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East Berkshire Liberal Democrats Response to Government 2015 Spending Review

December 2, 2015 6:20 PM
By East Berkshire Lib Dems ( S Hanney )

East Berks Lib Dems condemn Tory cuts to important services but welcome the adoption of some Lib Dem policies

November 29, 2015 12:56 PM
By East Berkshire Liberal Democrats

The East Berkshire Liberal Democrats passed the following motion at the local party's AGM on 25 Nov 2105:

East Berks Lib Dems are appalled by the unnecessarily extreme cuts in the Conservative Government's 2015 spending review, but welcome the adoption of Lib Dem policies of increasing funding for the NHS and pensions, and scrapping the proposed Tory cuts in tax credits.

Extreme, but sometimes hidden, Tory cuts in spending on key services are damaging and short-sighted. These cuts include ones to services such as public health, local councils, public transport, student nurses, further education, energy efficiency and green heating schemes.

For example, the Tory cuts in spending on the public health services run by local councils, such as smoking cessation, are particularly short-sighted. These vital public health prevention services reduce the number of people developing diseases such as lung cancer and some types of heart disease, strokes and diabetes. Therefore, making cuts in such services will lead to higher levels of illness, and associated costs, in future years.

The Lib Dems have always recognised the need to reduce the level of the deficit left by the last Labour Government, but the Tory cuts are more extreme than they need to be. This is partly because the Conservatives are at the same time reducing some of the taxes paid by the wealthiest. The Lib Dems are pleased at the success of the campaign we led in Parliament to scrap the Tory's proposed cuts in tax credits.

East Berks Lib Dems welcome the move towards meeting the request from the NHS boss, Simon Stevens, for an extra £8billion annually for the main part of the NHS by 2020. When this long-term funding request was originally made the Lib Dems were the first party to commit to meeting it in full.

We also welcome the increase in pensions by 2.9%, which is the rate of wage inflation. This increase is as a result of the Triple Lock policy the Lib Dems in the Coalition Government forced the Conservatives to accept in 2010. It overturned the policy introduced by Mrs. Thatcher's Tory Government that cost many pensioners thousands of pounds by increasing pensions only by the rate of prices and not by whichever was the higher of increases in wages or prices. The Lib Dems Triple Lock policy also added a third level of support for pensioners by saying the minimum pensions could increase was by 2.5% even if the rate of increases in both wages and prices were lower than that.