Tag Archives: susan kramer

5-9 February: this week in the Lords

I had rather expected that this would be a short week – the Lords usually goes into recess for just over a week, covering Valentines Day, most years. But not this year, it seems…

The Committee Stages of the Victims and Prisoners Bill (day 3) and the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill (day 5) are the main business on Monday, whilst the Restoration and Renewal Client Board is holding a private meeting in Portcullis House (another building with its own maintenance issues).

You might already have guessed that there’s a lot of legislation grinding through the Lords at the moment, and Tuesday sees the Third Reading of the Pedicabs (London) Bill and the Report Stage of the Automated Vehicles Bill. But the most interesting piece of business for the day is the moving of the draft Electoral Commission Strategy and Policy Statement. Labour have a Motion of Regret down in the name of Lord Khan of Burnley, and given the concerns raised by the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, I suspect that we will need significant reassurance before it is safe to believe that the Conservatives aren’t about to remove another of the significant guardrails that protect our democracy.

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15-18 January 2024 – this week in the Lords

Back for the second week in a row – and who said that I couldn’t manage that? – our (aspirational) regular review of the week ahead at the more genteel end of the Palace of Westminster.

After last week’s easing back into the routine, it’s a more normal week for the Peers, although there is one relatively unusual session included.

But Monday starts with the usual round of Oral Questions – there are usually four each day – and two come from Liberal Democrats. Malcolm Bruce opens with a question regarding Government plans to promote the end of absolute poverty through international development aid. I suspect that the answer might be a bit vague, given that “no” is far too honest. Jenny Randerson is asking about the possible introduction of a graduated driving licence for young and newly qualified drivers. The other two questions are about the use of engineered stone, given allegations of links to silicosis, and on what consultations the Government propose to have before the next renewal of the BBC’s Royal Charter about news and current affairs programmes, in the light of cutbacks to Newsnight.

Day 2 of the Committee Stage of the Automated Vehicles Bill takes up the remainder of business in the chamber. So far, Sharon Bowles has been seeking assurances that automated vehicles will undergo suitable real-life testing before being cleared to use our roads, and that the impact on road environs, i.e. on pedestrians, will be considered. At this stage, most of the amendments are likely to be probing in nature, seeking reassurances that the Government have taken various factors into account, and Day 2 will see more of the same, as will Day 3, scheduled for later in the week (Wednesday).

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Sally Hamwee: “I feel contaminated by the Bill”

Many of us are watching the progress of the appalling Illegal Immigration Bill as it makes its way through the Houses. On Wednesday it reached the Lords for a second reading, and there were some barnstorming speeches from Lib Dem peers. Here are some extracts.

Brian Paddick moved an amendment that would have effectively killed the Bill immediately.

My Lords, Trevor Phillips recently wrote in the Times that, in 2000, 175 million people lived outside the country of their birth and that, by 2020, it was 280 million. He likened the Prime Minister’s pledge to “stop the boats” to King Canute ordering back the incoming tide. He argued that we need to bring order to the flow, rather than focusing on the impossible task of locking the doors to keep asylum seekers out. We agree.

We have yawning gaps in our labour markets that refugees could fill. We believe that we should adopt the approach many other countries are adopting, that responsibility should be taken away from the Home Office and given to the Foreign Office or the Department for Business and Trade and that “Migration is no job for a home secretary”. Phillips agrees. We should be harnessing the power of the incoming tide, not refusing to accept that it cannot be stopped.

The Government talk about “pull factors”. We talk about “push” factors: the intolerable conditions in their home countries that compel asylum seekers to find sanctuary elsewhere in the world. Even in detention in the UK, you do not have to worry about where you are going to live, how you are going to survive without adequate food or water, or whether you are going to be killed or persecuted, or otherwise have your life endangered. Can the Minister say what evidence the Government have that the measures in the Bill will deter small boat crossings?

The Bill seeks systematically to deny human rights to a group of people desperately seeking sanctuary. It would breach our international obligations under the UN conventions on refugees, on the rights of the child and on the reduction of statelessness, and the European convention against trafficking. This is the first, but not the only, Bill that explicitly states that it does not have to be compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. The Human Rights Act is being revoked, one law at a time. The Bill would undermine the rule of law, with Ministers able to ignore the rulings of judges. At the same time, we are asking Russia and China to abide by the international rule of law.

