Tag Archives: london

July meeting of Liberal International in London

You might have been so be-dazzled by the London Pride parade back in July that you missed the 202nd Liberal International Executive Committee meeting which took place on the same day at the National Liberal Club (and which incidentally gave perfect grandstand viewing of the parade in the streets below) .

I’ve only recently started going to these international political meetings (since I retired and now have the time!) but the dynamic is quite different from UK political meetings and very energising. There are many younger participants and many, many more women to offset the usual pale, older males, and where else could I sit next to the Foreign Minister of Somalia? -and very interesting he was too.

Posted in Europe / International | 3 Comments

Siobhan Benita says she can be London Mayor

Lib Dem London Mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita has been talking up her chances of winning the capital’s mayoralty in an interview with City AM.

She takes the fight to Sadiq Khan, criticising Labour’s equivocal position on Brexit:

Benita says the Lib Dems are now perfectly positioned to capitalise on votes that would have otherwise gone to Labour. “The fact that Sadiq has stayed in the Labour party that is facilitating Brexit is a huge thing against him,” she says.

“For Sadiq, it’s going to be about how is he going to continue to justify being in a party that is keeping us in this mess?” It is not enough that Khan has spoken out against anti-semitism, another issue that is hurting Labour, or has campaigned for a second referendum, she says.

She was less hopeful of a Remain Alliance with the Greens:

Benita said she was “very open with working with the Greens but they have made it clear they are not”.

“I’m really disappointed in Sian,” Benita says. “She has really attacked the Lib Dems and has been fighting old battles about the coalition. She sees us as a real threat in London and is still blaming us for austerity. But Brexit is a much bigger and more immediate risk.”

And she had some interesting ideas about freedom of movement post Brexit:

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Caroline Pidgeon writes…Who is the real Boris Johnson?

Just who is the real Boris Johnson? 

Is it the man who for eight years was the Mayor of one of the world’s most multi-racial cities, or instead the man who in his 2002 Daily Telegraph column included racist insults against black people, citing “regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies” in the Commonwealth and referring to “the tribal warriors… all break out in watermelon smiles”.

Is it the man who now argues in favour of a no deal Brexit, or instead the Boris Johnson who declared in his Daily Telegraph column: “It is also true that the single market is of considerable value to many UK companies and consumers, and that leaving would cause at least some business uncertainty.”

Or indeed the Boris Johnson of 2012 who stated that whenever he considered the prospect of Britain leaving, he always came down “narrowly” in favour of Britain staying.  And the Boris Johnson who took full advantage of the cheap lending from the European Investment Bank to fund London’s transport infrastructure.

Within a few weeks Conservative party members will be making a decision on whether they want Boris Johnson as their leader. They have to make a decision over a man whose views over the years have had more twists in them than a corkscrew.

Yet examining his contradictory and insulting statements on so many issues only gets us so far.  In contrast the actual record of Boris Johnson is clear cut.  

As someone who witnessed and scrutinised his activities at City Hall for eight years I have a clearer recollection of events than the Conservative MPs now scenting the chance of a ministerial post.

When examined in the round, his record was one of inactivity, missed opportunities and an immense waste of public money.  Always putting himself before anything else. 

Yet his supporters, such as Jacob Rees Mogg and James Cleverly are now peddling the idea that his record of Mayor of London was that of unbridled success and huge achievement.

It is said that a lie can get half way around the world before truth has even got its boots on.   

We now run that risk with some of the fanciful claims being made by Boris’ supporters will start to be believed.  We cannot allow that to happen.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games

Incredibly some people seek to credit Boris Johnson with the overall success of the 2012 Games.  His contribution to their success was in fact minimal. The hard work and the groundwork at the Olympic Park started long before he arrived at City Hall.  London won the bid for the 2012 Games in July 2005, three years before he became Mayor. There was a huge amount of work undertaken in preparing our bid in the years before that.  His biggest contribution was waving the flag at the opening ceremony.

