conference staff are in the process of discussing this via EMail.

  • Zoe O'connell 20th Apr '16 - 3:44pm

    I’ve just checked the registration email and it’s missing some of the details about the discount period – specifically, the initial one week discount is a new super-early-bird rate. Then there’s a longer period of the normal early bird rate before it goes up to full price.

  • Totally agree. In fact, if we wanted to go one step further and be really progressive, there’d be an option to pay in 2-3 installments…

  • Zoe O'connell 20th Apr '16 - 8:07pm

    Caron: I’ll push to extend it past payday. It will be difficult to extend it past the local elections with the pressure being put on the conference finances by FE/FFAC.

  • Hilton.Marlton 21st Apr '16 - 9:14am

    The idea of a Super Early Bird rate is a good one to get lift off but it needs to be promoted well before the time so that all members can budget and take advantage of the discount. Everything this party does should be fair and accessible. I’m not sure the way that this promotion has been rolled out fits that description but perhaps we can get it right next time. If in doubt about an issue, a sample check with members first will always give food for thought. You are always guaranteed a lively debate from Lib Dems.

  • David Garlick 21st Apr '16 - 9:54am

    I understand the financial pressures that the Party is under but perception is everything on this sort of stuff. If we need to be charged more do it openly, fairly and with consideration for those stumping up, especially those for whom this is a big ask.

  • Where is it to be held?

  • Peter Galton 21st Apr '16 - 5:45pm

    The offer should be extended to at least until after the elections, like many of us I got others things to think about at the moment.

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