Workers are balloted over loss of passes
VINCE CABLE will claim his party is the only one being “honest” about Brexit today amid warnings that the Liberal Democrats are seen by voters as a singleissue pressure group.
The Lib Dems begin their annual conference in Bournemouth today three months after a General Election which failed to deliver the significant increase in Commons seats anticipated by its leadership.
Ahead of the conference, health spokesman Norman Lamb criticised his party’s tactic of putting opposition to Brexit at the heart of the election campaign under former leader Tim Farron.
He said: “A lot of people felt that we were treating them as if they were idiots for having voted for Brexit.
“And yet, as liberals, we ought to understand people’s anxieties about remote power.”
Asked if the Lib Dems had become too much of a single-issue party, he said: “I do. I think there are risks there.
“I don’t want us to lose our critical faculties when it comes to Europe. I don’t want us to sound like we simply advocate for an institution which in very many respects conflicts with our liberal ideas.”
Overall, the Lib Dems increased their presence in the Commons from eight MPs to 12.
But the result fell well short of expectations and included the loss of both the party’s Yorkshire MPs – former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in Sheffield Hallam and Leeds North West’s Greg Mulholland.
Mr Lamb said: “We need to start thinking about why people actually voted as they did in the referendum. Why are people angry? Why are people WRITING off the loans of students who started university after tuition fees were trebled to £9,000 a year could cost the public purse £20bn by 2050.
A new analysis by the influential Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) concludes that while making such a move now would dissatisfied with the elites in our society?
“Is that because they are stupid or do they have a point?
“That, absolutely, does not mean pandering to racism but it does mean reflecting on the fact that people feel they have no control over their lives, very often.
“We ought to be seeking to address that, not diminishing the argument or the people that make the argument.” not have an immediate effect, it would increase government debt in the longer term.
If tuition fee debt was written off after a general election in 2022, three times as much – around £60bn – could be added to overall debt in the long run.
The future of tuition fees has
The former Lib Dem leadership contender said he had voted to remain in the EU because he believed in a “coherent and united continent” but he acknowledged there were major issues with the “sclerotic” institutions which needed to be more flexible and quicker to adapt to the modern world.
He also said the country had failed young people who did not go to university, with an economy able to rely on “a ready supply of labour from elsewhere” rather than improving the skills of Britons.
Mr Lamb said powerlessness was “endemic in our country” – from residents of Grenfell Tower having their concerns ignored, a “faceless bureaucracy” which been subject to intense debate in recent months, sparked in part by a Labour election pledge to scrap the charges for all future students.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also suggested in an interview that he wanted to look at ways to “deal” with the debt of those who have paid £9,000 a year in tuition did not listen to the marginalised, and big corporations “very much taking people for granted”.
He suggested the corporate tax system could be reformed to encourage firms to give workers a fees, although Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner insisted this summer that the party had “no plans” to write off existing student debt, adding that it had never promised to do so.
In a new paper on tuition fees, the IFS notes that there have been suggestions that writing off say and become more socially responsible.
Ahead of the conference, Sir Vince, who was elected Lib Dem leader in July, said this was a “critical time in British politics”. £9,000 tuition fee loans would mean a £100bn rise in debt, but that this is wrong.
The think-tank calculated that if fees for students in England who have paid £9,000 a year were written off now, it would increase debt gradually by £20bn by 2050.
“The £100bn figure is the total
He said: “Only the Liberal Democrats have been strong and honest in warning the country about the dangers of Brexit.
“The Liberal Democrats will fight to keep Britain in the single market and offer an exit from Brexit – a referendum on the final Brexit deal with the option to remain.
“The Liberal Democrats go into conference bigger, more diverse, and significantly more influential than before the General Election.
“With a hung parliament, a weak Conservative government, a divided Labour Party and the Brexit process under way, the Liberal Democrats can make a real difference to the future of our country. Bournemouth is a chance to set out our vision.” value of all outstanding tuition fee and maintenance debt right back to 1998,” the IFS said.
“The outstanding fee debt of graduates who entered university after 2012 stands at £34bn. If that were written off in its entirety it... would increase debt by around £20bn by 2050.” A UNION is to ballot workers at Hull Council who are unhappy about the removal of free citycentre car parking passes worth £500 a year.
Unison says an indicative ballot showed 97 per cent were prepared to take industrial action, claiming it is the “straw that broke the camel’s back.”
It came after the council said it was withdrawing the passes from 166 essential car users, most of whom need to use their cars for work.
The trade union negotiated the passes in 2012 after staff were relocated into the city centre from outlying centres which had their own car parking spaces.
Branch secretary Adrian Kennett said: “To say this is insensitive is an understatement.
“Local government workers have had a pay freeze for three years followed by pay rises of between 0.5 per cent and one per cent for the last four years.
“They have lost on average £1,600 per year as costs have risen and now the council wants to force them to pay to do their jobs.”
Hull Council said workers received 65p-per-mile allowance to compensate for using their cars.
However a “significant number” did not use their cars much so they are introducing a pool car scheme, which will include electric vehicles.
It pointed out all other council staff pay for parking permits.