Why the Brexit deal is critical and “no deal” is simply not an option

Well, she called this General Election saying that she needed to strengthen her hand in the forthcoming talks.  But at the end of this campaign, who is of the opinion that Theresa May is the best person to conduct these talks, especially if she has an enlarged majority with more ideologues and UKIP-ers in tow?

There is no doubt in my mind that she is not best equipped to represent us in these talks–she flip flops all over the place and demonstrably cannot think on her feet.  And the fact that she talks about “no deal” being an option in two years’ time is quite frankly terrifying.

I refer you to the article that appeared in the Observer on Sunday by Will Hutton.  He paints a very stark picture of the “no deal” scenario:

“…a quarter of British exports with the EU pass through one single port, Calais – £3bn a month – with zero border controls or inspection. Who in Calais is going to inspect these goods to see if they correspond to EU rules if we crash out with no deal? Has France any interest in investing quickly in the customs structure to keep British exports flowing? The M20 and M2 will become gigantic truck parks as drivers wait to be inspected.”

Please do read the article in full–you will be amazed and appalled.  I say amazed because it is when you read this article that it comes into stark light that this woman would rather waste 7 weeks on a General Election campaign rather than begin the vital work of safe extrication from the EU.  This shrieks of having the wrong priorities and being only politically motivated.

Furthermore, the OECD has predicted today that Theresa May will fail to secure a comprehensive free trade agreement with the rest of the EU by 2019, meaning the UK would revert to WTO trading terms.

According to Treasury estimates, which the government has still not repudiated, reverting to WTO rules would mean a long-term loss of £45bn a year to the public purse and a 7.5% hit to GDP.

The OECD is also predicting a sharp slowdown in UK growth to just 1% in 2018 due to uncertainty over the Brexit negotiations.

So as we move into the eve of poll I am asking voters to listen to this warning on the major economic risk posed by Theresa May’s extreme, UKIP-style Brexit.

The hardline approach Theresa May has taken, insisting that no deal is better than a bad deal and planning to take us out of the single market, will seriously damage jobs and the public finances for years to come.

According to the government’s own forecast, reverting to WTO terms would mean a £45bn loss to the public purse, more money than the entire schools budget.

There is another way. The Liberal Democrats will fight to keep Britain in the single market and customs union, and to ensure the people have the final say on the Brexit deal.

So I am asking you to vote Lib Dem tomorrow, wherever you live, and especially in Harrogate & Knaresborough.

Lib Dems announce £17bn fund to fix schools and hospitals

The Liberal Democrats have announced a £17bn infrastructure fund to repair and restore schools and hospitals across England.
Headteachers today are forced to use money that should be dedicated for books, teachers and equipment to fix leaking roofs and crumbling buildings. The new infrastructure fund would give an extra £7bn for schools in England, enough to repair every school to allow them to focus spending on education rather than maintenance.

Another £10bn would be allocated to hospitals over the lifetime of the next parliament, helping address a £5bn delayed backlog in delayed repairs to NHS buildings and infrastructure. This investment would help transform the NHS – repairing run-down hospitals, bringing them up to date with modern technology and building new infrastructure to reduce overcrowding. It would contrast with the £350m for the Conservatives committed to repairs in the NHS in 2015-2016.

The infrastructure fund would be in addition to the extra £7bn the Liberal Democrats have committed to invest in schools over the next parliament; and the £6bn more a year the party would invest in NHS and social care.

Helen Flynn said:

“Under Theresa May’s Conservatives, our children are being taught in crumbling schools and our sick and elderly are being cared for in overcrowded hospitals.

“It doesn’t have to be like this. We will invest an additional £7bn in our schools, enough to repair every school in the country including in Harrogate and Knaresborough.

“This will allow school budgets to be spent on books, teachers and equipment instead of being diverted to fix leaking roofs.

“This week, you can elect Liberal Democrat MPs who will stand up for you on the NHS, schools and Brexit.”

Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb said:

“We have seen with the recent cyber-attack how inadequate the existing infrastructure is for many hospitals.

“Under the Conservatives, money that is intended for capital investment is being diverted to plug holes in day-to-day spending. This cannot be allowed to go on.

“We will invest an additional £10bn of capital spending in the NHS to fix our run-down hospitals, reduce overcrowding and build a modernise our health service.

“This is on top of the £6bn a year for the NHS and care we would raise by putting a penny on income tax.


Easing Congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough Means a Mix of Measures

We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place here in Harrogate District, and the Nidd Gorge in particular is spectacular.

That is why it is incomprehensible to me that North Yorks County Council put forward options before the County Council elections this year that include putting a relief road through the Nidd Gorge.

Of course, traffic congestion is a huge issue in Harrogate and Knaresborough, and the Skipton Road is one of the most congested roads in the country.  Something needs to be done.  

But I would argue that a relief road is not the answer.  The answer is to provide a mix of measures including: proper cycling infrastructure, bus park and rides, and electrification of our rail line (which would provide greater frequency of services possible on modern rolling stock).

I led a campaign in 2014/2015 to make Harrogate into a cycle town.  We have one of the lowest rates of children cycling to school in the country and also one of the highest rates of second car ownership.  These two issues, combined with the increase in large housing developments that is happening now, means that the congestion problem we have is only going to get worse, and this was why I embarked on the campaign.  It is a campaign I would love to rekindle in the near future.

The cost of building a relief road would be vast, and given that North Yorks is pressing ahead with prioritising road realignment on the A59 at Kex Gill , as it applies to Government for road funding, I would argue that the chance of another major road project near Harrogate any time soon is vastly unlikely, given Conservative continued planned austerity measures nationally and locally.

So I would expect the relief road/bypass plans, which were handily dusted off to be given an airing for the County Council elections, will happily go back on the shelf at County Hall, before their next airing in 2021.

However, I shall keep a watching brief to ensure that these disastrous plans for relief roads through the Nidd Gorge, do not make an unwelcome re-appearance in the future.