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Willie Rennie MSP Leader of the Scottish Liberal DemocratsWelcome to our website. The Liberal Democrats are now the only party that can deliver social justice. We are the only choice for anyone who wants a stronger economy in a fairer society enabling everyone in the United Kingdom to get on in life.

We are putting money back in the pockets of ordinary families. We are building a stable, green economy for each and every one of us. We will continue to change politics so that every person in the United Kingdom counts.

"You can find out more, including how to keep in touch or join the Liberal Democrats, on this site."

Better TogetherHelp out with the Better Together campaign.


Recent updates

  • Article: Apr 17, 2014

    I am confident that Lib Dems will be united in welcoming today's news that Vince Cable has put out a call for evidence on a new register of arms brokers. The proposed register would introduce tougher regulations on the arms trade and is yet another historic victory for the Lib Dems in government.

    Arms brokers act as intermediaries in many arms deals by bringing together potential buyers and sellers in return for a cut of the transaction. Currently UK companies require a license before they can export military goods, but brokers are somewhat of an unknown entity. Under the proposals all brokers will have to appear on a public registry, with possible requirements to attend training courses and suitability assessments.

  • Article: Apr 16, 2014

    Scottish Liberal Democrat MEP George Lyon today encouraged Scots toGeorge Lyon MEPGeorge Lyon MEP join a campaign calling on the EU to change tax rules and allow mountain and lowland rescue services to be made exempt from VAT.

    Commenting as an EU consultation on public interest exemptions from VAT entered its final few days, Mr Lyon said that changing tax regulations for mountain and lowland rescue teams would give these key services a real boost.

    Mr Lyon and fellow Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies met with EU Tax Commissioner Algirdas Šemet earlier this year to discuss this issue.

    Backing the campaign, Jonathon Hart, Chair of the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland, said that axing VAT would have real financial benefits for mountain rescue teams.

    George Lyon MEP said:

    "In 2011 alone a total of 573 incidents were responded to by Scottish mountain rescue teams, and these numbers are increasing every year. Mountain and lowland rescue teams are effectively front line emergency services in many parts of Scotland.

    "These volunteers put their lives on the line and deserve our full support. We know that cutting VAT for mountain and lowland rescue teams would make a real financial difference and I hope as many Scots as possible will back our campaign.

    "The consultation in Brussels is closing soon and this is our last chance to make the case for a change to the rules at the EU. it is important that we send a strong message that axing the VAT is the right thing to do."

    Jonathan Hart, Chair of the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland, added:

    "Mountain Rescue in Scotland is carried out by world class volunteers delivering a service free of charge to people in need of aid in the mountains of Scotland. The majority of our funding comes from private donation and we do receive money from both the UK and Scottish Governments.

    "We are not a political organisation and support any move toward reducing costs or increasing income for Scottish Mountain Rescue Teams. In the case of VAT we would like to thank all the MPs and MEPs who are involved in the campaign which if successful would undoubtedly benefit volunteer teams financially."

    People wishing to join the campaign can sign up here.

  • Article: Apr 16, 2014

    South of Scotland MSP Jim Hume has welcomed news that South WestJim HumeJim Hume Scotland is set to benefit by nearly £40 million from a new scheme to help young people into work.

    The Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) will provide £170 million of UK government funding to help young people aged 15-24 find work.

    This investment will be matched by an equal amount from the European Social Fund and also by project partners, bringing the total funding to nearly £490 million.

    Southwest Scotland, one of five areas selected to receive support, is in line to benefit by £38.6 million.

    Commenting, Jim Hume said:

    "More people are in work across the country than ever before but there is always more that can be done. Liberal Democrats are helping build a stronger Scottish economy in government and any initiative to get more people into work is welcome.

    "We know that long spells of unemployment at the start of a young persons' career can be damaging for years down the line. This new investment will make a real difference to young people in the south of Scotland and give them the best possible start to their working life.

