Nick Clegg’s Blog


Liberal Democrat 2009 Autumn Conference in Bournemouth
18 September, 2009, 8:38 am
Filed under: News, Nick Meets..., Outside Westminster | Tags:

Conference 2009

Bournemouth 2009 will be one of our most important Conferences ever.

This is the last autumn Conference before a general election. With Labour finished and much of the country still unconvinced that Cameron’s Conservatives offer anything better, this is an extremely exciting time for our party.

The ideas we agree in Bournemouth will shape the choices we offer voters at the next General Election. I’m proud that we are the only mainstream political party that has its policies decided by its members.

We’re here to debate the things people really need – like tax cuts for people on low and middle incomes paid for by closing loopholes for the wealthy; like creating green jobs to help the economy recover and make our environment more sustainable; and like making sure every child gets the best chance in life.

It’s our duty both to set our vision for a better, different future and to explain to the British people the tough choices a Liberal Democrat government would take. Labour won’t be honest about their plans. The Conservatives simply refuse to spell out what they will do. But the Liberal Democrats will. Over the last few years we’ve been ahead of the curve on every major event in British politics – not least of all on the collapse of the banks, with Vince taking the lead in exposing government failure.

From overhauling MPs’ expenses, to giving all Gurkha soldiers the right to stay in the UK, to calling for ID cards to be scrapped, we’ve led the way on the issues that matter. Now is our chance to capitalise on that momentum and outline our vision for a fairer, greener and stronger Britain.

At the heart of that vision is the simple idea that it’s time for something different. Ours is a voice for a different politics, where votes are fair, decisions are transparent, influence can’t be bought and governments are held to account. And it’s a voice for a different way of managing the economy, based on honesty about what the country can afford, new regulation to stop the banks from ever gambling us into recession again, and green investment to create jobs.

Now that the established orders in both politics and economics are crashing down, we have a golden opportunity to win support for the fundamental change that our country needs.

You won’t hear the other two parties making the same commitments. They can’t, they’re part of the status quo; not part of the solution but part of the problem.

It’s because of our principles – fairness, freedom, trust in people, protecting the environment – that we can offer people the hope for a different future, even in the very tough economic times that are to come.

With Labour finished and the Conservatives still more spin than substance, the Liberal Democrats will continue to speak out for what’s right, because no other party can.

See you all in Bournemouth!

Nick Clegg MP
Leader of the Liberal Democrats

You can follow Conference: Here

My website NickClegg.com is also covering my Conference: Here

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Ask Nick Clegg – Live Online Q & A with Reuters
9 July, 2009, 3:42 pm
Filed under: News, Outside Westminster

Ask Nick Clegg at Reuters, 9th July 2009

On Monday we can change the way we do politics. Every

week I travel around the country to meet people in their local town halls and listen to their views. Anyone can come along and ask me (just about) anything and in return I get a pretty good picture of how people across the UK feel about politics and how they are being affected by the recession.

Next week I am going to do another of my public Q&A meetings, but this time it is going to be live and online so that you can ask me your questions from home, your work or wherever you happen to be online. There will be no script and no special invitations – just get in touch and ask a question on subjects that concern you.

The one thing that keeps coming up again and again is the state of our politics and how we can clean it up. Many people say they would like to see action taken against MPs who seriously abuse the system. But currently voters have no power to sack those MPs who have been found guilty of serious wrong-doing. I want to change this and make politicians more accountable and politics more transparent. I am keen to hear your ideas.

This has never been done before so, on Monday 13th July post your questions and lets discuss how we can clean up politics and fix the British economy.

I want as many people to take part in this as possible:

3 ways You can help spread this

– Blog about this / post on your website
– Tell friends on Social Networks / Tweet
– Forward this email to 5 friends

Nick Clegg, Leader of the Liberal Democrats

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Relate 3rd Annual Lecture
8 July, 2009, 9:16 am
Filed under: News, Outside Westminster

Nick Clegg Warns About the Impact of the Recession on Families at the Relate Institute’s Third Annual Lecture

7th July 2009

As many as a million relationships could be on the line because of financial stress, unemployment and repossession due to the recession, Nick Clegg, Leader of the Liberal Democrats said today.

Delivering the third annual Relate Institute lecture in central London this evening, Nick Clegg warned about the impact the recession is having on families and relationships.

