It was fantastic to talk with Ed today. He gave answers to our member’s concerns on Liberal Democrat policy
The full Q and A will be posted soon but below are some of our highlights.
Resolving the Healthcare Sector Crisis
Ed pointed out that the most important thing we can do for our healthcare system is to resolve the vacancies issue.
Q. How are the Lib Dems going to support healthcare workers?
Ed: You need more staff, I can see that. It doesn’t matter how much overtime, pay or incentives you offer workers, there are only so many hours any one person can work. To ease pressure on our healthcare system we need more people working. This means providing more training and support for those wanting to enter healthcare-related jobs. This means resolving the vacancies in healthcare that this government is ignoring.
Child and Adolescent mental health
Q. What are we doing about child mental health?
As Lib Dems we have been working with local councils to put specialist mental health workers into secondary schools. I am a huge supporter of the CAMH (child and adolescent mental health) schemes in place.
Our big takeaway from this is that housing policy must be about people and communities, not developers and profits. Ed stressed the fundamental importance of making homes that are affordable in areas that need them.
Q. Why did we not back the Tory Housing Reforms?
Ed: The Tories have got rid of incentives for zero carbon homes. 25% of funding for the Tory party comes from developers. It is very clear where their interests are. Their housing reforms do not take into account the needs of the local communities. We want to build the right amount of houses; build them where they are needed and with the involvement of the people who live in those communities. We must make housing affordable for young people and low paid workers. Everyone deserves the opportunity to own their own home. As Lib Dems we are big supporters of neighbourhood planning to build houses. This means the houses built are sustainable, they are affordable and crucially, they respect the needs of the local people.
Britain’s foreign policy
Q. Do we need to abandon this idea of Britain as important on the global stage?
Ed: We need to be more outward-looking. The current government is incredibly inward-looking and quasi-imperialist. The aid cuts and development budget cuts they have put through are simply wrong. We should be supporting our international bodies e.g. UN, EU, WTO because they help enable global cooperation. Instead, we have turned away from these organisations. How can we expect low-income countries to be willing to negotiate incredibly complex and challenging climate deals whilst we appear not to care about the rest of the world?