    "With UK spending being matched by EU investment this new initiative is another reason why Liberal Democrats are working to keep Scotland in Britain and Britain in Europe."

  • Article: Apr 16, 2014

    Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has said today's employment figures demonstrate the importance of sharing economic progress across the UK.

    Mr Rennie said:

    "Liberal Democrats in the UK government are building a stronger economyWillie RennieWillie Rennie and today we can see what that means for people in Scotland. 16,000 more Scots are in work, business confidence is increasing and positive growth continues for the Scottish economy as part of the UK. This is the positive economic progress which enables us to build a fairer society.

    "Sharing across the UK's broad shoulders, Liberal Democrats have delivered lower taxes, higher pensions, new jobs and more childcare. But figures showing a quarterly rise in the number of people out of work shows that we cannot become complacent. The Scottish Government must work closely with the UK Government to unlock further opportunities for jobs and growth for Scotland as part of the UK."

    Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Carmichael said:

    "It is encouraging to see 16,000 more Scots move into work and theAlistair CarmichaelAlistair Carmichael number claiming jobseekers allowance fall for the seventeenth straight month. There are now 68,000 more people in work and around 32,000 fewer people claiming jobseekers allowance than one year ago. It is also very encouraging to see the number of women in work continuing to rise to a near record high.‬

    ‪"With business confidence increasing, inflation falling to a four and half year low and seven consecutive months of positive Scottish economic growth, Scotland is doing well as part of the UK.‬

    ‪"Tax changes the UK Government has introduced this month will make it easier for Scottish businesses to invest, to take on new staff and be even more competitive on a global stage. We have also ensured that every hard working Scot will not pay any income tax on everything they earn up to £10,000. ‬

    "Any rise in unemployment shows that challenges remain. We must ensure that as the economy recovers the benefits are seen in communities across the length and breadth of Scotland.‬"

  • Article: Apr 16, 2014

    New figures show the rate of unemployment has fallen below 7% for the first time since the recession. The number of people out of work dropped by 77,000 in the last three months, while total employment has seen the biggest annual jump in a generation.

    There are now more people in work than ever before, with nearly 0.7 million more people in employment since this time last year, showing that the Lib Dem plan to create a million jobs is working.

  • Article: Apr 15, 2014

    The European Parliament has approved new rules to make big lorries safer for other road users and more fuel-efficient.

    Under changes pushed by Liberal Democrat MEPs, the design of lorry cabs are set to be changed to reduce the number of blind spots under the front widescreen and the side of the vehicle. The new designs would also include safer cab fronts to reduce damage caused by impacts with cyclists and pedestrians. It is thought the proposal could help prevent dozens of fatal accidents each year.

  • Article: Apr 15, 2014

    Nick Clegg has called for the publication of the Chilcot report into the Iraq war, which identifies exactly what happened in the run-up to the conflict in Iraq.

    The Chilcot report includes about 200 cabinet-level discussions, 25 notes from Tony Blair to George W Bush and more than 130 records of conversations between the former US president and Tony Blair.

  • Article: Apr 15, 2014

    The former Speech Writer to Tony Blair said that he believes Nick Clegg is making a difference: "By stopping the Tory Right, the Deputy Prime Minister should be applauded by all liberal voters."

    Philip Collins worked as Tony Blair's Chief Speech Writer, responsible for Blair's very last speech as Leader of the Labour Party. In his article published today, he said that without the Lib Dems in Government, tax cuts for the wealthy would have been more generous. He points out that green taxes would be slashed harder, welfare cuts would be more severe, and there would be greater progress towards abolishing human rights legislation.

  • Article: Apr 14, 2014

    With Passover celebrations starting today, Nick Clegg wishes the Jewish Communities, within Britain and around the world, a happy Passover:

    Transcript:

    "I want to wish Jewish Communities, within Britain and around the world, a happy and peaceful Passover.

    This is a time when families and friends gather round the Seder table to remember the struggles of the Jewish people to secure their freedom. Every year, they tell this story to their children so it is never forgotten.