Nick Clegg’s Speech in Full

Introduction & Relate

It gives me great pleasure to be here this afternoon to deliver the third annual Relate lecture.

I want to start by paying tribute to the work Relate does. You make a huge contribution to family life and the success of relationships in this country. I know hundreds of thousands of couples are grateful to you for the help they’ve received with some of their most difficult, personal problems.

No wonder, when it’s clear from the research you are publishing today that the services you provide really do make a difference. But it isn’t just those who have received help from you who should recognise your work, but all of us. It’s becoming increasingly clear that strong relationships like those you nurture aren’t just important for the people who are in those relationships. They are the very building blocks of our society.

At University, I studied Social Anthropology. And without wishing to overstate the insights achieved by undergraduate study. It was clear to me then, as it is now, that humans are fundamentally social in our behaviour, our aspirations and our needs.

At a basic level, we really do need each other. In other words, it’s our relationships with others which make us human. And it’s because of this need that the breakdown of relationships – not just couple relationships, but family and community relationships, too – can be the source of so much anger, heartbreak and anxiety.

Britain Is Not Broken

Now, I have never subscribed to the idea that Britain is “broken” – that society has somehow reached a state of collapse. But I do believe we are going through a period of turmoil, where many family, community and societal structures are changing beyond all recognition.

Look at the great social trends of our age: Increased family breakdown and increasing numbers of non-traditional family structures. People no longer live in the same neighbourhood their whole lives – so extended families are less close, communities less tight-knit, and people far less likely to know their neighbours.

And on a global scale, migration is rising, too, with over 180m people now living outside the country of their birth. We’ve seen the end of jobs-for-life, with people changing employers and careers more frequently than ever, often under duress.

We’ve seen the loss of local services like cottage hospitals, post offices, small schools, police stations. And the loss of power from familiar national governments to faceless global corporations and anonymous international organisations. This can produce a profound sense of alienation, a sense of powerlessness, because the human relationships upon which so many people depend seem to have disappeared from their everyday lives.

Computerised call centres have become the daily epitome of this alienation – the frustration at being put on hold by a machine when all you want is to talk to a human being. In many respects, we now live in what I call a “call centre society”. So it is essential that we rediscover the power and value of human relationships.

That doesn’t mean trying to turn back the clock: life wasn’t perfect in the 1950s, and it does no good to pretend it was. But neither should we pretend that all this upheaval doesn’t scare and disorientate people. We need to recognise that in strong societies people can relate to and negotiate with others – to respect each other and to offer support.

Stigma & the ‘Standard’ Relationship

So if old relationships are changing, we need to work hard to establish and nurture new ones. If we don’t, we will find society fragments even further than it has – and it will be the children who grow up in such a society who suffer most. Good relationships are fundamental to childhood development – fundamental to any desire to improve the lot of our children. But it is clear that, over the last few generations, the face of a “standard” relationship has changed beyond all recognition.

Couples and families are more diverse and disparate than ever before. How you feel about and respond to this change is, in my view, a defining issue for a political party. Look across the political spectrum: On the right, the Conservatives are deeply unhappy about the change, and want to turn back the clock. But on the left, the Labour party’s perhaps understandable wish not to stigmatise single parents has led them to minimise the importance of couples in family life. Both are wrong.

David Cameron’s social policy is focused almost obsessively on marriage, cajoling people to conform to a single view of what a happy couple should look like. The Conservatives want marriage incentives in the tax system. And they may adopt Iain Duncan Smith’s proposals to put in place more legal roadblocks to divorce.

This is both bizarre and patronising. Do they really imagine people will take the lifelong commitment of marriage – or the awful decision of divorce – because of £20 a week? Do they really think that people’s relationships can be kept alive by legal tricks to keep them officially married? Tax bribes and legal barriers may sustain a few more marriages, but they won’t sustain a single extra happy relationship.

And it’s relationships that matter, not signatures on a piece of paper. Good marriages are best for children, not bad ones. Keeping the bad ones going, on paper alone, will do nothing to help couples, their children, or society.

Family Circumstances Do Matter

But the Labour party is wrong, too, when it ignores interpersonal relationships.
When it pretends that family circumstances don’t make a difference to children’s lives. All the evidence shows that it’s better for children to have two parents who get on well together looking after them.