Crime 

It is claimed during his time at City Hall that great progress was made in tackling crime. The reality is that there was serious rioting across the capital in the summer of 2011, wrecking many high streets and small businesses. His supporters also overlook the fact that knife crime was increasing in the last two years of his office.

Housing

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London gears up for 2020

London may be the smallest English region geographically, but in LibDem terms it is top of the league, with around 20,000 members, many of whom joined following the 2016 EU Referendum and subsequent general election. Small wonder, then, that Brexit will figure large at the London LibDems’ regional conference tomorrow .

Tom Brake, MP for Carshalton & Wallington and the Party’s national Brexit spokesperson, will be leading a session on the impact of Brexit on the city, chaired by former MEP Baroness Ludford. And in one of a number of fringe meetings, sponsored by the Alliance of European Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), Arthur Griffin, Vice President of our Irish sister party, Fianna Faíl, will give a presentation on Winning That First Preference Vote.

LibDem Leader, Sir Vince Cable (MP for Twickenham) will provide the opening keynote address in the impressive surroundings of Canary Wharf, whose CEO, Sir George Iacobescu, will give a welcoming speech, alongside one of the party’s newest recruits, Tower Hamlets Councillor Rabina Khan.

Tower Hamlets is something of a success story in increasing diversity within the Party and given the fact that one in three Londoners were not even born in the UK, diversity is a key preoccupation of London Liberal Democrats. This is splendidly reflected in the team that has just been selected by the membership to fight the 2020 London Mayoral and GLA elections.

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How to join the Lib Dems at the People’s Vote march on Saturday

I will be up long before the crack of bloody dawn on Saturday to begin the long journey to London to take part in the People’s Vote march. Although make no mistake, our intention is not just to secure a vote but to stop this Brexit nonsense.

Lib Dems will be meeting at the Wellington Arch at Hyde Park at 12 noon.

This country’s membership of the European Union has brought this country so much social and economic benefit. Our sex discrimination laws, maternity leave, workers’ rights, environmental and health and safety protections started there. And we didn’t have them imposed on us – we were one of the most important voices at the table shaping them.

Being part of something larger than ourselves, something that has kept the peace on this continent for almost three quarters of a century, which has championed human rights and democracy, is such a good and healthy thing.

I don’t generally feel comfortable around national flags. I’d never wave a saltire or union jack. They symbolise selfishness and insularity and isolation to me. However, I feel completely comfortable wrapping myself from head to foot in the European Union flag because it is a symbol of togetherness and common purpose and co-operation. 

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Caroline Pidgeon writes…Boris Johnson: Has the mask slipped?

Boris Johnson seems to be rarely out of the news.

Whether it is his comments about the burka or taking part in a photo opp mocking Theresa May’s running through fields of corn – there seems an insatiable media interest in him.

And if he puts forward a proposal, such as building a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland, his comments are extensively reported, irrespective of how feasible the policy is.

His treatment by the media is unlike almost any other politician, past or present.

His profile, combined with his immense ambition, has even fed speculation that he will one day be the Prime Minister.

However, could it be the case that his mask has now fallen off?   That perhaps some people are seeing him for what he really is?

That might seem a startling claim but there are some signs that this might be the case.  

Take for example all the media hype about his attendance at the Conservative party conference. 

The reality is that his base within the Conservative party, especially amongst those that know him best (Conservative MPs) is diminishing.

As the respected political commentator Paul Waugh said:

“He just can’t help himself, but can he help his party?

“Boris Johnson’s scripted spontaneity achieved his aim of dominating the headlines for much of the week.  Yet in the process he has alienated many of the key selectorate he needs to win round more than any other: Tory MPs.

“True, he has a small, loyal band that includes newer backbenchers like Ben Bradley and Andrea Jenkyns, plus slightly older hands like Conor Burns. That won’t be enough to get on the ballot paper in any future leadership contest.”

