Issued by Phill Roberts
Chair, Copeland & Workington Liberal Democrats
Tel. 016973 21609
Mobile. 07730 284 529
Email. [email protected]
Election of Mayor for the Copeland Borough Council.
Copeland & Workington Liberal Democrats have taken the decision not to put forward a candidate for the forthcoming mayoral election in Copeland in May 2015.
In the present circumstances it is felt that putting forward a candidate would not be appropriate, given the current situation in Copeland, the background to this mayoral election, and the increasing support in Copeland for an assessment of the benefits of a change to a unitary authority. It is also our view that if we are to have an elected mayor in Copeland at this time, he or she should not be closely identified with a single political party.
It is our view that proper democratic accountability is best maintained through an effective local council elected on a proportional basis, so representing the widest spectrum of local people. However the Liberal Democrats will give their broad support to any independent elected mayor acting in the genuine interests of the whole of the Borough of Copeland for the duration of this present experiment, which may extend to two terms of office.
In the longer term, Liberal Democrats in West Cumbria believe that the present two-tier system of local government which currently operates in Cumbria should be replaced throughout the County by a unitary system, in order to improve efficiency, simplify administration and reduce costs. This might entail the creation of one or possibly two unitary authorities in Cumbria, with appropriate local area subcommittees.
END of NEWS RELEASE
Phill Roberts, parliamentary candidate for Workington, spoke out about community transport issues on The Sunday Politics this week. The episode is currently available here.
‘It’s the Economy, stupid’ was Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 Presidential campaign message. And it is probably as true now that the economy is enormously important. However, controlling or forecasting the economy has become even more difficult.
We are living in an increasingly interconnected world. There are many global companies that have turnover greater than some national governments. Most of these companies have the simple aim of maximising profit for their shareholders within the law. Countries compete to provide a financial environment, particularly the tax regime, to attract such companies who provide jobs and income, eg Luxembourg and Amazon. So what should our next government do? As Liberal Democrats we believe we have to cooperate, particularly within Europe, to get a fairer tax regime for global companies.
At home we can aspire to reducing the national debt but in the global economy it is not wholly under our control so a proportionate approach has to be taken. The Liberal Democrat objective is to eradicate the current account deficit by 2017/18 so that we live within our income each year. The long term debt we would keep falling as a percentage of GDP.
It is the duty of government to protect and care for its citizens; this must include concern for fair wages for all. The Tories, funded by big business, believe in the trickle down effect to their employees from businesses that flourish but what we have seen is the divide between top salaries and wages expanding from 8 to 1 to 10 to 1. Liberal Democrats believe that we should help wage earners directly. So we pushed the coalition government to raise the initial tax level to £10,500. We would raise this again to £12,500 which is roughly what someone on the minimum wage could earn, still not reaching a fair wage. At the other end of the scale we believe the wealthiest should bear more of the burden and we would introduce a banded high value property tax on homes over £2 million.
Promises, promises but can we keep them? Liberal Democrats have learnt a lot from being in the coalition government and know how difficult it is to escape from recession into growth. What we are determined to achieve is a fairer society and to tackle the wider aspects of the economy by cooperation and agreement within Europe. We may be an island but we cannot be insular.
Executive member, Copeland and Workington Liberal Democrats
News Release 13th Jan 2015
Copeland & Workington Liberal Democrats have selected Local Community Supporter and Chair of Copeland & Workington Liberal Democrats Phill Roberts to stand for the Workington Constituency in the forthcoming General Election
Liberal Democrat candidates have to undertake assessment and selection procedures plus attend Local Party hustings before being selected as a candidate.
Phill Roberts stood for the Workington Constituency in 1997 and is a previous Allerdale BC councillor. Phill is currently a Bromfield Parish Councillor and chairs a number of community projects including Aspatria Community Transport and Keswick carers.
Phill is also a passionate supporter of the campaign against inequality and the fight for a Living Wage.
Phill Roberts said
‘I am delighted to have been selected by the Workington Liberal Democrats to represent the Libdems at the 2015 election.
The Liberal Democrats have ensured that the country has had a stable government during very difficult financial times. Difficult decisions have had to be made in order to balance the country’s finances and the Liberal Democrats have ensured that the decisions made have been fair decisions.
We can’t however say that at this time we are all in it together when the mega rich get richer and the poorest in society get left behind.
Our society needs to ensure opportunity for all not just the few.’
For further information please contact
Phill Roberts on 01697321609 or 07730284529
Or email [email protected] or twitter phillrobertsli1
Copeland & Workington Liberal Democrat s
NUCLEAR PRESENTATION TO: Copeland & Workington Liberal Democrats by Barry Watkinson (Nuclear Development Director) Morgan Sindall
The Copeland & Workington Liberal democrats held their Annual AGM & Dinner at the
Hundith Hill Hotel on the evening of the 27th Nov 2014
Following the AGM Hundith Hill Hotel provided dinner for the Liberal Democrat members and guests.
Phill Roberts (Chair, Copeland and Workington Liberal Democrats) welcomed and introduced Barry Watkinson to the assembled members and guests for a presentation on the current planning and development for the new Nuclear Reactor at the Moorside Site adjacent to Sellafield.
