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News from the Liberal Democrats

  • Apr 23, 2014:
    • Vince Cable: Making higher apprenticeships the norm rather than a niche

      Today, Vince Cable gave the Cambridge Public Policy Lecture, exploring how further and higher education can be brought closer together to create a "parity of esteem" between the sectors.

    • Nick Clegg: We need to sweep away Edwardian rules

      Today, Nick Clegg spoke at the launch of the Cityfathers, a new forum for working fathers, on the need for radical change to create equal opportunities in our parental leave system.

      Nick commented on the importance of change in modern society, where we now have the highest female employment rate on record. More parents choose to both earn and share childcare responsibility, but there is still an assumption that it is the father who works and the mother who cares for the children.

      "But what about those households where the woman is the main earner? Or the families where a working father just wants to spend more time with his children, or both parents want to do their bit at home without sacrificing their careers?

      In many ways, the system still treats these families as the exception not the norm."

    • Ed Davey announces 8,500 green jobs

      The Government has announced eight major renewable projects as part of electricity reforms, which will give a massive boost to green growth and green jobs.

      The projects are delivering low-carbon, affordable and reliable power for the long-term that is better for the planet, consumers and the economy. By 2020, the projects will provide up to £12 billion of private sector investment, supporting 8,500 jobs and will generate clean electricity to three million homes across the country.

    • Vince Cable warns business on ridiculous bonuses

      Vince Cable has issued a warning to Britain's top companies that they need to crack down on bonuses in order to rebuild trust.

      The Business Secretary has written to the FTSE 100 members to remind them about the damage that big pay awards can have on their public image. He said pay levels at banks had been "ridiculous", which comes at a time when Barclays prepares to meet with it's shareholders this Thursday. Barclays came under fire earlier this year when it put £2.5 billion into its bonus pot, despite its dip in profits.

    • Vehicles of the future get £130 million investment

      Vince Cable has announced £133 million of new investment into projects that will put Formula One technology into buses and diggers, developing the next generation of engines. These projects will provide both economic and environmental benefits.

      Investment will go into the research and development into technologies for the vehicles of the future. This has the potential to secure up to 30,000 jobs currently linked to producing engines and it will create many more in the supply chain.

      The winning projects include Ford, GKN, Cummins and JCB, which have all received funding for projects to improve fuel efficiently and reduce carbon emissions.

  • Apr 22, 2014:
    • Ed Davey: Energy Act will create 200,000 Green Jobs

      Today Ed Davey has published an article announcing that the Energy Bill that he has been driving through Parliament is now law. After Labour's legacy of underinvestment in the energy sector, the Liberal Democrats have been working to increase green energy, whilst making sure that consumers are protected.

    • Government announces over 200 infrastructure projects

      Today, the Government has announced their economic plan to build a stronger economy. These plans will help to create jobs and improve businesses by improving infrastructure.

      More than 200 projects in rail, road, local transport, food defences, broadband, airport infrastructure and waste management are to start construction this year and next year. These projects could support 150,000 jobs across the country in construction and thousands more in other sectors following completion.

    • The truth about Ukip's immigration billboards

      Today Ukip have published billboards designed to scare people about the impact that being in Europe has on immigration.

      The Liberal Democrats believe that it is right to tackle concerns about immigration, but spreading fear and bogus claims is not the answer.

    • Nick Clegg: Where would you rather live - Great Britain or little England?

      This Easter weekend, Nick Clegg wrote an article in the Guardian to outline why Britain is better off IN Europe.

      With 22 May approaching, it is Ukip's goal to propel Britain closer to the door. Nick points out that this risks us drifting away from our biggest export market and jeopardising our still fragile economic recovery, as well as threatening millions of jobs.

      Amongst the number of Nigel Farage's outlandish claims, Nick addressed Farage's claim that Ukip's call for an exit is the insurgents' battle cry - "There is nothing remotely new about his party's ambitions. Ukip is simply the fresh face of a long-standing Eurosceptic establishment."

  • Apr 19, 2014:
    • Vince Cable takes aim at dodgy directors

      Plans for tougher penalties against reckless directors have been unveiled by Business Secretary Vince Cable today.

      While the UK already has one of the strongest disqualification regimes in the world - with disqualification periods ranging from two years up to fifteen years for the worst offenders - the new measures will mean the rogue minority face stronger deterrents to break the law and more robust sanctions if they do.

