At the Lib Dem Autumn Bournemouth Conference, the main debate – A Fresh Start For Britain – featured the the central policy issues on which the General Election will be fought. The main one is our commitment to raising the income tax threshold to £10,000.
Chester parliamentary candidate for Chester, Elizabeth Jewkes, was the driving force behind this becoming party policy. “At conference last year, the party proposed to lower the basic rate of Income Tax to 16p in the pound’ said Lizzie. “I was unhappy with this, as it is only of benefit to those who pay tax, the poorest in society, including part time workers and pensioners would not be helped at all” . Lizzie decided that it would be fairer to raise the income tax threshold to the level of the national minimum wage (approx £11,000). She lobbied Vince Cable, who gave her his wholehearted support, and the Women’s Group, “Women Liberal Democrats”. Lizzie took the proposal to the Lib Dem “Policy Day” last January. There it was unaminously agreed and even Nick Clegg told Lizzie: “I prefer your policy, it will help more people “.
Lizzie wanted the policy debated at the Bournemouth conference, but Nick announced it as party policy in July. It was included in the main debate and Lizzie was given the opportunity to make a speech on it. Although the policy is only to raise the threshold to £10,000, Lizzie was cheered when Vince Cable mentioned in his speech that: ‘No-one earning the minimum wage should be dragged into tax‘. Watch Lizzie’s speech on www.youtube.com.
Lizzie adds: “One of the really great things about being a member of the Lib Dems is that everyone has the opportunity to make a difference and that ideas from the grassroots can become party policy”