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East of England Liberal Democrats

Main hall timetable

1000 Welcome to Conference and House of Commons report

Norman Lamb MP will report back to members about the work of Liberal Democrat MPs in the House of Commons and take questions.
Norman Lamb first stood for Parliament in North Norfolk in 1992. He was elected in 2001 and has subsequently been re-elected four times. Norman is a former Health Minister and has built a reputation as a mental health champion. He recently became chair of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee.
At the end of the session members will be asked to vote on whether they wish to receive the report.

1020 Regional Officers' reports

Every two years members elect regional officers and an executive committee to oversee and carry out the functions of the regional party. Jo Hayes (Regional Chair) will report to members on the activities of the regional party, the regional executive and representatives elected by Conference. Tony Mason (Treasurer) will report on the financial affairs of the regional party for the year to date and present an outline budget for 2018.

Members will be asked to vote to receive these reports, approve the 2016 accounts and delegate authority to the regional executive to appoint auditors to produce an independent report on the accounts for the next regional conference.

1045 Motion: Campaigning in University Towns

Mover: Steve Bolter

East of England conference notes:

  1. At the 2015 General Election, this region lost all three of its university town seats, but retained its rural seat, which had had a sizable Leave vote in the referendum;
  2. Despite concentrated campaigning, we failed to come close to getting any of them back at the 2017 snap General Election.
  3. From December 2015 to date, Labour and its sympathisers have been running a continuous social media assault on the Lib Dems, using the 27 Lib Dem votes for fee capping and an improved student loan system to falsely portray us as unprincipled, putting power grabbing before the needs of students.
  4. Instead of explaining how we saved students from a free market of unlimited fees and a totally inadequate Student Loan system - which the Tories wanted - or a catastrophic drop in university funding - which Labour were prepared to allow to avoid co-operating with the Lib Dems - Nick Clegg apologised.
  5. Our campaigning was mainly a call for a referendum once a deal had been completed. There was little about our long term commitment to the EU or why we believe the UK should remain in a member, or what would happen if the quest for a deal was abandoned.
  6. Just before the 2017 General Election Labour promised it would abolish student fees immediately if elected, safe in the knowledge that it would not have to keep its promise.

Conference calls for the next parliamentary elections in university towns to be served by bold and positive campaigns, with:

  1. An upbeat statement on previous student fees policies and actions, with commitment to use what power we may gain, to work for reductions in the student fees burden.
  2. Criticism of Labour's campaign of misinformation on Lib Dem actions and its own empty promises on student fees.
  3. A statement of our continued commitment to EU membership.
  4. A statement of reasons of principle as well as expediency for staying in the EU.
  5. Absence of the claim that a recommendation by 37% of the electorate that we leave the EU is an expression of the will of the majority of the population to leave, then or now.
  6. The holding of referendum on the Brexit deal negotiated (if any) and campaigning for remaining in the EU, presented as a possible, but not exclusive, way of remaining in the Union.
  7. Details of our commitment to the environment, including working towards a circular economy and fighting climate change with practical steps to achieving a very low carbon economy.

No amendments were submitted. The mover of the motion has up to five minutes to speak. All other speakers have up to three minutes. If you wish to speak please submit a speaker's card to the hall steward.

1115 House of Lords report

Baroness Sarah Ludford (Brexit spokesperson in the House of Lords) will report back to members about the work of Liberal Democrat peers in the House of Lords and take questions. Sarah was appointed to the House of Lords in 1997 and is Lords Spokesperson on Exiting the European Union. At the end of the session members will be asked to vote on whether they wish to receive the report.

1130 Brexit discussion

Your chance to discuss the developing Brexit situation and how the Lib Dems should respond. After short opening statements, members have the opportunity to comment and ask questions to which the panel will respond. The panel is:

1230 Lunch

Lunch will be served in the conservatory. Feel free to take your lunch into one of the lunchtime training sessions and please visit the stands in the small hall.

1330 Keynote

Keynote session.

1440 Report of English Party Review Group

The English Party comprises the eleven English regional parties and the Young Liberals. The principal functions of the English Party relate to membership recruitment and administration; parliamentary, mayoral and police and crime commissioner candidate approval and selection; and disciplinary and conduct issues. For more information see www.libdems.org.uk/english_council_executive. The English Party is reviewing its role and governance. Sally Symington, who is a member in Hertfordshire, is the chair of the review group. She will report to members and seek views.

1500 Motion: A Carbon Levy plus dividend policy to reduce CO2 and poverty

Proposed by the East of England Liberal Democrats Policy Committee
Mover: Joe Jordan
Summator: Stewart Reddaway

Conference notes:

  1. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is urgent.
  2. A carbon tax encourages both energy efficiency and the use of low-CO2 energy.

Conference believes:

  1. That a carbon tax should be levied on all production or import of fossil fuels. All the money raised (net of partial rebates and costs) should be paid back via the benefits system as a cash dividend to the whole population on an equal-per-head basis, with half the adult rate for a child. It follows that people with below average carbon footprints (i.e. those for whom the dividend exceeds the effect of price rises due to the tax) would be subsidised by those with above average footprints. Although the poor may have high heating costs, their total carbon footprint from all spending is always below average and so they will be winners. Also, almost all people in fuel poverty will be winners.
  2. The tax should be called a levy because the money is paid back, and not retained by the government. For the same reason, the policy is not tax hypothecation.
  3. Over a decade the levy should rise progressively to between £100 and £150 per tonne. (At £125 per tonne, and with CO2 emissions 30% lower than today, the annual adult dividend would be about £1000, or £2000 for an adult plus two children.) Levy rates for several years ahead should be published so investors and others can plan with confidence.
  4. The levy will enable spending to be reduced on subsidies to low-CO2 energy, and on tax breaks aimed at reducing CO2 emissions. Reduced poverty could lead to reduced spending on benefits.
  5. Fuel duty should be reduced to partially compensate for the levy, and the levy should be fully refunded for CO2 saved by Carbon Capture and Storage.
  6. The government should negotiate for the levy to become international, including in the EU.
  7. Some of the money raised by the levy should be used to give partial rebates to carbon-intensive industries, to encourage them not to migrate abroad. Consideration should be given to extending the carbon levy to imports of carbon-intensive commodities.

Conference calls for:

  1. A carbon levy on all production or import of fossil fuels and petroleum products.
  2. All the money raised (net of partial rebates and costs) to be paid back via the benefits system as a cash dividend to all UK residents on an equal-per-head basis, but with half the adult rate for children.

No amendments were submitted. The mover of the motion has up to five minutes to speak. All other speakers have up to three minutes.

1530 Emergency motion

Emergency motions should be brief and relate to a topical issue.

1555 Closing announcements

1600 Close of Conference

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