  • Apr 17, 2014:
    • Martin Horwood: Lib Dems clamping down on the arms trade

      I am confident that Lib Dems will be united in welcoming today's news that Vince Cable has put out a call for evidence on a new register of arms brokers. The proposed register would introduce tougher regulations on the arms trade and is yet another historic victory for the Lib Dems in government.

      Arms brokers act as intermediaries in many arms deals by bringing together potential buyers and sellers in return for a cut of the transaction. Currently UK companies require a license before they can export military goods, but brokers are somewhat of an unknown entity. Under the proposals all brokers will have to appear on a public registry, with possible requirements to attend training courses and suitability assessments.

  • Apr 16, 2014:
    • Unemployment falls below 7%

      New figures show the rate of unemployment has fallen below 7% for the first time since the recession. The number of people out of work dropped by 77,000 in the last three months, while total employment has seen the biggest annual jump in a generation.

      There are now more people in work than ever before, with nearly 0.7 million more people in employment since this time last year, showing that the Lib Dem plan to create a million jobs is working.

  • Apr 15, 2014:
    • Call Clegg 15th April

      Catch up with this episode of Call Clegg.

    • Victory for Lib Dems as MEPs approve life-saving changes to lorry designs

      The European Parliament has approved new rules to make big lorries safer for other road users and more fuel-efficient.

      Under changes pushed by Liberal Democrat MEPs, the design of lorry cabs are set to be changed to reduce the number of blind spots under the front widescreen and the side of the vehicle. The new designs would also include safer cab fronts to reduce damage caused by impacts with cyclists and pedestrians. It is thought the proposal could help prevent dozens of fatal accidents each year.

    • Nick Clegg calls for publication of Chilcot Report on Iraq war

      Nick Clegg has called for the publication of the Chilcot report into the Iraq war, which identifies exactly what happened in the run-up to the conflict in Iraq.

      The Chilcot report includes about 200 cabinet-level discussions, 25 notes from Tony Blair to George W Bush and more than 130 records of conversations between the former US president and Tony Blair.

    • Former speech writer to Tony Blair says "I agree with Nick"

      The former Speech Writer to Tony Blair said that he believes Nick Clegg is making a difference: "By stopping the Tory Right, the Deputy Prime Minister should be applauded by all liberal voters."

      Philip Collins worked as Tony Blair's Chief Speech Writer, responsible for Blair's very last speech as Leader of the Labour Party. In his article published today, he said that without the Lib Dems in Government, green taxes would be slashed, welfare cuts would be more severe, and there would be progress towards abolishing human rights legislation.

  • Apr 14, 2014:
    • Message from Nick Clegg to mark Passover

      With Passover celebrations starting today, Nick Clegg wishes the Jewish Communities, within Britain and around the world, a happy Passover:

    • Nick Clegg calls for new Garden Cities

      Communities with ideas for a new generation of garden cities will receive support from the government to turn their ambitions into reality, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced today.

      A prospectus published today will help communities work up proposals for ambitious new developments, which are locally-led, include at least 15,000 homes and have the backing of existing residents.

    • Millions to benefit from improved GP care

      It has been announced today that extended opening hours and enhanced local care for the elderly will soon be available at doctors' surgeries across many parts of the country, thanks to a new drive to improve local GP services.

      Millions of people will now be able to see their family doctor outside of working hours, including late night and weekend appointments, while the elderly and those with more serious health complaints will get tailored care, coordinated by just one local GP.

  • Apr 13, 2014:
    • Ed Davey welcomes UN climate change report

      The UN's Intergovernmental panel con Climate Change (IPCC) has warned the world must rapidly move away from carbon-intensive fuels.

      In a significant report published today on how to curb climate change, the IPCC warns that global temperatures be between 3.7C and 4.8C higher in 2100 if no action is taken. This is significantly higher than the 2C level, regarded by experts as the point at which the impacts of climate change become dangerous.

  • Apr 11, 2014:
  • Apr 10, 2014:
    • Tim Farron: There's only one party that's the party of IN

      Yesterday, the Lib Dem president, Tim Farron MP, launched the North East Lib Dems Europe campaign. Speaking about the European elections on 22nd May, Tim said it was a straight fight between the Lib Dems and UKIP, between IN vs Out.

