We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Welcome to our 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.

Recent updates

  • Steffan Aquarone
    Article: May 23, 2018
    By Steffan Aquarone

    Lots of people care about political issues, but feel that local politics can't affect the things that 'really matter'.

    I thought about this myself when I was deciding to stand for election last year.

    I was conscious that I was about to pour six months of my life into getting elected when there was virtually no chance of my party being in charge.

  • money
    Article: May 20, 2018

    The Banking Crash of 2008/9 could have been an utter disaster personally for millions of families. While we can criticize Brown's Labour Government for its "light touch" banking regulation - which contributed to that crash - we must also be immensely grateful that they they acted so promptly and decisively when disaster struck. Huge sums of money were pumped into the banks to keep them going and many were effectively nationalised. However this was very expensive indeed because most of that had to be borrowed - at high interest rates. Then for several years the high interest rates meant the debt continued to rise slowly.

    The following Conservative government's response was, reasonably enough, to reduce government spending, but they also - unreasonably - refrained from putting up taxes and in fact reduced a few. Worse than that, because they imagine you can operate the UK economy like a 1950s housewife controlled the family budget. And they think that there's a simple relationship between government spending cuts and deficit reduction. There is not. The relationship is complex and involves several negative feed-back loops. So they were disappointed in the results time after time and piled cut upon cut.

    They froze public sector pay, cut benefits, starved the NHS of cash to help cope with the ageing population, cancelled infrastructure projects and withdrawn the Rate Support grant from local councils - leaving them barely able to cope. They have softened Inheritance Tax, maintained pensions and resolutely shunned any income tax rises.

    In other words the Tories have punished the poor, the disadvantaged and the sick and rewarded the prosperous, elderly middle-classes - plus of course that large group of the elderly middle-classes that think they're prosperous or have illusions that their children might be one day. Good politics if you have a Tory mind-set, but socially unjust and perhaps not sustainable for very long.

    And the feed-back loops? Well, government spending actually ends up in private pockets. Pensioners and benefit claimants have more money - and more money to spend. More doctors, nurses, teachers mean more people with wages or larger wages - and more money to spend. Companies doing work for the government get paid - and that means more money for a bigger or more hard working labour force. Again, more money to spend. In this way a £1 increase in government spending can produce an increase of between 50p and £1.70 in national income. The exact figure depends on how willing the population is to spend, rather than to save. However in the UK we are very good at spending and very poor in saving. The so-called "multiplier" can in practice be well in excess of 1.0. The point is that this works in the other direction too. So a cut in government spending of £1 can result in a reduction of 50p to £1.70 in national income.

    So what is it in the UK in the recent past? Well, right-wing people and right-wing institutions - like the International Monetary Fund - believe the multiplier is less than 1.0 and so they would say the UK government has done the right thing. On the other hand many econommists say that the consistent errors in UK Treasury and IMF forecasts of future growth in the UK economy show that the Treasury and the IMF are using a multiplier which, for the UK at least, is far too low and must be greater than 1.0. This seems to be the case for the USA as well. Possibly 0.5 might be the right figure for the German economy, where people save a lot more of their income than we do.

    Here in the UK we have the OBR - the Office of Budgetary Responsibility - a government department suppopsedly independent of the Treasury. However the OBR has used the Treasury figure of 0.5 for the multiplier to make forecasts - so it's not a surprise really that successive chancellors, Osborne and Hammond, have had to keep revising their economic forecasts downwards. The figure they used implies they're doing the right thing (of course) and that their austerity has not been doing our economy much harm. However, now even the IMF has moved it's estimate of the multiplier for the UK up to a range of 0.9 - to 1.7. In 2017, the TUC has calculated that if you use the IMF mid-range value of 1.3 - more realistic and consistent with the USA - then you can see that the Tory austerity has damaged our economy to the tune of £76 billion, just for the 5 years from 2010 - 2015.

    The damage of Tory austerity has been at least 1% less for our GDP each year - in addition to the stress and hardship for the low paid, the disadvantaged and the sick.

    Now we're asked to rejoice at a small reduction in borrowing. But slower and steadier might well have achieved a better result with less human cost - and how will we fare if interest rate rises suddenly make servicing the debt more expensive and start pushing the deficit back up again? This Tory government seems to have only one strategy for the economy - based on a biased assumption and consequently doing more harm than good. It's like taking some toxic Victorian potion in an attempt to regain good health!

  • Tim at Windermere station
    Article: May 20, 2018

    Local MP Tim Farron has told managers at the rail company Northern that passengers on the Lakes Line are choosing to boycott the line because they are so fed up with the poor service.

