Christine Jardine, the Lib Dem Treasury Spokesperson, has written to members and supporters, setting out the party’s four priorities for the 2021 Budget:
1. Small businesses
Since the pandemic, big corporations have been able to adapt to the new world by shifting their business online. Meanwhile, many small businesses have been forced to close completely through no fault of their own.
From hairdressers to café owners, builders to florists – small businesses are the backbone of the British economy.
The government has leaked that they are giving cash grants to businesses – but the amount promised is just a fraction of what is needed.
What we need in this budget is a small business recovery fund, to compensate them for money they are losing while they’re closed in lockdown.
2. Unpaid carers
Carers face big challenges every single day – challenges made even harder by Covid. A year in, we know that carers need two things: money and time.
900,000 full-time unpaid carers rely on a meagre Carer’s Allowance. At just £67.25 a week, it’s the lowest benefit of its kind –not nearly enough to pay for food, rent and bills.
Many carers haven’t had a single break since the pandemic started. The brutal combination of lockdowns, shielding requirements and reduced support services mean many are reaching breaking point.
Carers need a meaningful increase in their Carer’s Allowance. We are asking for an increase of £1,000 a year – in line with the recent Universal Credit uplift.
And carers need a weekly break. We should grant emergency funding to local authorities so they can offer every unpaid carer the support services they need to take a weekly break.
The UK has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need, but this Conservative Government has turned its back on refugees.
The Liberal Democrats have called on the Chancellor to use his Budget to commit to a ten year resettlement programme to resettle refugees from Syria and other dangerous conflict areas.
This is vital. Not only do we have a moral duty to help the world’s most vulnerable, but it is also the best way to combat people smuggling, human trafficking and prevent people from attempting dangerous Channel crossings.
We must commit to helping refugees in the budget.
4. Green Recovery Package
For six years, the Conservatives have wasted chance after chance to build a greener Britain.
The last year has seen Brexit and Coronavirus bring so many industries to their knees.
But it’s the perfect time to be bold and rebuild, with a vision for a greener world at the forefront.
That’s why the Liberal Democrats have called for a £150 billion green recovery package to restructure the UK’s economy.
With more of us working from home, it’s imperative that we prioritise insulating homes, and make them cheap and environmentally sustainable to heat.
With less strain on transportation, now is the time to upgrade our country’s transportation systems, making them green and future-proof.
And we need to empower British people and businesses to become global leaders in global leaders in key future technologies.
It is not a coincidence that those four blend what matters most to voters in general, what matters most to liberal voters specifically and what the party can best be distinctive on.
Expect to see far more of that sort of blend through this year.