LDEG Chair letter on UK Government
May 23, 2017 10:00 AM
By Nick Hopkinson, Chair of the Lib Dem Europe Group in West Sussex Times
Please find below a recent letter by Nick Hopkinson, the LDEG Chair, to the West Sussex Times
Your recent editorial praised the ruling Conservative Party for its record as the majority Party on West Sussex County Council (WSCC). Is this really merited? Education continues to be woefully underfunded. West Sussex road programmes and maintenance remains patchy, and social care and re-cycling facilities operate on reduced hours. The list of Conservative led failings at WSCC goes on.
Yet your paper does report the continuing incompetence of the Conservative led Horsham District Council (HDC), e.g. to convert parking meters to accept new pound coins. Their flawed Liberty North Horsham development provides insufficient social housing, and charging for local car parking is already reducing local traders' income. The situation may well get worse as six local HDC Conservative Councillors will now also serve as County Councillors, inevitably reducing the time they can devote to HDC business.
At the national level, we face the prospect of another five years of Conservative Government in Westminster. This will continue to undermine the NHS, social care, and social housing, and will fund Grammar and Free schools at the expense of mainstream schools. The Government is determined to deliver a hard Brexit but they will need a decade to finalise new trade deals, creating much uncertainty for all businesses, both large and small, as they lose markets in the meantime. The Conservative Government will turn our hitherto relatively harmonious relations with our closest neighbours and allies into a bitter divorce process.
The Government will in effect trash our economy and the unity of the United Kingdom on the ideological altar of reducing immigration by at best 50,000 a year, hardly a reduction on the current 360,000 current net level. Pandering to its right (or should I say UKIP) wing to limit immigration comes at a time when our health and social services, industry, commerce, agriculture and tourism sectors are crying out for employees to enable them to function, and contribute taxes to reduce the Conservative's massive budget deficit. While the Government scares away much needed foreign workers, they offer non-dom oligarchs and international corporations generous tax breaks. Despite their claims to the contrary, fairness for the Just About Managing (JAMs) will not be delivered by the Conservatives.
The only way to mitigate this nightmare is to ensure there is a strong, effective opposition in Westminster which holds the Government to account, something which Labour cannot offer. We may recall the Liberal Democrats in the 2010-15 Coalition blunted the Conservative's worst right wing policies. We should vote for the Lib Dems on 8 June to ensure they can do so again.