It’s not wrong to be a single parent – of course it isn’t – but it is much harder work. You don’t need to look at academic reports to find that out – just ask single parents. When there’s only one income, or none. When there’s only one of you to do everything so you never get a moment to yourself. When there’s no-one to turn to at the end of the day to chew over your problems and difficulties. No wonder single parents can struggle, and their children can too.

Family breakdown is, to some extent, inevitable. People make mistakes. They get into relationships that don’t work, and those relationships come to an end. And no-one wants to go back to the days when single parents were ostracised, or society forced many people to spend their whole lives in misery, frustration or even danger because divorce just wasn’t tolerated.

But that doesn’t mean we have to pretend that family breakdown doesn’t matter, that it isn’t a bad thing when families fall apart, that it isn’t an individual tragedy that can hurt everyone involved. The fact that some relationships will fail doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do all we can to make other relationships succeed.

An End to Polarization

I believe it is liberals, and the Liberal Democrats, who have the fresh approach that makes that possible. It’s an approach that attaches real value to relationships, to commitment and to love, but does not seek to limit or prescribe what makes for a strong relationship.

I would not hesitate to say that relationships are important. That two parents will find life much easier than one. And that divorce and family breakdown hurt everyone involved, and can lead to many wider social problems from educational failure through to mental illness.

But I also believe gay and lesbian couples can be as good parents as heterosexual couples. I believe you don’t have to be married to be committed to your partner and that marriage is not a substitute for love, commitment and respect. And I believe a well-managed divorce can be far better than a miserable, angry or violent marriage.

None of this seems like rocket science. In many ways, I find it peculiar that the debate has been so polarised in recent years, when so much of this seems like common sense. There is a middle ground that recognises the reality of modern Britain without pretending that today’s complex families aren’t hard work.

Tolerant of individual choices, but mindful of their consequences. Dealing with relationships as they really are, tailor-making support to fit with people’s circumstances. These are the principles that will govern the Liberal Democrat approach to family and relationships policy. We believe the state’s job is to relieve the pressure on people at difficult times, offering a helping hand when it’s needed.

Relationships & the Economy

Stress is one of the biggest killers of relationships – so the government’s job should be to reduce that stress however it can. That couldn’t be more important than right now. Because it’s clear that the recession is having a devastating effect on couples of all kinds. First and foremost – it’s putting people out of jobs.

If the pattern continues, about 1.2 million will be made redundant this year alone. And losing your job can really hurt your relationship: it causes money troubles, it leads to a loss of self-esteem and identity that changes the way you relate to your partner. It can change the way you spend your days, which can make a relationship harder. No wonder one study in the US showed that, in the year after they became unemployed, people were 70% more likely to get divorced.

It isn’t just unemployment that can damage relationships. Repossession can be devastating for everyone involved, and more than 60,000 families will go through this awful process this year.

Every one of those families risk losing their relationship as well as their home.
In one study from the recession in the 1990s, the majority of couples reported depression – hard for any couple to deal with – and that their relationship had been affected.

Many men felt such a profound sense of failure at losing their home they felt obliged to leave their relationship. I was saddened to read about a US newspaper who had tried to follow five couples as they went through repossession to see how their relationships were affected. Two of the five couples broke up before they could even complete the story. It’s clear that repossessions bring huge, often unbearable, pressures to bear on people’s relationships.

Finally, there’s debt. We know money is one of the biggest things couples fight about. And money troubles are everywhere at the moment. British people have, between us, £1.4 trillion of personal debt and our interest payments add up to nearly £95 billion a year.

Break Down the Stigma of Mental Health

Nearly two million people have sought advice from the CAB for problem debts in the last year alone. And studies show debt hurts couples: those with consumer debt spend less time together, suffer more conflict and a downturn in their psychological wellbeing. We are burdened with a huge hangover from the debt boom of the last 10 years, and it is the relationship between couples that will often suffer the most.

In short, the ordinary burdens of bringing up a family have just got a lot worse. As many as a million relationships could be on the line because of financial stress, unemployment, repossessions, business failure and other upheaval caused by the recession. So we urgently need to offer effective help to those in need.

Yet, tragically, there’s a huge stigma associated with asking for help in the first place – a stigma associated with society’s huge hang-up about mental health problems. We’ve got to break down that stigma, by speaking out about the fact that relationships are difficult and there’s no shame in needing a bit of help. And we need to make more help available – waiting lists for counselling of all kinds are far too long.

