DEPUTY Prime Minister Nick Clegg headed North in August to back job creating green projects in the North of England. Nick was in South Tyneside to speak at the launch of a new project to provide support for new and rapidly growing businesses in renewable energy and related low carbon markets. The project, led by TEDCO, aims to support the creation of 1,000 new businesses and 10,000 new jobs. The Green Deal will combine growth in the economy with a greener and more efficient way of using energy. It aims to reduce energy demand and carbon emissions while making homes warmer, saving consumers money and stimulating green recovery in jobs. Addressing a business audience at the launch, the Deputy Prime Minister said: “It is fantastic to see you tapping into the potential here in the North East – a region I want to see firmly established as a hub of a new green economy. “The work you are doing chimes very closely to this government’s ambition to rebalance our economy as we pull our way out of the downturn - rebalancing growth away from the South East to the North, shifting from an overdependence on the public sector to a recovery led by the private sector, and moving away from carbon-blind economic activity to business with a new carbon conscience.” Up to 14 million homes could benefit from the Green Deal through insulation. Payments will be collected through energy bills and the most energy inefficient homes could save, on average, around £550 a year. The Government will begin legislating for these proposals in the Autumn and they are expected to take effect in 2012.

The Northern

no. 53 August 2010

The newsletter for Liberal Democrats in the North of England

Nick on Tyneside to back green jobs in North

Liberal Democrats will be gathering in the Arena and Convention Centre in Liverpool in September for the first conference as a governing party since the 1930s. For a full run down of what’s being debated, go to pages 4 to 7.

Produced, printed and promoted by Jonathan Wallace, 7 Laburnum Grove, Sunniside, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE16 5LY

Northern Democrat June 2010 Contents
Page 2 Contents/Social mobility - Clegg speech Page 3 By-elections Page 4 The 1st Liberal Democrat Conference in Government Page 4 Conference - Saturday and Sunday Page 5 Conference - Monday Editorial: please send material for Page 6 Conference - Tuesday inclusion to the editor, Jonathan Wallace, Page 7 Conference - Wednesday at or phone 0191 4883190 Page 8 News from Europe Page 9 News from around the region Page 10 News from around the region

Social mobility a key aim for Coalition - Clegg
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg used his speech marking the 100th day of the Coalition to announce officially that former Labour Health Secretary and Darlington MP Alan Milburn has been appointed to advise the Government on social mobility.
After 13 years in which the wealth divide betwen rich and poor widened under Labour, the Coalition has set itself the aim of building a fairer Britain which increases social mobility. Nick Clegg said, “A fair society is one where everyone has the chance to do well, regardless of their beginnings. A society where no-one is held back by the circumstances of their birth. Where what counts isn’t what school you went to, the job your parents did or the colour of your skin, but your ability and ambition.

Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg

When the history books are written, I want them to say that this government paid down the budget deficit and laid down the foundations of economic prosperity for years to come. I also want them to say that children born in 2015 are less constrained by the circumstances of their birth than any previous generation. There is a huge amount of work to be done. Labour spent huge amounts of money pushing low-income households just above the poverty line - but with no impact on the chances of the next generation.” Nick explained that there are two key areas in which the Government is targetting to increase fairness and social mobility:

Tax reform
“We will reform the tax system so it encourages social mobility, rather than social segregation. We took a first step towards that at the Budget by raising the income tax threshold, taking 880,000 people out of tax altogether. Reforming income tax is explicitly aimed at those who are in paid work - the surest route out of poverty. Making income tax fairer will not only be a measure to boost fairness today, but is also an investment in fairness tomorrow.”

“We are introducing a Pupil Premium to make sure investment is channelled to the children and schools who need it most. The level of the Pupil Premium will be announced in October. Schools will be able to spend the money as they see fit - so long as its purpose it to help pupils overcome the accidents of birth.” Nick announced that he will chair a new ministerial group on Social Mobility, including Conservatives like Iain Duncan Smith and David Willetts as well as Liberal Democrats Sarah Teather and Lynne Featherstone. Alan Milburn will act as an independent reviewer of the Government’s success in delivering social mobility.


