Last week we held our annual conference in Brighton, where party members got to set Lib Dem policy. Here are just 7 of those bold, progressive commitments that we made!
1) We will reverse cuts to youth services
Lib Dems would reverse the damaging cuts to youth services which have contributed towards a rise in youth violence. Using ring-fenced additional investment in youth and children’s services, we would ensure that these services reach more children and young people than ever before, as well as provide more varied and high-quality support.
2) We would take in more refugees
Lib Dems would relax key legislation to make it easier for those seeking refuge in the UK to come and settle here. We would also abolish the arbitrary net migration target and close eight out of 10 detention centres to introduce a much needed, more compassionate approach to immigration. We would also support the creation of projects in schools to educate children about the UK’s migration history, as well as a national strategy to promote teaching English as a second language in order to improve social integration.
3) We will tackle "supermajority problem councils"
Lib Dems would tackle one-party states within local councils, by introducing the Single Transferable Vote at all local elections, as well as giving individual councillors the right to hold service providers to account and strengthening transparency within local authorities.
4) We will decriminalise abortion across the UK & Northern Ireland and introduce buffer zones
Lib Dems would enforce buffer zones around abortion service providers, ensuring that women are able to maintain their right to privacy and decriminalise abortion across the whole of the UK and Northern Ireland.
5) We will end state-sponsored segregation in our education system
Lib Dems would end state-sponsored segregation within education, by opposing new grammar schools and bringing an end to the habit of schools withholding poor exam results, to boost transparency and performance across the board. We would also abolish OFSTED, replacing it with a new independent inspection regime which assesses the long-term success of a school, including the degree to which it promotes wellbeing. We would also abolish Sats and league tables.
6) We will fight for justice for the Windrush Generation
Lib Dems called for a public enquiry into the Government’s hostile environment policy. We also want to see the introduction of a compensation system and the full restoration of rights for those who have suffered injustices, as well as the return of those who have been wrongly deported or detained to their homes in the UK.
7) We will demand a People’s Vote to bring about an Exit from Brexit (surprise!)
Lib Dems are redoubling our efforts to stop Brexit by demanding a final say on any Brexit deal, with an option to remain a full member of the EU on the ballot paper (and there are no prizes for guessing we would campaign to Remain).
Lib Dem Cllr for Fortune Green won a President's award at the closing of Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton, for her 33 years of elected service. Party President Sal Brinton branded her an “unstoppable force of liberalism,” as she presented the award.
Cllr Flick Rea Said:
"I feel very honoured to have received the Lib Dem President's award in recognition of more than 30 years' service to my community and my party. When I was first elected in 1986, I would not have believed that I would still be lucky enough to call myself a councillor for Fortune Green 33 years later.
It has been a true joy to work for my local area and residents, I have always tried to listen to and do my best for them. I’d like to thank all those who have helped me to represent my area over the years; colleagues, fellow councillors and, in particular, the people of Fortune Green who have put their faith in me for nine consecutive re-elections! Without them, none of it would have been possible and I am truly appreciative."
Liberal Democrat Cllr Luisa Porritt questioned the leader of Camden council on her support for a peoples vote on the Brexit deal. It was welcome news that she agrees with the Liberal Democrats about the need for a peoples vote. Liberal Democrats are now pushing her to stand up to Keir Starmer and Jeremy Corbyn, to change their minds on backing a peoples vote, as a chance to exit from Brexit.
Camden Liberal Democrats demand better for the people of Camden and will keep fighting for a peoples vote on the final deal with a chance to exit from Brexit! Watch Cllr Luisa Porritt in the council chamber below:
It is welcome news that the CMP for 100 Avenue Road redevelopment has been rejected – for now. Residents remain broadly opposed to the project taking place, and many had voiced their concerns about the CMP.
That an adapted version of this CMP could yet pass the committee stage is however worrying. We have repeatedly made inquiries to Council officers and cabinet members alike about whether they are taking into the account the number of disruptive large-scale construction projects scheduled to take place simultaneously in the same area, to no avail.