And while I welcome the government’s decision to extend Relate’s grant to help with increased demand during the recession – I was distressed to hear about the financial crisis at Relate North London which has forced them to cancel appointments.

I don’t need to tell you that services like yours are under a huge amount of strain right now and need all the support they can get. But we should also need to make sure that people are directed towards those services at times of stress – so they don’t fall through the cracks. When you seek help to stop a repossession, when you sign on after losing your job, if you’re in trouble with the police or up in court, when you go to Citizens’ Advice for help with unmanageable debts.

Service-providers should be trained to think about the consequences of the individual’s problems on their relationships. And direct them to the right advice and counselling.

That way we can help halt the downward spiral where practical problems cause relationships to break down. Which causes even more problems, and people end up losing everything. But advice and support isn’t enough.

People also need practical help so they don’t suffer from so much stress in the first place. Help like tax cuts for people on low and middle incomes. Protection so that if you lose your job, you don’t lose your home. And help with big costs like childcare and student debt.

Childcare, Fathers & Family Leave

Childcare in particular can cause enormous difficulties for couples, and creates tension between them. So I want us to move to a system where, from the age of 18 months, every child has a right to 20 hours of free, high quality childcare. This would hugely reduce the costs of childcare for families, taking away a huge source of stress, and making it much easier for women who want to return to work to do so without having to spend every pound they earn on a nursery.

The help we offer to families must not, however, demand conformity. Families are different – they need to be able to shape support to suit their own particular needs. Let me give you an example: family leave.

These days, a mother gets up to a year off work and a father gets two weeks. That inequality is the biggest barrier to equal pay between men and women – and it imposes a straitjacket on how fathers and mothers bring up small children. It doesn’t matter if the mother is the one who wants to get back to work and the father wants to stay at home. That’s not in the rule book. If the mother does go back to work and the father takes time off – he has to do it unpaid, while she forfeits her maternity rights.

Isn’t this completely crazy in the modern world, where we’ve come to realise that parenting should be shared?

I want us to move to a different system, where parents get 18 months’ leave between them, to share as they choose. With six months apportioned on a “use it or lose it” basis to each parent to encourage them both to take time with their newborn child. That would strike a balance, allowing each individual family to do what suits them best in those vital early months, while also making it clear that the state places real value on early parenting by both men and women.

Such a change would need to be phased in, of course, so as not to cause too much upheaval to employers. But, in the long term, I believe it would be much better for businesses than simply extending maternity leave even further. If each parent took some of the leave, neither parent would be off work for too long – making interim arrangements easier. Getting family leave right would make a huge difference to couples at one of the most difficult moments in their relationship.

The joy of a newborn baby is less likely to become a time of stress if parental leave arrangements were more flexible. Relationships would be strengthened if both parents really understood what the other was going through because both were seeking to share time off as well as going out to work. And fathers would be more likely to maintain contact with children even if the relationship with the mother breaks down if they’d spent real time in a nurturing role in the early months.

The other key moment for engaging with fathers – to make sure that, no matter what, they stay part of their child’s life. Is during ante-natal and maternity care.
Because if we bring men in right from the start, make sure they get the advice and support they need to make the transition to fatherhood, I believe we can start to tackle the huge problem of absent fathers in this country.

While many midwives and service providers are very welcoming to fathers, they still don’t have an official status in the process. Every mother is given a magazine as she leaves the maternity unit, Mum plus One and the NHS guides for parents are addressed to the mother alone. We shouldn’t let the fact that some mothers don’t have a partner when they give birth exclude the vast majority of fathers – 96% – who are around at this stage. I’ll be holding a roundtable about this in the autumn with experts and midwives to get to the bottom of what more we can do.

We need to make sure those fathers stay part of their children’s lives. Because fatherhood is one of the most important, fulfilling things men can do if they have the freedom to remain involved with their children. My wife and I juggle between us the jobs of taking the children to school and doing homework with them in the evenings. We’re fortunate to be able to do that, though like all working parents of young children we always wish we had yet more time at home.

You never think you get the balance quite right. Many parents, especially fathers, aren’t so lucky. Work patterns are too rigid or demanding. Or perhaps some fathers do not feel it is the right role for them. Either way, we must do more to allow and encourage men to become the fathers they want to be. This must start with greater flexibility and adaptability in the workplace. Thankfully, modern IT technology allows many people to blur the time spent at home and at work, juggling the two on a daily basis so that they can shape their time more around the needs of their children.

