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Welcome to the Leicester City Liberal Democrats Website

The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

Difficult Choices

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  • George Smid, Bill Newton Dunn MEP and Phil Knowles at Liberal Democrat Conference in York
    Article: Apr 21, 2014
    In Newark Advertiser

    A public hustings will be held in Newark ahead of May's European parliamentary elections.

    It is hoped candidates from all four main political parties contesting the Euro-elections will attend.

    Prospective Euro-MPs Mr Rupert Matthews (Conservative) Mr Bill Newton Dunn (Liberal Democrat) and Mr Roger Helmer (UKIP) have all confirmed attendance with Labour's Glenis Willmott yet to do so.

    The hustings will take place in the main hall at the Magnus Church of England Academy, Earp Avenue, Newark, from 7pm on Saturday, May 3.

    Audience members will have the opportunity to hear what the issues are, how each candidate would represent the East Midlands, what they believe in and what they can achieve.

    Key topics such as immigration, the Euro, human rights legislation, EU membership, import and export, funding, subsidies, trade, and the proposed UK referendum on whether Britain should be a part of the EU, are all possible subjects for discussion, as are issues the European Parliament has a say on, or has tried to affect, such as whole-life jail sentences.

    The Advertiser will chair the meeting and is inviting readers to submit questions with their name and email address online at www.newarkadvertiser.co.uk by email to news@newark advertiser.co.uk or in writing to its offices at Appletongate, Newark, NG24 1JX, in advance of the meeting.

    A cross-section of the questions will be put to the panel for them to respond.

    Only one question per person will be permitted. The author can ask the question in person if they attend on the night. If they cannot attend or do not wish to ask a question themselves, it will be put by Advertiser reporter Nicholas Carding.

    Follow-up questions from the floor, but not comment, will be allowed but the chairman will move the debate on when appropriate.

    There will be an opportunity for general questions from the floor at the end of the hustings.

    The venue holds a maximum of 250 people. Entry is free and there is no need to pre-book.

    Students from local secondary school sixth-forms have been invited to attend to generate interest among the next generation of voters.

  • Nick Clegg
    Article: Apr 21, 2014
    By Stephen Tall in Liberal Democrat Voice

    Philip Collins used his column in last Tuesday's Times to write something not often written on that paper's pages (or anywhere else for that matter): praise for the Lib Dems in Coalition. Here's the paywalled link, and here's a glimpse behind the paywall of what he has to say:

    • It is therefore a serious defence of Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats to commend them for things that would have happened had they not been there. It is in the nature of things that have not happened that we often do not know what they are. The siren voices of the Tory Right though, tell the tale. They complain, as if the electorate had granted them a full victory, that the Lib Dems have prevented them from doing what Tories are born to do.
    • The list of complaints looks to me like a prospectus of liberal triumph and a record of negative capability to be proud of. Without the Lib Dems, say the malcontents, the government would have slashed green taxes harder. It would have made more progress towards abolishing human rights legislation. It would have had an even tougher stance on immigration, and the welfare cuts would have been even more severe. Tax cuts for the wealthy would, finally, have been more generous. In which case, all hail the Liberal Democrats. …
    • [Nick Clegg's] liberal conviction is evident in what the coalition has done as well as what it has not. It was notable that, in his Budget speech, George Osborne made a lot of the Liberal Democrat policy of raising the threshold at which people pay income tax to £12,500. The instinct behind this policy is the liberal desire that people should keep more of the money they earn. More money has been channelled to poorer children via the premium offered to schools in disadvantaged areas. The Green Investment Bank awaits a chancellor who believes in it but it could yet become a significant reform. The welfare state in Britain used to depart with the health visitor and not come back into view until primary school. The Liberal Democrat emphasis on childcare has come out of Mr Clegg's politically inexpedient but intellectually admirable emphasis on making social mobility an index of coalition success.
  • Wind turbines in Scotland
    Article: Apr 19, 2014
    By Ed Davey in Liberal Democrat Voice

    Rarely a week goes by without an onshore wind story appearing in the media - normally negative, with some Conservative source trying to undermine this important source of renewable energy. The past few weeks have been no different.