Near miss in Darlington
Labour experienced a surprise night of nerves in Darlington on 8th July when Lib Dem candidate for the Cockerton West by-election, Brian Jefferson, came within 41 votes of taking the seat.
The vacancy had been caused by the resignation of Jenny Chapman who had been elected as MP for Darlington in May. It was the Conservatives, however, who suffered the biggest vote loss, slumping to 3rd place. The result was: Labour 388 Liberal Democrats 347 Conservatives 84 BNP 41 Majority 41. Lab hold (May 2007 - Two seats Lab 515, 470, C 308, Lib Dem 263, BNP 167). Swing 6.9% Lab to Lib Dem.

Allerdale: Christchurch, Cockermouth - 19th August
Conservatives 466 Liberal Democrats 131 Green 108 (May 2007 - Two seats C 673, 571, Lab 360, 320). So much for Labour claims that their membership is booming and people are tripping over themselves to join their ranks. This was a ward Labour fought in 2007 but couldn’t get a candidate for it this time.

Redcar and Cleveland: Brotton by-election - 26th August
Lab 565 (38.1; -1.0) Independent 351 (23.7; +10.9) Liberal Democrats Val Miller 315 (21.2; -7.8) Conservatives 220 (14.8l -4.4) BNP 33 (2.2; +2.2) Majority 214, Turnout 27.8%, Lab hold. Percentage change is since May 2007. (The ward is in Middlesbrough East constituency, not Redcar)

Alnwick Town Council by-election, Alnwick Castle Ward Polling day Thursday 2nd September
Canvassing and leaflets deliveries happening almost every day between now and polling day. Any help would be greatly welcomed. Candidate Sara Walton Contact: Berwick constituency office on 01665 602901, email: Office address: 54 Bondgate Within, Alnwick, NE66 1JD

Gateshead Council 2 by-elections, Lobley Hill and Bensham, Saltwell Wards Polling day Thursday 23rd September
Help needed with canvassing, leaflets deliveries and phone canvassing. Candidates Michael Ruddy (Lobley Hill and Bensham), Laura Turner (Saltwell) Contact: Frank Hindle, 0191 4879179 Three years ago, the Liberal Democrats came within 50 votes of winning Lobley Hill and Bensham.

Scarborough Borough Council by-election, Eastfield ward Polling day Friday 24th September (Lib Dems are defending)
Candidate: Johan Zegstroo Contact: Cllr Brian Simpson, Organiser/Ward Cllr, 01723 585972, email


The 1st Liberal Democrat Conference in Government
The first Lib Dem Conference since the party went into Government is to be held in Liverpool from 18th to 22nd September. Though Conference was held in the city in March 2008, this is the first main autumn gathering to be hosted by Liverpool.
Members who have been to previous conferences will spot a significant difference this time: as we are now in Government, security will be stepped up massively around the Conference centre. No doubt there will also be a string of Labour protestors disguised as trade unionists or protest groups aiming to be heard (probably armed with banners) who will make vigorous and loud (and unbelievable) claims that cuts would never have happened under Labour. Meanwhile, Lib Dem ministers (isn’t it great to be able to say that!) will be making ministerial speeches to Conference outlining new policies to be followed by the Government. Watch out also for the increased interest from companies and lobbyists who previously gave Lib Dem conferences a miss. And watch out too for an inflated number of freinds from the media scouting around Conference for stories. One thing I guess will not change. We will be wondering whether or not any of the media attended the same Conference as we did once we see the coverage on the tv and in the press! So, Conference is going to be different this time and we are going to have to get used to it. We are, after all, now one of the governing parties. Get there early, expect to join queues for more thorough security checks, watch out for many more unfamiliar faces and generally have a good time at a Conference that can now influence what the Government does.