I have one final thought. I studied moral philosophy at university. One of the acid tests of whether something was morally right was the question: “What would happen if everyone did the same thing?” Can the Minister say what would happen if every country adopted the approach outlined in the Bill?

This Bill is a low point in the history of this Government and we should not allow it to proceed any further. I beg to move.

Paul Scriven followed Alf Dubs, who was himself a child refugee, saved from the Nazis on the Kindertransport:

My Lords, what an absolute pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Dubs, who is a living example of what happens when a country opens its hearts to refugees and how those people can then settle here and contribute to the future prosperity of the nation that they make their home.

As well as impractical and inhumane, the Bill is ineffective. It is built on the ridiculous premise that the only way to stop the traffickers profiteering is to criminalise their vulnerable victims and treat them in a subhuman way. The Bill undermines our commitment to international law and our obligations under the UN conventions on refugees and the child, and it degrades what it means to be British. It trashes our proud and long-held values and our record, dating back to 1951, on how we deal with those seeking asylum. It undermines our country’s international standing for upholding and abiding by international law.

Susan Kramer, the daughter of a refugee, was particularly scathing about the language used around this subject:

My Lords, I decided to speak today after reading the words of the Immigration Minister, Robert Jenrick, speaking for the Government to Policy Exchange, demonising migrants and failing to recognise our responsibilities to refugees seeking asylum. He said that “excessive, uncontrolled migration threatens to cannibalise the compassion of the British public”.

“Cannibalise”—what a deliberate and demonising choice of word. He went on: “And those crossing tend to have completely different lifestyles … to those in the UK … undermining the cultural cohesiveness”.

It was deliberately divisive language and certainly not borne out by the UK experience.

I want the Minister today to show me the body of evidence and research that shows how British compassion has been “cannibalised” by asylum seekers and by people like my mother and me. I want to see his evidence of damage to cohesion that genuine asylum seekers, never mind migrants, have inflicted on the UK. I suspect that we will find it has no substance. He needs to show why diversity is a weakness not a strength. Ironically, if the Government continue to argue that migration creates such problems, it should never by its own logic return a single refugee to any country that already has a significant migrant population—and that eliminates most of Europe and indeed Africa, including Rwanda.

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7-9 November – this week in the Lords

A short week in Parliament, with the short November recess starting on Thursday, but there’s plenty of Liberal Democrat interest.

Monday starts with the usual oral questions, this time including a question from Shas Sheehan regarding Government steps, as President of COP26, to acknowledge and address greenhouse gas emissions by developed countries, in the light of recent flooding in Pakistan.

The Seafarers’ Wages Bill receives its Third Reading, with Ros Scott from our benches expected to pursue the issue of how the legislation sits with international agreements in the maritime sector. So far, there’s been little sense that the Government gets this, but given their persistent disregard for such things, it’s unlikely that they’ll change their mind at this stage. And there’s Day 4 of the Committee Stage of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, with Jeremy Purvis, Alison Suttie, Sarah Ludford and Dee Doocey attempting to prevent a blatant power grab by the Government, allowing them to, effectively, rewrite the legisaltion as they go along.

In Grand Committee, the Electronic Trade Documents Bill has its Second Reading, with Chris Fox up for our benches.

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From our Lords Correspondent: the Government see sense, and the Brexit Bill comes…

Last week saw the fallout from the previous week’s defeat of the Government over the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill and, all credit to the Minister, Lord Ahmed of Wimbledon, he had returned with a series of amendments designed to remedy the Bill’s original flaws. At the forefront of the cross-Party collaboration were Sharon Bowles and Susan Kramer, both of whom bring vast amounts of expertise to the table. As Sharon Bowles explained;

When we started out with the Bill, there was no policy in Part 2, yet it gave sweeping powers

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Inflation sign of Brexit squeeze – Lib Dems

Inflation has gone up to 2.7% today.

This confirms long-held Liberal Democrat warnings about the impact of Brexit, with businesses struggling to contain rising costs and consumer demand being squeezed.

Susan Kramer said:

These worrying levels of inflation show the Brexit squeeze is hitting shopping baskets across the country.

This is the reality of Theresa May and Nigel Farage’s extreme Brexit agenda: higher prices in the shops, the cost of holidays going up and less money for our schools and NHS.