    And what this ancient journey shows us is the enduring power of people to overcome even the greatest of adversity and build a better future together. And, during this celebration, we're reminded of all those people still suffering oppression, because of their religious beliefs, race or creed.

    That cannot be right and Passover is a chance for all of us to commit ourselves again to helping those -- of all faiths and none -- who face persecution around the world.

    It's also an opportunity for us to recognise the contribution Britain's Jewish Communities make to every area of our society

    Thank you and Chag Sameach."

  • Article: Apr 14, 2014

    Communities with ideas for a new generation of garden cities will receive support from the government to turn their ambitions into reality, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced today.

    A prospectus published today will help communities work up proposals for ambitious new developments, which are locally-led, include at least 15,000 homes and have the backing of existing residents.

  • Article: Apr 14, 2014

    Scottish Liberal Democrat Education spokesman Liam Mcarthur MSP todayLiam McArthurLiam McArthur warned Ministers they are putting teachers under enormous strain after new figures revealed a big fall in spending on supply staff over the last three years.

    Figures revealed through Freedom of Information requests show that spending on supply teachers fell by nearly £18 million between 2010/11 and 2012/13.

    In December 2013 it was confirmed that the number of teachers in Scotland had also declined for the sixth year in a row.

    Commenting, Liam McArthur said:

    "Supply teachers are an invaluable part of our education system but the figures show that spending on supply staff has fallen over the last three years. With reports suggesting this is at least in part down to fewer staff being available to work there are real questions over how Ministers will ensure that there are sufficient teachers available across our schools system.

    "With the number of full-time teaching staff also in decline, parents will wonder whether this will see regular teachers being asked to take on more responsibilities at a time of major change with the curriculum. That is a combination that is scarcely sustainable, putting teaching staff under enormous strain and pupils at a potential disadvantage.

    "In opposition the SNP promised to increase teacher numbers and reduce class sizes. In government, they have delivered the exact opposite. This government has failed teachers and pupils alike."

  • Article: Apr 14, 2014

    It has been announced today that extended opening hours and enhanced local care for the elderly will soon be available at doctors' surgeries across many parts of the country, thanks to a new drive to improve local GP services.

    Millions of people will now be able to see their family doctor outside of working hours, including late night and weekend appointments, while the elderly and those with more serious health complaints will get tailored care, coordinated by just one local GP.

  • Article: Apr 13, 2014

    The UN's Intergovernmental panel con Climate Change (IPCC) has warned the world must rapidly move away from carbon-intensive fuels.

    In a significant report published today on how to curb climate change, the IPCC warns that global temperatures be between 3.7C and 4.8C higher in 2100 if no action is taken. This is significantly higher than the 2C level, regarded by experts as the point at which the impacts of climate change become dangerous.

  • Article: Apr 11, 2014

    The Liberal Democrats have released a new factsheet which sets out the truth about the impact of Tuition Fees.

    As a party, we acknowledge that we couldn't deliver our policy on tuition fees - and we've apologised for this. But we did make sure the system was as fair as possible. To read the factsheet in full, click here.

  • Article: Apr 10, 2014

    Yesterday, the Lib Dem president, Tim Farron MP, launched the North East Lib Dems Europe campaign. Speaking about the European elections on 22nd May, Tim said it was a straight fight between the Lib Dems and UKIP, between IN vs Out.

    "If you want to leave Europe and risk the UK's future in the world then you vote UKIP. If, however, you think North East jobs are worth fighting for, and the peace and security that comes from being the EU is worth fighting for, there's only one party that's the party of in and that's the Liberal Democrats.

  • Article: Apr 10, 2014

    Nick Clegg has today announced an extra £300 million to help growing businesses and create tens of thousands of jobs across England.

    The £300 million forms part of the Liberal Democrat's Regional Growth Fund, which is now being delivered in Government. The Fund is designed to unlock billions of pounds of private sector investment and create sustainable employment and growth in a wide range of sectors across the country.