What’s on - Saturday
The main policy debate on Saturday 18th September will be on award of a UK National Defence Medal to Service Veterans. The motion calls for: Acknowledgement of the significant personal sacrifice our Armed Forces personnel make in their service to the Nation once they take the oath or affirmation of allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen. Acknowledgement of the failure to recognise officially the commitment and sacrifices made by service veterans who have contributed to the safety and security of the United Kingdom since the ending of the Second World War. The coalition government to rescind the decision made by the previous Labour Government to refuse to recommend the award of a National Defence Medal to our armed service veterans and instead, establish a working group to work with the Committee on the Grant of Honours Decorations and Medals, with a view to implementing the award as soon as possible.

Also on Saturday
Consultative Sessions on health, voluntary sector and IT and intellectual property (all 3 run concurrently in the morning) Party business (including reports from the Parliamentary Party) Policy Motion: Transactions Transparency and Conflicts-of-Interest in Government


Party Business Policy motion: Press Complaints Commission Speech: Tavish Scott MSP, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Consultative Session: party strategy Question and Answer Session with Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, Policy motion: Human Rights and the ‘War on Terror’ Speech by Jeremy Browne MP, Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Policy Motion: International Development Conference Rally: A rally with the Electoral Reform Society to launch Liberal Democrat support for the Yes! To Fairer Votes campaign in next year’s AV referendum

What’s on - Sunday

Liberal Democrat Conference
What’s on - Monday
Free Schools and Academies
A motion saying the Liberal Democrats are “concerned by the establishment of academies and free schools under coalition government policy” will be moved by debated on Monday morning, 20th September. At first sight, this seems hostile to the Coalition plans for schools. Add into that the free school proposals come from the Conservatives whilst Labour were the inventors of academies (though you would be hard pressed to believe that if you only listened to what Labour say now), and you could be forgiven for thinking that is an elephant trap hidden in the undergrowth of Conference for the Coalition. The motion however does not demand an end to free schools and academies. The point of the motion is to ensure schools that remain within local authority control are not penalised. In addition, in relation to free schools, it “calls on all Liberal Democrats to urge people not to take up this option.” It argues that surplus places would be created at a time of austerity. Given that few parents are likely to rush to form their own schools, most Liberal Democrats are unlikely even to have to do any urging of parents not to go down this route.

Green Taxes
The environment was a key issue for the Liberal Democrats in the Coalition negotiations. As a party we have been at the forefront of calls to shift the burden of tax from good activities (such as work) to bads (such as pollution). A motion for debate on Monday welcomes the inclusion of green tax measures in the Coalition agreement. In an unusually short (by Lib Dem Conference standards!) motion, it says, “ Conference applauds the inclusion in the June 2010 Emergency Budget of commitments to reform the Climate Change Levy and to explore options for changes to aviation tax.” The motion then goes on to call on Liberal Democrat ministers in the coalition government to: Press for rapid implementation of the reform of the Climate Change Levy so as to steadily increase the price of fossil-fuel-consuming activities and to promote energy efficiency measures and the development of renewable energy. Ensure that any changes to the carbon price do not result in windfall benefits to the operators of existing nuclear power stations. Press for full and rapid implementation of the coalition’s commitment to reform the taxation of air travel.

Also on Monday
Party Business Party awards Speech by Kirsty Williams AM, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Speech by Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, Deputy Prime Minister Speech by Baroness Ros Scott, Party President

Consultative Session - Facing the Future
This is an important session though it is consultative only - so no votes are to be taken. organised by the Facing the Future Working Group which is conducting an overall review to plan the party’s policy development work for the rest of this Parliament. Conference representatives and day visitors wishing to speak should submit a consultation card. The conclusions of the session will be taken into account by the group when drawing up their final report.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg

Liberal Democrat Conference
What’s on - Tuesday
Localism has been a feature of Liberal Democrat policy for as long as any of us care to mention and on Tuesday, one of the main debates is about empowering communities. The motion “welcomes the announcement in the coalition government’s first Queen’s Speech that a Decentralisation and Localism Bill will be presented to Parliament in the autumn.” The motion however presses the Government to go much further and calls for progress in 4 key areas: empowering local democracy, freeing up local administration, encouraging local economics and enterprise and moving towards financial autonomy for local government.

