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Policy Development - Publ...
Forum: Party Policy Draft Papers - Discussion
Last Post: ReadingLib
09-23-2020, 06:55 PM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 83
Liberal Party Annual Asse...
Forum: NEC Press Releases
Last Post: ReadingLib
09-22-2020, 11:37 AM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 29
Liberal Party NEC Stateme...
Forum: NEC Press Releases
Last Post: ReadingLib
09-16-2020, 07:34 PM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 123
Liberal Party NEC Stateme...
Forum: NEC Press Releases
Last Post: ReadingLib
09-04-2020, 06:50 PM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 132
Motion Passed at the Libe...
Forum: NEC Press Releases
Last Post: ReadingLib
08-31-2020, 05:18 PM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 110
Liberal Party NEC Stateme...
Forum: NEC Press Releases
Last Post: ReadingLib
08-25-2020, 06:26 PM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 129
Call for Motions – Libera...
Forum: NEC Press Releases
Last Post: ReadingLib
08-08-2020, 12:53 PM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 98
Liberal Party NEC Stateme...
Forum: NEC Press Releases
Last Post: ReadingLib
08-06-2020, 06:16 PM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 174
Liberal Party Presidents ...
Forum: NEC Press Releases
Last Post: ReadingLib
08-03-2020, 06:19 PM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 94
Letter to Reading Chronic...
Forum: Local Association Press Releases
Last Post: ReadingLib
08-01-2020, 12:14 PM
» Replies: 0
» Views: 179

 
  Policy Development - Public Sector Project Cost Control
Posted by: ReadingLib - 09-23-2020, 06:55 PM - Forum: Party Policy Draft Papers - Discussion - No Replies

Cost over-runs and delays to public infrastructure projects

The Liberal Party notes the ongoing delays to the completion of the HS2 project, which is now projected as of February 2020 to cost more than £106 billion pounds, almost twice the original budget not withstanding delays to its completion.

Cost overruns and delays to the completion of publicly funded projects are a frequent feature of media reports, with recent examples such as:

Crossrail, initial budget of £14.8bn, the total cost has risen to more than £18.25bn with final completion pushed back to 2022.

Hinkley C cost has risen from £20.3bn to £22.9bn as of Sept 2019.

Ely's bypass opened in Nov 2018 at a cost £49million pounds, £13 million over budget due to "tricky conditions".

Lowestoft 3rd crossing put back out to tender after reports cost could reach £100 million pounds but only one contractor was willing to bid. The latest cost estimate as of August 2020 is now 134 million pounds.

Upper Orwell Crossing, Ipswich abandoned Jan 2019 at a projected cost of £97m, but with an independent review saying it would be closer to £139m.

Reading third crossing – projected £150 million pounds.

In Scotland there have been similar controversies with the Aberdeen by-pass and the Edinburgh Trams project.

Infrastructure spending is vital for promoting economic activity and regional development, particularly in periods of recession when it boosts employment, but is dogged by a national inability to deliver on time and to budget.

These budget overruns represent the unexpected expenditure of taxpayer’s monies and should be critically scrutinised to ensure the electorate is getting value for money.

Explanations include each project being treated as unique, with no attempt to recycle designs or experience, the full scope and hence costs of projects are not properly understood prior to tendering and the costs of land purchases are not fully factored in.

Many bidders are seemingly unable or unwilling to quote a fixed cost, or potential bidding low to win the business knowing local or national govt will pick up the cost overruns. In some cases, this prospect is leading to the cancellation of important projects such as the Upper Orwell Crossing.

There also appears to be a lack of domestic companies with the size to take on such projects, with the choice likely to be further restricted post BREXIT as the country focuses on domestic bidders in preference to those from the near continent.

Central and local government and private business should be encouraged to work together to better manage the cost of projects and to promote best practise professionally across the construction industry.

The Audit Commission should report on major government funded infrastructure projects as well as public sector expenditure to identify areas of improvement and to provide early warning of projects in need of early intervention.

