TORIES MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO RUN OUT THE BREXIT CLOCK. LIB DEM PRESS RELEASE 17th OCTOBER

Tories must not be allowed to run out the Brexit clock

Responding to Michael Gove’s comments that there might not be a Brexit deal until December, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

The Conservatives are making a mess out of Brexit.

Theresa May is trying to run out the clock and push Parliament into a bad deal, or no deal at all. The future of this country must not come down to diplomatic filibustering.

MPs must not allow this form of legislative blackmail. Instead they must give the people the final say on Brexit and an option to remain in the EU.

PM SHOULD FOLLOW TRUDEAU AND LEGALISE CANNABIS. LIB DEM PRESS RELEASE 17th OCTOBER

Lamb: PM should follow Trudeau and legalise cannabis

Responding to the news that Canada has legalised the recreational use of cannabis, former Health Minister Norman Lamb said:

Theresa May should follow Justin Trudeau’s lead in this liberal and sensible approach to legalising cannabis. As the former Home Secretary, she should know full well that the Government has lost control of drug-related crime in this country; and that the criminal market is causing violence in many communities.

An independent expert panel, which I set up in 2015, estimated that by legalising cannabis in the UK we could raise up to £1 billion annually in taxes, money that could be invested in policing, health and education.

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to legalise cannabis and take the market out of the hands of criminals, so that we can properly protect young people from the risks of buying cannabis on the streets.P

GOVERNMENT MUST CHANGE APPROACH TO ILLEGAL HARD DRUGS. LIB DEM PRESS RELEASE 17th OCTOBER

Davey: Govt must change approach to illegal hard drugs

Responding to the reported increase of hard drug related gang activity, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has said:

When children as young as 12 are being exploited by drug gangs, the Government’s approach clearly needs to change. We need to stop both the supply and demand of illegal hard drugs.

That’s why the Liberal Democrats are demanding greater investment in the Border Force, to stop drugs and weapons entering the country in the first place, and an extra £300 million a year for the police, to rebuild the community policing that helps to prevent gangs from operating.

But we must also treat the addiction that fuels demand for these drugs. Rather than simply being locked up, drug users should be diverted into evidence-based treatment programmes and given the support they need to get off drugs.GOV

Government must restore billions to universal credit. 16th Oct 2018

Government must restore billions to universal credit. Lib Dem Press Release

Responding to reports that the Government is planning to further delay the rollout of Universal Credit, Liberal Democrat Work and Pensions spokesperson Stephen Lloyd MP said:

Universal Credit might be a good idea in principle, but the Conservatives’ botched implementation of it is causing unnecessary misery for millions.

The leaked plans to reform Universal Credit will never solve the problem. They are only tinkering at the edges. Nothing short of restoring the billions the Tories cut from UC’s Work Allowance will be acceptable.

Liberal Democrats demand better. That is why I have urged Ministers to restore UC’s Work Allowance to its original levels, so that work really does pay for those on low incomes. Without it the new benefit scheme will continue to lurch from crisis to crisis.

 

LIB DEM PRESS RELEASES. TAXING TECH GIANTS. BREXIT AND BORDERS

Swinson and Cable call on Hammond to work with EU on taxing tech giants

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Jo Swinson MP has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer calling on him to throw his weight behind a new EU tax on tech giants.

Leader Vince Cable has co-signed the letter, which urges Philip Hammond to use the Budget to set out how he will incorporate the EU’s initiative into any Treasury initiative to tax big internet firms.

Following reports that a new European tax on internet companies could be agreed by the end of the year, Jo said:

I urge the Chancellor to focus his energy on making this EU-wide tax happen. This is a golden opportunity that we cannot afford to miss.

Tech giants are getting away with not paying their fair share of tax because we make it easy for them.

The time to act is now if we want to create a level playing field for businesses in the UK and give our struggling high streets a much needed boost.

Britain is always at its best when it brings countries together in a common cause. If we want to tax tech giants we must work together with our European allies and others around the globe.

Cable: Brexit means borders, bureaucracy and betrayal

Responding to Theresa May’s statement to the House of Commons on Brexit negotiations, Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable said:

It is not clear why Theresa May felt it necessary to make this statement. She said nothing new, failing to add one iota to our knowledge of what is going on – and just at a time when the public wants and deserves clarity on negotiations.

In relation to Ireland, Mrs May has hopefully at least learned the following: Brexit means bureaucracy; Brexit means borders; ultimately, and worst of all, Brexit means betrayal of the Good Friday Agreement

TAXING LAND NOT INVESTMENT

The report – “Taxing Land, Not Investment” – calls for the abolition of business rates and its replacement with a tax on land values, the Commercial Landowner Levy (CLL). The levy would remove buildings and machinery from calculations and tax only the land value of commercial sites, boosting investment and cutting taxes for businesses in nine out of ten English local authorities.

This ground-breaking research was led by founder of the Lib Dem Business and Entrepreneurs Network (LDBEN) Andrew Dixon, in response to mounting concerns about the negative impact of business rates on struggling high streets and the wider economy.

