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Nick Perry is the Lib Dem candidate.

Nick Perry is the Lib Dem candidate.

Nick Perry: Why you should vote Liberal Democrat

All candidates have been invited to write, in no more than 800 words, about what they see as the most important proposals in their party manifesto and why voters should support them. Here is the contribution from the Liberal Democrats’ Nick Perry.

It might come as a surprise to HOT readers, but the 96 page Liberal Democrat Manifesto offers far more than just stopping Brexit!

The full policy prospectus can be read here, but I want to focus on three policy areas.

The first is the NHS and Social Care (in which I have been working as a social worker for the past seventeen years, twelve of them in East Sussex). I know that Christmas is coming, but the degree to which both the other parties have been promising massive spending commitments without clarity about how they are going to be paid for has been embarrassing.

I’m not playing Mr Scrooge here, but the Liberal Democrats will put an additional 1p in the pound on your income tax to be ring-fenced for health and social care. This will raise the additional £7 billion a year which our NHS and social care needs. This will help to address the crisis in social care, enable us to ensure that mental health is treated with the same urgency as our physical health, invest in prevention services and allow us to tackle the £6.5 billion backlog of repairs to our NHS infrastructure.  For the longer term we will establish a cross-party health and social care convention to ensure a properly funded joined up system.

Going green

The second is our plan for a green society and a green economy. There is no Planet B; now is our last chance to act for future generations. Our vision is set out in detail in ten pages of our manifesto, but the headlines are an emergency programme of insulation for all British homes by 2030, cutting both emissions and ending fuel poverty and investing in renewable power so that 80% of UK electricity is generated from renewables by 2030. We would ban fracking and plant 60 million trees each year to absorb carbon, protect wildlife and improve health.

We would also invest in public transport and ensure that all new cars are electric by 2030. There would be a frequent flyer levy on those who fly most. Our Nature Act would introduce legally binding near-term and long-term targets for improving water, air, soil and biodiversity. We believe that our detailed and joined up approach will make the UK net zero for greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the latest.

Education and childcare

My daughters were born here and attend state schools in Hastings, and so education is an important policy area for me (as it for all of us that recognise society’s need for a well-educated and adaptable workforce).

Our headline pledge is the bold offer of free childcare from the age of nine months for parents in work and from two years for all. We would also reverse school cuts, employ an extra 20,000 teachers and clear the backlog of repairs to buildings. We would scrap SATs and replace league tables with a broader set of indicators about the quality of education offered by individual schools. One of the biggest problems our schools face is the recruitment and, especially, the retention of teachers. We would raise the starting salary to £30,000 and increase pay by at least 3% per annum throughout the parliament. The bureaucratic workload undertaken by teachers must be reduced and teachers allowed to act as the professionals they are.

But education does not stop after school, apprenticeship or university, and I am particularly partial to our innovative “Skills Wallet,” which is a £10,000 fund for each citizen (and which can be topped up by employers who chose to do so as part of an employment package). This can be drawn on at the ages of 25, 40 and 55 to be used for re-training or developing existing skills.

Remain Bonus

All this needs to be paid for! And that’s where stopping Brexit comes in, because the ‘Remain Bonus’ is best estimated at £50 billion with the economy two per cent larger by 2024-25. We want to invest that Bonus in frontline services, and the Institute for Fiscal Studies agrees with us that stopping Brexit would lead to the best economic outcome for our country. The independent fact-checking service Fullfact.Org says “We’ve checked the Lib Dems’ calculations and they seem a reasonable assessment of the best available forecasts.” Analysis by the Resolution Foundation says that our manifesto would reduce child poverty more than that of the two other parties.

This General election has been dominated by opinion polling and calls for tactical voting. In our view, politics should be about values, and our manifesto works towards an open, internationalist and respectful society which enables everyone to fulfil his or her potential. So if you think like a liberal, please vote Liberal Democrat on the 12th December.

 

Posted 16:06 Thursday, Nov 28, 2019 In: Election 2019

6 Comments

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  1. Nick Perry

    Just for the record: electoral reform is not in the Labour manifesto…

    Comment by Nick Perry — Saturday, Dec 7, 2019 @ 23:21

  2. Patrick Burton

    This election is primarily about Brexit.

    There are other serious social issues but the long-term disaster is Brexit (as well as the much more important one of climate change).
    Labour’s current position on Brexit is untenable, (with Peter Chowney significantly not mentioning it in his address to HOT). Its manifesto and spend and tax proposals are more unbelievable by the day. It’s been incompetent in dealing with the anti- Semitic issue.
    Hastings is a marginal seat where we have the privilege of possibly influencing the election result, and stopping Brexit
    So I will vote Labour, but firmly holding my nose, I’m sure like many previous but now disaffected Labour voters and members in Hastings and other marginals.

    But bring on PPR!

    Comment by Patrick Burton — Thursday, Dec 5, 2019 @ 18:02

  3. Kay Green

    The ‘remain bonus’ sounds rather like Mr Johnson’s ‘nurses who will still be here’. Our services have been drastically UNDERfunded through all the Tory + Lib Dem austerity years. We need genuine re-funding. It’s also a bit of a gamble, as we only get it if the people decide to remain so – not good enough.

    In Hastings, the idea of voting for any minority party is crazy though. This year’s GE may be unpredictable, with many changing their allegiances but the chances of a majority moving to a third party in Hastings & Rye really are not worth considering.

    Sorry Lib Dems, I understand why it’s annoying to hear, but stick to council elections and seats where small parties (especially Greens) and indies can sometimes be useful, until we get our FPTP voting system reformed.

    Comment by Kay Green — Monday, Dec 2, 2019 @ 14:59

  4. Rod Webb

    I wrote the previous letter before learning that the Lib Dem’s had gone back on their ‘cancel Brexit’ pledge. It rather confirms my point about them just seeking power and ‘to hell with … any promises they made before the election’ except they’re now doing it DURING the election.

    Comment by Rod Webb — Friday, Nov 29, 2019 @ 20:38

  5. Rod Webb

    There was a time when I voted Lib Dem. That was in the days of Charles Kennedy when they were an antidote to the neoliberal twins of the Conservatives and New Labour. But while Labour was finding its social democrat soul, the Lib Dem’s we’re heading inexorably to the right.

    I don’t blame them for forming a coalition with the Conservatives, but I do blame them for becoming the enablers of an increasingly right wing agenda – based around the totally discredited ideology of austerity.

    In this election, however the Lib Dems dress up their policies, they are simply destined to becoming Tory enablers once again. Their previous go at being in government has shown that all they seek is power and to hell with the country – as well as any promises they might make before the election.

    In Hastings, any vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for the Tory candidate as they have no hope of winning themselves. Although I can understand a long-standing Lib Dem supporter voting for their party (even if I think they are misguided) I cannot understand anyone voting for them because the don’t approve of the leader of the opposition. Labour under a Corbyn is a social Democratic Party, not hard left, and Peter Chowney is a local candidate worthy of being elected to Parliament.

    Comment by Rod Webb — Friday, Nov 29, 2019 @ 14:45

  6. Catherine Tudgay

    I think this is the simplest and most rational approach to today’s problems. The other parties are all bluff and bluster and only interested in pleasing their power base. We need an honest and believable plan of action urgently and now is the time to do it. Nick Perry is the best person for the job to represent everyone.

    Comment by Catherine Tudgay — Friday, Nov 29, 2019 @ 11:02

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