Simon Galton

Liberal Democrat County & District Councillor Learn more

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Credit Crisis, Recession….whats the solution?

by simongalton on 23 October, 2008

I know its been awhile since my last post, but i thought i would present the latest information on the credit crisis and the solutions the Liberal Democrats have to try and deal with the impact.

Fortunately here in Leicestershire we do not have any money with any Icelandic Banks which is a relief, but more importantly is the efforts by local Lib Dems to try and ease the burden on households. Your Liberal Democrat councillors are working hard for you on this; but so to are the Liberal Democrats in parliament and Europe trying to get national economy back on track:

1. Cutting taxes for struggling families so you’ve got more money in your pocket The Liberal Democrats will cut taxes for people on low and middle incomes, raising them for the richest so the tax cuts are affordable.  We will fund this by ending upper rate tax relief on pensions, clamping down on tax avoidance, harmonising income and capital gains taxes, increasing green taxation and trimming overall central public spending. These proposals would not increase the government fiscal deficit; that means they are affordable now. This tax cut is now urgent to get money to people who are struggling the most, helping them to pay for essentials and keep spending money in the high street.

 2. Lowering energy bills so you can afford to keep warm this winter As wholesale fuel prices fall – they have dropped 28% since August – utility companies must lower people’s bills too. Millions of people face a winter unable to heat their homes: 4 out of 5 single pensioners will be in fuel poverty this winter. Energy companies must pass on wholesale price cuts. We’ll also change billing rules so the first units of energy you use are no longer the most expensive. Essential energy should be the cheapest, while bigger users pay more. This is fairer, and will help the environment. Finally, those energy companies that received a £9bn subsidy from the European Emissions Trading Scheme must invest in lower tariffs for vulnerable customers and providing comprehensive insulation for everyone. 

3. Keeping people in their homes, so you don’t need to fear unfair repossessions We must ensure that banks only ever repossess people’s homes as a last resort. Liberal Democrats will instruct the courts to make sure banks don’t repossess unless they’ve already offered free independent financial advice, and pursued all alternatives like renegotiating the terms of the mortgage and offering a shared equity agreement. We already have nearly two million families on housing waiting lists. We can help those families and prevent a homelessness crisis by allowing councils and housing associations to buy up unsold properties and land from building companies. This will replenish our social housing stock, stimulate the house building industry and provide homes now for people who need them. 

4. Lower mortgage payments and cheaper business loans through big interest rate cuts People and businesses need help paying off their mortgages and loans, so we need substantially lower interest rates. The UK still has higher official interest rates than the EU (4.5% compared to 3.75%) and dramatically higher rates than the US (1.5%). This makes it much harder for people to pay their mortgages, makes it harder for business to survive and slows the economy down. The Bank of England must remain independent, but at this time of emergency its remit must be changed to make interest rates fall dramatically and swiftly. This should be part of international action to cut rates across all major economies.

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