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    Article: Sep 8, 2018

    Vince Cable, The Leader of the Liberal Democrats has proposed an ambitious plan to change the face of UK politics - by seizing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a party into a movement.

    Proposals are coming forward to Liberal Democrat Conference in Brighton to open up the party to supporters and radically alter the political landscape of the United Kingdom.

  • Article: Sep 3, 2018
    By Ian Marks

    The Liberal Democrats have published a comprehensive blueprint for replacing the broken business rates system, cutting taxes for businesses by 18% in Warrington.

    Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Finance on Warrington Council has described the plans as exactly the sort of policy we need to boost local investment and ensure businesses in Warrington thrive.

    The report 'Taxing Land, Not Investment' calls for the abolition of business rates and its replacement with a tax on land values, the Commercial Landowner Levy. The levy would remove buildings and machinery from calculations and tax only the land value of commercial sites, boosting investment and cutting taxes for businesses.

    Liberal Democrat members will debate and vote on the proposals at the Party's Autumn Conference in Brighton later this month.

    Councillor Marks said, "Time and time again I hear concerns about the devastating impact of business rates on struggling high streets and the wider local economy. It is the responsibility of the current Conservative Government to ensure that our businesses are able to thrive, but ministers are not doing anywhere near enough.

    Liberal Democrats demand better. That is why we are campaigning to create the environment needed for local businesses to grow and create jobs in Warrington."

    Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable added, "Business rates were a badly designed policy to begin with and have become an unacceptable drag on our economy. They are a tax on productive investment at a time of chronically weak productivity growth, and a burden on high streets struggling to adapt to the rise of online retail.

    Many of the areas around the country that voted for Brexit feel they have been left behind. In place of policies, the Brexiters offer only rhetoric. Great swathes of the country demand better, and this policy offers change to the manufacturing industry and towns passed over by economic growth."

  • bbarr
    Article: Jul 3, 2018
    By Alix Roper

    Warrington's Development Management Committee has voted unanimously to turn down the Council's own planning application to place a Waste Transfer Station on highly congested and polluted Winwick Road, which is the principal northern gateway into the town. This reversed a decision by the Executive Board, the Council's cabinet, to place the facility there.

    The Waste Transfer Station would be visited up to twice a day by every refuse collection vehicle in Warrington and waste would have been taken away by 44 tonne trucks travelling up the A49 to the M6.

    The Committee was told that the additional traffic would be 'negligible' compared to existing flows on Winwick Road and that similar facilities elsewhere release no odour and are not subject to vermin. On balance the reduced distance travelled by refuse trucks would lessen pollution in the town as a whole.

    Cllr Bob Barr Leader of the Liberal Democrats said, "The Committee had visited a similar facility in the countryside near Lancaster far from any residential or educational facilities. While that transfer station was quiet, clean and largely unobjectionable, it wasn't comparable to one sited next to one of the busiest roads in Warrington.

    The technical argument put together carefully and professionally by officers was sound and cost-effective. However it totally ignored the wishes of residents. Officers did what the Executive Board told them to do, which was to maximise the savings by locating the station centrally on Warrington Council owned land. Had they been allowed to work to a slightly more relaxed brief, still offering savings, a less controversial site may have been found, though officers say that over 200 locations had been considered.

    The Labour Executive Board led by Cllrs. Terry O'Neill and Russ Bowden, has to take full responsibility for failing to understand the strength of resident objections and the strength of backing that residents had from back-bench Labour councillors. They ploughed on regardless. Winwick Road is the wrong site for a Waste Transfer Station. Air pollution already exceeds legal limits along this road, it is highly congested, and inadequately cleaned.

    If you have any faith in the future development of the town, this site will become a prime location, once the few available sites in the Town Centre and Stadium Quarter are used up. It should not be blighted by placing an unpopular waste facility here.

    Those living, working and studying close to the proposed site, as well as those relying on the A49, deserve better than this attempt to impose a decision. The Leader, Deputy Leader and Executive Board Member should take full responsibility for this costly and wasteful error and consider their positions.

    The officers said that the application had already cost almost a million pounds. I presume that includes the design of the station and preparation of the site. They said that without a Transfer Station the cost of handling our waste will massively increase because we will not be able to choose contractors".

  • ryanbate
    Article: Jun 22, 2018
    By Alix Roper

    The Liberal Democrats and Labour on Warrington Council have different views on whether full-scale nationalisation of our railways is the solution to the current problems.

    There was total agreement on the appalling response from Northern Rail to the current fiasco rail users in Warrington are suffering and the need to hold the Minister and the company to account.

    Cllr Ryan Bate said, "The disruption caused by the timetable changes comes with great economic and social cost causing untold anger and anguish as people struggle to get to work, to school, to medical appointments and go about their daily lives. If Labour would remove their call for public ownership from their motion we would support it so there would be cross-party consensus. This would give greater weight to our MPs as they seek the best solution for our Borough.

    How and when they want to achieve full-on nationalisation is unclear and there are many options for a middle way between nationalisation and privatisation such as some form of public / private partnership or what is called stakeholder capitalism. I am sorry that they have rejected the opportunity for consensus."

    Cllr Ian Marks added, "We think Labour's faith in the benefits of nationalisation is misguided. It would cost a huge amount of money and remember it was nationalised British Rail that wielded the Beeching cuts and under-invested in the 60s and 70s. It is wrong that UK passengers are paying money from fares to overseas state-owned companies who own most of our rail operators. It is a nonsense that they are allowed to bid for franchises when public sector companies here cannot.

    We would reform the franchising system by banning companies that substantially breach the terms of their contract from bidding for further franchises for a period of time. Liberal Democrats would give local authorities, city regions and 'Transport for the North' a greater role in operating franchises in their areas."

    Lib Dem Group leader Cllr Bob Barr commented, "We were very surprised that the Conservative councillor supported Labour and voted for nationalisation. Does this indicate a change of policy for her Party?"

  • Article: Jun 6, 2018
    By Alix Roper

    Liberal Democrats have amended the EU Withdrawal Bill to ensure that the people, not politicians, get the final say on the deal and the opportunity to exit from Brexit.

    But we'll only have a chance of passing it if it gets cross-party support. Can you contact your MP and ask them to add their names to the amendment? Find out how on our national website.

  • Article: May 24, 2018
    By Webmaster

    Liberal Democrats in Warrington have been out in the centre of town with Cllr Bob Barr, the Parliamentary Candidate for Warrington South, listening to what people think are the big issues. They held a Street Stall at Market Gate on Saturday.

    The issues people wanted to talk about were education and health and social care. Warrington has suffered badly from under-funding in our schools and we told people that the Liberal Democrats would invest an extra £7 billion so that no school loses money per pupil.

    Many people have personal stories about the NHS and Social Care due to chronic underfunding by the Conservatives. There is a willingness to pay an extra penny on income tax providing it can be guaranteed that this will be ring-fenced for health and care spending.

    We were pleased that Warrington voters liked what the Liberal Democrats had to say on these big issues."