    In a face to face meeting, Tim put Northern managers on the spot.

    People have been subjected to an onslaught of cancellations and long delays in recent months. On one day earlier this month a total of 14 trains were cancelled on the line.

  • Vince Cable in Twickenham
    Article: May 20, 2018

    Vince Cable has criticised the effective monopolies enjoyed by the likes of Google, Facebook, and Amazon - comparing their market dominance to that of big oil companies in the past - and suggested ways they could be broken up.

    "Data is the new oil. Data is the raw material which drives these firms and it is control of data which gives them an advantage over competitors. These companies have acquired their pivotal position by providing a service or platform through which data can be extracted, collected and used.

    Just as Standard Oil once cornered 85% of the refined oil market back then, today Google drives 89% of internet search, 95% of young adults on the internet use a Facebook product, Amazon accounts for 75% of E-book sales, while Google and Apple combined provide 99% of mobile operating systems.

    National government and, even more so, supranational bodies like the EU can and should look to break up enterprises where size is detrimental to the economic well-being of the country, its citizens and its capacity for innovation.

    There is a case for splitting Amazon into three separate businesses - one offering cloud computing, one acting as a general retailer and one offering a third-party marketplace. Other examples would be Facebook being forced to divest itself of Instagram and WhatsApp as a condition for operating in the EU, creating two new social media networks. Divesting Google of YouTube would be another.

    What is striking that the most effective competition authority in the capitalist world - the European Commission - is probably the only body with the clout to take these decisions. The UK could quite obviously never do it alone.

    Britain commits an act of serious self-harm by doggedly setting itself apart from the power of shared sovereignty with our neighbours.

  • Northchurch Bye Election 2018 Results
    Article: May 17, 2018

    The By-Election had been called after the sad death of Alan Fantham, the long-serving local councillor on both DBC and on Northchurch Parish Council. Alan was born and bred in Northchurch and had been a local cricket star.

    Alan had served on DBC as a Conservative, but the party could not find anyone locally willing to stand for them. They had to ask an Aldbury resident to be their candidate instead.

  • Document: May 6, 2018
    322.2 KiB drawing or desktop publishing document

    Thank you to the people of Northchurch for their strong support for Lara Pringle - now elected as their Dacorum Borough Councillor - plus news of recent developments.

  • Jeremy Asquith
    Article: Apr 27, 2018

    Three Rivers District Council Elections on 3rd May 2018 - Liberal Democrat Candidate for the Moor Park & Eastbury Ward

    The Liberal Democrat candidate is Dr Jeremy Edmund Campion Asquith who lives in Moor Park. He works as a Dental Surgeon at a practice in North London where he is the Principal Dentist. He is a long term member of the Liberal Democrats. As such he has assisted Liberal Democrat M.P.s in the coalition government with health policy.

    Dr Asquith has been actively involved in his profession at both a local and national level for many years. He has been a member of the British Dental Association (BDA) since 1978 and has chaired various dental committees including chairing the Middlesex and Hertfordshire Branch of the BDA.

  • Council results 0418
    Article: Apr 23, 2018

    Principal Council by-election results from 2017 to now.

    The Liberal Democrats winning seats across the country.

  • Libraries play a key part in the community
    Article: Apr 22, 2018
    By Mark Watkin

    At today's meeting of the Education, Libraries and Localism Cabinet Panel. The Liberal Democrat team voted against the County's plans to outsource their much loved and highly popular Library Service while the Labour Group leader abstained. In spite of this, the Conservative led Panel agreed to the County developing a detailed business case before finally deciding whether to go ahead with the scheme.

  • Ballot Box
    Article: Apr 20, 2018

    In a satisfactory week's by-election results the Liberal Democrats have continued their winning streak by gaining another 2 council by-election seats from the Conservatives. One was in Berkshire and the second in Cheshire.

    Thatcham West Ward, West Berkshire UA, April 19, 2018

    Liberal Democrat Jeff Brooks 820 [48.4%; +9.7%]
    Conservatives 523 [30.9%; -16.9%]
    Labour 130 [7.7%; -5.9%]
    Green 130 [7.7%; +7.7%]
    UKIP 91 [5.4%; +5.4%]

    Lib Dem gain from Conservative
    Percentage changes from 2015

    Lymm South Ward in Warrington Borough, April 19th

    Liberal Democrats Anna Fradgely: 769; 42.8% (+10.4)
    Conservatives: 649: 36.2% (-2.3)
    Labour: 328; 18.3% (-1.1)
    UKIP: 25: 1.4% (-8.3)
    Green: 24; 1.3% (+1.3)

    LDem GAIN from Con.

Nick Hollinghurst