      "If you want to leave Europe and risk the UK's future in the world then you vote UKIP. If, however, you think North East jobs are worth fighting for, and the peace and security that comes from being the EU is worth fighting for, there's only one party that's the party of in and that's the Liberal Democrats.

      "In many ways this is a two horse race and if you vote Labour or Tory your vote will be wasted."

    • Multi-million pound boost for growing businesses

      Nick Clegg has today announced an extra £300 million to help growing businesses and create tens of thousands of jobs across England.

      The £300 million forms part of the Liberal Democrat's Regional Growth Fund, which is now being delivered in Government. The Fund is designed to unlock billions of pounds of private sector investment and create sustainable employment and growth in a wide range of sectors across the country.

  • Apr 9, 2014:
    • Danny Alexander renews push for a Mansion Tax

      The Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander MP, has today outlined his proposals for a Mansion Tax. In a speech on tax this morning, Danny described some of the details of the Tax, which would apply on homes worth over £2 million.

      The Liberal Democrats first proposed our Mansion Tax in 2009 and have been pushing for it to be implemented in Government, against huge opposition from the Conservatives.

      Sign our petition for a Mansion Tax now.

  • Apr 7, 2014:
  • Apr 2, 2014:
    • Vince Cable writes: UK manufacturing and the case for Europe

      Seven years ago the financial crash seriously damaged the British economy, causing the deepest recession in decades. The wreckage laid bare the urgent need to invest in manufacturing, boost exports and, crucially, create a genuine partnership between industry and government to ensure long-term investment. In government, we have promoted a new industrial strategy to give manufacturers, in particular, the stability and support necessary for them to grow and create skilled jobs.

  • Apr 1, 2014:
    • Labour councillors refuse to offer sanctuary to Syrian refugees

      Nick Clegg has spoken out after it was revealed Sheffield's Labour Council Leader has refused to help vulnerable women and children refugees from Syria.

      It has emerged that Council Leader Julie Dore has contacted the Home Office to refuse the request for Sheffield to take part in the Coalition Government's Vulnerable Persons Relocation (VPR) scheme. The decision was apparently taken by Labour councillors behind closed doors and without any consultation.

    • Nick Clegg blocks Tory wind farm ban

      Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has blocked a Conservative plan to cap onshore wind generation.

      In practical terms, that would have meant no new onshore wind projects would have been supported by the Government.

  • Mar 31, 2014:
    • Sorry Nigel, but I agree with Nick

      Last week we ran a competition to win tickets to watch the Nick v Nigel debate on LBC live in the studio. Competition winner, Gillian Reeves, writes about what it was like in the audience of the first Leaders' Europe debate.

      If you would like the chance to win tickets for the next Nick v Nigel debate, click here.

  • Mar 29, 2014:
    • Nick Clegg: this weekend is one our country should never forget

      In the first few moments after the House of Lords voted in favour of allowing same-sex couples to marry, finally passing the legislation into law, I joined the celebration outside Parliament. Crowds had gathered, the choir was singing and the mood was jubilant. You could see in people's faces and hear in their voices just how important that moment was, and today, we'll see it again.

  • Mar 27, 2014:
    • Call Clegg 27th March

      Watch this episode of Call Clegg. Today Nick gives his reaction to last night's Europe debate with Nigel Farage.

    • Steve Webb: Tackling rip-offs, standing up for savers

      Earlier today, I had the pleasure of announcing in the House of Commons a raft of new measures designed to make sure that when people save for a pension they get value for money.

    • Lynne Featherstone: Last night we saw the nasty side of Nigel Farage

      I hope you enjoyed last night's Nick v Nigel debate on Britain's place in Europe.

      Personally, I thought Nick wiped the floor with Nigel Farage. He had the facts on his side and he articulated the kind of open, tolerant, modern attitude towards Britain and the world that makes me proud to be a Liberal Democrat.

    • Watch Call Clegg

      Watch the latest episode of Call Clegg live from 9am.

  • Mar 25, 2014:
    • Julian Huppert writes: We're continuing Britain's long and proud tradition of protecting the most vulnerable

      Today the first group of vulnerable Syrian refugees arrived in Britain, 8 weeks after we finally got the Conservatives to agree to contribute to the international effort to resettle refugees who have fled the protracted conflict in Syria.