A brighter future is possible. We will give people a choice over their future through a referendum, so they can reject a bad Brexit deal and choose to remain in Europe.

Willie Rennie underlined this point:

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#LibDemFightback campaigners busy on the streets this weekend

There are some fantastic, smiling action photos coming out from Lib Dem campaigners this weekend!

Victor Chamberlain has been out twice, campaigning for Simon Hughes with colleagues at the Elephant and Castle:


…and at Borough and Bankside:

Tim Farron visited Leeds – and Leeds Young Liberals captured their excitement at the leader’s arrival:

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Susan Kramer: Brexit squeeze is hitting families with higher food prices

Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, Susan Kramer, has reacted to news from the Office for National Statistics that food prices saw the biggest increase for three years in the year to March:

The Brexit squeeze of a falling pound and rising import costs is hitting families across Britain, with higher prices in the shops denting incomes and leaving us all poorer.

This is deeply worrying news for our economy, which has been propped up by consumer spending.

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Lib Dems: Inflation rise hits the poorest

Senior Liberal Democrats have been commenting on the inflation rise today. I have to say that although  0.5% in a month is a lot, it feels like so much more. The prices of so much of my supermarket shop seems to have gone up by a lot more.

In Scorland, our Economy spokesperson Carolyn Caddick said:

Rising inflation shows that the British public are paying the price for Theresa May’s decision to take Britain out of the Single Market. With the pound falling in value by 18% since the referendum, the price of imports have shot up and broken the official target. Every Scot going on holiday abroad is seeing that their pounds do not buy what they used to.

Worst of all, the dramatic leap in food prices is hitting the poorest the most.

The fragile UK economy has been kept on life support by consumer spending, but with prices rising, that is now threatened. If Theresa May should change course immediately, and recognise that you can’t have a hard Brexit and affordable prices.

Our Shadow Chancellor Susan Kramer also blamed Brexit, saying that “You can’t have a hard brexit and affordable prices.”

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Article 50 Bill: Susan Kramer: Brexit’s impact on financial services could ruin jobs and economy

The Lib Dem Lords have made some cracking contributions to the debate on the Article 50 Bill. Ahead of its next Lords stages, we’re bringing you all the Lib Dem contributions over the course of this weekend. That’s no mean feat. There were 32 of them and cover more than 30,000 words. You are not expected to read every single one of them as they appear. Nobody’s going to be testing you or anything. However, they will be there to refer to in the future. 

Our Lords excelled themselves. Their contributions were thoughtful, individual, well-researched and wide-ranging and it’s right that we present them in full on this site to help the historian of the future. 

Treasury spokesperson Susan Kramer concentrated her remarks on the financial services industry and the impact of its decisions on our economy and the current £75 billion we take in tax from it.

My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Lamont, said that he is very sympathetic to EU nationals in this country. However, he is perfectly happy for them to be used as a bargaining chip. Frankly, I do not think that is consistent with the view of this House or with British values.

Given the pressure of time, I will focus on the importance of giving people a second vote—that is, not a second vote on the original deal but a second vote that is a first vote on the final terms of exit from the European Union. I concur with those who have said that the June referendum gave the Government a mandate for Brexit but did not give them a mandate to choose the most extreme form of economic separation from the EU. It has been Theresa May’s choice and that of her Ministers to opt for a hard Brexit, leaving both the single market and the customs union.

I want to look at the impact of that decision by the May Government on just one sector of our economy—the financial services sector. This sector makes up 7% of the UK’s GDP, pays more than £75 billion a year to the Treasury and provides over 2 million jobs, most of them outside London. It is one of the few industries in which we are a global leader, clearing over 95% of the world’s $600 trillion a day in interest rate swaps, leading not just in traditional areas such as foreign exchange and specialist insurance, but also at the cutting edge of fintech. We damage financial services at our peril.

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Susan Kramer says that Government must unfreeze benefits

Back in July, I told a panel on social security at the Social Liberal Forum conference that in the wake of Brexit, a benefits freeze for four years, which was never a good idea, was entirely inappropriate and we should be opposing it loudly.

