Ending child illiteracy by 2025

Liberal Democrat manifesto plans will include a commitment to end child illiteracy by 2025, Nick Clegg has announced today (Sunday 18 January).

The plans mean that every child born in 2014, who will leave primary school in 2025 will be able to read and write at a standard identified to lead to success in secondary school and beyond.


Unlike the Conservatives and Labour, the Liberal Democrats have a clear plan to protect the education budget from cradle to college.

Our plans include using that budget to invest in ending illiteracy.

To help us meet our commitment to end child illiteracy by 2025, we will boost the early years Pupil Premium to an even higher level than the primary school Pupil Premium.

We will also overhaul early years teaching qualifications by letting nursery staff work towards Qualified Teacher Status and by 2020 requiring a qualified teacher graduate in every school or nursery delivering the early years curriculum.

Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

“I am proud of the scale of our ambition. We are raising the bar on what children should be able to achieve by the age of eleven and want all children to get over the bar by 2025.

“The Coalition Government has cut illiteracy but it is nothing short of a national scandal that a fifth of children are still leaving primary school unable to read at a level that will allow them to succeed in later life.

“The Liberal Democrats exist to build a stronger economy in a fairer society where there is opportunity for everyone and the key to that is education.

“It’s pretty hard to get on in life without being able to read and write, which is why the Liberal Democrats are committing to eliminating illiteracy by 2025.

“We are the only party who can make this commitment because, astonishingly, we are the only party committed to protecting the education budget from cradle to college in the next five years.

“In the Coalition Government, the Liberal Democrats have protected the schools budget; introduced the Pupil Premium; expanded free childcare and made sure every infant gets a free, healthy meal every day to help them learn.

“Conservative plans to savage the education budget by £13bn puts all of these achievements and much, much more at risk, while Labour’s silence on this issue doesn’t fill me with confidence.

“You can’t build a fairer society for free. If we want to continue raising standards in schools, and making sure every child can succeed whatever their background, you simply have to invest in education. That is exactly what the Liberal Democrats will do.”

IFS report confirms that the richest have shouldered the highest share of the burden

The IFS report released today (Friday 23 January) confirms that the richest have shouldered the highest share of the burden as we move to repair the public finances.

The Liberal Democrats have been clear that we expect those with the broadest shoulders to pay their fair share towards deficit reduction.

Treasury analysis has shown throughout the parliament that the richest 10 per cent of households have made the largest contribution to reducing the deficit.

The Treasury presents the most complete, rigorous and detailed record of the impact of this government’s policies on households, so unlike the IFS’s work this includes impact of key Liberal Democrat policies such as the introduction of the Pupil Premium and support for childcare for disadvantaged two year olds, directly supporting low income families with children.

The Treasury publishes this analysis twice a year and every time it has shown the same thing-everyone has done their bit, but the best off have contributed the biggest share of their income to pay down the deficit.

And at the Autumn Statement in December this confirmed that the richest 20 per cent of households will contribute more to reducing the deficit than the remaining 80 per cent put together.

Danny Alexander has also been clear that fairness will be at the heart of the economic policy of any government that we are part of in the next Parliament, which is why he proposed a “fairness rule”, so that the best off continue to contribute the biggest share of their income to help pay down the deficit.

Any plan to deal with the remainder of the deficit without further tax rises on the wealthy-as proposed by the Conservatives-would clearly fail this test.”

142 drivers found to be over the drink drive limit in Humberside Police Winter Drink Drive Campaign -

During December 2014 Humberside Police’s Winter Drink Drive Campaign to prevent and detect drink and drug driving, 2007 drivers across the Force area were tested. 142 of those tested were found to be over the legal limit for drink driving.

Officers from across the Humberside force area carried out breath tests where the officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that a person;

a) was the driver at the time of a road traffic collision as per force policy.

b) is driving, attempting to drive or being in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place, with alcohol in his/her body, or has committed a moving traffic offence.

c) has been driving or attempting to drive, or has been in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place with alcohol in his/her body.

d) has been driving or attempting to drive, or been in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place and has committed a moving traffic offence.

e) where information provided by a member of the public leads to the suspicion that someone may be drink driving.

PC Barry Gardener, Casualty Reduction Officer for Humberside Police said: “Incidents, as a result of drink driving, have remained fairly constant over the past five years due to the consistent approach and enforcement of our drink drive laws.  This year’s campaign targeted specific areas where we had intelligence to suggest that we could prevent and detect drink drivers.

