Liberal Democrats to waive exorbitant fees for veterans

A line of Royal Marines.

We’re waiving archaic fees that allow the Home Office to make a profit off of our veterans.

There are currently over 4,500 Commonwealth soldiers serving in the British Armed Forces. 1.7m men and women of the Commonwealth forces gave their lives for us during the two World Wars.

We owe them all a great debt – yet we are not doing nearly enough to support them.

If a foreign soldier wants to bring their family to the UK, they have to meet minimum income requirements. To bring their partner alone, a soldier must earn £18,600 – if they have three children this threshold gets as high as £27,200.

This prices out many veterans from coming to the UK.

And then there is a second cost.

The cost of applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain has increased three-fold over recent years. While the cost used to be £750, it is now £2,389. This means that a family of four would have to pay over £9,550.

This is especially outrageous as the cost per application to the Home Office is just £243. The Home Office is making a profit off the back of veterans who have risked their lives to protect us.

For many veterans, this has meant that they have had to return to their country of origin. For others, it has meant they have stayed in the UK without immigration status, unable to work and living in destitution. In either instance, these servicemen and women have not been allowed to settle in the UK.

This is an appalling way to thank veterans who have spent years serving our armed forces. Unfortunately, it is yet another example of the Tories’ spiteful hostile environment policy.

The Liberal Democrats demand better for those who have served us so bravely.

A Lib Dem government will waive veterans’ application fee for Indefinite Leave to Remain. We will support our Commonwealth and foreign veterans when others refuse.

The Lib Dems’ vision for our country is open and inclusive to all. By encouraging these brave servicemen and women to settle here, we will build a better future.

Well that’s hustings number 1 done!

Angie & Martyn attended a hustings in Olby’s in Margate last night. It was called by Extinction Rebellion, and attended by candidates for North and South Thanet from Labour, Green, and Lib Dems.

The Conservative Candidates were unavailable.

As we expected, this was a lively event, with passions running high, and the majority of the audience were staunch Labour supporters.

As Liberal Democrats, Martyn and I gave a good account of the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto pledges on the environment, and whilst we were robustly challenged on Manston Airport, I believe we gave a good account of ourselves, and projected our integrity as candidates.

Our next hustings

The next hustings is in Herne Bay for North Thanet Candidates on Monday 25th November at 7pm at:

Christ Church
William Street
Herne Bay

Do come along to support Angie if you can and publicise amongst friends and family.

Fundraising Event – with pizza!

We are urgently in need of funds to ensure we are able to run our best campaigns, and Robert & Alistair of the Bay Tree Hotel in Broadstairs, are kindly holding a fundraising event on Wednesday 27th November at 7pm.

This is your chance to meet us, your candidates, and support our campaign!

The Bay Tree Hotel
12 Eastern Esplanade
CT10 1DR

There is a suggested donation of £5, which includes tea, coffee, or a glass of wine, plus a slice of pizza!

There will be also be crafts, gifts, and a raffle!

All proceeds go to help fund the election campaigns in North and South Thanet.

Please RSVP if you plan to come along, so that we can make sure there is enough pizza to go round: RSVP.

Campaign materials are now available but we need your help!

We now have postcards, to be delivered for both North and South Thanet, so if you are able to take some to deliver in your own street and those surrounding you, please do let us know, and we’ll arrange to drop some off to you.

Just email us here.

Social media campaign

Our social media campaign is now running, so please follow us on Facebook:


Once you have followed us, please like, comment, and share our posts. This will help to drive engagement, and get our messages out across North and South Thanet.

Thanet Liberal Democrats Annual General Meeting

Finally (for now!), we look forward to seeing you at our AGM tomorrow in Sandwich Guildhall, ground floor meeting room, at 10.00am.

Sandwich Guildhall
Cattle Market
CT13 9AH

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 will freeze rail fare increases in NORTH THANET saving commuters hundreds/thousands of pounds.

The Liberal Democrats have announced they will freeze rail fare increases for NORTH THANET commuters and season ticket holders for the next five years, while fixing the broken fares and ticketing system.

