Councils should invest in the local economy

West Berkshire Council should invest in our local economy.

This week, at the Liberal Democrat party conference, I made a speech about the need for more ambitious local authority funding, with reference to the horrendous cuts to services we are seeing in West Berkshire. West Berks District Council is the epitome of un-ambitious when it comes to finding ways to pay for much-needed services like libraries, buses and respite care for families taking care of children and adults with mental health issues.

The cuts are entirely ideological, being imposed by George Osborne who believes in providing minimal government support for society, and enacted by West Berkshire Conservatives, who largely agree.

As a Liberal Democrat I wholeheartedly disagree with both the conservative ideology and the way that our local authority and MP are caving in without a fight. For instance, in a letter to the Newbury Weekly News last week Councillor Crumly (Con, Thatcham Central) claimed that Councils have four options only to solve the current problems: to increase charges for services, to increase council tax, to cut internal costs, or to reduce local services.

This is not true. Authorities across the UK, from Swindon and Basingstoke, to Eastleigh, Portsmouth and North Yorkshire, are engaged in positive schemes to generate income which they are using to cushion the ‘George Osborne effect’.

In my speech to conference, I highlighted the ambitious, imaginative approaches taken by Eastleigh and Portsmouth Councils, back when Liberal Democrats were in charge.

Clip (33 secs):

 

Here is the full speech (03mins 20secs):

Green in Government

If you support the environment and green policies, please have a read of the post below.

While in government Liberal Democrats doubled renewable energy generation in the UK and planted 1 million trees,  extended the coastal path and set up nationwide schemes to promote home insulation. 

Read on for more information about the achievements of Ed Davey on renewable energy:

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10th March 2015

Under Ed Davey’s determined stewardship in the department of energy, somewhat to the consternation of conservatives such as Michael Fallon and George Osborne, there has been massive investment in renewables:

  • Electricity generation from renewable sources has doubled since 2010 and now supplies 15% of the UK’s electricity.
  • The average annual investment in renewables has more than doubled since 2010.    
  • In 2013 alone, £8bn investment in renewables.
  • Solar PV 2011 – 2013: £6.4 billion. Rather wonderfully, the cost of installation has halved since 2010.
  • Biomass and Bioenergy 2010 – 2013: £6.3bn investment.
  • carbon capture and storage research supported to the tune of £1bn – not bad for research funding.  

If you want to read more, take a look at: 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/331071/DECC_Energy_Investment_Report.pdf

http://www.libdems.org.uk/electricity_generated_by_renewables_has_doubled_since_2010

Green in Government

key_greenwindfarm

Under Ed Davey’s determined stewardship in the department of energy, somewhat to the consternation of conservatives such as Michael Fallon and George Osborne, there has been massive investment in renewables:

  • Electricity generation from renewable sources has doubled since 2010 and now supplies 15% of the UK’s electricity.
  • The average annual investment in renewables has more than doubled since 2010.    
  • In 2013 alone, £8bn investment in renewables.
  • Solar PV 2011 – 2013: £6.4 billion. Rather wonderfully, the cost of installation has halved since 2010.
  • Biomass and Bioenergy 2010 – 2013: £6.3bn investment.
  • carbon capture and storage research supported to the tune of £1bn – not bad for research funding.  

New manifesto plans include legal targets for clean air and water, an end to dirty coal power stations and an ambitious decarbonisation target for the electricity sector.

We will introduce Five Green Laws to protect nature and fight climate change.

If you want to read more, take a look at: 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/331071/DECC_Energy_Investment_Report.pdf

http://www.libdems.org.uk/electricity_generated_by_renewables_has_doubled_since_2010