On his first anniversary as leader, Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg set out plans to put Britain on a ‘Green Road out of the Recession’, creating jobs and leaving a legacy that will save energy, put money back into people’s pockets and fight climate change. The plans will cost £12.5bn, which would be paid for by scrapping the proposed VAT cut. The vast majority of that money will be spent immediately, making a real impact on the economy and people’s lives right away.
Green Road out of the Recession proposals include:
• A five-year programme to insulate every school and hospital, with 20% completed in the first year
• Funding insulation and energy efficiency for a million homes, with a £1,000 subsidy for a million more
• Building 40,000 extra zero-carbon social houses
• Buying 700 new train carriages
• Reopening old railway lines and stations, opening new ones, electrifying the Great Western and Midland mainlines and beginning the Liverpool light rail network
• Installing energy and money saving smart meters in every home within five years.
Nick Clegg said:
“As the recession deepens, every day we hear news of more workers being laid off, more families struggling with bills and more elderly and vulnerable people plunged into fuel poverty.
“The Government’s answer is to borrow £12.5bn to tinker with VAT when what is really needed is fresh, bold thinking.
“For the same money that it costs to make that tiny VAT cut, the Liberal Democrats propose a huge economic programme that will put the unemployed back into work and leave a lasting legacy that will save energy, reduce bills and fight climate change.
“Instead of a meaningless VAT cut that people won’t notice, we will insulate every school and hospital in the country and the homes of a million people languishing in fuel poverty.
“We will build thousands of desperately needed social houses, install money-saving smart meters, re-open rail lines and build new trains.
“Gordon Brown and David Cameron argue about whether we should borrow money or not. They are two dogs fighting over the wrong bone. The real question is what we borrow for and how we invest it so that we all benefit in the end.
“These are real, achievable goals that would make a real difference to people’s lives now, create new jobs today, and leave us with the infrastructure for a long-term, green economic recovery.”
Local County Councillor David Jenkins said; ‘these proposals would benefit people across the country including those in Cambridgeshire. The proposed investments in homes, railways and schools and hospitals would bring real benefit. I’d be especially delighted if it would result in longer trains on the Cambridge London route which is seriously short of capacity’.