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Ed Davey's conference speech!

September 17, 2019 11:01 AM
By Liberal Democrats
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Conference, I don't know about you, but when you knock on doors canvassing, and people say "Oh, you're all the same", it can be quite frustrating.

Brexit has changed all that. Everyone now knows, we are very different from Johnson's Conservatives and Corbyn's Labour.

Only the Liberal Democrats want to stop Brexit. Let's face it. Our great country could be just 46 days from economic catastrophe.

The Government's own Yellowhammer report could not be clearer: Food and medicine shortages, a hard border in Northern Ireland, jobs moving abroad.

Is this what Conservatives now stand for? Gambling away our children and grandchildren's futures? Forcing Britain into years of economic chaos? What shocking irresponsibility.

Is this what Conservatives now stand for? Gambling away our children and grandchildren's futures?

Britain deserves better. And Liberal Democrats demand better.

First, we want an economy that works for everyone.

That offers opportunity for everyone. Everywhere in Britain. And that especially means, saying to people who voted Leave, because they felt ignored and left behind, you will have a stake and a place in a Liberal Democrat economy.

With Liberal Democrats, your communities will be given the power and the money to rebuild themselves and prosper. So in the first Liberal Democrat budget we will:

  • Back enterprise in communities and towns across our regions by relaunching our Regional Growth Fund that worked so well, and regionalising the British Business Bank, which the Liberal Democrats set up.
  • Find major investment for the East-West railway links the North and the Midlands have long been promised - but have never had.
  • Restore high streets in our towns and cities, devastated by business rates and unfair competition from the likes of Amazon. Our plans to reform and cut business rates will breathe in new life.
  • Embark on a new affordable homes programme, with council housing at its heart, and with Liberal Democrat housing plans led by communities, not developers.
  • Give every adult the chance to invest in their own education and training, with Vince Cable's proposal for lifelong learning.

Liberal Democrat opportunity for everyone, everywhere.

When we stop Brexit, Britain will get a Remain Boost and a Remain Bonus

Imagine what we could do if, we weren't wasting billions on preparing for a No Deal Brexit. Imagine if all the energies going into Brexit, were going into our NHS. Our schools. Our police service.

The extra investment. The extra growth. The extra tax receipts for the Exchequer.

Conference, when we stop Brexit, Britain will get a Remain Boost and a Remain Bonus.

Extra money Liberal Democrats will spend on tackling inequality and solving the causes of Brexit. We will make Britain a fairer country, a more equal country, a less divided country. A United Kingdom again.

You know, one of Britain's longstanding economic problems has been productivity. That matters, because the more productive we are, the more prosperous we are. The higher wages we can earn.

But Britain's productivity problem hasn't been tackled properly for decades. So I'm going to let you into a secret. About our confidential economic plan. How Liberal Democrats will make Britain more productive.

We will invest. In people. Massive investment. In education. In training.

And we will particularly invest in people and communities who've not had opportunity before. Who feel forgotten. Who voted Leave to put two fingers up to a system they felt had left them behind.

Liberal Democrats, we must reach out to everyone in our country, especially Leave communities. They are our brothers and our sisters. Our friends. Family. Neighbours.

And it's not just people Liberal Democrats demand a better economy for - we demand a better economy for our planet too.

I've coined the phrase - decarbonising capitalism. It's a major reform, we must do this to respond to the climate emergency.

I hate to say it, but the economic chaos of Brexit. And the political chaos of Boris Johnson. They will look like tea parties if we don't stop climate chaos.

Those pictures of the burnt desolation in the Amazon. The devastation of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. A record seven million people across the world displaced from their homes in the first 6 months of this year due to extreme weather events.

And scientists tell us, we ain't seen nothing yet.

Britain must lead. At home and abroad. In the face of such environmental chaos, we know what needs to be done

So. Britain must lead. At home and abroad. In the face of such environmental chaos. We know what needs to be done.

In Government, Liberal Democrats nearly quadrupled Britain's renewable energy. I'm so proud that this party made Britain the world leader in offshore wind power.

But it makes me so angry that the Conservatives squandered Britain's green opportunity, that Liberal Democrats had created.

My first Liberal Democrat budget will be a budget for people and a budget for the planet. A Climate Emergency Budget.

We will invest in new technologies, to help tackle climate change.

And we will create green jobs. Well-paid green jobs. Green jobs outside London, in every nation and region of our country.

And now we need to decarbonise capitalism. To move the financial markets - the banks, the stock exchanges, the pension funds and the rest - away from investing in pollution, into investing in renewables.

We've got to starve climate-destroying business from the capital that feeds it. And instead, that money must go green.

We'll do this with a myriad of changes. Regulations to force companies and financial institutions to be transparent about their carbon investments. Laws to require them to publish how their business strategy moves them to net zero carbon.

These major reforms are a key next step to stop climate chaos. And they will make the UK the green financial capital of the world.

So Conference, Liberal Democrats have a whole host of economic policies - to invest in people and to save our planet.

So what else must we do, to win? Friends, it's now clearer than ever.

There's now only one party you can vote for. Liberal Democrats, we are our country's last hope.

To stop the sheer chaos of Johnson's Brexit, Corbyn's economics and climate change. And to offer hope for our people and our planet.

So let's go out there. Campaign. And win for our country.