Analysis from the Institute of Fiscal Studies confirms that Brexit is going to hit those on benefits and low incomes particularly hard:

Normally many of those on the lowest incomes would be at least partially protected from the impact of higher prices by the rules that govern the annual uprating of benefits and tax credits. By default, benefit and tax credit rates are (with some exceptions, most notably the state pension) increased each April in line with the annual CPI inflation rate of the previous September – higher prices lead to higher benefit rates (albeit with a lag). However, in the July 2015 Budget the Government announced that, as part of its attempt to cut annual social security spending by £12 billion, most working-age benefit and tax credit rates would be frozen in cash terms until March 2020. This policy represented a significant takeaway from a large number of working age households. But it also represented a shifting of risk from the Government to benefit recipients. Previously, higher inflation was a risk to the public finances, increasing cash spending on benefits. Now the risk is borne by low-income households: unless policy changes higher inflation will reduce their real incomes.

I am glad to see that our shadow Chancellor, Susan Kramer, has now said that the Government must reverse its unfair benefits freeze plans:

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LibLink: Susan Kramer warns about the economic dangers of a reckless exit from the EU

In a letter published in the Financial Times, our economic spokesperson, Baroness Susan Kramer argues that it would be “economic vandalism” for the government to fail to financial services sector during the Brexit process:

The financial services industry generates over £65bn in taxes each year, over one-tenth of total government revenue. The loss of full access to the single market in financial services would not just hurt those in the banking industry. It would mean schools, hospitals and services across the country going without funding. We all want to rebalance our economy to be less reliant on financial services, but failing to support this vital sector during Brexit would be an act of economic vandalism.

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Kramer: Cameron and Osborne must stand up to despots and oligarchs

Lib Dem Economics Spokesperson Susan Kramer was not entirely impressed with David Cameron’s pronouncements on corruption. It’s fair to say she won’t be holding her breath. She said:

We welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement that those buying property in the UK or bidding for government contracts will be required to register, but quick action is vital for him to show sincerity, and any such register should be publicly available.

Don’t forget, we have heard similar platitudes before that have amounted to nothing. Back at the G8 conference in 2013 a new drive against tax havens was heralded, and the Panama Papers have exposed just how pathetic that action turned out to be.

When push comes to shove, Cameron and Osborne have shown they will always cater to the whims of corrupt billionaires from across the globe rather than pushing through real change. Unless they are willing to stand up to despots and oligarchs from places like China, Russia and Nigeria, any commitment will prove to be utterly shallow.

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Let’s all defer our tax liability for a year, shall we?

So we have another instance of a large corporation deciding how much tax it’s going to pay. Why does the Government let companies like Facebook, Starbucks, Amazon and Google get away with this?

It’s another example of where being rich and powerful gets you special treatment. The BBC reported:

After heavy criticism that it was avoiding tax, the BBC can reveal that profits from the majority of Facebook’s advertising revenue initiated in Britain will now be taxed in the UK.

It will no longer route sales through Ireland for its largest advertisers.

That includes major businesses such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, consumer goods firm Unilever and advertising giant WPP.

Smaller business sales where advertising is booked online – with little or no Facebook staff intervention – will still be routed through Ireland, which will remain the company’s international headquarters.

I am told the change will mean that Facebook will account for substantially more revenue in the UK and will therefore pay a higher level of corporation tax on the profits it makes here.

Corporation tax is levied at 20% on the profits a business makes.

The changes will be put in place in April and Facebook’s first, higher, tax bill, will be paid in 2017.

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Peers and pancakes race for Rehab charity

Today saw the annual Shrove Tuesday pancake race at the House of Commons in aid of the charity Rehab. You can read all about it and find some amazing looking pancake recipes from the likes of Paul Hollywood, Rick Stein and Gino D’Acampo in the official brochure here. Apple pancakes with Apple Brandy Custard is the one I want to eat most.

Here, courtesy of Terry Stacy, is the Lib Dem contingent of Kate Parminter, Rupert Redesdale, Susan Kramer and Dominic Addington in action.

Lib Dem Peers Pancake team

 

Where’s the pancake?

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Susan Kramer responds to the Autumn Statement in the Lords

New Liberal Democrat economy spokesperson responded to the Autumn Statement in the Lords yesterday. Here’s her speech in full.

It is always a pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Oldham, but I confess that he disappointed me today. He did not throw anything, so we have missed out on the drama of the other place. I was also somewhat disappointed in the Budget. It is less generous than it appears on first viewing: we still have a £12 billion cut in welfare. If I understand it correctly, that will now happen as people transfer into universal credit. I am sure that the Minister will advise noble Lords about that—it would be good to understand how it will work. Of course, I am absolutely delighted that the Chancellor reversed his plans to cut tax credits for poor working people. I think, with some interest, that had the Chancellor been a Member of this House a couple of weeks ago, when the relevant statutory instrument was debated, he would have supported neither the Conservative nor the Labour Motion, but the Liberal Democrat fatal Motion.

