Jo’s Message for International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Jo Swinson’s message of fairness and openness on the international day of persons with disabilities.

3rd December is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. A day set aside to promote the rights and well-being of people with disabilities.

Let us use today to increase our understanding of disabilities, which can be physical, mental, sensory or cognitive.

People with disabilities play a crucial role in the development of our communities. Yet, disabled people are one of the most marginalised groups in our country. Discrimination, isolation and injustice are an everyday reality for many. This is not good enough.

As a Party, we are clear: people with disabilities must have the opportunity to fully participate in every aspect of society. We cannot accept cuts in the support available to disabled people. We cannot sit back while our villages, towns, and cities remain inaccessible. And we cannot stand by as disability hate crimes continue to rise.

We must be relentless in our efforts to build a more inclusive country, because we are all better off when everyone can realise their full potential.

Let us build a brighter future for disabled people everywhere.

Human Rights Act on the line in this election

The Liberal Democrats have vowed to defend the Human Rights Act, after the Conservative manifesto pledged to “update” the legislation.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, Christine Jardine said:

We’ve known for years that the Conservatives want to undermine the Human Rights Act that safeguards our individual freedoms, and their manifesto confirms it.

When the Tories say they will ‘update’ the Act, there’s no doubt that they mean weaken it.
 

The Liberal Democrats’ plan to tackle the housing crisis

A partially built housing development: Liberal Democrats' plan to tackle the housing crisis.
We will ensure that 300,000 new homes are built per year, including 100,000 social homes for rent. 

Whether renting or buying, too many people across the country – people who work hard and play by the rules – are struggling to afford good homes in in the right location.

We are facing a national housing crisis. Both Labour and the Conservatives, in pursuing Brexit, show they are wiling to risk 10% of our construction workers who are from the EU, making this crisis worse.

Everyone deserves to have a safe and secure home. Liberal Democrats will tackle rogue landlords with mandatory licencing, and promote long-term lettings.

A Liberal Democrat government will tackle the housing crisis by ensuring that 300,000 new homes are built per year, including 100,000 social homes for rent.

We will also establish a Rent-to-Own model for social housing, and provide government-backed tenancy deposit loans for all first-time renters under 30.

We’ll tackle wasted vacant housing stock by allowing local authorities to increase council tax by up to 500% where homes are left empty for more than six months.

Building secure homes which are fit for the future is at the heart of the Liberal Democrats’ plan for a brighter future.

Learn more about our Plan for the Future here

The top 5 steps in our plan for Britain’s future

Jo Swinson holding the Liberal Democrat manifesto.
Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit, and invest in our mental health services, give free childcare to working parents, put 20,000 more teachers into classrooms, and take ambitious action to tackle the climate emergency.

The Liberal Democrats have officially launched our 2019 General Election Manifesto

In it, we have outlined a clear plan to build a brighter future, where every person, every community and our planet can thrive. 

Don’t have time to read the full manifesto right now? Here, we explain our top 5 steps:

1. Stop Brexit

Liberal Democrats' Stop Brexit poster, showing police officers in hi-vis jackets.

Labour and the Conservatives can’t offer the country a brighter future because they both want Brexit.

The national humiliation of Brexit puts so much at risk; we know that it would be bad for our economy, bad for our NHS and bad for our environment.

Jo Swinson is the only candidate for Prime Minister who unequivocally believes that the UK is stronger as part of the EU.

By keeping the UK in the EU, we can get on with tackling the real issues facing our country, and we can do this by investing the £50 billion Remain Bonus in public services and tackling inequality.

2. Tackle the climate emergency

LibDems climate emergency campaign poster, showing a man fitting solar panels to a roof.

We are the first generation to know we are destroying the environment, and the last generation with a chance to do something about it before it’s too late.

Liberal Democrats offer a new plan to innovate our way out of crisis. To mobilise every community in the country, and the resources of both the public and private sector to achieve it. To turn the birthplace of the industrial revolution into the home of the new Green Revolution.

This starts by generating 80% of our electricity from renewables by 2030 and insulating all low-income homes by 2025.

3. Give every child the best start in life

LibDems' campaign poster to give every child the best start in life; showing Jo Swinson, a teacher, and a pupil in school.

Our schools should be world class, helping every child make the most of the challenges ahead. But instead, they are trailing behind.

The Conservatives have cut school funding to the bone and children have paid the price, especially those with the most complex needs.

Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future for every child. By stopping Brexit, we can spend £10 billion of our Remain Bonus on reversing school cuts and hiring 20,000 more teachers – so that pupils can leave school happy, healthy and with the skills they need to succeed in life.

