I don't think it is fair to burden future generations with the debt we have created and since the coalition was formed back in 2010, the Liberal Democrats have provided the stable government to bring us back on track. We now have interest rates at record lows, unemployment going down and more small businesses starting up than ever before. With Liberal Democrats Danny Alexander as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Vince Cable as Business Secretary, our record in managing our economic recovery is the envy of many of our European partners with the UK recently confirmed as the fastest growing economy in Europe.
Last year, I organised and chaired the Weston Lib Dems Core Strategy/Housing meeting that was attended by over 120 local residents, and it showed me just how serious the housing crisis is across our city. Employment might be high, but salaries are not in line with house prices. Did you know that house prices have more than doubled in the last 10 years but average wages are not even close to keeping pace. The average earnings to house price ratio nationwide is 4-1, but in Bath it sometimes goes as high as over 11-1. We don't want high rises flats on our skyline and when we do plan to build houses the density rates are low, we oppose building on the green belt and rents are going through the roof as well. Is it any surprise that we have 10,000 families on the waiting list for what was once called a "council house"? We're reaching the point where people on average incomes just can't afford to live here! I want the government to help us build more social and affordable housing.
Roads - Bath truly is the most beautiful city in the world, but as those of us who live & work here know, travelling by road can be a nightmare. Nearly 50,000 cars entire the city every weekday. To get to the north or south of the city there is no viable alternative other than to go through the city centre, resulting in clogged roads, poor air quality and lost productivity that could pose a threat to our World Heritage Site status. I want to enhance road safety & protect our city's unique architecture by reducing the number of vehicles on our roads. I want to explore schemes that make walking and cycling much more viable. I want to encourage more shared car journeys and encourage more children to get to school using public transport, by pedal or on foot.
Trains - As a regular train user, I have experienced firsthand how the trains in and out of Bath Spa are often packed and the journey times are long. The cost of rail travel can also be prohibitively expensive and we wonder why there are so many cars on the road! We've been promised electrification and improved rolling stock but I believe we need faster, longer, more reliable trains and cheaper ticket option NOW!