We are also pleased with the up fronting of money for the NHS in this Budget, especially the investment in mental health. That is welcome, but can the Minister confirm whether that £600 million is new money for mental health and does not contain any former promise within it? We are supportive of stamp duty on buy to let and very supportive of the increased spending on infrastructure. We note that the Chancellor partially explained that that was because borrowing is now cheap. That is what we have been saying for weeks, so we are very glad that he has listened to that argument.

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Invest in infrastructure, back enterprise and think long term: key principles in Tim Farron’s first major speech on the economy

In just over an hour’s time, Tim Farron makes his first major speech on the economy at the IPPR in London. We’ll have coverage of the whole thing later, but here are the key principles he’s setting out. He also sets out a challenge to Labour to support the Liberal Democrats in stopping the cuts to tax credits, not just putting in transitional relief which would do nothing to help new claimants on low pay.  I suspect that the stuff on venture capitalism shows the influence of Susan Kramer and her professional knowledge in the field.

Here are some of the key points he will make:

The Liberal Democrat economic principles

So today I intend to set out the three principles that will govern Liberal Democrat economic policy for the next five years. They are:

Invest now in infrastructure
Back enterprise
Take the long view

It’s a clear prospectus – just ten words – but it sums up very simply where we need to take this country and how my vision for the future differs from those of George Osborne and Jeremy Corbyn.

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Baroness Susan Kramer writes…Why I’m backing Elaine Bagshaw for Tower Hamlets Mayor

Elaine-Bagshaw-launch

Like most of you I don’t “do miserable” and I’ve been itching to start the fight back.  Local Government has always been Lib Dem territory because we believe in communities and remain aghast at how badly so many are served by their local governments.  So when I got a chance to support Elaine Bagshaw in launching her campaign for Mayor of Tower Hamlets I jumped at it.  Of all the places that need effective local Government focussed on people, listening to people and functioning with integrity, Tower Hamlets must be near the top of the list.  As Elaine says, it’s a largely deprived community in the shadow of the extra-ordinary wealth of the City of London.

Elaine has lived in the area for years so she knows Tower Hamlets’ issues like the back of her hand.  But what I also love is that Elaine is part of the new generation who will now take over our party.  I don’t mean just new as in young, though that is true of many, but also the flood of new members of all ages who are joining with such a sense of purpose and with a vision of the future.  Old warhorses like me can provide the back-up but one silver lining of a bad defeat is that a natural passing of the baton takes place.  And goodness those folk did turn out at Elaine’s launch, at least 50 of them, all ready to spend the day on the doorsteps.

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Kramer urges Councils to make use of enhanced powers to check taxi drivers’ backgrounds

The Standard reports that Transport Minister Susan Kramer has written to Councils across England to urge them to take advantage of enhanced powers to check on the backgrounds of taxi drivers. 

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Lord Robin Teverson writes…Infrastructure Bill delivers a cluster of Liberal Democrat priorities

House of Lords. Photo: Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of ParliamentA very Liberal Democrat bill got its second reading in the Lords yesterday – the Infrastructure Bill.  Lib Dems have already driven through this Parliament an Energy Act which will not just make sure that when it comes to energy infrastructure the lights stay one but that we decarbonise our energy supply.  We’ve been rolling out super fast broadband across the British countryside.  Often forgotten we also have a £35 billion railway investment programme over the next five …

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Susan Kramer: “The whole plan for HS2 has included benefits for Scotland”

Transport Minister Susan Kramer came to Glasgow yesterday to talk about the benefits HS2 will bring to Scotland, even though it’s not as yet planned to come all the way north. It will cut journey times by an hour and bring economic benefit apparently.

She spoke to the BBC here:

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Norman Baker MP writes… Proud of the Lib Dem record on crime prevention

Two weeks is a long time in politics. In a few days I’ve gone from high-speed rail, environmental issues, and cycling to anti-social behaviour, drug policy and tackling violent crimes. It was a fantastic opportunity to work in the Department of Transport, and I know Susan Kramer will make an excellent Minister. We have achieved a lot in a short period of time, and I know Susan will continue to develop positive, progressive and sustainable transport policies.