This is an investment in our children’s future.

4. Build a fairer economy

Liberal Democrat skills and training poster, showing British money.

In an ever changing workplace people often need to develop new skills, but the cost of courses and qualifications shuts too many people out.

Liberal Democrats will create a new era of learning throughout adult life with Skills Wallets for every individual, providing them with £10,000 to spend on education and training at various stages of their lives.

With Skills Wallets, we will empower people to develop new skills so that they can thrive in the technologies and industries that are key to the UK’s economic future and prosperity.

Another key factor in building a fairer economy is by providing free, high-quality childcare for every child aged two to four, for 35 hours a week, 48 weeks a year. This offer is extended to children aged between 9 and 24 months where their parents are in work. 

This offering will finally give parents more choice about when they return to work and unlock their untapped potential for our economy.

5. Transform our mental health services

Liberal Democrats' improved mental health campaign, showing a counsellor speaking with a patient.

Approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. But for too many, treatment is a postcode lottery.

No one should be forced to travel unreasonable distances away from home, and that’s why Liberal Democrats will invest £11bn into mental health to provide parity of urgency with physical health.

We want to break down the barriers of stigma and shame, which leave those suffering, alienated and isolated, and we want to make the UK a world leader in keeping our nation well with our push for greater emphasis on wellbeing.

Only Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats have a plan to stop Brexit and build a brighter future for everyone.

Lib Dems respond to Tory candidate who said “nuisance tenants” should be forced to live in tents

In response to a Conservative candidate in a marginal seat stating that “nuisance tenants” should be forced to pick vegetables and live in a tent in a field, Lib Dem Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

“Everyone in this country deserves a decent standard of living. Conservative candidate Lee Anderson’s comment exposes a concerning disregard for this basic human right, and a lack of empathy towards those whom he aspires to represent.

“As a Conservative parliamentary candidate in a marginal seat, Anderson should not be stoking and entrenching division, or targeting vulnerable people.

“Unfortunately, this sort of comment is all too common from Conservative Party candidates, who are out of touch with the constituencies and the people they are attempting to represent.”

Lib Dems commit £6 billion per year to strengthen welfare system

Some details ….

The Liberal Democrats will today (Sunday 17 November) announce bold proposals to invest £6 billion per year to strengthen the welfare system over the next Parliament. This forms part of the party’s ambitious plans to build a brighter future.

Tory austerity has left a fifth of UK citizens in poverty, unable to afford even the most basic essentials. 

The Liberal Democrats will tackle this crisis by committing £6 billion per year to strengthen the welfare system over the next Parliament. Liberal Democrat proposals will prioritise tackling child poverty by abolishing the cruel two-child limit for Universal Credit and ending the unfair benefits cap. 

A Liberal Democrat government will make work pay and tackle in-work poverty, by using part of the Remain bonus – the £50 billion of extra funding that would be generated by stopping Brexit – to restore Work Allowances and introduce a second-earner Work Allowance. A Liberal Democrat government will also invest in boosting the Local Housing Allowance by linking it to average rents in each area.

Liberal Democrat plans to strengthen the UK’s welfare system will protect the most vulnerable and help to build a brighter future. 

Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Work and Pensions Tim Farron said:

“For too many people in the UK today, working hard and playing by the rules is no longer enough to secure a decent life. Millions of people’s lives have worsened under the Conservatives. Since 2015 they have bungled the roll-out of Universal Credit, made brutal cuts to benefits and introduced their senseless two-child limit that is fuelling child poverty.

“The Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit and invest billions of pounds from the Remain bonus in building a brighter future for those struggling in our society. We will fix our broken welfare system to ensure that everyone has the same opportunities regardless of where they come from.”

Angie Curwen’s Top 3 Priorities for North Thanet

Homes for All

Angie is fighting for everyone to have a safe, affordable home as a basic human right.  She is actively working with local communities to deliver community-led housing.  She is working to develop locally affordable housing for local people.

If elected Angie will challenge the national formula that dictates 17,400 homes must be built on Thanet by 2030.  Angie firmly believes this should be between 9,000 – 12,000 homes. 

Angie will also challenge the current planning system whereby local councils and residents have very little power over what type of homes are built, where they are built and what infrastructure needs to be put in place to support existing and new homes.

Protect our NHS

Angie will support Save Our NHS In Kent (SONIK) in their fight to keep stroke services, A&E and Maternity services at both QEQM and KCH.  She agrees with their statements that to remove these services will cost lives and is not supported evidentially to improve outcomes, especially in North Thanet where we have a growing elderly population and areas of deprivation which naturally makes it harder for people to access services.

