Tag Archives: lord shipley

John Shipley: “Proportional representation would solve problems of Devolution Bill”

Lord Shipley
Lord Shipley

John Shipley, Party Spokesperson for Communities and Local Government, laid out the targets in the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill that the Lib Dem Peers will be fighting for: 

My Lords, I welcome the Second Reading of the Bill and I am grateful to the Minister for her kind comments earlier. I welcome the Bill not because everything in it is right but because it represents a further and very important stage in achieving greater decentralisation and fiscal devolution within England, through which growth can be increased outside London faster and local government can make more effective use of public money by joining up service delivery. There will be a number of contributions today from these Benches and I welcome that, because there is a wealth of practical experience here to draw on. Some colleagues who are not able to speak today will be speaking in Committee.

The Minister was right to say that the record of the last Government in encouraging decentralisation was impressive. It was, however, only a start. Crucially, there is now a much clearer understanding that you cannot run the whole of England from London, so I support the principle behind the Bill. It will decentralise power out of Whitehall and enable fiscal devolution. Because it is an enabling Bill, it means that one size need not fit all and that it can be voluntary for combined authorities or councils to propose schemes that are generated locally and have some local ownership.

Continue reading John Shipley: “Proportional representation would solve problems of Devolution Bill”

Kate Parminter makes 1000th constituency visit (via Lib Dem Voice)

Kate & Lucy
Baroness Parminter & Lucy Hurds, PPC for Hereford

Early Friday morning, as others made their way to Liverpool for Conference, I set off to Hereford, following in the footsteps of a large number of my colleagues in the Lords. Our local candidate Lucy Hurds has been hugely successful in getting our Peers out of the House of Lords and onto the streets of Hereford including John Shipley, Jenny Randerson, Nigel Jones, Sally Hamwee, Shirley Williams and Chris Fox. She’s clearly been effective in getting others out too and it was great to see a good number of Lucy’s campaign team out with us and working hard to reclaim the seat for the Lib Dems.

Dick Newby, our Chief Whip, called for 1,000 visits to be made before the election. After many months of hard campaigning this was our 1,000th.

On my visit we got a chance to discuss what can be done to help local dairy farmers, supporting renewable energy & rural services and, as the party’s spokesperson on DEFRA matters in the Lords, I got a chance to highlight all the things the Liberal Democrats have been doing over the last 5 years.

The visit gave me an opportunity to talk to local Councillors Anna Toon and Polly Andrews who were keen to hear how local retailers can support local environmental charities and groups as a result of the 5p levy on plastic bags, due to come in this Autumn, which Liberal Democrats have championed in Government.

It was great too to meet newly selected PPC Jeanie Falconer, from the adjacent constituency of North Herefordshire and talk about our evidence based approach to tackling bovine TB and the pilot badger culls.

I also got a chance to visit the local RSPCA branch with Lucy, after Duncan Starling, the local RSPCA chairman and LD campaigner had invited me, as a Vice-President of the organisation. It was fantastic to talk to the local volunteers who are rescuing and rehoming local animals and raising funds through their shop for the vital ‘4th emergency service’ that the RSPCA is. Having had the Control of Horses Bill safely complete its passage through the House of Lords the day before it was good to talk about how Parliament and local action together can help voiceless animals.

Later on in the evening I joined Lucy, Jeanie and the Herefordshire team at spring conference in Liverpool at a reception they’d organised to campaign for fairer funding for rural areas. With some of the best refreshment the county offers (Jeanie runs a vineyard) it was a happy ending to a day spent with some of our indefatigable campaigners!

But there is no rest for the wicked and Dick has now called for a new target, 50,000 doors knocked by election days. Something that our team of 100+ Lords should be able to achieve (with a few cups of tea and some elbow grease). If you want to get a Peer to help out in your campaign, then contact our visit organiser Louise Furness (louise.libdems@gmail.com).

The original article is here

Letter of the Lords – 8 December 2014

Lord John Shipley: A stronger economy means being at the heart of the EU

Today in the House of Lords John Shipley leads a major debate on the economic impact of the UK’s membership of the European Union. As he writes here, we can only strengthen our economy by being at the heart of the EU, not by thinking about an exit

Lord Shipley
Lord Shipley

Over the summer and early autumn a number of companies and professional bodies have been making their voices heard in support of our continued membership of the EU.

The Engineering Employers’ Federation, EEF – which is the trade body for UK manufacturing – has very recently reported that in a survey 85% of manufacturers say Britain must stay in the EU, leading from within.

A CBI survey published last month of more than 400 businesses showed almost four out of five firms favouring staying in the EU, including 77% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The City of London Corporation has made it clear this week that the financial sector based in the UK cannot be treated as distinct from Europe. Non-European firms come to London because it is both international and within the single market at the same time.  

And the key question we should ask those who believe we should withdraw from the EU is this – what problem are you trying to solve?

Is the UK being held back by the EU? A million extra jobs have been created here since 2010 – inside the EU. The idea that leaving the EU would boost jobs more lacks evidence and credibility.

We hear it increasingly claimed that the future for Britain lies in the emerging economies. But what those who pursue this line of reasoning fail to explain is why we cannot build trade with emerging economies – particularly the BRIC countries – as well as increasing trade within the EU.

Look at Germany. Germany exports four times more to China by value than we do. They do it as members of the EU.

Continue reading Lord John Shipley: A stronger economy means being at the heart of the EU

Lord Shipley: Improving telephone banking for the deaf

Today in the chamber Lord Shipley will ask the Government what proposals it has to make it easier for deaf people to access telephone banking. At the moment, he writes here, it’s just not good enough

Lord Shipley
Lord Shipley

Those who are deaf face unnecessary difficulties when trying to use telephone services with banks and similar organisations.

They need text phones, video relay services and the assistance of a third party to access telephone banking services. With a few exceptions, they don’t receive these services adequately.

Yet the 2010 Equality Act placed a duty on service providers to meet the needs of those who are deaf and are British Sign Language users.

Insufficient practical progress has been made. I recently received a request for help from someone who is deaf and who had experienced lack of understanding from a bank’s call centre.

Too often automatic menus are a barrier. Too often bank staff refuse to discuss financial information with third party interpreters who deaf people rely on to communicate on their behalf. Too often those staff do not have deaf awareness training.

Encouragingly, one bank does now offer a video relay service (VRS) that enables deaf people to communicate with its customer services team via a video link with an interpreter. We need others to follow.

However, banks frequently have limited numbers of text phones that are often not manned.

I want to see –

  • An adequate number of text phones provided and manned by banks
  • All frontline staff in banking groups to receive deaf awareness training
  • Availability of VRS with a third party interpreter to be a normal service.

In the UK 800,000 people have severe or profound deafness and around 25,000 people depend on British Sign Language.

A survey by Action on Hearing Loss in 2011 found that half of deaf people felt discriminated against by their banks because of their disability. We cannot tolerate that level of dissatisfaction.

Yet the problem will grow as more organisations – including government agencies – use telephones as the preferred means of contact.

The technology is there through video relay and text relay to provide an equal service to deaf people and it needs to be made available as a matter of course.


Published and promoted by Tim Gordon on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, both at LDHQ, 8-10 Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AE.