With further major work to rectify past failures on the Chalcots estate due to start early next year, as well as construction for the CS11 and HS2, we and the residents we represent feel frustrated that no individual is taking a holistic view of, and responsibility for, the impact of having these works coincide. Undertaken at the same time, these projects will create additional congestion and noise, negatively affect our already poor air quality, and threaten the much-loved and successful Swiss Cottage Market.
We reiterate our opposition to the redevelopment of 100 Avenue Road, which will be out of keeping with the area and produce none of the social housing that Camden desperately needs. Given the unlikelihood that the project could be stopped altogether, however, we ask that the Council at least take a pragmatic stance and delay this project until more important works on the Chalcots estate are completed.
Cllr Luisa Porritt
Cllr Tom Simon
Belsize Liberal Democrat Councillors Tom Simon and Luisa Porritt have gained places on five committees, enabling them to hold the Labour-run Council to account on key policy areas.
Tom has a place on the Culture and Environment Scrutiny Committee, which covers areas including policing, waste collection, air quality and planning decisions that were central to the Camden Lib Dems manifesto. He is also on the Licensing Committee, which he sat on as a Councillor previously.
Luisa has places on the Resources and Corporate Performance Scrutiny Committee & the Audit and Corporate Governance Committee, where she intends to use her background in finance and economics to ensure local government finances are managed effectively.
Tom has also joined the Fire Safety Advisory Panel.
The Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Camden Council, Cllr Flick Rea, has criticised the fact that profits from the sale of council homes were never returned to local authorities to build new council homes.
Speaking in the Camden Citizen, which you can read here, Flick said, "Whilst it is a commendable ambition for people to want to own their own homes, it has never been right that the profits were never returned to local authorities to build new homes and replenish their housing stock."
"Furthermore, the process was not set up to prevent early resales, thus doubling the inequity for local authorities such as Camden who effectively lost out twice!"
"As it is, it has led to a system of greedy landlords buying up ex-Council properties and converting them into high-rent tenancies. No help there for those who need social housing, and no help for local Councils to build new homes."
The Council is currently consulting on plans for traffic controls to prevent traffic queuing outside Gospel Oak primary school at the beginning and end of the school day.
Gospel Oak Lib Dems strongly support steps to improve air quality, particularly around schools, and the Council are right to recognise that action needs to be taken. But the proposals put forward are too limited and too timid. They would serve only to move backed-up traffic a road or two along. This is an opportunity to do much more.
We call on the Council to include in the consultation consideration of one-way systems preventing the streets north of Mansfield Road being used as a cut-through at all: not just a Healthy School Street but a step towards a Healthy Neighbourhood.
The Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Camden Council, Cllr Flick Rea, has spoken out against the massive increase in the number of visits to foodbanks.
Speaking in the Camden Citizen, which you can read here, Flick said, "This only underlines the serious inequalities in our Borough and is a shameful indictment of today’s fractured society."
Queen Mary’s Hospital lies at the apex of Hampstead on the corner of East Heath Road and Heath Street. The 1.6 acres of land and buildings, originally a maternity home, was bequeathed by Lord Leverhulme nearly a century ago, for therapeutic medical purposes, and also provides accommodation for 52 nurses and key workers.
The Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust is considering selling the site for luxury housing development, which is the last thing that Hampstead needs. We believe that the Trust should seek ways of retaining the site for NHS and key worker housing use, and that Camden should refuse any planning applications for demolition or change of use.
If you feel the same way, and want to stop the sell-off, please sign the petition.
Residents of Wendling have been consulted about regeneration of the estate five times in the last two years. Each consultation has led simply to the Labour council immediately announcing a further consultation.
Labour’s merry-go-round throws away money and leaves tenants and leaseholders in a state of perpetual uncertainty.
We call for the next consultation to be decisive and to be decided by a vote.
It is also imperative that the offer on the table should be open, honest and clear.
It is concerning that rumours are again circulating about tenants being relocated to Southend-on-Sea: there must be no doubt where people would be housed during rebuilding. Tenants and leaseholders must know what housing would be available to them and their families. And there must be clarity about the build quality: will the standards of Cherry Court be matched and if not why not?
Only Lib Dem councillors will stand up for the residents of Wendling.