  • Article: Apr 9, 2014

    The Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander MP, has today outlined his proposals for a Mansion Tax. In a speech on tax this morning, Danny described some of the details of the Tax, which would apply on homes worth over £2 million.

    The Liberal Democrats first proposed our Mansion Tax in 2009 and have been pushing for it to be implemented in Government, against huge opposition from the Conservatives.

  • Labours-Record-on-Devolution.jpg
    Article: Apr 8, 2014

    Ed Miliband's claim that he wants the "the biggest economic devolution of power to England's great towns and cities in a hundred years" is ludicrous, considering their track record.

    When in power, Labour's Government was incredibly centralised.

    In contrast, The Liberal Democrats are already devolving powers to the cities and regions through mechanisms that are boosting local economies. These mechanisms include City Deals, the Local Growth Deal and the Regional Growth Fund, which are benefitting businesses and families, as well as creating new jobs and apprenticeships.

  • Article: Apr 8, 2014

    From September this year, all children between the ages of five and seven will receive free school meals, regardless of family income.

    Despite strong opposition from Tory backbenchers, the Liberal Democrats have fought to deliver free lunches in schools which will improve the lives of many children, as well as saving families £437 a year. Many studies have found that nutritious meals at school improve pupils' health, behaviour, concentration and their overall wellbeing. It makes a real difference in the classrooms, and these findings have been backed by the Department of Education and the Department of Health.

  • Article: Apr 7, 2014

    The Labour leadership has spent the last four years praying that the recovery would not materialise.

    For a long time they insisted that the Coalition's action to tackle the deficit would choke off growth. Wrong: the deficit has been eliminated by a third and growth is back.

    Then they claimed unemployment would rise by a million. Wrong: unemployment is coming down and we are seeing record numbers of people in work.

  • Magdalena-Ferkova.jpg
    Article: Apr 7, 2014

    Thanks to the European Arrest Warrant, a member of a Nottingham-based crime gang who fled the UK to avoid prison has been returned to Britain to start a five-year jail sentence.

    Magdalena Ferkova was part of a crime group that stole large amounts of public money. She had flown vulnerable foreign nationals to the UK to act as 'benefit tourists', illegally claiming over a million pounds in tax credits and Child Benefit. After luring the individuals to the UK and forcing them to make applications, Ferkova sent the claimants home.

  • key_NickClegg.jpg
    Article: Apr 7, 2014

    On Saturday, Nick Clegg spoke at the Welsh Liberal Democrat Spring Conference about the Liberal Democrats' achievements and plans for the coming years.

    On the eve of the new tax year, Nick Clegg spoke about the £700 tax cut that over 24 million people received across the country at the weekend. He also spoke about the party's commitment to devolving new powers to Wales, including policy, youth justice and big energy projects.

  • key_g7incometax.jpg
    Article: Apr 7, 2014

    The amount British taxpayers can earn before paying income tax is the highest starting threshold across the G7 countries, Treasury analysis released by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, has revealed.

    The personal allowance has risen by over 50% since 2010, an increase five times larger than the increase in the income tax starting thresholds of any other G7 country.

  • key_EUmanufacturingmap.jpg
    Article: Apr 7, 2014

    Manufacturers, ranging from large multi-nationals to small businesses, have given a clear message - Britain must remain part of the EU to ensure future growth.

    Manufacturing plays a large role in delivering a stronger economy, more jobs and rising living standards.

    According to the EEF's 'Europe - A Manifesto for Growth', Britain's manufacturers have set out a radical plan to reform the EU and help it focus on lifting Europe out of the economic difficulties. The proposals come just six weeks before the European elections in May and follow a positive business campaign to keep Britain at the heart of the EU.

  • Personal allowance - £700 tax cut promised, £800 delivered
    Article: Apr 6, 2014

    Today, 24 million people will receive a £700 tax cut compared to 2010. This will put £700 back in the pockets of the lowest earners.