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  Liberal Party Annual Assembly and NEC Meeting – 3rd October 2020
Posted by: ReadingLib - 09-22-2020, 11:37 AM - Forum: NEC Press Releases - No Replies

Dear members,

With the continued restrictions on travel, meeting and social distancing due to the COVID-19 Pandemic the Liberal Party has decided to make alternative arrangements for the forthcoming annual Assembly and NEC Meeting.

The traditional October Assembly will be conducted over Zoom, computer software which allows on-line video conferences to be conducted between multiple participants.

The meeting will commence at midday and anybody wishing to attend should contact myself to obtain a meeting invite.
 
Members of the Liberal Party as well as the general public are welcome to attend this meeting.

Motions for debat are availble to view from the front page of the party website.

Regards,
Stephen Graham
Liberal Party NEC Member

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  Liberal Party NEC Statement - The National Response to the Developing Covid-19 Pandem
Posted by: ReadingLib - 09-16-2020, 07:34 PM - Forum: NEC Press Releases - No Replies

The Liberal Party notes the recent Govt announcement re-imposing restrictions on social gatherings as the number of Covid-19 cases in the UK continues to rise.

With a viable vaccine up to 18 months away we believe the country can only balance competing social and economic forces by maintaining a social distancing policy, an effective track and trace system and a responsibly managed shielding scheme for the most vulnerable.

We believe that the country should continue to maintain the mantra of flatten the curve as was emphasis at the start of the pandemic.

We note the reports of mass infections at factories and meat processing facilities which have necessitated the 14 day quarantine of a considerable number of low paid workers and their families and believe nobody should face financial hardship or the threat of homelessness in these circumstances.

We believe rules on statuary sick pay for those affected should be revised as a matter of urgency and that the furlough scheme remains relevant to many sectors of the economy most particularly the hospitality sectors, restaurant, clubs and theatres who face an open-ended curtailment on their activities.

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  Liberal Party NEC Statement - Tax Changes and the Autumn Statement
Posted by: ReadingLib - 09-04-2020, 06:50 PM - Forum: NEC Press Releases - No Replies

The Liberal Party notes media reports that the Chancellor intends to offset the cost of the Covid-19 pandemic with reform of corporation and capital gains tax and the pensions triple lock in his autumn statement.
 
The party full acknowledges the 190-billion-pound cost to the country of economic intervention and the rise in the national debt to over 2 trillion pounds but believes that a premature increase in taxation will inhibit the slow economic recovery.
 
The Liberal Party believes there are fairer ways of increasing public revenue. These include Land Value Taxation (LVT) (to partially replace income tax), progressive Inheritance Tax (to also fund Universal Inheritance endowments) and motorway tolls.
 
We also believe that serious efforts should be made to address the estimated 35 billion pounds of tax revenue lost annually through a combination of tax avoidance, evasion, omission, and error.
 
This a tax gap has passed largely without comment and has deprives the exchequer of vital income and local public services of vital funding further intensifying austerity.

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  Motion Passed at the Liberal Party Special Assembly - China The Unreliable Partner
Posted by: ReadingLib - 08-31-2020, 05:18 PM - Forum: NEC Press Releases - No Replies

In light of the People’s Republic of China passing security laws which disregard the 1997 enacted Sino British joint agreement relating to the administration of Hong Kong and it’s one country two system principles,

the Liberal Party believes the People’s Republic of China to be an unreliable partner in regards to international agreements and calls for the UK government to:

Take steps to regenerate a world class British telecom’s industry and to withdraw the offer of a 5G deal to Huawei as this may compromise our national security.

We also reiterate our call for Hong Kong’s British Nationals Overseas passport holders and their families to be offered full and unconditional UK citizenship.

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  Liberal Party NEC Statement - High Street retail job losses
Posted by: ReadingLib - 08-25-2020, 06:26 PM - Forum: NEC Press Releases - No Replies

The Liberal Party notes the announcement of the imminent redundancy of 7000 staff at the M&S department chain amidst media reports that Debenhams has hired a specialist firm to explorer the options for the liquidation of the business, threatening a further 14000 jobs.

