Lib Dem members support proposed changes to planning rules, just

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 550 party members responded, and we’re currently publishing the full results. Following news about the economy and tax, today it is planning.

The latest Lib Dem Voice survey of party members finds a small majority backing the government’s controversial plans for the planning system in England. By a margin of 48% – 39% Liberal Democrat members in the survey supported the scheme to cut central control over planning but also introduce a presumption in favour of development if plans are sustainable and in line with local policies.

However, the brittleness of this support was illustrated by a further question, which found that on its own, members oppose the idea of a presumption in favour of development by 59% – 37%. It is adding the cut in central government powers and only giving the presumption when plans are sustainable and in accordance with local policy that turns this around.

On another issue of significant public controversy, the plans for High Speed Rail 2, party members again support what the Coalition is intending to do, this time by the large margin of 70% – 23%.

The other policy questions found answers very much in line with what you might expect from Liberal Democrat members, such as heavy support for environmental measures and opposition to cutting immigration to low levels.

LDV asked: The government are proposing changes to the planning system in England. Under the changes the amount of central government rules on planning will be vastly decreased, with local councils given more powers to decide what is allowed to be built in their areas. There will be a presumption in favour of giving permission for development if it is sustainable and in line with local policies. Do you support or oppose these changes?

Support 48%
Oppose 39%
Net: 9%

LDV asked: Do you support or oppose the following policies?

  • Greater use of renewable and clean energies even if they add costs to businesses and households: 89% support, 9% oppose – net support 80%
  • Reductions in armed forces spending: 71% support, 24% oppose – net support 47%
  • Building the High Speed Rail 2 link: 70% support, 23% oppose – net support 47%
  • Relaxing the planning laws to introduce a presumption in favour of development: 37% support, 59% oppose – net oppose 22%
  • Cutting net immigration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands: 29% support, 64% oppose – net oppose 35%
  • Replacement of the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights: 18% support, 74% oppose – net oppose 56%
  • Introducing a tax allowance for married couples: 17% support, 78% oppose – net oppose 61%
  • Cutting inheritance tax and the 50p higher-rate tax: 12% support, 85% oppose – net oppose 73%
  • Renewing the Trident nuclear deterrent: 7% support, 90% oppose – net oppose 83%


  • Over 1,200 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. Some 550 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 11th and 15th September.
  • Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. However, LibDemVoice.org’s surveys are the largest independent samples of the views of Lib Dem members across the country, and have in the past accurately predicted the winners of the contest for Party President, and the result of the conference decision to approve the Coalition agreement.
  • The full archive of our members’ surveys can be viewed at www.libdemvoice.org/category/ldv-members-poll

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