“The message I wanted to get out to drivers is that no one should ever think that they might get away with it, I have attended many serious road traffic collisions caused by drink drivers and I can honestly say that it’s never worth the risk to drink and drive.

“We also received an encouraging number of calls from the public reporting incidents of suspected drink driving.  We acted on this information and dealt with those drivers, some of whom were found to be over the legal drink drive limit and were dealt with appropriately.”

Humberside Police warning of the dangers of sharing private intimate images and video on the internet

Humberside Police are warning members of the public about the dangers of sharing private intimate images and video on the internet following two recent cases of people being black mailed after sharing such content on-line.

In the most recent case a man visited a on-line networking site and became friendly with a woman on the site. After some time the woman encouraged him to video call her, on this call they both performed intimate acts. The woman then stated that she had copied that footage and threatened to share the footage on-line if he didn’t pay her. Fearing this may happen the man contacted the police.
Members of the public are reminded that any images or video messages on-line have the potential to be used by other people on the world wide web. It is vital that images and video are only uploaded or agreed to if they trust the person they are in contact with.
On Social media networking site people should only share content they are happy for people to view and re-post, while ensuring privacy settings are set to an appropriate level.
Options are available to people who have had images or videos shared on-line by a third party. These include using the moderation functions on most sites to report issues.
Another option is to visit www.iwf.org.uk which has guidance on cases that they will review on a case by case basis. If the content is deemed by them to meet set criteria they will consider assisting in the removal of images and videos on UK hosted sites.

Ibrahim Taguri named Liberal Democrat Race Equality Champion

Ibrahim Taguri, Liberal Democrat candidate for Brent Central, has been named as the party’s Race Equality Champion.

Ibrahim will engage with all communities and ensure the party continues to include commitments reflecting a diverse Britain in our manifesto.


The new appointment was announced by Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg at a reception for the BAME community on Wednesday evening (21 January).

Commenting on his new role, Ibrahim Taguri, said: 

“I’m glad to be given such an important role at a vital time for the country when the politics of extremism and division are on the rise.

“I intend to work closely with all communities in order to promote cohesion, social justice and equality of opportunity so everyone has the opportunity to get on in life, regardless of their background.

Ibrahim was selected as the party’s candidate for Brent Central following Sarah Teather’s announcement that she would not be seeking re-election in May.

He says his mission in politics is to end child poverty by 2020 – an issue which he is passionately campaigning on in Brent.

Ibrahim added:

“As the most diverse constituency in the country, Brent Central represents the very best of what it means to be British.

“And yet many here still feel that their voices aren’t heard. This role demonstrates a serious commitment to making our political process more inclusive and responsive to those voices.

“This is an opportunity to address the monumental challenges we face in Brent and beyond, from eradicating child poverty, to improving education and attainment for young people, to creating fulfilling jobs.”

Announcing the new role, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg said:

“I’m pleased to announce the appointment of Ibrahim Taguri as our Race Equality Champion. Ibrahim will be working closely with us on policy development, campaigning and implementing our proposals in Government, post-election.”


N E Lincs Council want your views on the future of Children’s Centres

children's centres consultation

A consultation on changes to the use of North East Lincolnshire Council’s children’s centres launches this week

In light of significant reductions in government funding, decisions are being made on more effective ways of delivering services while still meeting community needs. To support this, the council wants to use its children’s centres to deliver services to a broader age range of children and young people. (changing the age range from prebirth – 5 to prebirth -14 years (and 19 years for some services))

To do so, the council needs to formally de-designate some centres and cluster them into five areas, pooling staff skills across each cluster. Each cluster will still have one designated children’s centre but will also provide a network of family hubs that are easily accessible to all families. The proposed new provision will not compromise outcomes for children, particularly the most disadvantaged, as services provided at the family hubs will be linked to local community need. Those centres that are de-designated will not have to meet the full core purpose of a children’s centre, but can concentrate on the improvement of outcomes for families in greatest need.

More information on the proposed changes can be found on the council’s website http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/council/consultation-and-engagement/take-part-in-current-consultations/future-children-s-centres-say/

This consultation runs from January 5 to February 13 2015. Take part in the following ways:

1. Complete a survey:
• A paper version is available in all children’s centres
• Electronic versions of the form are available in the related forms section of the web page above.