Ensuring fairness in a time of austerity
This will be a key debate and no doubt one over which the media will pick looking for divisions within the Coalition. The motion welcomed many of the measures included in the Emergency Budget on which the party campaigned: The £1,000 increase in the Income Tax allowance, freeing 880,000 low paid workers from Income Tax altogether. A new tax on banks, ensuring that they help to pay to clear up the mess left by the financial crisis. Ensuring that top earners will pay a full 10% more in Capital Gains Tax. Ensuring that pensioners get a fair deal with the ‘triple lock’, raising state pensions every year in line with earnings, inflation, or by 2.5%, whichever is the highest. Establishing a regional growth fund to ensure that regions, towns and cities that depend heavily on the public sector will not be forgotten, getting meaningful support to help create jobs and opportunities for all. Cutting child tax credits for those who can most afford it, whilst increasing support for the poorest families. The motion then calls for the following: Ensure that the Office of Budget Responsibility is genuinely independent of government by having its committee appointed directly by Parliament, and expanding its remit to include assessing the socio-economic impact of Treasury policy, as stipulated in the Equality Act 2010. Insist that Liberal Democrat ministers are given the freedom and resources to commission research to fully assess the viability and practicalities of increasing taxation on wealth including land values. Prevent the emergence of a ‘lost generation’ by fostering a strong economy and adequate investment in post-16 training, education, employment schemes and youth services. In light of the crucial role higher education will play in assisting the economic recovery, the party should explore the possibility of building cross party support around replacing tuition fees and student loans with a graduate tax system. Promote jobs, sustainability, good health and social mobility by introducing strong incentives to encourage private investment in affordable, green housing stock and renovating empty homes. Encourage the establishment of credit unions, mutuals and regional stock exchanges to revive the fortunes of the small and medium enterprises that have suffered as a result of the recession. Ensure that the banks that remain dependent on public support increase direct lending to viable businesses. Work towards ending child poverty in this Parliament.

Also on Tuesday
Speech by Tom McNally, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords and Minister of State for Justice. Motion on equal marriage
Speech by Simon Hughes MP, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats Speech by Chris Huhne MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Party Business Question and Answer Session on Public Services and Benefits. Panellists will include: Paul Burstow MP Minister of State for Care Services Sarah Teather MP Minister of State for Children and Families Andrew Stunell MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Communities and Local Government Steve Webb MP Minister of State for Pensions

Simon Hughes MP

Liberal Democrat Conference
What’s on - Wednesday
Question and Answer Session on Crime and Justice Issues
Panellists will include: Lord McNally Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords and Minister of State for Justice Tom Brake MP Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs, Justice and Equalities Cllr Duwayne Brooks Member of Lewisham Community Police Consultative Group Speech by Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Emergency motions Motion on Diversity

Vince Cable MP

Speech by Lynne Featherstone MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Equalities Speech by Don Foster MP, Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Culture, Olympics, Media & Sport Parliamentary Committee

Question and Answer Session with Liberal Democrat Cabinet Ministers
Panellists will include: Rt Hon Vince Cable MP Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Rt Hon Michael Moore MP Secretary of State for Scotland Lynne Featherstone MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Equalities, will be speaking on Wednesday morning

Don Foster MP, Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Culture, Olympics, Media & Sport Parliamentary Committee, will be speaking on Wednesday morning

Michael Moore MP Secretary of State for Scotland will be taking part in a Cabinet Q&A on Wednesday morning

Federal Conference - Liverpool NORTHERN NIGHT
A Reception with drinks, a buffet and guest speakers will be held on Monday 20th September 18.15 -19.30 Hall 3A ACC sponsored by Northumbria Water - North East and Yorkshire Region Members welcome