    Thanks to the Liberal Democrats, the new income tax personal allowance kicks in, reaching £10,000. It means 24m working people are paying £700 less in income tax than they were under Labour; people on the minimum wage have had the amount they pay in income tax more than halved; and 2.7m of people in the lowest paid jobs will no longer pay any income tax at all.

  • Article: Apr 5, 2014

    Speaking at the Welsh Liberal Democrat conference today, Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg accused Labour and the Conservatives of being 'missing in action' on Europe. He also said that he would be taking his message around the country, in town halls, radio phone-ins and in any way he can; speaking directly to millions of voters about why we should be IN Europe - to protect British jobs, keep our streets safe, and maintain our standing in the world.

  • Article: Apr 4, 2014

    Today, Labour's Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls claimed that families are worse off under this government. However, the Liberal Democrats have been cleaning up Labour's mess.

    Commenting on Ed Balls' claims, Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said:

    "On this weekend of all weekends, Ed Balls needs to acknowledge the work Liberal Democrats are doing in government to clean up Labour's mess.

  • Article: Apr 3, 2014

    Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg today visited Cambridge where he announced a £1bn boost to city and the surrounding area. The Greater Cambridge City Deal is designed to help it become the UK's Silicon Valley and is expected to unlock £1bn of investments in transport and housing, to boost economic growth across the region.

  • Article: Apr 3, 2014

    Scottish Liberal Democrats have today welcomed the relaunch of the Tavish ScottTavish ScottScottish Provosts' Association as good news for local democracy. The association was officially re-launched in Edinburgh today and will seek to promote the image of Scottish local authorities as civic institutions.

    It was announced today that Scottish Liberal Democrat Borders councillor Graham Garvie has been appointed President of the association. Shetland Islands Council Convenor Malcolm Bell is the new Vice President.

    Scottish Liberal Democrat Shetland MSP Tavish Scott said:

    "This is good news for local democracy. These past 7 years have been testing times for local communities as the SNP government remove powers and responsibilities. The re-launch of the Scottish Provosts' Association, with a strong liberal and local voice at its helm, will help to promote the important role of local communities in shaping their own local services. "

  • Article: Apr 3, 2014

    Jim Hume, Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP for South Scotland, todayJim HumeJim Hume (Thursday 3rd April) led a heated members' debate in the Scottish Parliament on court closures in South Scotland during which he said SNP Ministers have it in their power to protect Selkirk and Jedburgh Sheriff Courts from further closures.

    The MSP also expressed his deep frustration at the lack of government accountability on the issue and referred to Kenny MacAskill's strong support for Peebles Sheriff Court in a 2002 Scottish Parliament debate.

    Last summer (June 2013), Scottish Ministers laid the secondary legislation or closure orders before the Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee. The SNP majority committee, chaired by Borders MSP Christine Grahame, voted to close courts in Duns, Peebles, Haddington, Annan and Kirkcudbright.

    An FOI request submitted by Mr Hume at the end of last year uncovered a secret group looking into the future of Selkirk and Jedburgh Sheriff Courts. That group is due to report back on its findings in the spring/early summer.

    Speaking after the debate, Mr Hume said:

    "The SNP's instinctive lean towards removing key local services from rural communities is sadly evident across South Scotland with the closure of five courts in the region.

    "The impact of closures hasn't been lost on constituents who have contacted me in their droves about fears for access to local justice. Those same people talk about their local towns being raided of yet another key facility hot on the heels of police counters and control rooms.

    "It's a dangerous precedent to remove high value civil service jobs from rural areas with all the associated employment and economic benefit.

    "I'm deeply frustrated at the lack of government accountability on this issue. Time and time again Kenny MacAskill has passed the buck and it took freedom of information requests to get any information about the future of Selkirk and Jedburgh courts.

    "If the will is there, Kenny MacAskill absolutely has it in his power to stop further court closures in the Borders."