But it’s also about changing social expectations, assumptions and stereotypes.
Absent fathers aren’t just the archetypal young men on council estates who got a series of girlfriends pregnant in their teenage years and never bother to visit. They’re the fathers who spend all their time at the office, the pub or the golf course and never bother with the school play or sports day, too. Being a father is about showing up.

The Relationship Between Parent and Child

I’ve acknowledged that some family breakdown is inevitable. But it shouldn’t ever be a reason for the breakdown of the relationship between a parent and child. It’s best for children when they keep in touch with both parents. And complex families, if the relationships are strong, can be just as happy and effective as simple ones. We need to make joint custody and shared parenting the easiest option for everyone, not the hardest. And, to ease stress for these complex families and help those relationships become – or stay – strong, we need to recognise that there are more categories of parent than married, single, and absent.

These days, millions of people are part of step-parent relationships, but there’s no recognition of the status of step-parent in public services, or support for the unique challenges step-parenthood presents. Similarly, many parents have joint custody and their children split time between them – but the systems for child support, benefits, tax and housing all assume that one of the parents no longer has any caring role, just a financial one.

A “non-resident” father in financial need won’t be able to get somewhere to live where his children can come and stay. In fact, if he’s under 26, he’ll only be able to get housing benefit for a single room in a shared property – hardly making it easy to develop a proper relationship with his child or children. We need a complete review of all government family support and policy to make it fit with the reality of people’s complex family arrangements.

In Conclusion

I’ve talked today about the importance of relationships at a time when they are under enormous pressure. The recession. Changing social attitudes. Global forces which are reshaping communities and economies.

I’ve argued that, instead of overlooking the pivotal importance of relationships, as Labour has too often done, we must rebuild them. But we mustn’t preach, moralise, or try to turn back the clock as the Conservatives have tended to do – we must take relationships as they are.

Finding new, flexible models for social policy that engage with and support modern families, in all their shapes and sizes. Helping people adjust to new, complex roles – from stay-at-home dad to step-grandmother.

Encouraging and enabling people to get along, to respect and encourage one another, and to carry each other when the times get tough. And above all, easing the stress of young families by helping them make ends meet and make time for family life.

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Outside Westminster: Leeds
7 July, 2009, 9:21 am
Filed under: News, Outside Westminster

Nick Clegg Visits Leeds Rugby Foundation Schools Training Session

2nd July 2009

Nick Clegg, Leader of the Liberal Democrats yesterday visited Leeds on the latest leg of his Outside Westminster tour, travelling across the UK to see initiatives that are making change for good and to meet real people.

Leeds Rhinos & Leeds Rugby Foundation

Nick was met in Headingley, home of the Leeds Rhinos Carnegie Stadium and Yorkshire County Cricket by Greg Mulholland, MP for Leeds North West.

He was then introduced to Ikram Butt, the first Asian Rugby League player to play for England, he also played for Leeds. He told Nick about the work he has been doing with engaging Asian communities using ‘the power of sport’ to promote health and education schemes through the ‘Connecting Communities’ project that he manages.

Ikram then introduced Nick and Greg to the Leeds Rugby Foundation educational and Rugby training staff who showed them how their training sessions run. Nick and Greg then took part in the session on rival teams for a Rugby drill. The foundation works with around 50,000 children and young people every year and has also been responsible for helping 500 young people back in to full time education through its ‘Reengage with the Rhinos’ scheme alone.

Nick then invited the schools group to ask any questions for a 20 minute questions and answers session with an audience of primary and secondary school pupils. He answered questions on subjects from his views on the BNP through to whether he thought he wanted to be a politician when he was at school.

Ikram then presented Nick Clegg and Greg Mulholland a copy of his newly published book ‘Tries & Prejudice’ in which Greg contributed a chapter.

Bramhope Tea Party & the Fox & Hounds Pub

Nick was then introduced to members of the Leeds Liberal Democrats local party at a Tea Party organised by the group. He took any questions from members with questions ranging from local issues to empowerment of women and people with disabilities in the Liberal Democrats.

Following this Greg took Nick to the Fox & Hounds Pub, to show how a traditional rural pub is coping in a time that many independent pubs are feeling the effects of the recession or even closing as a result.

