Sunday, 16 September 2012

Liberal Democrats Have Their Say At Party Conference

Unlike the other main parties our Party Conference (which is quickly approaching) is a slightly more democratic affair with individual members and local parties being able to propose motions and policies which are then adopted as is, modified, or rejected - those that succeed become party policy.

This year we have a list of 20 motions to be debated. If you want to read the full text of each motion they are published for everyone to see here;

Each local party, Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire for example get to nominate a number of people who will be attending the conference and who are "voting representatives" of their local parties. This number is determined by the local membership numbers. Cambridge, for example, has 11, South Cambridgeshire I think has slightly less.

If you enjoy discussing politics and helping to draft policy and would like to join the Liberal Democrats then you can join the party by following the link below;

If you'd like quick summary of the motions here's a breakdown provided by the Cambridge Local Party (PM = Policy Motion  PMPP = Policy Motion based on Policy Paper);

Early Years
[Saturday pm]
Sal Brinton
PM calling for extension of childcare to grossly underprovided underprivileged children, increasing reach, quality and affordability, and in longer term: increasing entitlement to more 2 year olds and to 20 hrs; increasing partnership working; increasing qualifications of leading staff and increasing all staff professional development.
Getting the Most Out of Schools
[Saturday pm]
Dan Rogerson
PM calling for impact assessment of pupil premium, school freedom in its use, measures to deal with schools that fail to use large sums of pp well; major developments in vocational education: including parental involvements in schools; pathways to higher education, including vocational; international standards (EU) for vocational qualifications; engaging with relevant private sector employers to provide career paths for students with low grades; a vocational equivalent to EBacc.
Reform of the House of Lords
Jeremy Hargreaves
PM calling for a second chamber by 2015 wholly or predominantly elected; gender balance in second chamber from the start; all Liberal Democrat members of House of Lords to support this party principle & policy which pre-dates their births. [Saturday pm]
A Sustainable Future for Aviation

[Sunday am]
Julian Huppert
PM calling for: rejection of new runways at LHR, STN & LGW; rejection of mixed mode or more night flights at LHR; rejection of both airport expansion that exceeds emissions cap of the Committee on Climate Change & of increased net number of runways; overall emissions cap for aviation industry for 2050; 5 key principles for future policy – accessibility, growth within carbon budgets, minimal impact to local population & local environment, maximum hubbing potential; green the aviation industry; make best use of existing capacity; independent study to select a hub airport.   
International Cooperation on the Environment
To be announced
PM calling for UK: to push other EU member states to reduce emissions by 30% by 2020; to push for reform of European Emissions Trading Scheme; to lead on adoption of UN Biodiversity indicators; to work with other countries, especially G77 &c, to develop Sustainable Development Goals focussing on food, energy & water; to be a driver to secure a legally binding climate agreement, taking effect by 2020. [Sunday am]
Good Food Shouldn’t Cost the Earth

[Sunday am]
Kathryn Parminter
PM calling for: a National Food Strategy for sustainable & healthy food, addressing food security, climate change, environment protection, affordability, animal welfare; promotion of healthier diets, including use of fiscal measures; food & food skills in school curriculum; encouragement to cities to produce Food Plans; public procurement policy to require healthy & sustainable food, including timetable to achieve 30% organic food; work to encourage universal uptake of traffic light system of nutrition labelling, and work towards consistent sustainability labelling for fish; framework for reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emission; promotion of small & mixed farms; an independent review of impacts of large-scale farming; target date for zero food waste to landfill; plastic bag levy (to be devoted to community food initiatives).
Empowering Independent Police Complaints Commission
Duwayne Brooks
PM calling for restoration of trust between police forces and public by giving IPCC far stronger powers to: obtain information from employees of police services and sub-contractors; require police officers & staff subject to IPCC investigation following a death to give an account & answer questions; require minimum standards from private contractors, and checks on their directors, managers and staff, enforceable by IPCC, with strong regulatory, search, arrest and questioning powers. [Sunday pm]
Equal Citizenship – Supporting Independence for Sick and Disabled People
Kelly-Marie Blundell
PM calling for: an independent review of the Welfare reform Act; a review of accessibility of Work Capability Assessment centres; public consultation on the assessment mechanisms for Disability Living Allowance, Employment Support Allowance & Personal Independence Payments, with findings to inform DWP sickness & disability policies; additional support to enable sick & disabled people to remain in work; prioritisation of the advice to govt. by organisations representing sick & disabled people; increased govt. funding for CAB during future transition periods; examine impact of means-tested support on creating on partners & social exclusion, & reform this when feasible; awareness campaign against public prejudice. [Sunday pm]
Medically Assisted Dying
[Sunday pm]
Chris Davies
PM calling for: reaffirmation of policy adopted in 2004 in support of legislation calling for provision of medical assistance to die to be available to patients in particular circumstances, subject to rigorous safeguards to prevent abuse; and recognising importance of high quality palliative care & of support for carers.
Developing a Future - Policies for Science & Research
[Monday am]
Julian Huppert
PM calling for Coalition Govt to ensure: govt science budget ring-fenced, and to seek x-party consensus to increase by 3%/year above inflation for 15 years; encouragement provided for research investment by industry, charities & EU; blue-skies as well as applied research & no political interference in science funding decisions; specialist sci. teachers in all schools, with funded CPD entitlements; immigration laws revised to ensure bona fide students & graduates can come, & the best can stay; loan scheme for post-grad students to obviate up-front payment for their courses; Open Access publications & Open Data principles to become the norm for publically funded research.

