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Last week, Lib Dem Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable announced sweeping changes to the way in which top-level executives have their pay and bonuses decided. This change, described by the government as the ‘most comprehensive reforms of the governance framework for directors’ remuneration in a decade’, will:

  • Give company shareholders binding votes on both executive-pay policy and exit payments (the amount of money an executive receives if they resign or leave their contract early)
  • Boost transparency – allowing the link between pay and performance to be clearly drawn
  • Ensure that the reforms have a lasting impact by keeping the shareholders in the driving seat and maintaining their recent boardroom activism
Vince Cable said:

“At a time when the global economy remains fragile, it is neither sustainable nor justifiable to see directors’ pay rising at 10 per cent a year, while the performance of listed companies lags behind and many employees are having their pay cut or frozen.

“In January we kicked off a national debate aimed at encouraging shareholders to become more actively engaged as company owners in better aligning directors’ pay with performance. I have been greatly encouraged by the ‘shareholder spring’ and I want to see that momentum sustained. That is why I am bringing forward legislation to strengthen the powers of shareholders through a binding vote on pay.”

As Liberal Democrats, we believe that the success should run through UK business from top to bottom. We want to see the values of fairness and responsibility in the setting of top-level pay, and we want to see proportionality – no more rewards for failure, no huge executive increases at the expense of low-paid workers below – at the heart of British business.

You can find more information on the upcoming Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill here.

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For The Many, Not The Few: Budget Message from Nick Clegg

We can be proud that the biggest tax cuts in today’s Budget go to millions of working families.

As a result of this Budget, someone working a full week on minimum wage will see their income tax bill cut by over 50% compared to under Labour.

Increasing the personal allowance to £9,205 takes us within touching distance of our number one manifesto pledge – ensuring no one pays any tax on the first £10,000 they earn.

Thanks to our changes, a basic rate taxpayer will be paying £45 a month less in tax than they would have been under Labour.

We can be proud that we’ve ensured the richest in our society will be paying more, much more.

The Tycoon Tax, an increase in stamp duty for high value properties and other new taxes on wealth will raise five times as much as the 50p tax rate. Those with annual incomes of more than £150,000 a year will be paying on average an additional £1,300 a year in tax, as a result of this Budget.

Of course, this is a Coalition Budget and we did not get our own way on everything. Conservative priorities are not ours. But as on so many other issues, we have made sure that there is a real Liberal Democrat stamp on this Budget.

Lower taxes for more than 20 million working people; effective new taxes on the rich.

This is a Budget we can be proud of – a Budget for the many, not the few.

Best wishes,

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Lib Dems saving our Post Offices

Post Office sign 

New Lib Dem plans will protect our local Post Offices after years of Labour cuts.
Your Focus Team is pleased that the Liberal Democrats in government are delivering on another one of their promises.
Under Labour 5,000 Post Offices were closed.
The Lib Dem plan will see the Post  Office:
 Becoming a One-stop shop.
 A central point of our community life again.
 Investing £1.3 billion into the Post Office Network, protecting the 11,500 remaining Post Offices.
 Having more services.
 Offering information for jobseekers,
 Access to over 80% of bank accounts including RBS and NatWest.
 Longer opening hours.
 Post Office services being offered at the shop till.
 Small, local shops providing some Post Office services.

Lib Dems Welcome High Speed Rail Link Announcement

HS2 Train imageThe Transport Secretary has announced the network option the Government prefers for taking high-speed rail north of Birmingham.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Transport Norman Baker has welcomed the announcement to include a ‘Y’ shaped network providing links to the Midlands, North West and the North East.

Norman Baker said “The ‘Y’ link will mean the great majority of the British population will have direct access to the high speed network will deliver major economic benefits totaling many millions to the economies  in the North.”

”It is a clear demonstration of this government’s commitment to creating jobs and prosperity, by investing in capital infrastructure like high speed rail and continue to ensure a fair deal for the North”.

The so-called “Y option” has been chosen, meaning two high-speed lines will branch out north of Birmingham at Lichfield with a line towards Sheffield, Leeds and the East Coast mainline and a line towards Manchester and the West Coast mainline.

Journey times between Leeds and London and Manchester and London will be slashed by forty minutes from around two hours and ten minutes to 80 minutes.

Liberal Democrat Party Conference Report

Report from your local representative on the Liberal Democrat Party conference in Liverpool.

Nick Clegg rally image

What a busy week it’s been. It’s the first time (since the 1930s) where the Liberal Democrats have been a Party of Government, and as a result there was more media interest, and interest from “lobbyists” and pressure groups. As a result this was by far the largest Lib Dem (or Liberal) conference in living memory – apparently over 7000 delegates, guests, press, lobbyists and staff!Conference is a busy mix of debates, speeches, training and “fringe” events. So there was no shortage of events to keep the six delegates from Bury busy throughout the week.Conference kicked off on Saturday with a Conference “rally” with Nick Clegg MP launching the Liberal Democrat support for the “Fairer Votes” referendum next May (when voters decide whether to switch to the fairer Alternative Vote (AV) system of electing MPs). Some of the team went on to the 2010 Campaigner Awards organised by the Association of Lib Dem Councillors recognising Lib Dem campaign success in the last year.Sunday saw Q&A with the Deputy Prime Minister, where ordinary Party members got an opportunity to ask Nick about his role in Government. (Listen to a podcast (recording) of the Q&A here.) Debates in the main conference hall included an important debate on International Development where Lib Dems re-affirmed our long standing commitment to richer countries donating 0.7% of their GDP to the developing world.Monday was dominated by the Leader’s speech. Normally we have this at the end of Conference, but Nick Clegg had to go to address the United Nations! You can read the full text here, of the speech here where the Leader sets out how the Liberal Democrats are delivering on our manifesto commitments in Government. The main debate in the hall was on “Free” Schools but also a busy day for delegates training – everything from being a better councillor to communicating well with local people.Tuesday’s main speech was from Deputy Leader Simon Hughes MP. Delegates passed a resolution calling for equality in the laws around marrage (for mixed-sex and same-sex couples). On Wednesday the main speech for the media was Vince Cable (read here), and delegates reaffirmed Party policy that the replacement of Trident missiles should be reconsidered.Some in the media probably expected this first conference “in Government” to be a difficult one for the Liberal Democrats. Our experience was the exact opposite:At long last Liberal Democrats are delivering on our promises for a fairer Britain, a fair start for children, sorting out the economy and cleaning up politics.Thousands of new members have joined the Liberal Democrats this year. There was a real “buzz” that this is a Party which is up to the challenge of Government and clearing up the mess left by Labour.And Liberal Democrats are succeeding in real elections. Since the General Election Liberal Democrats have been making gains in the many local council by-elections that happen every week – including seven gains from the Conservatives!There is more information on Conference on the national Party website www.libdems.org.uk.

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Jason Bourne

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