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Nick Clegg at Glastonbury Festival
29 June, 2009, 1:13 pm
Filed under: News, Nick Meets..., Outside Westminster

Nick Clegg Visits Glastonbury Speakers Forum

29th June 2009

Nick Clegg, Leader of the Liberal Democrats yesterday visited Glastonbury Festival. After meeting Michael Eavis on the campaign trail last year, Nick was asked to speak at the Speakers Forum in the Green Futures Field about the importance of the environment and changing politics. He is the first leader of a major party to speak at Glastonbury.

Nick has held Q&A meetings, where anyone can attend and ask any question, since becoming leader in 2007 and invited festival-goers to quiz him at the Speakers Forum in the Green Futures Field at 14.00.

He then toured the site with John Sauven the Greenpeace UK Executive Director visiting the WaterAid, Oxfam and Greenpeace areas speaking to festival goers and staff.

Want to attend a Q & A session with Nick? Find out more about ‘Nick Meets…’ his UK tour of open invitation public meetings. Visit the site: Here

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Outside Westminster: Norwich
25 June, 2009, 5:10 pm
Filed under: News, Outside Westminster

Outside Westminster: City College Norwich

16th June 2009

Nick Clegg, Leader of the Liberal Democrats today visited City College Norwich, Ipswich Road Campus.

Joined by April Pond the recently announced PPC for Norwich North and Norman Lamb MP for North Norfolk he toured the college to see the work of vocational students in the Hospitality Management and Catering school and the Construction workshops.

Nick, April and Norman were met by Dick Palmer, Principal and Chief Executive of City College Norwich, who discussed with them their plans for modernising the campus which has had a major set back as Learning and Skills Council (LSC) funding from the government that was promised has been mismanaged and may now not materialise.

City College Norwich’s Funding in Detail:

City College Norwich is the largest (16,000 students) college in the East of England and is one of 114 colleges across England that are awaiting a funding decision from the soon to be scrapped Learning and Skills Council (LSC).

The College has so far invested nearly £3.5m in preparation for building work that was to be funded through the LSCs Capital Fund for ‘Building Colleges for the Future’. Colleges like City College Norwich have been encouraged to exceed initial proposals in redeveloping their sites, by the LSC and the Government.

Their redevelopment plan started life in 2004 and the college has worked closely with the LSC at every stage of its development, which included significantly increasing the scale of the project in April 2007 – a move that was originally requested and subsequently endorsed by the LSC.

The LSC announced on 27 January 2009 that it would be deferring formal approval of redevelopment projects for a period of 3 months, as demand for capital funding is now outstripping the ‘Building Colleges for the Future budget’.

Following a meeting of the LSC’s Capital Committee on 4 March 2009, Skills Secretary John Denham announced that all bar 8 colleges who had their Applications in Detail (AiD) approved will now have to await the outcome of a period of consultation with the Further Education (FE) sector on how schemes should be prioritised.

A further 79 colleges which have already obtained approval in principle will require nearly £2.7bn. Additionally, there are 65 colleges, including City College Norwich, awaiting decisions on their Applications in Principle (AiP). These schemes would require a further £3bn of government funding. In short, there is around £5.7bn worth of redevelopment bids (144 colleges in total) and only £2.3bn in the FE capital fund.

Sir Andrew Foster has been asked by the Government to conduct an independent inquiry into how this situation arose, with many colleges, like City College Norwich, having now reached an advanced stage of planning and invested considerable sums to get this far.

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Outside Westmister – Winchester
18 May, 2009, 1:42 pm
Filed under: News, Outside Westminster

Outside Westminster – Sparsholt College, Winchester

Nick Clegg today visited Sparsholt College, Winchester to see the work the college has been doing in the teaching of agriculture, animal management, forestry, construction, environment, equine studies, countryside management, horticulture, and public services.

9.05 – Nick arrives in Winchester and is taken to Sparsholt College by Mark Oaten, MP for Winchester & the Meon Valley and Martin Tod, PPC for Winchester.

Nick visited the college to highlight the importance of further education in providing vital opportunities for both full time and part time students, and hope for young people during this recession.

Nick was told that there are more than 1,400 full-time students and 6,000 part-time enrollments in Sparsholt College with a 32% rise in applications in the past year, however, they have seen that funding cuts are affecting the college.

The tour of the college included the Aquatic studies centre where Nick was shown multiple fish species in various stages of development by the students learning to care for them. He was then taken to the forestry training site, followed by the animal management centre (all pictured).

13.00 – Nick arrives back in Westminster

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