Mutuals, Employee Ownership & Workplace Democracy
[Monday am]

Martin Horwood

PMPP calling for: making mutual, employee-owned & employee-share-owned businesses (MEESOs) a more viable business option through law reform & tax reform; giving employees a greater say over their own working environments, through making that a right, ensuring board representation where employees own >5% of shares, providing by law for German-style 2-tier board structure; increasing no. of employees benefitting from ownership schemes by various means; increasing govt. support for MEESO sector by various means
Generating Growth & Jobs in a Time of Austerity
[Monday am]
Danny Alexander
PM calling for: Coalition govt. to do everything possible to stimulate growth within its fiscal mandate, including to: foster a diverse banking system; stimulate green growth and build investment confidence by strengthening the Green Bank, and establishing a 50-100g of CO₂ per kwh target range for decarbonising the power sector by 2030 over & above existing emission reductions; use the govt. balance sheet to support investment in housing; raise personal allowance to £10k in next budget; rule out changes to employment law unless robust evidence it will protect employees support job creation.
Sustainable Prosperity & Jobs

[Monday pm]
Duncan Hames, as Chair of Policy W.Gp
PMPP calling for: revival of local economies through local enterprise partnerships being able to bid for portion of Regional Growth Fund, and business rate responsibilities to LAs, and site value rating, and pioneering small business zones & New Enterprise Hubs; opening access to finance through fostering a diverse banking system, including restructuring parts of RBS into local & community banks; realising everyone’s potential, including by extending OFSTED’s focus to cover ‘employability’ & ‘life skills’, and by wide availability of apprenticeships & focus on unemployed re-skilling; unlocking innovation, incl. by various measures in public procurement & patent law; fulfil our low carbon vision for Britain; introduce a world of export opportunities to small businesses
20 is Plenty – Saving Lives on the Road
Sarah Osborne
PM calling for: limit of 20mph on all roads in new residential developments; all existing 30mph residential roads to move to 20 over 10 years; financial support from govt; a Dept for Transport minister in charge, to make annual progress reports [Monday pm]
Rehabilitation Revolution

[Tuesday am]
Tom Brake
PM calling for: A presumption in favour of robust community sentences & restorative justice, not ineffective, costly short sentences of up to 6/12; efforts to increase uptake of restorative justice sentences; probation providers to keep records to measure effectiveness of community sentencing; various measures to improve range & quality of service provision; all prisons to be on payments by results; all large probation service providers to be subject to FOI requests; a strong focus on literacy & life skills in all sentencing; judges to visit community sentencing & restorative justice schemes; further roll-out of Neighbourhood Resolution Panels; continued roll-out of Women’s Centres.
Tackling Inequality at its Roots

[Tuesday am]
Dee Doocey
PMPP calling for: introduction of a Capabilities Index & a Life Chances Indicator to measure the key obstacles that inequalities create; stronger measures to support pre-school children & their parents, including a ‘Nursery Premium’ & extension of parental leave entitlement to 18/12 (at least 6/12 each parent); promote fair access to services by promoting co-provision with voluntary groups, obliging private providers to introduce social tariffs, & tackling financial services exclusion; tackling inequality at work by increasing shareholder power to hold senior mgt. to a/c, requiring larger companies to justify pay ratios, & investing in training & re-skilling; increasing taxes on unearned income and wealth; tackling undue political influence of big money in politics by donation caps & campaign expenditure limits, registration and publication of contacts between ministers & lobbyists; House of Lords reform
Fair Pay forPublic Sector Workers
To be announced
PM calling for: no further expansion in regional or local pay; continuation of national pay agreements across public sector, which may include pay &c flexibility to let employers solve specific staff recruitment & retention problems[Tuesday pm]
Justice & Security Bill
Jo Shaw
PM calling for: Replacing Part II of J&S Bill with scheme reflecting Public Interest Immunity system, retaining judicial discretion, proportionality & open justice. [Tues pm]
Addressing Underprovision in Mental Health
Sarah Yong
PM calling for: central govt. to ensure local implementation of MH policies, especially Improved Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT), spending the £400+m of extra IAPT funding, continuing IAPT programme beyond 2014, making IAPT scheme & child & adolescent MH services priorities for national commissioning and professional training, notably for GPs[Wednesday am]
Decent Homes for All

[Wednesday am]
Martin Tod
PMPP calling for: stimulus to achieve 300,000+ new houses/year, using untapped sources of finance, more freedom to social landlords, LAs and local communities, ‘build now pay later’ deals to improve public land supply, tackling ‘landbanking’ through ‘Community Land Auctions’, ‘use it or lose it’ planning permission, and competition review of major builders, & requiring major energy efficiency improvements in house building by 2018-25; measures to provide tenants with more power, protection & security, including longer tenancies,& access to housing ombudsman, stronger role for social tenants in how providers are run and for the Social Housing Regulator; more local control over housing policy, including by LAs over 2nd homes, by local communities et al to bring empty homes into use, & by more flexible local planning, and by rent variation based on ability to pay.