Tackle Climate Change

Angie will FIGHT for GREEN energy, GREEN transport and GREEN investments.  Climate change and air pollution threaten our lives now! 

We have known that air pollution blackspots exist in North Thanet for far too long and nothing has been done.  This is adversely affecting people’s health now.

If elected Angie will fight for affordable green transport to be introduced locally and on a national basis for diesel engines to be phased out.  We have the green technology, it is now up to government to legislate for it to be put into use. Angie supports the Campaign for Better Transport in their aim to launch a programme to replace the entire bus fleet with zero emission vehicles by 2035 and all new buses being zero emission from 2025 ..

Nationally The Liberal Democrats proposal is to expand renewable energy generation to 80% in just ten years and to insulate 30 million homes within 10 years from a standing start and to achieve carbon neutrality for the UK by 2045. The 2045 date is in line with many environmental groups, such as WWF and Friends of the Earth, it’s also in line with existing technologies available to us.

No Deal is a No Go

by Angie Curwen PPC for North Thanet – 4th September 2019

I read an article by Sir Ivan Rogers in the Spectator today and it hits the nail on the head of Brexit so well that I have been moved to share it with as many of my friends, relations and colleagues as possible and so I have decided to post some key points it makes here as well.

Ivan Rogers was Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the European Union from 4 November 2013 until his resignation on 3 January 2017 following a leaked memo in which he expressed the view that a settlement between the UK and the European Union might not be reached for 10 years, if at all.

Debate

Sir Ivan states “As so often in the last three years, much of our political debate is ducking the central strategic questions and is obsessing about tactical ones.”

He goes on to say that while it is right and proper to be preparing for the immediate aftermath of leaving with no deal, “Remarkably little of the debate is about our real long term options. We should be thinking 10 to 20 years ahead, not 10 weeks.”

Business Clarity

On the subject of Business he says “The idea, peddled by ministers, that businesses would have the ‘clarity’ and ‘certainty’ they need about the UK’s ultimate destination after a ‘no deal’ exit in eight weeks time, is laughable. They would not even know whether there would be ANY sort of preferential trading with our largest trading partner, let alone what sort and when.”

Blame Game

Discussing the apportionment of blame he writes “The blame game on both sides, as both recognise – belatedly – that the potential landing zone for an agreement has all but disappeared, is therefore already well under way. There is certainly plenty of blame to go around.” He goes on to say “It (leaving with no deal) would also mark both a UK government failure and an EU failure. It takes two for a negotiation to fail”

JUST KEEP SAYING IT DOESN’T MAKE IT TRUE!

Sir Ivan states that our political elite, by which I take it he means the PM and his cabinet, are in denial: “No amount of repetition of ‘this will all be terribly easy’ ever makes it true.  It is not unpatriotic or ‘declinist’ to point out that a process of ‘differential disentanglement’ – which is actually what Brexit is –  will be hard, complex and lengthy. How, seriously, after more than three years can so much of our political elite still be in denial on this?”

CLUB

A well argued point by many but I still think Sir Ivan puts it rather well: “If you leave a club whose other members are prepared to integrate more deeply politically and juridically than you, because they see economic and political benefits from doing so, you cannot tell the public that any adverse consequences of leaving are all the club’s fault, for wilfully not carrying on giving you club benefits when you leave.”

BORDERS

It is incredibly frustrating that so many including refuse to admit the definition of a border. Sir Ivan makes a succinct statement about borders: “Nor can you just wish away issues at borders, whether on land or cross-Channel, when the entire purpose of leaving the Single Market and Customs Union must be to run deliberately different regulatory regimes – chosen by your own Parliament – where you believe it suits you. Such choices by definition entail a hard border. Borders across the whole world demarcate different regulatory regimes.”

Trade

We are in unchartered territory deciding to leave a trading bloc says Sir Ivan: “No developed country has taken itself out of a trade bloc since the war because the costs of deliberately making trade substantially more difficult with your closest neighbours are obviously large. No trade deal has ever been struck between partners actively seeking to get further apart. Trade deals have always been between those aspiring to converge and to increase trade flows, not diverge and decrease them.”

“We face the most explosive political week for years, perhaps decades” writes Sir Ivan.” As I write this, 20 eminent MPs from the Conservative Party have stood up for honesty and integrity and have as a result been thrown out of their party. MPs across all political spectrums are standing up against lies being told frequently by our Prime Minister and his cabinet. It is my belief that we must all follow their lead and call out lies and manipulative behaviour wherever we see it.