A Liberal Democrat government would cancel the 2.8% rail fare increase planned for December 2018 and freeze NORTH THANET commuter fares and season tickets for the entirety of the next five years.

These proposals would save season ticket holders from NORTH THANET to CITY, £X over the next five years (Total Saving here – use fare freeze generator and take figure from F9 in the spreadsheet).This policy is expected to cost approximately £1.6 billion.

The Liberal Democrats would also overhaul ticketing by simplifying the system, looking to create season tickets for part-time commuters and introducing early-bird fares. The party would ensure that all rail franchises apply delay repay compensation for delays of 15 minutes or more.

Liberal Democat candidate for NOTH THANET, ANGIE CURWEN said:

“Under the Tories, CONSTITUENCY commuters have been catastrophically let down. People are paying way over the odds for what has often been an appalling service.

“The Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future by freezing fares from CONSTITUENCY to MAJOR CITY for the next five years, saving local commuters hundreds/thousands pounds. We will properly invest in fixing our creaking rail network to improve capacity and reduce overcrowding, so CONSTITUENCY commuters are no longer treated like cattle.

“But this is about more than just providing more funding. We will also strip rail companies of franchises if they don’t meet the standards expected of them, and develop new transport mutual companies to foster alternative competition.”

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.”

Liberal Democrats to scrap business rates

Swinson: Liberal Democrats will scrap business rates

Speaking to the CBI today, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson announced that the Liberal Democrats would scrap business rates entirely to breathe new life into our high streets.

The Liberal Democrats would abolish business rates and replace them with a commercial landowner levy, based on the value of the land only. This would take the cost off businesses and help support our high streets.

The change would cut taxes in 92% of local authorities and help rebalance the UK economy.

The Commercial Landowner Levy would give a big boost to the manufacturing sector and make it cheaper for all businesses to invest in renewables or other new technology for their premises.

In her speech, she also set out plans to spend £130bn on infrastructure, including housebuilding, and £5bn for a new Green Investment Bank to invest in zero-carbon projects.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson said:

“Liberal Democrats are committed to helping small businesses, who are the engine of our economy. That is why Liberal Democrats would scrap business rates and replace them with a Commercial Landowner Levy. “It will shift the burden from the tenant to the landlord, so that we can breathe new life into our high streets.”

“Frankly, we have seen enough promises of reviews of business rates from the Conservatives. It is time for clear action that will give proper help to our small businesses.”

We’ll invest £130bn in infrastructure over five years. We’ll use that to improve our railways and open up new lines. To reduce how much energy our buildings use.

“And we’ll use it to leverage private investment in renewables, to help us meet our target of generating 80% of our electricity from renewables by 2030.

“And as part of our radical and credible plan to reach net-zero emissions as soon as possible, we will make the UK a global leader in green jobs and technology.

“A Liberal Democrat government will work with you to open up new opportunities for green growth and to save our planet. We will invest £5bn in zero-carbon projects through the Green Investment bank.

“We are the last generation that can stop irreversible climate change, and we are running out of time. And while there is much that government can do, I am clear that the business community is absolutely part of the solution.”

“Not least because we need to channel your ingenuity and entrepreneurialism to take on this huge challenge, and others we face.

“And my vision is for a country where business joins forces with government, public services and civil society to create the kind of society we deserve.”

Conservatives no longer the party of business

Responding to Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom’s interview on the Today programme this morning, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Ed Davey said:

“Andrea Leadsom has today confirmed that the Tories are not the party of business. We have already seen how the threat of Brexit is damaging our economy, yet the Tories still have no answers to businesses’ key questions, from future immigration policy to business rates.

“A Tory Brexit, backed by Donald Trump and Nigel Farage, would create a toxic environment for businesses yet they have no credible plan to mitigate this disaster. The real victims of their complacency will be small business owners, employees, and consumers who will face years more uncertainty.

“The Liberal Democrats will boost our businesses by stopping Brexit, rebuilding our infrastructure and using the Remain bonus from the higher growth of staying in the EU to invest in a brighter future for young people and adults across the United Kingdom.”

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.”