West Berkshire Conservatives
We are a group of energetic and hard working people, of all ages and backgrounds & from all walks of life. We’re committed to continue building a strong economy and a fairer society.
West Berkshire Conservatives is a broad church but a few of our principles include:
- Caring for the environment - as Conservatives we have always cared deeply about our environment – it was under our party that the UK became one of the first countries to call for global action on climate change and since then we’ve taken a leading role on the world stage. In 2010, we became the first major economy to end our contribution to global warming by 2050. We will go Net Zero by 2050, ending the UK’s contribution to climate change by expanding electric vehicle use, supporting new clean technologies like fusion and making all new homes energy efficient. We've reduced greenhouse gases emmissions by a quarter under the Conservatives. We have reduced greenhouse gases by 25 per cent since 2010, whilst decarbonising faster than any other G20 nation since 2000. And we're going to cut down on plastic waste to fight pollution. We have banned plastic microbeads in care and cosmetic products, cut plastic bag use and doubled maximum litter fines to £150. Our Resources and Waste Strategy will end confusion over recycling and tackle problem packaging by making polluters pay. In addition, we've announced a new package of measures to protect animals in homes, farms and in the wild. We will consult on steps to ban the keeping of pet primates; bring in the compulsory microchipping of cats; consult on improving animal welfare in the transport of live animals and specifically on banning long journeys to slaughter; and we will consult on a ban on the import into and export of trophies from the hunting of endangered animals. We are the only Party using Brexit as an opportunity to go further than European countries to protect our environment. We will deliver a Brexit that works for our fishermen and farmers. We will also enhance environmental standards after Brexit.
- Backing our NHS and delivering the biggest cash boost ever to the NHS - We are delivering £33.9 billion more for the NHS by 2023-24, with an initial £6.2 billion increase this year. We are upgrading 20 hospitals and building 40 new ones, ensuring extra funding for the NHS goes straight to the front line. We are providing £850 million for 20 hospital upgrades, £2.7 billion for the first six new hospitals plus seed funding for the further 34 hospitals to progress their projects. And we're going to boost mental health services to ensure everyone receives the care they need. £2.3 billion of the £33.9 billion funding boost for the NHS will be spent on mental health services – improving services with a focus on prevention, community services and young people. All while supporting the NHS workforce to continue delivering world class care. We have announced a £210 million funding boost for frontline NHS staff, including a £1,000 personal development budget for every nurse, midwife and allied health professional to support delivery of our NHS Long Term Plan. There are already over 17,100 more doctors than in May 2010, and over 16,900 more nurses on our wards.
- Supporting every child - We are increasing funding in primary and secondary schools by £14 billion so every child gets a good education. We will lift per pupil funding to a minimum of £5,000 for secondary school pupils next year and £4,000 for primary school pupils by 2021-22, and provide £700 million more for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities next year. Investing £400 million in education for 16-19-year-olds, including further education and sixth form colleges, to ensure they get the skills they need. This funding will train and teach our young people the skills they need for well-paid jobs in the modern economy. The boost is the single biggest annual increase for the sector since 2010. Improving literacy so all children are prepared for their future. England has risen to joint eighth place in the 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, up from joint tenth in 2011 and the historic low of 19th under Labour. Thanks to our phonics reforms, 163,000 more six-year-olds are on track to become fluent readers compared to 2012. We're doing this while raising teachers’ salaries and benefits, recognising teaching as the high-value, prestigious profession it is. In the biggest reform to teacher pay in a generation, we are increasing salaries for new teachers to £30,000 by 2022-23 and fully funding increased contributions into the Teacher’s Pension Scheme, so that school leaders can focus as much of their resources as possible on the front line.
- Policing to keep you safe - we're cracking down on crime - that's why we're recruiting 20,000 additional police officers. Giving police forces the funding they need to recruit these extra officers. This follows an immediate £45 million for this year to kick start recruitment. Making it simpler for the police to use emergency stop and search powers to take knives off our streets. We have empowered more than 8,000 police officers to authorise enhanced stop and search powers, as part of our efforts to crack down on violent crime. Conducting an urgent review of sentencing to ensure the public are properly protected from the most dangerous criminals. This review will ensure violent and sexual offenders are serving the right sentences and stopping the at the half way point of their sentence.
