Lib Dem Judith Bunting unveils manifesto plan to fund more nurses, teachers and police in West Berkshire

The Liberal Democrats have launched their manifesto plans today for a brighter future, with pledges to reverse Conservative cuts and increase funding for the NHS, schools and police.

The Party’s landmark policy would give the people the final say on the Brexit deal which would include the option to remain in the EU.

The Liberal Democrats would put a penny on income tax for health and care, which would raise £8m for the NHS in Newbury and District Clinical Commissioning Group – enough to fund 48 more nurses.

An additional £28,953,046 of funding for schools in West Berkshire paid for in part by reversing Conservative cuts to corporation tax, would be enough to pay for 159 more teachers.

Meanwhile an additional £8.3m funding for Thames Valley Police would pay for 166 more officers, helping to cut crime and ensure a stronger police presence in the area.

Other key policies in the Liberal Democrat manifesto include plans for a £100bn infrastructure fund to build more homes, improve road and rail links and install fibre-optic broadband across the country.

The Liberal Democrats will also give the people a chance to change Britain’s future by holding a referendum on the final Brexit deal, with the option to remain.

Liberal Democrat candidate for Newbury, Judith Bunting said:

“These plans would build a brighter future for people in Newbury and West Berkshire and reverse Conservative cuts to our schools, hospitals and police.

“We want to build a fairer Britain, with good schools and hospitals, a clean environment and an innovative economy.

“You don’t have to accept Theresa May and Nigel Farage’s cold, mean-spirited vision of Britain.

“The Liberal Democrats will stand up to a bad Brexit deal that will cost jobs and put up prices and give you the final say.

“As your Liberal Democrat MP, I will fight for a better deal on Europe, more money for the NHS and schools and a brighter future for Newbury and West Berkshire.” 

Judith Bunting outside West Berkshire Community Hospital
Judith Bunting outside West Berkshire Community Hospital

The Lib Dem Manifesto (and Easy Read, BSL and Braille versions) can be found here.

Brexit – why we need a referendum on the final deal

The nature of the deal which the government secures – if they manage to secure one, at all – will have major implications for the British economy, for the Union, and for our standing in the world. It will shape our future as a nation.

Theresa May is very attached to the idea of “strong leadership in the national interest”, which is why it is all the more baffling that she has chosen to pursue the most extreme and damaging form of Brexit. And this is her choice, she alone is responsible for pursuing this course.

She could have chosen to be in the Single Market. Brexiteers like to pretend that this is not possible, but three non-EU countries have done so: Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

She could have chosen to be in the Customs Union. One non-EU country, Turkey, has done so.

She could have tried to persuade the EU to reform the free movement rules to re-focus them on work, instead of giving up without a fight.

Instead, she shunned the Single Market and the Customs Union, elevating immigration and a set of arcane arguments about the role of the European Court of Justice over the needs of the economy and the needs of millions of hard pressed families.

In cash terms, by the time it’s finished in 4 years time, Brexit will have dented the public finances by £59bn.

Let’s be very clear: this has serious consequences for the NHS, social care, and schools. At a time when vital public services are desperately in need of additional funding, the Conservatives are pouring billions into the Brexit black hole.

This is why we need a referendum on the final agreement, so that the people can judge for themselves whether it is right future for the country. That referendum will offer two choices; accept the deal, or remain in the EU. Liberal Democrats will campaign for a remain vote.

By allowing the Brexit hardliners in their party to call the shots, the Conservatives have thrown away our place in Europe and inflicted a needlessly harmful cost on the country.

Don’t let them get away with it. They don’t deserve to rule our country unopposed.

*****

If you would like to join the Liberal Democrats, please click here:
Join the party.

If you would like to join Judith Bunting’s campaign team, please email here:
Join the Newbury and West Berks team.

EU cross-party Q&A in Hungerford

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Answering questions about Europe in Hungerford this evening (Monday 20th June):

Judith Bunting (Liberal Democrat)
Richard Benyon MP (Conservative)
Jonny Roberts (Labour)

Thank you to all who came along to the debate in Hungerford this evening. We were faced with a great set of questions and had at least one clear conversion in the room.

A couple of follow up notes: 

* Re EU borders, new members and Turkey: Yes, Britain has a veto. Accession of any candidate state must be approved unanimously by the Council of the EU, which is made up of representatives from each member state, and ratified by all national parliaments. 

* Re Democracy in the EU. People say the EU is led by people who are unelected, call it a dictatorship, say it’s undemocratic. To build on answers given this evening explaining how this is not the case:

1/ The Council of Europe sits at the top of the tree. It’s members are government ministers from each EU country according to the policy area to be discussed – ie: for us, MPs elected in the UK. In the Council, these government ministers from each EU country meet to discuss, amend and adopt laws, and coordinate policies. The ministers have the authority to commit their governments to the actions agreed on in the meetings.

2/ The European Parliament is the directly-elected EU body with law-making, supervisory, and financial responsibilities – ie: this is where EU law is made, where international agreements are decided, where the people WE elect as MEPs sit to represent us and supervise policy motions that come down from the Council of Europe (see above).

3/ The European Commission: The European Commission proposes new laws, manages some policies and represents the EU in trade agreements. Most staff of the Commission are akin to our civil servants. They number approx 33,000, a group about the size of Birmingham City Council.

The Commission is led by a group of Commissioners, 1 from each EU country, each of whom has responsibility for one area of governance eg Energy, Environment, Trade. Yes, these people are unelected, but a) they are effectively senior civil servants and b) each is appointed by the elected government in the member state. Britain’s current Commissioner is Jonathan Hill, appointed by David Cameron in 2014. He is Commissioner for Financial Stability in the EU and Financial Services.  

If you have a question there wasn’t time to ask, do drop me a line at judithbunting@wbld.org.uk. 

 Phot from Hungerford Lib Dems

This event was hosted by the Stronger IN Campaign