      Those who arrived today and who will continue to arrive over the coming weeks, months and perhaps even years represent the most vulnerable and we've worked closely with UNHCR to identify them and get them out as quickly as possible.

  • Mar 19, 2014:
    • Call Clegg, 20th March

      Watch the latest episode of Call Clegg.

    • Nick Clegg: I'm proud of Lib Dem Tax Cuts

      Today Nick Clegg has said he is extremely pleased with the Budget as a whole, and in particular that the Liberal Democrats have over-delivered on our promise of a £700 tax cut, which will now rise to £800.

      For more information on the 2014 Budget, click here.

  • Mar 17, 2014:
    • Catherine Bearder MEP writes: Universal phone chargers - a victory for common sense

      Don't you just get fed up with carrying around endless cables? Packing to go away, which I have to do often (it goes with the MEP territory) I know I do. And then when they're at home they just get knotted in the drawers like spaghetti.

      For years now I have joined other MEPs in the campaign to realise a universal charger for all mobile phones, no matter the manufacturer or model.

      Last week MEPs voted in favour of a draft law which now brings this a step closer.

  • Mar 13, 2014:
    • Lynne Featherstone: Wedded to same-sex marriage

      Lynne Featherstone MP vowed to introduce it early on in her office, but the path to same-sex marriage has not been smooth, writes Charlotte Kelloway.

      March 29 marks an important day in British history: it is the first day that same-sex marriages can take place. After years of campaigning and consulting, of speeches and hard work, the day will finally arrive when two people of the same sex can get married and enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples.

    • Call Clegg, 13th March

      Check out this week's Call Clegg.

    • Lord Brian Paddick writes: Legally married at last

      In 1983 I married my wonderful wife Mary, who has supported me to this day. We divorced by mutual consent after five years, soon after I told her I was gay. As far as I was concerned, that was it.

  • Mar 11, 2014:
    • Nick Clegg: My response to the Daily Mail on Free School Meals

      The Liberal Democrats are never going to be loved in the pages of the Daily Mail: our open, liberal and progressive brand of politics tends to be at odds with their editorial worldview (to put it mildly). However, even I have been surprised at the level of criticism - much of it misleading - aimed at Liberal Democrat plans to provide free school meals to children in infants school.

    • Baroness Alison Suttie writes: International aid success in Cambodia

      I have very vivid memories of hearing about the atrocities in Cambodia as a schoolchild. I remember being shocked by the pictures of human bones and skulls scattered in the fields and hearing of an appalling dictator called Pol Pot. Like many others of my generation, I took part in a "bring and buy" sale for the Blue Peter Cambodia Appeal. By the time Pol Pot was defeated around a quarter of the population had died, there were only around 50 doctors left alive and the health care system was effectively destroyed.

  • Mar 6, 2014:
  • Mar 5, 2014:
    • Lib Dem Pastoral Care Officer: the first 50 days

      Jeanne Tarrant, new Pastoral Care Officer at the Liberal Democrats, gives an update on her first weeks in the role.

      I have now been in post for two months and it has been both busy and exciting. In the initial 2-3 weeks, I undertook an analysis of the Party's processes for receiving and managing complaints. Analysing, how the constituent parties manage complaints and how the different procedures, rules and constitutions relate to each other. I met with many people as I could, to gain an understanding of the processes, the responsibility for implementing them and when and how the rules are used. I have enjoyed meeting lots of different people to obtain their views on how the Party works.

    • Greg Mulholland MP writes: Suriname - another step forward for death penalty abolitionists

      I have been a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Abolition of the Death Penalty since 2010. At the time it was excellently chaired by Alistair Carmichael, who then became the first-ever Chief Whip for the Liberal Democrats in Government. I remember speaking to Alistair and saying that I was keen to be Vice-Chair of the APPG and do my bit for a cause close to the heart of so many Liberal Democrats.

  • Mar 4, 2014:
    • Gordon Birtwistle MP writes: National Apprenticeship Week 2014

      It's the week we've all been waiting for: National Apprenticeship Week 2014! This year, it is even more important that we talk about NAW and spread the word #NAW2014. Since 2010, the Liberal Democrats in Government have helped to create an amazing 1.6 million new apprenticeship starts - more than double the number under Labour. As a party, we are extremely dedicated to keeping the number of apprenticeships growing and as Government Apprenticeship Ambassador it is a matter very dear to my heart.