The views of his former boss at the Daily Telegraph are also worth noting:

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Three ways Brexit is hitting London

At May’s council elections in Sutton, I was proud to defeat the Tories’ deputy leader, not least because he proudly backs Brexit. I’m a born-Londoner who’s lived in four different boroughs, and I’m not sure how you can claim to have London’s best interests at heart when you back a major event that will hit our city.

Here’s how Brexit is already hitting London. You may find these useful talking points when you’re on the doorstep making the case for a People’s Vote:

1. Risking our NHS: London is twice as reliant as the rest of the country on EU nationals …

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Winning in London in 2020

It’s little over 18 months before the Greater London Authority and London mayoral elections. Doesn’t time fly? This time they are more important than ever. Not only are these critical elections for London, they also garner national media attention, so a good showing will help deliver a stronger national performance for the Liberal Democrats at the next general election.

That means now is the time to do some serious research so we can devise our strategy on how we can win in London in 2020.

This is why I have helped commission and fund a full professional, programme of polling. I brought in Populus to undertake both qualitative and quantitative research in London to identify potential switchers, who they are, where they are coming from, where they live, and what issues are important to them.

Without giving away too many secrets the research confirms the recent surge in Liberal Democrat support, and demonstrates that pushing the Tories into third place in the capital is an achievable if challenging goal.

The Tories in London will undoubtedly have a pro-Brexit candidate. As they retreat having a relevant offer for the majority of the cosmopolitan, culturally diverse and tolerant voters of London – who voted heavily to Remain – it seems likely that the Conservative candidate’s votes will be restricted to the party’s core of right-wing supporters.

In line with other recent research the polling also revealed a large group of unaligned voters, with high intention to vote and open to considering the Liberal Democrats.

All of this indicates that a strong strategy focussed on the switchers, their concerns and priorities will gain a strong positive response. The challenge as always will be to demonstrate our values through relevant and distinctive policies (not the other way around) on crime, housing and the environment.

Posted in Op-eds | 5 Comments

Why Heathrow deserves a more thorough debate

It is now August and a good time to reflect, especially on those issues which have received insufficient attention.

Although Brexit has understandably dominated politics for many months, it is worth noting that just six weeks ago Parliament made the decision to back a third runway at Heathrow airport.

The vote – by 415 to 119 – approved the National Planning Statement (NPS) that paves the way for the £14 billion construction project. Peers did not get a vote.

Some people, whatever their past thoughts on the pros and cons of a third Heathrow runway, might think that the issue has now been …

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Caroline Pidgeon highlights Oyster “cash mountain”

So, Transport for London has £321 million of our money and is keeping quiet about it. Lib Dem Assembly Member and former Mayoral Candidate Caroline Pidgeon has made the headlines by uncovering the fact that TfL is sitting on this vast sum of money on Oyster cards which haven’t been used for over a year.

From the BBC:

Ms Pidgeon, chair of City Hall’s transport committee, put the “soaring” figure partly down to the number of people switching in recent years to making contactless payments with their bank cards.

She said: “TfL never stops bombarding us with advertisements and information campaigns,

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Let this be the last first past the post election in London Boroughs

On 3rd May all the Borough Council seats in Greater London are up for election, which happens every four years. The Borough I live in is typical and has 18 3-member wards. Each voter votes by putting up to 3 Xs on the ballot paper. In each of these wards the top three candidates in terms of Xs on the ballot win. Hence F3PTP rather than FPTP (First Past The Post).

So what’s wrong with that? Five national parties are contesting the borough election, plus around four parties with Residents’ Association in their name, who are active in their own patches. Usually, a party sees its whole slate of three elected, but sometimes one candidate impacts more on the electorate, positively or negatively, and the result is a ‘split ward’. But I have seen nine candidates from three parties having each around 30% of the vote, but only one party gets the councillor seats. Natural justice suggests that they should have had one councillor each. With three councillors of one party, we KNOW that they were NOT the first choice of 70% of the electorate; at worst, the three victors could be the LEAST favoured candidates of 70% of the voters.