Key recommendations from the report include:

  • Business rates should be abolished and replaced by a Commercial Landowner Levy based on the value of the land only
  • The levy should be paid by owners rather than tenants
  • Non-residential stamp duty should be scrapped to improve the efficiency of the commercial property market
  • Commercial land should be taxed regardless of whether the buildings above it are occupied; the tax should also apply to unused and derelict commercial land

The report also finds:

  • The CLL would mean lower taxes for businesses in 92% of English local authorities. In places like Oldham, Blackburn, West Bromwich, Barrow, Middlesbrough and 92 other local authorities, average taxes would be cut by over 25%, and in some cases by as much as 46%
  • The manufacturing and technology sectors would be the most significant beneficiaries of the CLL, receiving tax cuts of over 20%. Retailers in struggling areas would also receive a boost.
  • The CLL would represent a tax cut initially, but is likely to be at least revenue-neutral in the long-term. Redistribution between local authorities would be adjusted to ensure no change in local funding.
  • By taxing landowners rather than businesses, half a million SMEs would be spared the bureaucratic burden of property taxation. With less plots of land than individual businesses, the CLL would save councils both time and money

Liberal Democrat members will debate and vote on the proposals at the party’s Autumn Conference in Brighton next month.
The full report to conference can be found on the Lib Dem Website

 

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said:

“Business rates were a badly designed policy to begin with and have become an unacceptable drag on our economy. They are a tax on productive investment at a time of chronically weak productivity growth, and a burden on high streets struggling to adapt to the rise of online retail.

“Many of the areas around the country that voted for Brexit feel they have been left behind. In place of policies the Brexiters offer only rhetoric. Great swathes of the country demand better, and this policy offers change to the manufacturing industry and the small towns passed over by economic growth.”

Chris Richards, Head of Business Environment Policy at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation said:

“This report is a strong addition to the debate on the future of business rates and property taxation, which despite many reviews is not an issue that has gone away.

“Manufacturing as a sector with high capital intensity is perversely affected by business rates, as investments in productivity boosting plant and machinery are included in tax calculations – for some manufacturers making significant investments this is enough to put them off making that investment in the UK.

“Innovative solutions will be needed to remove this challenge while ensuring stability from a future tax regime, and today’s report is an important contribution to finding a solution.”

Philip Salter, Founder and Director of The Entrepreneur’s Network, said:

“Business rates are a tax on investment, adding to Britain’s productivity woes. Introducing a Commercial Landowner Levy would remove a key disincentive to investment and reduce administration costs for thousands of business owners. This is exactly the sort of policy entrepreneurs need to thrive.”

Founder of the Liberal Democrat Business and Entrepreneurs Network Andrew Dixon said:

“By only taxing land and not the productive capital above it, this reform would remove a major disincentive to investment, boosting productivity and contributing to a necessary revival in UK industry. While separate action is needed to ensure online retailers pay their fair share of corporation tax, our proposals would offer a lifeline to struggling high streets.

“I am delighted to support this initiative which I believe would boost business and enterprise across the UK, and I am grateful to members of the Liberal Democrats Business & Entrepreneurs Network for their valuable contributions to this important research”

VINCE CABLE ON SYRIA

 

Following the air strikes on Syria Vince Cable made the following statement.

Riding the coattails of an erratic US President is no substitute for a mandate from the House of Commons.

The Prime Minister could and should have recalled Parliament this week and sought the approval of MPs before proceeding.

Liberal Democrats stood ready to assess the evidence and objectives for any action and if it were properly planned and justified, to support a military response.

At this moment our thoughts are with British and allied troops. But the Government’s decision fatally undermines the integrity of this mission.

It shows a weak Government putting short-term political expediency before democracy and in so doing further diminishing the standing of Britain in the world.

I would add.

At no time since the second world war has world peace been under greater threat. This is a time when we should be working with partners to find a peaceful solution. Instead our divided minority government is pushing down the Brexit path which will only weaken our security and divide us from our natural friends. In the interest of the UK this process should be put on hold now.

Surge in rough sleeping shows more funding needed to prevent homelessness

Vince Cable is making the resolution of Homelessness a major area of action for the Lib Dems.

 

Rough sleeping in England rose by 15% in the year to autumn 2017, according to new government figures. 

A 15% rise in rough sleeping is shameful and shows the Conservatives have failed to take real action to tackle the housing crisis.

The number of rough sleepers is hard to record and so these figures are likely to be an understatement of the full extent of the crisis.

Until the Government commits to the funding needed to prevent homelessness and builds more genuinely affordable homes, and invests properly in mental health care, the number of rough sleepers will continue to rise at a shocking pace.

This is why I’m putting tackling rough sleeping, and the wider issue of homelessness, at the heart of my leadership of the Liberal Democrats.

Rail Needs Urgent Modernisation – Randerson

Responding to the Campaign for Better Transport’s report calling for a reform of rail franchising and improvements in ticketing, Lib Dem Transport Spokesperson Baroness Randerson said:

Liberal Democrats are on the side of the customer when it comes to needing more guarantees, and sanctions where necessary for failing franchises. The rail network could desperately do with modernising from top to bottom, including the way in which we pay inconsistent fares with outdated technology.

The party believes that a greater focus on passengers is needed to improve performance and would like to see the Department for Transport extend the right to operate franchises to those at a more local level.

Ed Davey: Disgrace Government had to be dragged through courts on air pollution

The Government has announced it won’t challenge the High Court judgement and will publish a draft plan to tackle air pollution next week, after having attempted to delay the plans until after the election.

Ed Davey, former Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Change Secretary and the party’s candidate for Kingston and Surbiton, commented:

It is a disgrace this Conservative government had to be dragged through the courts before agreeing to publish a plan to tackle air pollution. How much taxpayers’ money has been wasted because of the failure of ministers to do the right thing?

There is an urgent threat to people’s health from air pollution, yet time and again this government has dithered and delayed instead of taking action.

The Liberal Democrats will fight to ensure action is taken to tackle the air pollution crisis that is claiming thousands of lives in UK each year.