2. Attend a focus group held in one of the children’s centres:
• Cleethorpes Reynolds – Stay and Play, Friday 30 January at 9.30am
• East Marsh – Musical Monday – Monday 26 January 1.30pm-2.30pm and Tiny Tiggers Tuesday 27 January at 1pm
• Highgate – Splatter and Splodge, Wednesday 14 January at 9.15am
• Immingham – Let’s Get Messy, Monday 12 January at 10am
• Nunsthorpe and Bradley Park – Baby Talk, Tuesday 13 January at 9.30am
• Scartho – On Your Marks, Thursday 29 January at 9.15am
• Queensway – Bookworms, Thursday 5 February at 2pm
• Riverside – Active Tots, Tuesday 3 February at 10am
• West Marsh – Stay and Play, Thursday 15 January at 9.15am

3. Attend a public consultation event:
• Grimsby Town Hall – 12 January at 3pm – 4pm
• Cleethorpes Library – 22 January at 5pm – 6pm
• Immingham Resource Centre – 28 January – 9.30am – 10.30am

4. Visit a Children’s Centre where there will be a display of the proposed changes and then post your comments in the box provided.

5. Provide your comments and send by post to:
Head of Children’s Centres, Highgate Children’s Centre, Trinity road, Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire, DN35 8TJ

Improvements to highway in busy Cleethorpes street

North East Lincolnshire Council, working in partnership with Cofely, is investing in a number of improvements to one of Cleethorpes’ busiest shopping streets

The improvements are part of the council’s highway maintenance programme and include resurfacing the road, renovating the crossing near St Peter’s Church Hall and upgrading the drainage.

Work is due to start in St Peter’s Avenue on Monday 9 February 2015 and will take about 12 weeks to complete.

The works will take place at the following locations:

• From the junction of St Peter’s Avenue and Bowling Lane to the roundabout at the junction with Highgate
• Between the roundabout on St Peter’s Avenue near to St Andrew’s Methodist Church and into Cambridge Street.

Other measures to cut congestion in the area near St Peter’s Church will see the removal of two of the on-street parking bays nearest the zebra crossing outside the church hall.

Work will be carried out in phases and 24 hour road closures put in place to reduce disruption to traffic and provide a safe working environment for the contractors.

Advanced warning signs will be displayed and local diversions put in place closures will be set up to advise motorists and residents before the works commence.

All traffic management will be removed and the road open for traffic during the Easter bank holiday weekend.

Visit www.nelincs.gov.uk/travel for the latest live travel information and click on the alerts tab to register for email alerts about road works in your area.

Drive safely in the cold weather

North East Lincolnshire Council and its regeneration services partner Cofely are reminding drivers about the importance of making sure they are prepared for winter weather as cold temperatures are forecast into next week

There are plenty of simple steps you can take to prepare your vehicle and reduce the chances of it breaking down.

It’s always a good idea to have your vehicle serviced regularly and to check that it is in good running order.

It’s also important to make sure your tyres have plenty of tread and are at the right pressure and that the windscreen washer fluid is topped up before making longer journeys.

Gritting lorries are out in the cold weather making sure main roads are treated, but drivers are reminded that even when roads are treated, black ice can still form and everyone must take extra care and drive sensibly.

Remember that rock salt used to treat the roads becomes less effective when surface temperatures drop below minus six degrees Celsius.
When the weather does take a turn for the worst, it’s vital that you check the latest weather forecasts and travel bulletins before traveling and allow more time for your journey. “If the weather is very bad, you need to ask yourself if your journey is really necessary at all. Be prepared to change your plans at short notice and pack an emergency car kit in case you do get stuck, especially if it’s a long trip.

If it does snow heavily, our gritting trucks need to be in front of you clearing the roads and not stuck in a tailback. If you can avoid your journey or at least wait until conditions improve, it gives our winter service teams the chance to treat the roads and keep the network on the move for everyone. “If everyone takes the time to think about their journey before setting off, including the condition of the vehicle, what supplies might be needed and the route, it will help to keep all road users safe and moving at this time of year.
For more information from the council, including maps of our main gritting routes, visit www.nelincs.gov.uk/winterservice, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NELincs or sign up to receive email news bulletins by following the ‘register’ link from the home page of the council’s website, www.nelincs.gov.uk

Apply to join the Liberal Democrats young people’s BAME training weekend

Applications are now open for the Liberal Democrats Diversity Office’s training weekend for young people from Black, Asian or other ethnic minority backgrounds.

The event, which is open to young people aged 18 to 25 who self identify as being from a Black, asian or other ethnic minority background will be held at our party HQ in Westminster on Saturday 7 March and Sunday 8 March.