It gets worse. Some parties are so entrenched in certain seats that the others have given up. A friend of mine expressed it as ’If you put up a feather duster for XXXX party in YYYY ward, it would get elected.’ Two national parties contest all 54 seats, but the presence of the parents, spouses and children of local party worthies on the ballot papers gives a strong hint of what they think. The voters in such wards show what they think by not turning up to vote for the council, which, more than any other body, delivers government services to them.

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WATCH: The #LiberalLondon Rally

Last night, London Lib Dems launched their campaign for May’s elections. One of the many things that is fantastic about having Vince as leader is that he gets local government. He gets why it is important as an end in itself. He’s been there – as a councillor in another city, Glasgow, back in the 70s. Hackney Heroine Pauline Pearce talked about the scourge of knife crime. Caroline Pidgeon talked about winning in a safe Labour seat. The amazing Ruth Dombey, leader of Sutton Council, talked about their investment in mental health support among other things.

You can watch the whole event here.

And here are some of the Twitter highlights.

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TfL’s Uber decision is no victory for liberalism

The decision taken by Transport for London to revoke Uber’s licence undermines a key theme of Vince Cable’s speech from just a few days ago, a belief in competitive markets. Whilst the company has only operated in the capital for a relatively short time, the benefits it has bought to London’s transport market for both Londoners and tourists alike have been numerous. Uber not only provides a cheaper, more accessible transport solution to its customers, but it has also forced its competitors to innovate, an example being black cabs now accepting card payments, freeing their users from having to carry large amounts of cash. If the Liberal Democrats are to be a proud champion of enterprise, the party should feel no shame in its support for companies such as Uber, which provide choice to consumers in what is otherwise a monopolistic market.

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Caroline Pidgeon writes…Brexit demands greater devolution – a new deal for our regions

Back in 2013 I wrote an article for Lib Dem Voice setting out the case for London and other cities to have more financial control.

The vote to leave the EU makes the case for devolution and fiscal devolution more urgent. Whatever Leave voters felt they were voting for, it was not ‘business as usual’. It was not an endorsement of centralised power, simply removing it from Brussels to Whitehall and job done.

The referendum result not only affects the country as a whole but also within our nations, regions and cities.  The uncertainties from Brexit may well be better managed at a local level, with local and regional government able to respond more effectively.

At present, virtually all taxation in the UK is determined by central government. Only council tax (and in England from April 2013, a proportion of business rates) can be seen as local taxation – and even this is subject to cumbersome controls, including referendum rules set by central Government.  When you compare this internationally you realise what control Whitehall holds.

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Impressive free public access to our Supreme Court

The main courtroom at the Supreme Court, from the perspective of the Presiding Judge.
This week I wanted to visit a court in London, to get a feel for the proceedings. I didn’t fancy the Old Bailey – its case list is a series of stabbings basically. Not nice. I was about to make the journey to the Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand when I remembered the more recently opened Supreme Court.

The United Kingdom Supreme Court resides just opposite Parliament in an impressive building previously occupied by Middlesex County Council and the Middlesex Courts.

When I visited, there were only a few people milling around inside. The staff were very friendly and helpful. I was whisked through the security scanner and then the receptionist explained what I could do in the building. The public are able to wonder around the three court rooms (when there are no cases ongoing) and take photographs. Then there is an interesting exhibition area about the history of the building, the Supreme Court, the Magna Carta and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. That latter entity is the final court of judgment for a number of territories overseas.

Posted in London and Op-eds | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Boris Johnson’s foolishness and arrogance in purchasing water cannon

This week Sadiq Khan revealed that three redundant water cannon, bought controversially by his predecessor, are to be put up for sale, with the proceeds going towards helping to tackle gang crime.

It is a decision I totally endorse and welcome.

Back in 2014 Boris Johnson decided to purchase three second hand water cannon from Germany.  We now discover that £322,834 of taxpayers’ money has been spent by the Met Police on purchasing these 25 year old vehicles, and then transporting, fitting out and repairing the machines.

The scale of the foolishness, and quite frankly arrogance, in purchasing these water cannon is hard to underestimate.