Barry Watkinson informed the audience of the current planning and preparation for the Moorside site that was needed before work could actually start after 2017 including the infrastructure changes to roads leading to both the Sellafield and Moorside sites.
Barry provided an insight into the possible future developments of the Moorside site over the next 30 years and the scale of the current and future projects that would bring investment and jobs to West Cumbria
Barry’s vision went beyond current projects and provided an indication of the many possibilities and opportunities for the people of West Cumbria from the development of a National Nuclear Centre of Excellence based on the west coast of Cumbria.
He mapped out the considerable additional investment required in education and skills development that would be needed for Cumbria to take full advantage of the opportunities.
Following his presentation Barry was able to answer a number of questions from a very knowledgeable audience in regard to the generation of electricity from Nuclear Power including questions on nuclear waste and its safe storage.
Although Barry agreed with the Liberal Democrats that Cumbria’s geology may not be the best in the UK for safe storage of Nuclear Waste Barry was of the opinion that an engineering solution could be found to overcome the differences in geology and that any waste should be retrievable in the future.
Phill Roberts (Chair, Copeland & Workington Liberal democrats) in conclusion said
“I would like to thank Barry Watkinson for his presentation on future developments in the nuclear industry and all in the nuclear industry who have had the vision to prepare for this investment including the staff at UTC and the NNL in Workington
If the people of Cumbria and in particular West Cumbria are to take full advantage of all the opportunities in hosting the nuclear industry then we will need more investment in our infrastructure , roads, education and not least our hospital on the West Coast at Whitehaven
The safe storage of nuclear waste remains a challenge to all and wherever it is stored it must be retrievable. There is now general acceptance that Cumbria’s geology is in its self unsuitable for the development of a GDF and we therefore, as a party, remain opposed to the sitting of a GDF in Cumbria.
Whether an engineering solution can be found remains open to debate”
For further information please contact:
Phill Roberts 07730284529 or at [email protected] or on Twitter at phillrobertsli
West Cumbrian Liberal Democrat Liberal Democrat Rebecca Hanson continued the fight for sensible reform to Ofsted during the debate on public services in Glasgow this weekend. You can see her contribution here (2:10). This TV footage will be available for 1 month only.
The skies have cleared and Scotland is clearly back in view as part of the UK.
This photo shows the view from a classroom at the new Energy Coast UTC.
West Cumbrian Liberal Democrats fought to save the UK through traditional canvassing and through the use of traditional and social media. Rebecca Hanson took to using social medial. You can explore her views on Libdem Voice.
Phill Roberts went up to Scotland to campaign. Phill and Roger Putnam have been writing about the future of the UK in the local press. If you missed them they’re available below. Nick Clegg’s views are also well worth a read and are available here
Scotland has now voted to remain part of our United Kingdom; however we should not underestimate the depth of feeling that brought us to the brink of Scotland going its own way.
A profound distrust of the current political and constitutional structures and our politicians over many years has now become entrenched in public opinion allowing nationalism to take the place of patriotism.
That such a sizeable minority of Scots voted Yes should be no surprise.
Already, vested interests in the Conservative and Labour parties are conspiring to block and undermine constitutional reform at a time when we should be listening to the call from our communities and regions for devolved powers from Westminster.
The call for devolved powers is however not new and some of the arguments for and against continue to be played out at a national and local level.
Devolution and the arguments for and against were a major issue within British politics in the mid 1990s resulting in John Prescott, then Deputy Prime Minister, attempting to devolve powers to the regions.
This attempt failed when the North East voted emphatically No albeit on a very low poll to the proposals. Will people be any more engaged in the debate following Scotland’s independence vote?
Some of the reasons that persuaded people to oppose devolution at the time included the cost of setting up new democratic structures and the possibility of having even more councillors at a time when the credibility of our democratic representatives were at an all time low; a position that has not improved greatly.
We certainly do not need more councillors, and constitutional reform should provide us with the opportunity to restructure our councils so that we have unitary authorities and strengthened parish councils.
Has Scotland and the Independence Vote refocused our belief in self determination and control over our own circumstances, tax raising, welfare, health, housing and economic development?
There is a widespread view that economic growth will only be balanced and sustainable with devolution of key economic powers and functions to our cities and that our cities will then be the drivers of economic growth.
However, would devolved powers to our cities and urban areas create further divisions and tensions, as indicated by the disagreements between our local councillors when rehashing old arguments about towns getting more resources than the villages and rural areas?
The current ambivalence to involvement in our democratic processes and distrust of our political representation will prove a considerable hurdle to getting the electorate engaged in the debate regarding devolving powers.
All people are calling for is a fair system that represents their wishes and feelings, not some system that supports party factional or vested interests.
Any model of devolution will be devalued undermined and not trusted unless we can support it with credible democratic structures and systems that people and communities can have confidence in.
There is therefore a strong argument that we should return to the call for devolution: an English Parliament and a federal system of governance. However, this time we should also guarantee that we have a fairer voting system where everyone’s vote counts and everyone feels included.
Simply giving more powers to English MPs does nothing to empower our local communities and regions.
Rebuilding confidence in our democratic systems and representation can only be achieved with an open and transparent process of devolving powers from Westminster that ensures Localism meets the needs of all in our communities and is not simply another “buzzword”.
(Chair, Copeland & Workington Liberal Democrats)