    First, let's set the record straight. Liberal Democrats in Government will not accept a cap on onshore wind. Of course what other parties choose to put in their manifestos is a matter for them. But this Coalition Government is not changing tack on onshore wind or renewables and we will not lose focus or rewrite policy.

  • Steve Webb MP
    Article: Apr 17, 2014
    By James Coney in The Daily Mail

    Steve Webb's idea of relaxing on holiday is to fill in complicated number puzzles.

    But perhaps this geekiness is part of the reason why no politician has ever held this position for as long. He's been in office since 2010. Before that the job switched hands ten times in a decade.

    'It was a revolving door,' says Mr Webb. 'I've had the great advantage of coming in at the start of the Parliament. Pensions is a long-term game, so you need time to see things through. In a way, this is the perfect job for me. You've got the social, human side of how pensions affect people's lives, and then all that lovely technical detail.'

  • EU Flag
    Article: Apr 16, 2014
    By Professor Tony Travers, Director of LSE London, a research centre at the London School of Economics, and Visiting Professor in the LSE's Government Department. in The Euroblog

    There will be both local and European elections on 22nd May. Intriguingly, the BBC has recently commissioned IPSOS Mori to undertake polling which suggests that, compared with 10 years ago, the British are becoming less connected to 'your country' but more connected to 'your neighbourhood' and to 'the global community'.

    Against such a backdrop, this year's local elections are a particularly good pairing, though, it is worth noting that the turnout will probably be under 35 per cent, compared with around 60 per cent for a general election. National government in Britain is still very powerful.

    The European Commission, which has long had a keen interest in 'regional' issues is now becoming involved in city policy. I took part recently in an event in Brussels where larger towns and cities from across the EU explored the kind of things that the Commission might do to help them. There is clearly a continuing EU and European Commission interest in local economies. Cities and city regions, as in the UK, are now becoming more important.

    In fact, EU institutions are of significant importance to local government, LEPs and local economies more generally. In considering the local and national economic outlook, it is important to bear in mind the many ways in which 'Europe' is involved.

    People may or may not welcome it, but the EU's regulatory and legislative regimes affect every part of the UK and every local economy.

    Thus, for example, rules about energy efficiency and consumption will affect civic buildings, social housing and public transport. Targets for the delivery of renewable energy create planning struggles throughout the country.

    The internal market procurement rules affect the way councils and other local public providers offer contracts. State aid rules similarly reduce the opportunities for unfair competition between areas, but in doing so limit local discretion.

    Directives on working hours and health & safety affect local government and other local economic actors. Such interventions often improve people's lives, but can be seen by some commentators as anti-enterprise.

    European consumer policy has often been popular (for example, in relation to mobile phone charges and airline competition), but may add to the burdens faced by trading standards officers. Common EU retail and service standards can have similar effects, both positive and negative.

    But probably the most visible and politically-charged interventions from Brussels relate to 'cohesion' and other regional funding and, spectacularly, in relation to the free movement of people and labour enshrined in underlying EU treaties.

    There can be no doubt that all the above policies, regulations and legislation will affect the functioning of local economies. Councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) will have to take account of the full range of European actions. It is perceptions of some of these actions which have stimulated much of the opposition to 'Europe'.

    There is now a Wikipedia page about 'Euromyths' such as 'Europe banning curved bananas' or Brussels creating 'metric martyrs'. Misleading though some of these stories may be, they doubtless signal wider disquiet about the State's (that is, not just Europe's) willingness to become over-involved in our lives.

    Local government finds itself facing EU and UK government enforcement costs at a time of continuing austerity. Brussels and Westminster both need to be aware of the major reductions which are being made to local government's funding in England and Wales.

    The EU and the Commission must be sure they consult local government, LEPs and other sub-national players about the impact of any new legislation and regulation. Relying on central government to feed messages through will not always work: in fairness, it is not DCLG's job to do so.

    Many European interventions are important and can be for the wider good. Clean air, for example, as last week's Saharan smog showed, is an international matter. And while no EU interventions could have stopped the natural phenomenon which saw a Saharan sand cloud drift over eastern Britain, there are many other pollution issues which require European-wide action.