Whilst both businesses had been struggling to remain viable before the onset of the current pandemic the phenomenon has thrown their struggles back into public view.

The emergence of internet-based retail companies has left many establish retailers with unviable business models, high fixed costs, and liabilities which new entrants are not restrained by and inevitably created an uneven playing field.

The party again calls upon the Government to formulate an action plan to lessen the impact of job losses across the retail sector, be it by the way of business rate’s relief or an extension of the furlough scheme to assists employees now facing a bleak future.

Whilst we understand the retail environment has arguably changed irreversibly, a derelict high street undermines an urban area’s viability and inhibits urban renewal. It also leaves retail staff with the prospect of no livelihood or income in an era of increased economic instability.

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  Call for Motions – Liberal Party Annual Assembly – Saturday 3rd October 2020
Posted by: ReadingLib - 08-08-2020, 12:53 PM - Forum: NEC Press Releases - No Replies

The annual Assembly has been scheduled for the 3rd October 2020 and we envisage that it will be another video conference due to the ongoing pandemic restrictions.

Please forward any motions for consideration to myself, stephen GRaham or another member of the NEC for inclusion.

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  Liberal Party NEC Statement - UK Pandemic Public Information Availability
Posted by: ReadingLib - 08-06-2020, 06:16 PM - Forum: NEC Press Releases - No Replies

The Liberal Party notes with concern the continued decline in direct Government communications on the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Since the end of June the Government has ceased daily briefings and then progressively felt the need to discontinue publishing the daily number of people tested for Covid-19 and now the daily death toll which is currently being reviewed by Public Health England.
 
Whilst we fully accept that the data presented to the public must be both accurate and relevant the government has a duty to communicate publicly where this data is accessible in the public domain.
 
As the country emerges from its unprecedented lockdown the public needs to be able to make informed decision on how they wish to resume their social and public activities and to be able to assess the risks.
 
The imposition of further restrictions in Manchester and other parts of Northern England clearly illustrates the unpredictable nature of this pandemic.
 
The party calls for the Government to ensure that such information is available in an accessible format, to be consistent with the data it uses and that the figures collected are meaningful, and finally that the need to open the economy is balanced with the needs for public disclosure.

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  Liberal Party Presidents Statement - UN should accept Palestinian application
Posted by: ReadingLib - 08-03-2020, 06:19 PM - Forum: NEC Press Releases - No Replies

In September 2011, the Palestinian Authority applied for membership of the United Nations. Since then the threat of further illegal settlements and now annexation of their lands has continued unabated. 
 
We call upon the United Kingdom government to send a clear message against illegal settlements, forced evictions and failure by Israel to give genuine recognition of Palestinian rights and interests, by supporting the Palestinian Application to the United Nations. Also, in a clear gesture of support to extend an invitation for Palestine to join the Commonwealth, should they wish to do so. 
 
We should not remain silent and timid in the face of brutal evictions and annexation in the West Bank
 
Cllr Steve Radford
President of The Liberal Party

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  Letter to Reading Chronicle - Reading Borough Council Accounts Sage
Posted by: ReadingLib - 08-01-2020, 12:14 PM - Forum: Local Association Press Releases - No Replies

I read with despair the latest chapter in the saga of Reading Borough Councils struggle to complete and submit its annual accounts on time.

According to the latest items on the Reading Chronicle website (8th & 21sth July) the bill to local taxpayers for doing so now in the region of 1 million pounds, with only 1 set of accounts in the last 4 years completed and signed-off on time.

This is an appalling record for which the Labour run council should be hanging its collective heads in shame. Instead it seems to think it can refuse to apologies and simply brazen it out, at least till the polling stations re-open next May.

Fully audited and presented accounts, delivered on time re-assure the tax paying public that the authority is being run professionally and competently. That there are no nasty surprises or liabilities which have not been publicly disclosed.

Commercial businesses are obliged to do so on a strict timescale. This concept appears to be alien to the council which shows no evidence of having learnt anything from this awfully expensive and protracted process.

Stephen Graham
Reading Liberal Party(Organiser)

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