The weekend’s programme will include training on key skills to help you further your career in politics. There will also be the opportunity to hear from MPs, councillors and parliamentary candidates.

The event is free to attend and lunch and travel expenses will be covered on both days.

No previous experience in politics is required although any community or campaigning work will be a distinct advantage. Applicants should have sympathy with the broad values of the Liberal Democrats but being a party member is not a requirement.

Application forms can be downloaded here.

Please also return the application form with the Diversity Monitoring form which can be download here.

Please return completed applications forms and Diversity Monitoring forms by Monday 2 February to diversity@libdems.org.uk.

Successful applicants will be notified by Monday 9 February.

MPs seek to end scandal of pubs being demolished or turned into supermarkets without communities getting a say

MPs from the parliamentary Save the Pub group have laid an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill seeking to end the scandal of pubs being demolished or turned into supermarkets without needing planning permission.

New Clause 16 (NC16) if passed would mean planning permission is required before a pub can be demolished or turned into a retail store or office. For the purposes of existing planning legislation, depending on what they are used for, most buildings are currently classified into ‘use classes’.

Pubs are in Use Class A4, and retail stores such as supermarkets are in A1. Permitted development rights allow A4 buildings to have their use turned into A1 buildings without needing planning permission. Hence the scandal of pubs being turned into Tesco stores without communities getting a say.

NC16 is backed by long time pub campaigners Charlotte Leslie, Greg Mulholland, Grahame Morris and Caroline Lucas. It is also a campaign, called Pubs Matter, being run by CAMRA, who have found that two pubs every week were being converted into supermarkets between Jan 2012-2014. This is part of 31 pubs a week on average currently closing across the country.

Ministers have long argued that pubs can be listed as Assets of Community Value (ACVs) – however this does not remove the permitted development rights attached to them. Furthermore, of the approximately 48,000 pubs across the UK at the moment, just 600 are listed as ACVs. Article 4 directions, which councils can in theory use to remove permitted development rights, are also ineffective- the process is complex, with legal pitfalls and comes with a risk of compensation. CAMRA estimate that out of 48,000 pubs, only about 30 have been subject to Article 4 directions.

There is also a clear precedent for the change proposed by NC16. Given the recent surge of betting shops opening on our high streets, DCLG has already proposed changes so planning permission is needed before a local bank, for example, can be turned into a betting shop. NC16 merely extends this to pubs being turned into retail stores.

Commenting, Charlotte Leslie MP said:

“Communities across the country are seeing local pubs being turned into supermarkets despite the opposition of local residents who don’t want to see the loss of a much-loved local pub. It is time we ended this scandal and gave local people a say in the future of their pubs – that is what this simple and reasonable amendment will do.”

Greg Mulholland MP, Liberal Democrat Chair of the parliamentary Save the Pub group, added:

“If government is serious about localism and giving more power to communities, it must let them object when Tesco come in and want to turn their local pub into a supermarket. At the moment, Tesco don’t need planning permission to do so- this is not right, nor is it genuine localism. Communities deserve a say in the future of their local people. NC16 will give communities that say. The simple question is whether government and MPs support the right of communities to have a say, or whether they oppose it!”

Grahame Morris MP, Vice Chair of the parliamentary Save the Pub group, added:

“The current state of affairs is not acceptable. Local people are powerless to stop their pubs being turned into a Tesco. With ministers having failed to give communities that power, this amendment will, and I hope other MPs will agree to empower their communities and support NC16.”

Tim Page, Chief Executive of CAMRA says: “It is currently possible to convert a pub into a betting shop, pay-day loan store or supermarket without the need for planning permission, making it far too easy for pubs valued by the community to be lost without local people having a say. Given the huge contribution that pubs make to community life in Britain we believe this cannot be right. The clause tabled by Charlotte Leslie MP is a fantastic opportunity to get the Government to take swift action to close these planning loopholes. We urge every MP who supports local communities and local pubs to get behind this clause and help secure a better future for the great British pub industry.”

“We hope that we can rally support from sufficient MPs to persuade Ministers to reconsider their current refusal to provide effective planning protection for viable and valued pubs.”

Tom Stainer, Head of Communications, CAMRA, also added:

“Pubs are increasingly being targeted by those wishing to take advantage of the absence of proper planning control.”

“A pub is an entirely different proposition to a convenience store, estate agent or funeral directors and the planning system needs updating to reflect this fact.

“It is time for the government to stop standing by while pubs are being targeted due to gaps in planning law.”