Our Demands for the Autumn Statement

November 21, 2016 11:00 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Our Demands for the Autumn Statement

This Autumn Statement comes at a time when our economy is in turmoil, our public services are in crisis and people and businesses are struggling to keep afloat.

Liberal Democrats want to see a statement that seeks to provide confidence and reassurance- to our health services, to workers and to businesses. The Government needs to show it will support these vital institutions, not leave them high and dry in its drive for a hard Brexit.

Our key demands for the Autumn Statement are:

£4 billion emergency funding for the NHS

The NHS and social care are on the brink of a devastating funding crisis. Patients are facing longer waiting lists for treatment, under-performing hospitals and cuts to care services. Yet Theresa May has resisted giving a penny more to the NHS.

Health and care need an immediate injection of £4 billion to avoid a massive winter crisis and prevent this situation rapidly worsening in the next year.

The Government have consistently failed to give our health services the money that they need and ignored our calls for an independent, cross-party commission to deliver a more sustainable settlement for health and care in the longer term.

Liberal Democrats are calling for an emergency injection of £4 billion extra funding for 2017-18 and that it should be delivered as follows, to ensure it has maximum impact and reaches those services where it is needed most:

  • £1.3bn additional funding for social care
  • £1.8bn additional transformation funding, to deliver modernisation and improve efficiency in the NHS
  • £400m additional dedicated funding for mental health
  • £500m additional emergency funding to plug gaps across services

A commitment to the Single Market

The impact of Brexit is already hitting businesses and consumers. Investment is drying up, costs in the shops are rising and UK firms are facing higher prices for raw materials due to the collapse of the pound, putting them at an international disadvantage.

The Government should use the Autumn Statement to give the reassurance that businesses and workers really need- that we will fight to remain a Member of the Single Market as a part of the Brexit negotiations. Anything less will damage our economy for years to come, it is not a risk any responsible Chancellor should accept.

Unleash councils to build more homes

There is a housing crisis in this country and private developers will not fix it. Despite bold promises that they would build more homes, the Government is doing nowhere near enough to meet the 300,000 homes a year target that independent experts agree we need.

Even worse, they are stopping local councils from building, by refusing to lift the unnecessary rules on council borrowing to invest in house building. The Chancellor should use the Autumn Statement to announce they will lift these rules an unleash councils to build the next generation of decent, sustainable social housing - putting a roof over hundreds of people's heads.

Give 5 million Teachers, Nurses and public sector works a pay rise

The Government has continued to cap the pay increases of public sector workers at 1%. With inflation rapidly rising due to Brexit this means serious real term cuts in the pay of hard working teachers, doctors, social workers and millions of other public sector workers.

It's time to lift the cap and ensure that every public sector worker receives a pay rise of at least the rate of inflation. The Government can lead by example to private business by putting workers first.

Support the next generation of small business owners

While Nissan and major companies can get in the door of Downing Street the businesses who will really suffer from the Brexit fall out are small businesses. The Government needs to act to ensure that the next generation of small business owners are given the support they need.

That's why Liberal Democrats are demanding a package of reforms to help small business, including granting full relief from inheritance tax when transferring assets from the family business to the next generation and doubling support for small business from the British Business Bank - helping provide loans and other funding to hard working small businesses during the Brexit economic storm.

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