    Looking ahead, local areas, represented by councils, city regions and LEPs will need to continue to strengthen their involvement with Europe, both inside and outside the EU. There will be very few new public sector jobs in the coming years. Virtually all new employment will have to come from the private sector.

    Inward investment will be very important and a major part of such money is likely to come from Europe. Of course, the United States, China, Japan, India and others will also be important. But the UK remains a major trading partner with Germany, France, Ireland and other EU countries. Opening up areas beyond London and the South East to international investment is one that local partners can work together to achieve.

    Skills, foreign languages, transport (particularly air links) and a responsive planning system will all help. Britain has a good reputation for reasonably low taxes and its legal system. Local effort to strengthen Britain as a European base for overseas companies will surely pay off.

    Finally, it is important in looking at the economic future to be realistic about local government's financial position. Austerity will last until at least 2020: it will take that long to get rid of the UK's budget deficit. Councils have shed over 500,000 jobs since 2010. At the same time, central government services have shed none.

    This pattern is fixed. Local government will almost certainly continue to face budgetary pressure for at least another six years. Therefore, the key to reducing unemployment (particularly among the young) and to 'rebalancing' the economy will be by local and city regional government embracing the private sector.

    The EU may help this process, though uncertainty about the future of the UK within the EU may cause challenges. There is the risk that an 'In-Out' European referendum in 2017 would result in the UK leaving the EU. In the past, most polling has suggested that when there is a risk that a vote would lead to a British exit, the 'pro-Europe' vote increases. But no one could be sure that an 'In-Out' referendum would absolutely and definitely lead to the UK staying in. Any suggestion that Britain might leave would create uncertainty which might affect inward investment and other kinds of confidence
    Whatever happens, Britain will need to strengthen its trading and investment links with our European allies. Local government and LEPs will be very much a key part in this story.

    "The views expressed on the euroblog are those of the authors and not necessarily of the European Movement UK. The European Movement UK is pleased to publish articles on a variety of EU policy areas as a contribution to the debate."

  • Cyclist Jane Oseman keeps a wary eye on a large lorry at the Green Long Eaton
    Article: Apr 15, 2014

    Bill Newton Dunn, Liberal Democrat MEP for the East Midlands has welcomed a European Parliament vote to improve lorry safety through tougher design standards today, which was approved by an overwhelming majority with 604 MEPs in favour.

    Under changes pushed for by Liberal Democrat MEPs, the design of lorry cabs are set to be changed to reduce the number of blind spots under the front windscreen 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 believed the proposal could help prevent dozens of fatal accidents each year.

  • Bill Newton Dunn in EU Parliament
    Article: Apr 15, 2014

    Imperial Tobacco Group announced today the proposed closure of its cigarette factory and distribution centre in Nottingham.

    The company plans to implement the closing over the next two years. In the announcement, Imperial Tobacco states that the closure reflects among others "declining industry volumes in Europe" and "growing illicit trade in the UK and Europe". The announcement affects up to 540 jobs.

  • Leicester West Fundraising
    Article: Apr 12, 2014

    Two of the East Midlands European Team, Phil Knowles & George Smid, were in Leicester for the latest European Roadshow Event on Friday evening.

    Roger and Hilary Blackmore hosted an open house Cheese & Wine Evening for members, including Regional Chairman Tony Rogers and supporters.
  • Bill Newton Dunn in EU Parliament
    Article: Apr 10, 2014

    UK press reported today about Dutch MEP Toine Manders' call for the Commission to examine the idea of an EU number plate. The proposal however is mainly dealing with plans to make it easier for people to register vehicles in a different European country and to improve free movement around the continent as well as trade in cars. It will be voted next week in the European Parliament.

  • Issan Ghazni 2
    Article: Apr 8, 2014

    ISSAN GHAZNI - a European parliamentary candidate - has said that a new report warning that the Midlands would be hit hardest if Britain quit the EU showed why voters should support the pro-European Liberal Democrat in May's election.

    A study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) found that between 2009 - 2011 the East Midlands were the region with the highest reliance on EU exports with almost one in six jobs associated with demand from the EU.