Tag Archives: future planning

Tim Farron: Planning reforms are an ineffective, illiberal and dangerous power-grab

There is a housing crisis in this country and it has been going on for years. Lack of housing is forcing people out of their areas where they grew up, while high rents mean young people cannot afford to save for a deposit. That’s why Liberal Democrats want to build 300,000 new homes a year, including 150,000 homes for social rent.

But decisions on local housing should be made by local authorities working with their communities. Not by Tories in Whitehall. Local authorities, working with their communities, know best where homes are needed and what infrastructure is needed to support them.

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

How to build a better bus network

272 million trips were made on trams and light rail in England in 2018/19 and more than 1.76 billion on trains in the same year. But the trusty bus accounted for almost 70% of all public transport journeys – a massive 4.31 billion.

Yet bus services are treated as the poor relative, as an afterthought. The result is fewer people using buses each year and fewer services being run. Rural bus routes have been especially badly hit, with subsidies drastically cut back through years of austerity.

We broadly agree on what we want from our buses. We want them to be fast, frequent, reliable, run early in the morning and late at night, be clean, safe and comfortable. These days we want USB charging points and free Wi-Fi (though with 4G and 5G becoming ubiquitous, Wi-Fi usage on buses is already falling). We want electric buses that pollute less: they cost about twice as much to buy, but fuel savings mean the lifetime cost of ownership is no more than a diesel bus.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 8 Comments

How will the Liberal Democrats prepare the UK for emergent technologies?

 

Let’s take a brief look at the list of things that are on my Letter to Santa:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Quantum computing
  • In-vitro meat and vertical farming
  • Mass-commercialised 3D printing
  • Transparent solar panels
  • Li-Fi and 5G
  • Male contraception
  • Autonomous cars and electric cars
  • And so, so much more…

Yeah, I’m a nightmare to buy presents for.

Some of these are already causing stirs in the legal world.

Just the other week there were reports of telecoms companies promising 5G sooner if the EU crippled net neutrality. That’s a fairly clear statement of their desire that we need to be prepared to stand up to. The Lib Dem stance on that should be obvious: we can wait if it means maintaining net neutrality.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments

Liberal Democrats need to have radical solutions to collapse of industrial communities

It is with more than a little sadness and apprehension that I watch the drawn-out self destruction of the Labour Party, as its leader, a man who I once respected and liked, seems hell bent on bringing Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition to its knees. The details of this destruction have been covered extensively in other places, and I won’t repeat them here, but one thread does deeply concern me as a liberal: the seeming blindness the Labour Party has to industry and the traditional worker.

Britain’s industrial past, I believe, played a key part in the result of the EU referendum, where those who feel disenfranchised by the crippling of their communities, and the industrial centre that were once at their heart, did what they felt they needed to in order to enact a change. Labour’s solution to this has, broadly, been to carry on as they were and to promise a restoration of this industrial past.

We live in an era of hard truths.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 23 Comments
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