For a start these water cannon were purchased before authorisation was given for their use by the Home Secretary.  After they had been purchased consideration of permitting authorisation of their use was undertaken by the then Home Secretary.  It was firmly refused.  On this issue Theresa May showed immense thoroughness in carefully examining the merits for and against the adoption of water cannon.  Her statement to the House of Commons on the 15th July 2015 is an example of a Home Secretary acting in a truly professional way.  The Hansard record is well worth a read.

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On Sadiq Khan’s Hopper bus ticket: an idea you may have heard of before

One hour bus ticket 2009So, Sadiq Khan has made his first big transport announcement, one hour Hopper bus ticket.

Now, even though I live 400 miles away, I know fine that this is not be an original idea from the new London Mayor. Someone has been campaigning for this since 2009. Who could that possibly be?

Step forward Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon. The photo was taken in 2009 in tandem with this article in the Standard and the policy was in the 2012 Lib Dem London manifesto.

Boris blithely dismissed it in the same way Cameron dismissed the raising of the tax threshold policy, saying it was too complicated and costly.

His successor saw the sense in it and used Caroline’s idea in his manifesto. 

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London needs a liberal narrative

Last week’s elections in England overall were rather encouraging, with a modest but heartening rise in the number of councillors and the gain of Watford Council. But one relative black spot, in which the Liberal Democrat decline of recent years continued unabated, was London, where Mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon polled less than five per cent in first preferences – a third of the average vote in the country.

That is no reflection on the quality of Caroline as a candidate. No-one could have worked harder and many non-LibDems said they thought she performed the best among all candidates at hustings. After eight years on the London Assembly, she really knew her stuff, and she had some attractive specific policies, such as a one-hour bus ticket and continuing the Olympics precept but channelling it towards the building of affordable homes. Nonetheless, Caroline is now the sole LibDem member of the Assembly (out of 25). Once we had five.

This is all the more disappointing when one considers that London did particularly well out of the post-May 2015 surge in members and that London Liberal Democrats fielded the most diverse and talented list of Assembly candidates ever. They really looked like our multicultural city and most of them worked their socks off. So what went wrong?

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How Caroline Pidgeon would change London for the better

Caroline Pidgeon is spending the last day of campaigning for the Mayoral Election out in Putney with Nick Clegg

LBC has a list of ten ways London would change if she were Mayor.

1) £20 from your council tax will be used to build new houses
The Olympic precept will be maintained, but the money turned to building 50,000 council homes to rent and 150,000 for sale.

2) Tube fares before 7.30am will be half-price
The Lib Dems promise to “introduce half price fares for Tube, Overground rail and DLR travellers before 7.30am – to reduce the cost of travel for thousands of hard-working Londoners and ease peak congestion.”

3) All London’s buses and taxis will become fully electric
A Lib Dem plan is to switch London’s buses and taxis to be fully electric as well as helping to switch commercial vans too.

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Can you help the London Liberal Democrats beat UKIP and win a third Assembly seat?

London Liberal Democrats are making a push for funds to help them run the best possible final flourish to the campaign and get out the vote operation.

A You Gov poll indicated that if we can just get one more percentage point, we could beat UKIP and get Merlene Emerson elected as our third assembly member.

Caroline Pidgeon says on the London Liberal Democrats’ website:

Polls show that a handful of votes could separate UKIP and the Lib Dems on 5th May.

Those votes will either elect Merlene Emerson to join me on the Assembly, a British-Chinese liberal, or a prejudiced UKIP voice.

For every additional £500 we can contact 93,000 people with Facebook advertising to run alongside our targeted literature and canvassing. We’re aiming to raise £10,000 in the next few days so we can contact our target voters three times each on Facebook to maximise our chances of getting our vote out.

Four years ago we pushed the BNP off the London Assembly. And, by just a few votes, kept out UKIP as well. Help me make sure we do it again.

Thanks again for your support!

