Tag Archives: cyber security

Cheltenham Liberal Democrats – ambitions for jobs, homes and environment

New jobs, new homes and the climate emergency are at the forefront of all our minds as we recover from the Covid pandemic. As Liberal Democrat leaders in local government, we need to address all these. I was proud to lead the media briefing in Cheltenham announcing our internationally significant development that covers all three of those topics.

The Golden Valley development will bring up to 12,000 new jobs, 3,700 homes and two million square feet of commercial space, centred on the UK’s first cyber security focused campus: Cyber Central. And we will achieve some of the highest levels of sustainability in development available as part of a Garden Community.

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Contextualising our policies for our constituents

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It’s easy to criticise our party’s policy-making process and the amount of policy we produce. Such criticism feels a tad unfair. It’s amiss to suggest that members voluntarily producing detailed policy in their spare time prevent our party from winning its target seats. Our candidates ought to help us win by making our policies relevant to their constituents.

Are we missing an overarching theme that ties our policies together? Absolutely. As mentioned in the Thornhill review, our leader’s job is to develop that vision and articulate it. Is now the right time to roll that out? Well Lockdown 3 probably isn’t the best time to try and win the soul of the nation, as the nation is far more interested in Covid.

Until then, candidates should be thinking of ways to promote the policies we have. For example, in response to the Government’s Jobs White Paper Statement, Daisy Cooper asked Gavin Williamson if the government would consider offering a lifetime grant instead of a lifetime loan entitlement. Daisy pointed out that mature students aren’t particularly keen to take on extra debt they’ll be paying off until retirement. She suggested that the government consider the Liberal Democrats’ Skills Wallet instead.

The Skills Wallet is a policy the country sorely needs. Millions of people are out of work or reconsidering their careers. Covid aside, there are two trends reshaping our economy, one is digital transformation – more and more processes are being automated or moving online, leaving entire organisations and job roles redundant. This has been evident for years; think of the disappearance of travel agents.

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