    • Speech: Security and Privacy in the Internet Age

      The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has given a speech on security and privacy in the internet age. The Liberal Democrats are the only party with a plan to protect civil liberties, while ensuring that security services can do their job to keep us safe. You can find out more about what we're doing here.

      In his speech, Nick said:

    • Security oversight must be fit for the Digital age

      Nick Clegg has commissioned a review into the accountability of the UK's intelligence agencies in the wake of Edward Snowden's revelations.

      In an article in the Guardian, he challenged Labour and the Conservatives to support the Lib Dem plans to protect people's privacy and ensure intelligence agencies can still protect us.

    • Nick Clegg drags the Tories "kicking and screaming" in tax talks

      Nick Clegg has lamented the Tories' inconsistency and hostility towards raising the income tax threshold.

      Following his speech at the Royal United Services Institute this morning, Clegg was asked about the progress of talks with the Conservatives about raising the tax threshold in the next Budget.

  • Mar 3, 2014:
  • Feb 27, 2014:
    • Sarah Ludford writes: EU exit would be a gift to major criminals

      Ahead of the crucial Euro-elections on 22nd May, Liberal Democrats as the party of 'In' are strongly making the case for Britain remaining in the EU. This is primarily about jobs, but another reason #whyIamIN is that we need to work with our European partners to tackle cross-border crime.

      Criminals don't stop at our borders, and neither should our efforts to catch them. Those efforts are facilitated by European police and court cooperation measures, of which the flagship is the European Arrest Warrant (EAW).

    • Nick's Speech on Careers Guidance and Young People

      Nick's speech at Southfields Academy: Better Choices, Better Prospects: Helping All of Our Young People Succeed.

    • Call Clegg, 27th February

      Listen to the most recent episode of 'Call Clegg', Nick Clegg's weekly radio phone-in show.

  • Feb 25, 2014:
    • Forget the myths about Higher Education and make the right decision for you

      This afternoon, Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg gave speech on Higher Education to young people and parents at the Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate School in East London.

      In his speech Nick said:

    • Julian Huppert writes: Bringing an end to child detention

      When we came into office in 2010 we made it a priority to end the abhorrent practice of child detention for immigration purposes. This is something we had committed to in our 2010 manifesto; under Labour many thousands of innocent children were detained - in some cases for months on end, in prison-like conditions.

      I had the pleasure of being the first Liberal to ask a question of a Liberal at PMQs since Lloyd George, and it was there that Nick announced that we would end child detention.

  • Feb 21, 2014:
    • Defending the Future not the Past

      Dr Julie Smith, chair of the recent Lib Dem Defence policy paper and member of the Manifesto Working Group, shares her views on the threats the UK faces in the 21st Century, and how to address them:

      Defence is a crucial attribute of the state and Liberal Democrats take this very seriously. We recognise, however, that the threats the UK faces in the 21st Century are very different from those of the past. Yet too often debates on defence seem to reflect old, Cold War thinking. Too often Labour and the Conservatives seem to seek a role for the UK that is no achievable even if it were desirable - the capability for the UK to rule the waves, playing the deputy to the US sheriff.

  • Feb 20, 2014:
    • Clegg challenges Farage to debate

      Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has challenged UKIP Leader Nigel Farage to a head-to-head debate on Britain's membership of the European Union.

      Nick Clegg made the challenge live on air during his weekly radio call-in show Call Clegg on LBC this morning.

  • Feb 18, 2014:
    • The Times "Coalition Deals" and Our Manifesto

      David Laws, Chair of the Lib Dem 2015 Manifesto Working Group, sets the record straight.

      "One of the great frustrations of being a Liberal Democrat in modern British politics is the inability of so many in the other parties and in the media to grasp a simple enough idea: parties can have clear independent identities and their own visions for the future, but also work together in the national interest when circumstances require it.

  • Feb 15, 2014:
    • I'm a normal mum of two, who wants to make sure we are listened to in Parliament

      An interview with Justine Baker, Lib Dem candidate for Bridgwater.

      In the space of just three years, Justine Baker has won district and county elections in Somerset and has been selected as the Liberal Democrat PPC for Bridgwater. Here Justine tells Laura Archer about her political ambitions and why Liberal Democrats should be shouting from the rooftops, as well as knocking on doors.

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