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LibLink: Getting real about tackling London’s air pollution

Greenpeace has been asking the London Mayoral candidates about how they would tackle air pollution in London, where air quality is one of the lowest in Europe.

Here is Caroline Pidgeon’s response:

It was not long ago that understanding about air pollution was pitiful, especially amongst MPs. Just 18 months ago a poll of 100 MPs revealed that hardly any recognised that air pollution the second biggest public health risk, with only smoking posing a greater risk.Thankfully things are changing. Yet while the greater recognition of the horrific consequences of air pollution is welcome, the real challenge is to ensure action is actually taken.My manifesto is quite clear that real action is needed straight away.

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Caroline Pidgeon: With me as Mayor, London would work for everyone

 

Caroline Pidgeon has been talking to London 24 about her plans. Most of the interview is policy stuff that we are all aware of – her plans for more affordable childcare, more houses, better transport and half price tube fares before 7:30 am.

She was asked what London would be like after 4 years of her as Mayor:

London would be a far more family-friendly city, and a city that really works for everyone. We’d have more homes to help deal with the housing crisis, we’d have targeted fare measures to really help get people get around, we’d have more cycling infrastructure and improvements for pedestrians, we’d have cleaner air because I’d bring in electric buses and taxies, and less traffic because I would bring in changes to the congestion charge to get some of those private vehicles off the road. Alongside that, I’d be fighting to improve childcare in London, so more wraparound childcare for parents in the mornings, evenings and school holidays. We’d have a city that just works better for everyone.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 6 Comments

Caroline Pidgeon judged winner of ITV/LBC mayoral debate

Mike Smithson had no doubt about the winner of last night’s ITV London/LBC mayoral debate.

And he wasn’t alone. Caroline’s strong performance attracted praise from unexpected quarters.

You can watch the whole thing here:

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Caroline Pidgeon taking Twitter questions this afternoon #AskCaroline

Liberal Democrat London Mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon will be answering questions on Twitter this afternoon:

This comes the day after her manifesto launch and a successful mayoral debate last night where her performance attracted widespread praise.

Yesterday, she launched her manifesto, which you can read here.

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WATCH: Caroline Pidgeon excels in first LBC London Mayor hustings

This morning, Caroline Pidgeon took part in LBC’s first mayoral debate alongside UKIP’s Peter Whittle, the Greens’ Sian Berry, Tory Zac Goldsmith and Labour’s Sadiq Khan.

I know I’m not unbiased, but if I had listened as an undecided voter, I’d have thought that Caroline would be the best Mayor. She had facts to back up what she was saying, she understood the key transport, housing, policing and childcare problems and talked like a Mayor. This is in contrast to her Labour and Conservative opponents, who sound more like Stadtler and Waldorf from the Muppets every time I listen to them.

Zac’s pitch boiled down to: “I’m a Tory so I know how to talk Tory to other Tories, vote for me.” and Khan’s was “I’m not a Tory, vote for me.” Neither of these inspire any sort of confidence.

Caroline talked about building houses and making sure the workforce has the sufficient skills to deliver, of making sure the lowest paid can get to their work with cheaper fares before 7:30 am, of investing in cleaner taxis & making them affordable for taxi drivers, of building cycleways. It was all good, solid practical stuff.

You can watch the whole thing in these two videos. Enjoy. 

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Bold and ambitious childcare plans on offer from Lib Dems in London and Wales

The cost and availability of childcare is one of the most important things affecting working parents these days. This week, Liberal Democrats in London and Wales have launched plans to improve affordability and choices.

In London, Caroline Pidgeon has said it’s time to “end the brain drain of talented young women from London’s workforce.” Her plan includes:

  • The GLA and other organisations in the wider GLA Group (TfL, Metropolitan Police Service and London Fire Service) should offer interest free loans for employees to meet the initial costs of childcare registration at a nursery which can cost up to £1500. The adoption of this policy should become an example of good practice amongst businesses across London.
  • When GLA land is released for schools it should be standard practice that nursery provision is also provided
  • London Boroughs should be encouraged to extend business rate relief to childcare providers
  • The Mayor of London should establish a Childcare Fund with support targeted at improving wraparound and childcare options covering the longer hours many London employees have to work. One potential way of financing the fund would be through a hotel levy.
  • More childminders should be trained to help support families with wraparound flexible childcare.