News from Europe
Euro MPs take axe to illegal timber trade
MEPs have taken an axe to the illegal logging trade by banning the sale of illegal timber in Europe and setting up strict penalties for rogue traders.
Illegal tree-felling is estimated to represent 20-40% of global industrial wood production, and contributes heavily to carbon emissions and the destruction of biodiversity. The WWF estimates that around •3bn of illegal timber from places like the Congo Basin and Indonesia reaches the EU each year. Together, the EU’s 27 Member States account for 20% of worldwide illegal timber imports. The new rules impose strict fines for those caught first placing illegal timber on the European market and establishes traceability through the whole supply chain. North East Euro MP Fiona Hall, who has campaigned for six years to ban the import of Fiona Hall MEP illegal timber, said, “Illegal logging causes environmental, economic and human devastation welcomed action right across the world. against illegal timber “The illegal timber trade depresses prices by up to 16%. This action will also support trade responsible timber producers who employ sustainable and legal methods. “The EU has taken an important step in cutting the illegal timber trade down to size. We must now ensure that Member States enforce this ban properly.” North East timber wholesalers have been warned that they will have to secure proof that the wood they buy has come from legally managed sources or face the risk of prosecution. A number of major retailers have already pledged to only sell wooden products from legally-sourced timber.

Time called on cowboy scrap car dealers
Time is being called on the activities of cowboy car scrap dealers. A loophole in vehicle licensing rules that has allowed millions of cars to be scrapped but not deregistered is to be closed after a campaign by North West Liberal Democrat Euro-MP Chris Davies. Environmentalists claim that it has led to thousands of tonnes of oil and brake fluid being poured down drains, while millions of old tyres have ended up dumped on wasteland or in the countryside. The loophole allows owners of old bangers to claim that they are scrapping the cars themselves. It has been exploited by rogue scrap dealers who use it to avoid paying to meet the depollution requirements of EU end-of-life vehicles legislation introduced 10 years ago. Now the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea is to start the issue of revised V5C Chris Davies MEP registration forms. Chris has been working for four years with operators of licensed waste treatment facilities to get the changes made and environmental standards improved. He said: “The figures suggest that up to a million cars have been taken apart and scrapped on peoples’ driveways in the last 5 years. This is clearly absurd, but it’s been an uphill task to persuade the DVLA to make the changes required. “Rogue scrap dealers advertising for old cars need to be put of business. They are not paying tax, they harm the environment, and they undercut legitimate vehicle dismantlers.” However, the DVLA claims that it will take at least two years to issue new registration documents to every car owner and that could mean another 300,000 to 400,000 cars slipping through the net. Chris, who will shortly meet with new Business Minister Mark Prisk to discuss the issue, wants owners of every car destined for the breaker’s yard to be told that they should insist now that scrap dealers supply them with a key document. He said, “A Certificate of Destruction is essential. It ensures that the car is deregistered and properly depolluted.” Chris says that DVLA procedures have until now failed to ensure that vehicles are deregistered even when they have in fact been dismantled. He warns that if a car taken for scrapping is in fact put back on the road by a rogue trader, the original owner will unknowingly retain responsibility if it is involved in an accident. “The EU end-of-life directive is a good environment law intended to ensure that the millions of cars disposed of each year are treated properly. The time is long overdue for Britain to apply it across the board.”


News from around the region
Corus deal brings chorus of approval
A deal to sell the Teeside Corus steel plant, which was mothballed earlier this year threatening more than 1,000 jobs, has been struck. Corus and Thai steel company SSI have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for SSI to buy the Teesside Cast Products plant from Corus. Liberal Democrat MP for Redcar Ian Swales said, “This is absolutely terrific news and something I have been tirelessly working towards since being elected in May. “I am thrilled this deal has been done and that we will be bringing steel making back to Redcar. This will get Teesside’s heart beating again. “This deal is the culmination of thousands of hours of hard work by Corus and SSI, with great support from both the trade unions and politicians. Vince Cable and his team have done all they could to help facilitate this deal coming to fruition and I am grateful for their support. “When I visited SSI in Thailand this May, I was impressed with their operation and people and saw the clear need that they had for the TCP output. Since then my regular contacts with SSI, Corus and Tata made me quietly confident that this day would come. However, such deals are complex and it was always going to take some time to agree the many issues involved. “This is fantastic news for the area and will bring back the much needed jobs. When added to recent announcements and other potential projects, it looks as though Teesside has at last turned the corner from a very long period of industrial decline.” Lib Dem North East MEP Fiona Hall said, “This is fantastic news for Teesside and the North East. Today’s deal shows that there is a future for steelmaking on Teesside with the area’s highly skilled work-force a key ingredient in attracting new investors. “I hope that the work to take the Memorandum of Understanding to a fully signed-off deal will be completed as soon as possible.”

