What do I want from our next Government?

I thought that as a way to work out what I really want from the upcoming General Election I would list them. Just so happens I have done so here.

  • Reform the Houses of Parliament, particularly to introduce proportional representation. At the moment, a constituent’s vote can get lost if they are in another party’s stronghold, and PR would mean that we are voting in the context of the country and not just a small part of it. Obviously this increases the position of smaller parties however this is not such a bad thing – no one party currently has the perfect manifesto.
  • Oblige lenders to provide personal advice to borrowers, requiring them to ensure they are not lending beyond the borrowers’ capabilities. Easily available loans are causing significant problems to our economy and we need to learn to live on a budget. This also gives the opportunity to maintain a number of jobs for personal bank managers who can make their own decisions, not rely on a computer system.
  • Deregulate university tuition fees. Allow them to run themselves more as businesses, charging what they need to get by and with less interference from government quangos. To offset this, there needs to be a very solid government-backed loan system which allows students to take on the debt safe in the knowledge that they and their future employers will pay it back through salary deduction, or written off if it has not been fully paid for after 30 years. This scheme should also be extended to Further Education, including vocational courses, and made available to any level of study.
  • The government should be investing heavily in research and development – improving funding to university and collaborative projects which could lead to creating manufacturing and business jobs in the UK.
  • There needs to be a more transparent A-level system which makes it easier to identify the best students, regardless of their school or background. It should make it easier for Universities to accept the best students, particularly given that many institutions recieve more applicants with the required grades than are places. Perhaps a drastic change to university entry is required, so that school leavers apply after their results are published, as happens in Australia. Schools also need to be encouraging students to consider the best training opportunity to them, not necessarily going to University, and as such the target of 50% of school leavers going to University should be abolished.
  • Abolish the TV licence. If necessary, increase income tax to cover the loss of income, or consider the way the BBC and network of transmitters are funded.
  • Significantly invest in public transport, ensuring that there are fast and frequent train and bus services to suburbian areas and between towns and cities. This should aim to improve the environmental impact of commuting, and if appropriate electrifying the majority of the UK rail network if it is better and cheaper than diesel trains.
  • Invest in crop, livestock, fruit and vegetable farming and reduce or stop biofuel farming. As a society, we need to be more self-sufficient, without a dependency on importing food. Perhaps there needs to be a tax on importing food which is produced in the UK.

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