Caroline said:

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Caroline Pidgeon writes…This is a “microwave” budget from Osborne

This is a ‘microwave’ budget from George Osborne. He has just re-heated many announcements already made.

Some announcements can be welcomed – albeit cautiously at this stage as we haven’t seen the precise detail. Devolution of Business Rates and the proposals for financing infrastructure projects from land value increases are things the Liberal Democrats have long argued for.

Those of us in London had already been told last week that Crossrail 2 was going ahead and that there would be a need for Londoners to match fund the development costs. The increase in the share of business rates retained by London will help fund this vital new project, but a £1.9billion cut in TfL funds, as a result of Sadiq Khan’s fares policy, puts at risk important investment in London’s future transport needs.

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Caroline Pidgeon interview: The “ordinary Londoner” aspiring to be the city’s first female mayor.

Caroline Pidgeon has been talking to the Ham and High about the qualities she would bring to the office of Mayor.

First and foremost, she uses local services so understands what they need:

Ms Pidgeon believes it is her “ordinary” quality which means she is ideally placed to become the city’s first female Mayor.

“I’m just an ordinary Londoner, I’m the one rushing to catch the tube in the morning and hoping it’s on time, and I’m the one taking my two-year-old to nursery,” she said.

She also highlights her long experience in London’s politics:

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LibLink: The Liberal Democrat vision of Caroline Pidgeon

 

During the week the Guardian published a very rounded post about Caroline Pidgeon and her bid to be Mayor of London.

It starts:

I ask her a gloomy question. She gives an upbeat reply. “Morale is actually very, very good in the party,” said Caroline Pidgeon, who has the possibly onerous honour of being Liberal Democrat candidate for London mayor. “We’ve got tons of new members in London who are excited and energetic, and that’s fantastic.” Her party says there are now 10,000 of them in the capital, the highest number for decades. Plus, council by-election results have perked up since last year’s general election gloom: wins in Sutton and Richmond, improved performances elsewhere. “This election is wide open,” Pidgeon enthuses. “We’ve got a new field of candidates and I’m hopeful that as the most experienced candidate with eight years at City Hall, Londoners will give the Liberal Democrats a good vote.”

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Caroline Pidgeon’s plan to cut pollution and improve London’s air quality

Caroline Pidgeon is on a mission to prevent Londoners’ health being harmed by pollution on the capital’s streets. She has just unveiled a pretty radical plan for the congestion charge, raising it for all vehicles and even more for diesel vehicles. Also, she wants to have a peak-time charge.

From the Guardian:

A new report by the party’s mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon recommends a rise in the daily charge collected by automated payment from the current £10.50 to £13 with a higher automated charge of £19 on vehicles entering the zone “at the height of the rush hour” in order to deter traffic from entering the centre of the city.

In what Pidgeon describes as a potential “game changer” in tackling London’s high levels of air pollution she would also slap an additional flat-rate of £2.50 on all diesel-powered vehicles subject to the charge, claiming that this would bring forward the benefits of the forthcoming Ultra Low Emission Zone, which is not scheduled to be activated until 2020.

She argues that these measures recognise an increase in congestion levels in recent years and that differential pricing would reflect variations in the degree of congestion at different times of day. Although Pidgeon’s definition of the rush hour peak would be kept under review she anticipates that the higher charge rate would initially apply between 7:00 and 9:30 in the morning and between 4:00 and 6:00 in the evening.

Caroline said:

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    For the record Phillip Lee has said this:I wish to make it clear that I share the desire of those who want society to embrace,...
  • User AvatarArnold Kiel 21st Oct - 2:32pm
    6 or 7% of GDP equals GBP 2000 per person, not household. The per household number is 5000.