- Defending our country - Which is why we are providing additional funding for defence, so that our Armed Forces have the right capabilities to keep us all safe. In 2018, we provided an additional £1.8 billon of funding for defence and as part of the 2019 Spending Round the Government committed an additional £2.2 billion - this takes the total of additional benefit for defence to £4 billion from 2017-18 to 2020-21. Spending over 2 per cent of GDP on defence – so we continue to lead in NATO. We are one of only a small number of countries to meet the NATO commitment. Renewing our continuous at sea nuclear deterrent, Trident – the ultimate guarantee of our safety. We have a political and moral responsibility to our people’s safety and our allies. Supporting and caring for our brave veterans. We have appointed a Minister for Veterans and created an Office for Veteran’s Affairs to ensure veterans receive the support they need in across all areas of life. Investing £1.2 billion in brand new equipment and technology for our troops. Our Equipment Plan is delivering the best capability for our Armed Forces.
- Keeping Great Britain moving - We think transport links are the backbone of the UK economy, that's why we're launching a £3.6 billion Towns Fund which will help improve local transport links. The funding will support an initial 100 towns by improving both transport and digital infrastructure. Launching a £2.5 billion Transforming Cities Fund to improve transport links and make it easier for people to visit family and friends and get to work. The fund supports investment in public transport to boost connectivity and reduce congestion. Embarking on the biggest rail modernisation programme since Victorian times to deliver better, quicker journeys for passengers. We will spend £48 billion delivering major projects such as Northern Powerhouse Rail, rolling out new trains and upgrading and electrifying hundreds of miles of track. Spending £29 billion on improving England’s roads – the biggest ever single cash injection. We will spend £25.3 billion of the National Roads Fund on strategic roads and £3.5 billion on local roads.Transforming and improving bus services to help people move not just between towns and cities, but within them. We have launched a £220 million National Bus Strategy, will create new low-fare, high frequency ‘superbus’ networks and investing an additional £30 million to improve existing routes and restore lost services. Reducing harmful emissions from our transport system. There are now more electric vehicle charging points in the UK than there are petrol stations and we continue to invest – mostly recently with a further £400 million to fund more rapid charge points.
- Getting infrastructure right to allow business to thrive - creating a new £43 million Productivity Institute, helping businesses to adopt new technologies and practices, meaning more, higher-paid jobs across the country. The Institute will support top researchers to look at how to turbocharge the UK’s productivity levels by tackling problems such as imbalances between regions, poor management practices and skills investment. Investing £45 million to develop cutting-edge supercomputer software, helping businesses to grow by staying at the cutting edge of scientific research. The software will make businesses more efficient, by allowing them to better predict weather and climate patterns or design complicated new products on supercomputers. Spending at least 2.4 per cent of GDP on research and development by 2027. Since 2016, we have invested an additional £7 billion in R&D – the largest increase for 40 years – with a target to spend 2.4 per cent of GDP on R&D by 2027.
Growing our economy - our economy grew in the three months to August – and we are going to get Brexit done by 31 October to continue to build a brighter future for Britain. In the three months to August, our economy grew by 0.3 per cent – mainly driven by our service sector which rose by 0.4 per cent. The fundamentals of our economy are strong, and we are going to get Brexit done by 31 October so we can focus on the things that matter – like more police officers, improving our NHS and properly funding our schools. Creating higher-paying jobs through our strong economic management - Average pay for new jobs is a fifth higher than a year ago, meaning people have more money in their pockets at the end of the month. A study by jobs site CV-Library also indicated that the number of advertised jobs has jumped by 10 per cent over the past 12 months – an indication that businesses are creating more jobs. Since 2010, the number of people in work has increased by over 3.7 million, and with wages rising at their fastest pace in over 11 years, people’s pay packets can go further. Creating a strong environment to allow businesses to grow - Venture capital (VC) investment in fast-growing British businesses surged in the third quarter of 2019 – and we are backing businesses to grow so that they can create more, well-paid jobs. Venture capital investment rose by 19 per cent in the third quarter to over £2.4 billion, meaning the UK is on target to smash last year’s record investment levels. Over £7.4 billion was invested by VCs in UK scaleup firms during the first nine months of 2019, almost equalling the £7.6 billion raised over the entirety of 2018. We want the UK to be the best place to start and grow a business, as we know that by backing businesses, we can spread prosperity across the country and create more jobs. And we are helping people to get on the housing ladder - nearly six in ten homes for sale across Britain are exempt from stamp duty or its equivalent tax for first-time buyers – as our plans are helping people to realise their dream of homeownership. Zoopla, which analysed property listing data over the past year, found that 59 per cent of homes for sale were under the threshold for taxes on transactions for first-time buyers.
And we’re doing it while getting the best Brexit deal for our country. Getting back control of our money, borders and laws.