Frank Little

Councillor for East Central ward on Coedffranc Town Council Learn more

Party conference

by franklittle on 3 March, 2012

One of the advantages of the Welsh Liberal Democrat spring conference being held in Cardiff is that I don’t have to absent myself from Neath for the whole weekend, but pick and choose which debates to attend. The theme, in this year of local council elections, will no doubt be to contrast the good management of Liberal Democrat dominated local authorities with that of Labour fiefdoms, illustrated by the lower council tax in the former. There will be motions on making National Park Authorities more democratic, on Welsh Government giving more powers to local authorities and on reform of NNDR (business rates).

Nick Clegg’s speech later today should be interesting. He knows now not to rehash a speech made for English audiences, as he did in his first year as leader. He will no doubt be grateful for the exclusion of England-only matters, considering the struggle that the party (mainly in the Lords) has had in licking the Health & Welfare Bill into shape. He has a good story to tell on national policies: the triple-lock on pensions which will give a £5.30 per week increase next month and the government’s commitment to take the first £10,000 of earnings out of tax being the headline ones. Nick is a committed devolutionist and I’m sure the speech will include a demand to give Wales some tax-raising powers. (It is ironic that our community council has more power to raise tax than the National Assembly of Wales.) I hope that he will also take time to praise the efforts of the Welsh Liberal Democrats in the cross-party campaign to gain law-making powers for the Senedd, something for which the BBC in London seems to give sole credit to the Nationalists.

Anyway, I should be available over the weekend except for the period between Saturday and Sunday lunchtimes. If an emergency arises I can be contacted on 07593536154.

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