I am very pleased to have been appointed as Minister for Crime Prevention, and continuing the good work which Jeremy Browne has done in …

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Next week in the Lords: 4-7 March

House of Lords chamberYes, we’re back, after this column’s regular late winter break to study comparisons between government systems in the Caribbean. And whilst the House of Lords and the Cuban leadership do have some similarities – having octogenarians in prominent positions, for example – you would probably want to see more of Eric Avebury than you would Fidel Castro…

So, on with the motley…

Monday kicks off the week with the main business being Day 2 of the Report Stage of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. Amongst the …

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Mark Pack to appear on Question Time as @BBCExtraGuest

Congratulations and good luck to Mark Pack, my co-editor here for another fortnight, who’s in the virtual hot-seat as this week’s @BBCExtraGuest, tweeting opinions and answering questions before and during this week’s edition of BBC1’s Question Time (Thursday, 10.35 pm):

You’ll be able to follow Mark’s tweets as @BBCExtraGuest here.

Congratulations, too, to Lib Dem blogger Richard Morris, whose open letter maybe reminded the BBC …

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Baroness Kramer: Focus on small businesses to get the economy moving

Susan Kramer - Some rights reserved by David SpenderI have previously highlighted some of Baroness (Susan) Kramer’s excellent House of Lords speeches on the economy here on Lib Dem Voice. There follows, courtesy of Lords Hansard, an extract from another speech she gave on Tuesday to the House in a debate on economic growth, urging the government to focus on small and medium size businesses, by whom the vast majority of people are employed:

I would like to add something slightly different to this debate, because as a doer and deliverer I am going to ask him if he might

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This week in the Lords: 28 January – 1 February

House of LordsYes, just as late as has been the habit recently, here’s your heads up for events in the upper chamber this week… anyone would think that I didn’t have a day of my own…

It’s another long week for our Parliamentary Party, with a nod to the recent wintry weather, but Monday sees Day 2 of the Committee Stage of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill, where Tony Greaves will seek to remove attempts to place further limits on the power to require information with planning applications. Frankly, when I see …

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Next week in the Lords: 8-11 October

Yes, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the House of Lords is back! And whilst I get to spend less time with my wife, legislation awaits. Will the death of Lords Reform change anything on the red benches? Just what are they going to discuss without it?

There are three Bills carried forward from before the summer recess;

As a gentle loosener after a summer of grouse shooting, light naps and memoir writing, Monday sees Day 6 of the Committee Stage of the Financial Services Bill, perhaps now …

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Who Lib Dem members think are the most effective non-MPs at promoting the party

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 500 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

Oakeshott, Ashdown and Pack top your list

LDV asked: Which prominent Lib Dems who are NOT MPs (eg, peers, campaigners) are doing an effective job of promoting the party to the public? Please write-in.

    Lord (Matthew) Oakeshott
    Lord (Paddy) Ashdown
    Mark Pack
    Evan Harris
    Baroness (Shirley) Williams
    Lord (Chris) Rennard
    Caroline Pidgeon AM
    Willie Rennie MSP
    Baroness (Susan) Kramer
    Stephen Tall
    Kirsty Williams AM
    Lord (Tom) McNally
    Baroness (Ros) Scott
    Brian

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A longer read for the weekend: Baroness Kramer on how to kick-start economic growth

Earlier this week, Baroness (Susan) Kramer moved a debate in the House of Lords on UK economic growth. Her speech covered the  background to the UK’s current economic position as well as a number of suggestions of what the government can do to encourage growth. Below is a slightly edited version of the speech.

In 2010 the coalition inherited a badly damaged economy. The previous Government had built their boom on the back of tax revenues pumped up by false profits from the banks – …

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Dan Rogerson MP writes… Tackling disadvantage must start before school

Today Nick Clegg announced that the Government was extending the roll out of free Early Years education for all families who meet the free school meals criteria.

This means that the children of parents who are struggling to make ends meet and who rely on state benefits like Income Support or Child Tax Credits will now be entitled to free Early Years education from the age of two.

Sound familiar? That’s because Liberal Democrats in government have been consistently ensuring that one of the Coalition Government’s main priorities is closing the attainment gap between the poorest children and the better off.

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