The Liberal Democrats Plan for the Country is available at the national party website.
Halton Liberal Democrats have a set of additional local policies, as below:
Improved environmental monitoring
The health of Halton residents has suffered over the years as a result of being the country’s chemical powerhouse. Back then many people didn’t realise the damage that could be done. We believe that today we deserve the best, especially given the wealth the area has given to the nation. So we call for all incinerators in Runcorn and Widnes to be fitted with regular smoke stack emissions monitors.
Balanced development and extra housing for young families
Once green belt is gone, it’s gone for good. But being NIMBYs about future development doesn’t help the young. Today, Britain’s young have the lowest levels of home ownership for a generation. Although some developments may appear to be aimed at the wealthy, a new home is a home and frees up space down the chain. Even better, a balanced development plan can create quality housing and work spaces for all. Consequently we call for balanced development that plans for the future, with adequate school and medical provision to go with it. We also call on Halton Council to investigate how it can extend social housing availability to the local community.
Exit from Brexit
We are unashamedly pro-EU. Not because it’s perfect – few large organisations are – but because it represents freedom and opportunity for many. Our young should feel free to travel and work across 28 countries. Our elderly should feel free to be able to retire to somewhere warmer should they choose to. Both these freedoms are at risk of being removed from all but the richest.
For business the EU has removed barriers. Leaving the EU risks disrupting supply chains for our industry. This isn’t something that the leaders of Brexit disagree with and in fact, leading Economist for Brexit, Patrick Minford, has stated that Brexit will damage the kind of industry that employs many in Halton. This is why, unlike the other local parties, we’re not afraid to bring up the subject and fight for an Exit from Brexit.
The tolls on the bridge and public transport
The tolling question is complex. Ultimately, the Labour government, when planning the new bridge decided that it should be privately financed and paid for through tolls. A dispensation allowed most Halton residents to pay no tolls, but not Halton businesses.
The tolls also hurt low income workers from further afield. A hospital worker from Cronton, commuting to Halton Hospital, faces tolls of nearly £1k a year, just for going to work. We feel that’s an unreasonable burden on low earners.
If Halton had an excellent public transport system then we could accept the situation. But it doesn’t. In fact Halton has a miserable, low density public transport system, and a historic planning approach that was very car focused. Try commuting from Cronton to Halton Hospital and tell us it works well.
Meanwhile, small businesses face substantial costs and receive no relief on costs beyond some minor discounts for advance payment.
Consequently, our position stands that the tolling situation is unfair and needs a substantial review to assess its impact on communities, workers and businesses.
More local policies to be added soon.