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The green road out of recession

December 24, 2008
column-picture2Let me start by wishing you and those you love a very Merry Christmas, and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.
It can be a strange time of the year this. Wonderful for children; often more complicated for adults.

We are having the family down to us in Hastings, and there will be mixed emotions. It will be the first Christmas that our 14 month-old daughter can get involved a bit, and the second that we don’t have my mum with us. It would have been her 62nd birthday on 27 December.

I will be going to the Seaview Project on the 30th to do some volunteering. This is a wonderful organisation (caring for marginalised and homeless people) which I shall wax lyrical about in a future column.

In the meantime, I must let you know about the series of proposals launched by our party leader Nick Clegg MP on 18 December entitled ‘The Green Road out of Recession’.

The basic gist of the proposals is that as a country we are not really feeling the benefit of the 2.5% reduction in VAT, so we should scrap the VAT cut, and use the money instead to fund capital projects that will benefit the economy and the environment.

The plans will cost £12.5 billion, and the vast majority of that money will be spent immediately, making a real impact on the economy and people’s lives right away.

Green Road out of the Recession proposals include:

  • A five-year programme to insulate every school and hospital, with 20% completed in the first year
  • Funding insulation and energy efficiency for a million homes, with a £1,000 subsidy for a million more
  • Building 40,000 extra zero-carbon social houses
  • Buying 700 new train carriages
  • Reopening old railway lines and stations, opening new ones, electrifying the Great Western and Midland mainlines (as well as the Hastings-Ashford line) and beginning the Liverpool light rail network
  • Installing energy and money saving smart meters in every home within five years

The plans proposed by Nick Clegg would give an immediate boost to the economy here in Hastings & Rye. And by insulating people’s homes, we can help thousands of residents whose heating bills have gone through the roof in the past year.

Whilst Labour and the Conservatives are quietly dropping serious interest in tackling climate change and damage to the environment, Liberal Democrats believe that moving forward with green action on homes and transport will create jobs, cut energy bills, put money back into people’s pockets and protect the environment.

Now that’s what I call ho- ho- holistic policy-making!

[What do you think of these proposals?  Please use the form below to send in your views]

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