Mike Cox with other candidates at the recent Hustings in Christchurch to discuss local and national policies and answer questions from local residents, including what we do about Brexit.
Mike Cox attend the Hustings on 26th November at Twynham School in Christchurch. The event was well attended by local residents who had many questions for the candidates for the upcoming General Election on 12th December 2019.
Here are some of the highlights:
Climate Emergency Initiatives
Chris Rigby from the Green Party was very specific about tackling the climate emergency with the goal of reducing the UK’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2030. To do this they plan to invest £100bn each year in carbon initiatives. We have to set realistic goals and expectations with implementing a sustainable action plan that businesses and the Government can achieve.
The Lib Dems plan to spend £100bn over a five year period to to reach a zero carbon emissions to net zero by 2045 and see 80% of energy provided by renewables by 2030.
We must focus on energy security by harnessing and investing in renewable energy technology such as wind and solar nationally and locally.
The 5 week wait for Universal Credit was discussed and debated as the Lib Dems plan to reduce this wait to 5 days while the Green Party have created a new initiative called Universal Basic Income and Labour creating a whole new system.
The Green Party described the current education system as 'Exam Factories' and all candidates, apart from Christopher Chope, were in agreement that we must bring back a focus on the arts and promote creative skills that are being lost in the current number scrunching education system.
The Liberal Democrats believe that Further Education is under funded and that we should adopt a life long learning approach to education.
- Raise the rate for 16-19 education, so that sixth forms and colleges are paid the same amount per pupil as secondary schools;
- Introduce the ‘Young People’s Premium’: extending the Liberal Democrats’ flagship Pupil Premium policy to college students;
- Scrap the learning tax, by refunding the VAT colleges pay and giving them money to afford a pay rise for teachers;
- Give everyone a Personal Education and Skills Account to help them pay for education and training in later life - at least £3,000 three times over the course of their adult life, from age 25.
Mental Health, NHS and Social Care
The Liberal Democrats will be investing £11bn over 5 years in the provision of mental health services and reducing the stigma surrounding those in need by treating mental health and physical health with the same level of importance.
The NHS and social care will get a £35 billion investment over a 5 year period, this will be funded by a 1p rise in tax. There will also be a £10 billion capital fund for replacing and upgrading vital medical equipment, including modernization of hospital buildings and transportation vehicles.
Staffing is a big issue and will only get worse if Brexit is delivered so we will be retaining free movement including for the 65,000 EU citizens working in the NHS, reinstating nursing bursaries and establishing a national workforce strategy to match training places to future needs.
UK National Debt
“The Liberal Democrats have followed Labour and the Conservatives in promising big increases in investment spending – a little bit more than the Conservative offer, still a lot less than the amount being proposed by Labour. Even so, their manifesto confirms that they are now the only major party committed to reduce the national debt as a fraction of national income, a goal now abandoned by both Labour and the Conservatives."
At the end of the financial year ending March 2019, UK general government gross debt was £1,821.3 billion, equivalent to 85.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) This is 25% above the reference value of 60% set out in the Protocol on the Excessive Deficit Procedure.
The UK exceeded the 60% level in March 2010. The Lib Dem and Conservative coalition formed in May 2010 so the coalition took on this debt.
2005 38% to GDP debt
2010 75% to GDP debt
2019 86% to GDP debt
This equates to £28,000 per person of debt.
Therefore, the new Government must gain control of the finances to balance the delivery of important services with the cost of delivery and we are the only party with a plan.
The Liberal Democrats are offering a Brighter Future to the nation after 3 years of pain created by Brexit. If we do carry on with the Brexit plan then we will see another decade of negotiations, trade talks, fractions in our communities financial losses to the economy that may never be recovered.
Vote for Mike Cox in Christchurch and East Dorset on 12th December and you will have a committed, knowledgeable, experienced and caring person representing local people and local issues.