A1 strategic evidence needed to back Minister’s claim - Beith
Sir Alan Beith MP has vowed to continue fighting for the dualling of the A1 north of Newcastle, after news emerged that the Department for Transport has asked consultants to carry out a study on the road.
Sir Alan said, “I have had several discussions with Ministers in which it is clear that both parties in the coalition Government are keen to find ways to make progress on the dualling of the A1 north of Newcastle, as far as this is possible in the present challenging financial situation. “Looking for improvements that can be started, and recognising the national importance of the route, are the right things to be doing. “Both parties in the coalition Government are working with Northumberland County Council and the Highways Agency to make progress.” Sir Alan has been assured by the Secretary of State for Transport in the House of Commons that the A1 will be treated as a route of national Sir Alan Beith strategic importance. The current study is needed to build a further evidence-based case for the reclassification of the road and to support work already done by Cllr Alan Thompson and the team at Northumberland County Council demonstrating the strategic role of the road.


News from around the region
Vince visits region to see green projects
Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, has announced plans to invest £1.3 million of public money in Carbon Capture and Storage proposals throughout the North East. He also announced £4.6 million of investment in funding in the Tees Valley Industrial Programme. The announcements were made during a visit by Vince to the region earlier this month. Vince also visited Corus in Redcar where he welcomed the company’s expansion of its skills and training programme for workers at risk of redundancy. £300,000 of public money has been earmarked by the Coalition to support the programme. Ian Swales, Lib Dem MP for Redcar, said, “It’s terrific Vince has come back to visit the area. It’s important that he understands the local economy, so that the area is a key part of driving national recovery.” Vince also visited Blyth’s National Renewable Energy Centre (NAREC). The centre is a leading force in the testing of wind turbines. NAREC is one of four companies awarded offshore wind demonstration sites by the Crown Estates. The announcement was made on the same day as Vince’s visit.

Going digital in local libraries
A project that will help to put libraries at the heart of community life in Northumberland and County Durham has been given the go-ahead. A joint bid by Northumberland and Durham county councils to increase access to broadband in rural areas has been approved by the Government. The two authorities will make use of shared IT and professional support to offer library visitors better access to a range of on-line services from themselves and other organisations.The joint scheme is one of only 10 to be included in the first phase of the national Future Libraries Programme.Launched by the Museums, Libraries and Archive Council and the Local Government Association Group, the Future Libraries programme is a partnership between central and local government. It has been set up to help to ensure libraries can continue to play a central role in community life while dealing with changing demands and the challenges of the current economic climate. Lib Dem Councillor Jim Smith, executive member responsible for libraries in Northumberland, said: “Our success in this bid will help us to provide a wide range of services through our libraries as well as encouraging innovative use of community buildings.

Business Secretary Vince Cable takes questions from the media on his visit to Teeside and Northumberland during which he announced support for a major green project in the region.

Tory troubles in Harrogate
A Tory Councillor in Harrogate has resigned from his party to sit as an independent, leaving his former party surviving on the casting vote of the mayor. John Savage represents Marston Moor on Harrogate Council. He is also a County Councillor, representing Ainsty. He has resigned from the Conservative group on North Yorkshire as well to sit as an Independent.

Community engagement will be central to the project, with particular emphasis being placed on helping residents improve their IT skills and confidence.The two councils will also be looking at how on-line borrowing can be improved and will consider other ways of improving the library service within rural communities.

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