Following the annual budget the autumn statement announced by the government is the second biggest financial statement the government makes about it’s future spending plans. I thought it might be useful to provide a selection of some of the key announcements.
Danny Alexander has laid out plans for 1,400 flood defence projects, providing protection for 300,000 homes. The six year programme – funded by £2.3 billion of capital investment set out at the Spending Round 13 – will help prevent over £30 billion of economic damage.
Our parliamentary candidate for Calder Valley Alisdair Calder McGregor spoke at our conference debate on flooding, and successfully amended the policy on flooding to take into account the type of flash flooding that impacts upon us here in Calderdale.
One of the key proposals is for the government to master-plan, directly commission, build and even sell homes, as proposed by Danny Alexander at Lib Dem Autumn Conference. We will provide almost £2 billion of new funding for affordable housing in 2018/19 and 2019/20, delivering 55,000 new homes a year.
Funds have also been set aside to ensure that 275,000 affordable homes are delivered in the next Parliament – more than during any equivalent period in the last twenty years. Here in Calderdale it’s essential the Council gets on with completing the local plan, and not delaying difficult decisions about where new houses are to be built.
£38 billion Network Rail delivery programme, including electrification of key lines, in addition to commitments to transformational projects such as Crossrail. Here in Calderdale we have seen rail improvements with the new track linking up Todmorden and Calderdale, and over the past couple of days the government has announced it will be replacing the old pacer trains which one along our train line.
There are major signalling and station upgrades planned for the Calder Vale line which will decrease journey times. A lot of this funding has come through the West Yorkshire Combined Authorities transport plan, which is funded from a £1Bn local growth deal that Nick Clegg secured for our region.
Start closer discussion with Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd to establish whether a potential tidal lagoon project at Swansea Bay is affordable and value for money for consumers. If the project were to progress it could become the first tidal lagoon project in the world.
Supporting an increase in electricity interconnection capacity to ensure the UK has access to the imports it needs.
Support for Ultra Low Emission Vehicles: up to £50million between 2017/18 and 2019/20 to support innovation in manufacturing of ULEVs in the UK.
The Roads Investment Strategy sets aside a further £15million over the course of the next Parliament for a national network of charge points for ultra-low emission vehicles.
Clean Vehicle technology fund: up to £4 million to extend it in 2014-15.
A cooperation agreement with Toshiba, GDF Suez and NuGen to provide a guarantee to assist the financing of a new nuclear power plant at Moorside.
Nick Clegg announced a £150m investment to radically reform treatment of children and young people with eating disorders – paving the way for new waiting time standards. The investment, which will be rolled-out over five years, has been secured by the Deputy Prime Minister in this year’s Autumn Statement. It is part of an ongoing campaign by the Liberal Democrats to put mental health services on a par with physical care. It comes after research showed an increasing number of young people, from as young as five, are being admitted to hospital for treatment of eating disorders. The goal is to channel money from expensive institutional care to local provision and act as a base for the development of waiting time and access standards for eating disorders for 2016.
Support schemes to get young people with eating disorders and self harm early access to services in their communities with properly trained teams.
Extend access to talking therapies so that children and young people have a choice of evidence-based therapies, a treatment plan and monitored and recorded outcomes.
This will deliver:
Swifter access to evidence based community treatment; Fewer transfers to adult services – reducing to up approximately 70% of those who need to be treated as adults; An end to the current cliff edge of transition for young people with eating disorders when they turn 18 and a more standardised level of provision for children, young people and their families
The government is to triple spending on roads with a £15 billion plan, adding more than 1300 miles to Britain’s road network. Improving Britain’s roads is a massive priority for the Liberal Democrats.
New projects include:
South West: a commitment of £2 billion to dual the entire A303 and A358 to the south west, including a tunnel at Stonehenge.
North East: setting aside £290 million to complete the dualling of the A1 all the way from London to Ellingham, just 25 miles from the Scottish border.
North West and Yorkshire: completing the smart motorway along the entire length of the M62 from Manchester to Leeds.
North West: committing to improve links to the Port of Liverpool, as part of a plan of 12 projects designed to improve access to major international gateways.
South East: funding £350 million of improvements to the A27 along the south coast, tackling severe congestion at Arundel, Worthing and Lewes.
East of England: investing £300 million to upgrade the east-west connection to Norfolk, by dualling sections of the A47 and improving its connections to the A1 and A11.
London and the South East: improving one-third of the junctions on the entire M25.
Midlands: improving the M42 to the east of Birmingham, including paving the way for the new High Speed 2 interchange station.
- £100 million to improve cycling provision at 200 key locations across the network, as well as a commitment to cycle-proof any new schemes being developed.
- £300 million environmental fund to mitigate carbon emission and reduce the number of people affected by serious noise by 250,000.
- £100 million to unlock future growth and housing developments.
Liberal Democrats fought to ensure extra funding for the NHS next year is in the Autumn Statement. The Government is expected to announce an extra £2bn funding for frontline NHS service at Wednesday’s Autumn Statement. Health Minister Norman Lamb called on the Government to agree this money weeks ago and Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander have delivered. The easy choice would have been to put off a decision until after the election for the next Government to deal with but that would have betrayed patients. Our NHS needs this money urgently and we have acted in the national interest to make it a priority. The funding will be in place from next April.
In addition, the Liberal Democrats have called for at least £1bn extra for the NHS in every year of the next parliament, including £500m for mental health. We have also pushed for a review of health and care budgets involving the public and all parties.
Lib Dems want to create opportunity for everyone by building a stronger economy and a fairer society. That means properly funding the NHS, to treat both for physical and mental health problems.