Lib Dems leading on business and innovation

Turbo-charging the UK’s position as a “global research powerhouse”

The Liberal Democrats have set out a plan today to turbo-charge the UK’s position as a “global research powerhouse” with a £17bn research and development fund that will help level the economic playing field across all regions.

The five-year funding programme will be used to leverage private investment and ensure that national spending on research and development reaches 3% of GDP as soon as possible. The additional funding would come out of a £130 billion capital investment fund that would also support vital infrastructure projects across the country.

Part of this funding would increase investment in the Strength in Places fund, which is designed to support regional growth by investing in programmes that would help close the economic gap between regions. So far, the South East has secured investment for a major agri-tech support programme.

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174% rise in homeless children in East of England a ‘shocking indictment’

Child homelessness is a shocking indictment on modern society

The 174% increase in homeless children in the East of England is a ‘shocking indictment’ on modern society.

A report released by Shelter reveals that 135,000 children will be homeless and living in temporary accommodation on Christmas Day in Britain, affecting one in 107 children.

Shelter also highlighted the impact of temporary accommodation such as emergency B&Bs and hostels on families, where the facilities were often sub-standard and lacked privacy and security for families.

In the East of England, there were 8,400 children living in temporary accommodation as of 31 March 2019 out of a total child population for the region of 1,404,273. This equates to one in every 167 children living in temporary accommodation.

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Ofsted stats reveal Tory failure on school standards

Teacher and Pupils

The Conservatives have let over 1,000 schools go unvisited by inspectors for over a decade, according to analysis by the Liberal Democrats.

Figures published on 28 November 2019, reveal that 1,048 schools have not been visited by an Ofsted inspector since 29 November 2009. Schools rated outstanding by Ofsted in their previous inspection are no longer inspected routinely, unless concerns are raised.

This means that safeguarding or other problems with a school that are not reported to Ofsted can go unnoticed for years. Boris Johnson restated a policy to remove this exemption. His Government first promised to do this two months ago but he has failed to deliver.

New figures show that of the 593 previously outstanding schools that were inspected last academic year, more than half saw their grade drop and 113 were rated ‘Requires Improvement’ or ‘Inadequate’.

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75 academics quit University of Hertfordshire in three years in “Brexit brain drain”

Professor

Seventy five EU academics from University of Hertfordshire have quit in the three years since the Brexit vote, research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

Twenty nine academics from the EU left University of Hertfordshire in 2018/19, the figures show.

The analysis, based on Freedom of Information responses from 81 universities, shows that across the country 4,014 EU academics have left UK universities in 2018/19.

The figures reveal that uncertainty across Welwyn Hatfield over freedom of movement and international research funding is leading to a “Brexit brain drain”.

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Liberal Democrats ‘not afraid to stand up for what they believe in’

Stop Brexit for a Brighter Future

The Liberal Democrats are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in, unlike the other parties during this General Election, says Welwyn Hatfield candidate.

Paul Zukowskyj spoke out after both Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell refused to say whether they would back Leave or Remain in a future EU referendum. And it followed Nigel Farage’s comments that much of the Tory manifesto was in the UKIP 2015 manifesto.

This contrasted strongly, he said, with the Liberal Democrats clear and unswerving message to voters to Stop Brexit and leader Jo Swinson’s now standing out as the strongest voice for Remain.

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Lib Dems to fund 34 more police officers in Welwyn Hatfield

Police officers on the beat

The Liberal Democrats have announced plans to fund at least 34 police officers across Welwyn Hatfield as part of an extra £1bn nationwide investment into community policing.

This commitment amounts to 20,000 more police officers across England and Wales, enough for an extra two officers per ward. The Liberal Democrats will also fund an immediate 2% pay-rise for serving police officers.
 
Our plans stand in stark contrast to Labour and the Conservatives, who have made big promises on police numbers, but have failed to commit the funding needed to deliver them. 

Boris Johnson has also sought to blame Labour for the release of Usman Khan, the convicted terrorist who murdered two people on London Bridge on Friday, as the aftermath of the attack became an increasingly politicised election issue.

In an interview on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show, the Prime Minister said it was “ridiculous” that someone such as Khan should have been freed midway through an earlier sentence, and pledged to change the law, saying: “The reason this killer was out on the streets was because of automatic early release which was brought in by a leftie government.”

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Lib Dem welfare policies would protect the most vulnerable in Welwyn Hatfield

Homeless and vulnerable

The Liberal Democrats have announced a raft of progressive welfare policies which would protect the most vulnerable in our society.

We have set out a package of measures to end rough sleeping within five years, spanning social housing, welfare, local authority funding and legal changes.

We have also pledged to increase the minimum wage by 20 per cent for zero-hour contract employees and reduce child poverty as part of a raft of progressive welfare policies.

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Lib Dems’ spending plans ‘most credible’ out of three main parties

Credible spending plans

The Liberal Democrats are offering the most "credible" spending plans out of the three main parties ahead of the general election, an influential research group has said.

The Lib Dems say stopping Brexit would deliver an extra £10bn a year for public services - we also want to increase all income tax rates by 1% to fund more NHS spending.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) director Paul Johnson said the our manifesto would involve lower levels of borrowing than under Labour or the Conservatives.

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Number of GP practices falls as EU immigration drops to record low

Peartree Surgery

The number of GP practices has fallen to a new record low of 6,867 while the number of qualified GPs has dropped by 339, NHS figures published today have revealed. Meanwhile, the number of EU nationals coming to the UK has also fallen to its lowest level since March 2013, stoking further fears of a winter NHS crisis.

The statistics for September 2019 reveal:

  • The number of GP practices in England has fallen to 6,867, a decrease of 270 (3.8%) compared to the previous year and the lowest number since records began in 1995.
  • The number of full-time equivalent GPs in England fell to 28,315 in September 2019, down 339 (1.2%) compared to the previous year.
  • The amount of GP time available per patient in England has dropped by almost 10% over the past four years, from 60.5 minutes a year in 2015 to just 55.2 a minutes a year in 2019.

And the Office National Statistics’ latest immigration statistics show that the number of EU citizens coming to the UK has fallen to its lowest level since March 2013. Already more than 10,000 EU nationals have left the NHS since the Brexit referendum, including almost 5,000 nurses.

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Lib Dems to freeze rail fare rises, saving Welwyn Hatfield commuters hundreds of pounds

Commuter train at Hatfield

The Liberal Democrats have announced they will freeze rail fare increases for Welwyn Hatfield commuters and season ticket holders for the next five years, while fixing the broken fares and ticketing system.

A Liberal Democrat government would cancel the 2.8% rail fare increase planned for January 2020 and freeze Welwyn Hatfield commuter fares and season tickets for the entirety of the next five years.

These proposals would save season ticket holders from Welwyn Garden City to London £1.331.74 over the next five years. This policy is expected to cost approximately £1.6 billion.

The Liberal Democrats would also overhaul ticketing by simplifying the system, looking to create season tickets for part-time commuters and introducing early-bird fares. The party would ensure that all rail franchises apply delay repay compensation for delays of 15 minutes or more.

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