1 May 2024 – yesterday’s Federal press releases

  • Waters containing shellfish suffer from 200,000 hours worth of sewage
  • Conservatives “legalising car theft” as over three in four cases go unsolved
  • Up to 1 million pensioners in Tory seats to be dragged into paying income tax
  • Davey: Time for Sunak to face the music

Waters containing shellfish suffer from 200,000 hours worth of sewage

  • Amount of sewage spilled into shellfish water jumps by a fifth
  • South West Water and Southern Water sewage discharges into shellfish water doubles
  • Liberal Democrats call for urgent action and increased testing

This year saw a large jump in the number of hours sewage was discharged into waters containing shellfish, Liberal Democrat analysis of Environment Agency data shows.

Last year, high levels of E.coli were discovered in oysters and mussels In Cornwall, leading to the closure of 11 shellfish fishing waters, with the Environment Agency blaming sewage discharges.

Now, it has been revealed that water firms in England discharged 192,248 hours worth of sewage into shellfish areas, up 21% from the year before (158,797 hours).

The worst offender was South West Water, which doubled the hours of sewage dumped into shellfish water from 49,863 in 2022, to 98,149 last year. Their total sewage spills into these designated areas also rose to a staggering 12,927.

Southern Water also doubled the hours of sewage discharged into these areas, to 72,943 hours this year.

Since 2020, there have been 108,360 sewage spills into shellfish designated waters.

Some of the country’s best known fishing areas have been hit by these dumps. The longest spills recorded were:

  • Chichester Harbour: A total of 6542 hours of sewage discharged over 286 spills
  • Exe: A total of 4089 hours of sewage discharged over 214 spills
  • Morecambe Bay: A total of 3927 hours of sewage discharged over 223 spills

The Liberal Democrats have called for an urgent investigation into water quality in shellfish habitats, as well as a clampdown of sewage being discharged into waters used by the fishing industry.

Liberal Democrat Environment spokesperson, Tim Farron MP said:

This environmental scandal is putting wildlife at risk of unimaginable levels of pollution. The food we eat, and the British fisheries industry, must be protected from raw sewage.

The public will be rightly furious that England’s precious shellfish, including lobsters and crabs, are also being subjected to filthy sewage dumping.

We need the Environment Agency to carry out an emergency investigation into the water quality of shellfish habitat. Ministers need to clampdown on water firms polluting fishing waters. It is a national scandal that this Conservative government is letting water firms destroy shellfish habitat. It is getting worse on their watch and there will be real concerns for the fishing industry if this trend continues.

Conservatives “legalising car theft” as over three in four cases go unsolved

The Liberal Democrats have accused the Conservative Government of “legalising car theft” as new figures reveal that in 2023, three in four car theft cases went unsolved and police took up to 24 hours to respond to calls.

The Home Office’s own latest figures show that in 2023, a whopping 108,934 cases of car theft went unsolved – equivalent to 298 cases a day. This accounted for a staggering 77% of all car thefts recorded. Meanwhile, just 3% of cases resulted in a suspect being charged or summonsed.

The Met was the worst performing police force, with 85% of car thefts going unsolved, or 33,237 cases. 85% of cases recorded by the British Transport Police also went unsolved, and 83% of cases in South Yorkshire.

A series of Freedom of Information requests by the Liberal Democrats has also revealed the shocking wait times car theft victims face after reporting the incident to the police. In Durham, victims were left waiting an average of 23 hours and 54 minutes for an officer to arrive at the scene in 2023, while wait times in Cleveland were nearly 13 hours on average.

The Liberal Democrats have said the Conservative Government is to blame for these figures, after years of ineffective resourcing has left frontline police presences diminished. This includes taking over 4,500 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) off the streets since 2015. The party is calling for a return to proper community policing, where officers are visible and trusted, with the time and resources to focus on tackling neighbourhood crimes like car theft.

Commenting Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:

The Conservatives have effectively legalised car theft. Thousands of criminals are getting away with it, and the buck stops with the government.

Victims of car theft are left feeling hopeless that they will never see justice. The vast majority of cases go unsolved and people are left waiting hours for the police to show up.

The numbers speak for themselves. For years, Conservative politicians have failed on crime. They can’t get the basics of frontline policing right and every day they are in office the problems get worse.

Up to 1 million pensioners in Tory seats to be dragged into paying income tax

New analysis from the Liberal Democrats has shown that a staggering 1 million pensioners in Conservative seats could be forced to pay income tax due to the Government’s stealth taxes.

Research from the House of Commons Library, commissioned by the Liberal Democrats shows that a staggering 1.6 million pensioners could be dragged into paying income tax in 2027-28.

The state pension rose by 8.5% in April which has already led to thousands of pensioners being drawn into paying income tax. The House of Commons Library estimates that by 2027-28, 62% of pension-age people will pay income tax, a huge jump from 57% in the current financial year (2024-25).

Separate Liberal Democrat analysis using the figures provided by the House of Commons Library has found that of the 1.6 million pensioners dragged into a higher rate by 2027-28, up to 1 million live in Conservative-held seats.

The analysis shows that 7 of 33 Cabinet Ministers are in the top 100 constituencies that are seeing pensioners dragged into the stealth tax. 96 of the top 100 seats that see the most pensioners affected are held by Conservative MPs.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s constituency being the 32nd worst affected with over 3,600 pensioners likely to shell out on extra tax. Meanwhile, Ministers’ seats will see a staggering 88,189 pensioners affected.

The Liberal Democrats were the first major party to commit to the triple lock on pensions ahead of the upcoming election and have called on the Government to come clean about the effects of their unfair stealth tax. The party is calling for pensioners to use their vote in May’s local elections to send the Conservatives a message they can’t ignore.

Commenting Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

This is a stealth tax scandal and it’s pensioners who are paying the price. The government has moved the goalposts and as a result, thousands of people are going to end up paying eye watering extra tax.

Our nation’s pensioners have worked hard and paid taxes most of their lives; they deserve a fair deal, not a stealth tax from this uncaring government.

The Conservatives have taken pensioners for granted and plunged many deep into debt during this cost of living crisis.

Pensioners have a golden opportunity to send a message to Rishi Sunak and his Ministers at this May’s local elections.

Davey: Time for Sunak to face the music

Commenting on the opening of polls for the 2024 Local Elections today, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

After months of chaos and out-of-touch leadership, it’s time for Rishi Sunak to face the music. Communities across the country have been taken for granted by the Conservatives and are backing real change with the Liberal Democrats.

Up and down the country people have told us they are sick to their back teeth of this out of touch and chaotic Conservative government.

These elections will be a damning verdict on record NHS waiting lists, sewage destroying rivers, and the worst cost of living crisis in a generation. The country knows the buck stops at the door of Downing Street.

Now is the time to send a message to the Conservatives and the best way to do that is by voting Liberal Democrat.

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4 Comments

  • nigel hunter 2nd May '24 - 10:00am

    Last year my works pension was not taxed. This year it is taxed at 20%.Stealth taxing has already started never mind. By 27/28. That 62% could be reached before that date the way things are going.

  • >” a staggering 1 million pensioners in Conservative seats could be forced to pay income tax”
    Suspect many voted Conservative and will vote Conservative in the upcoming GE…

    Whilst this stealth tax move is an issue, we should remember that what is being taxed is income that in the main, wasn’t previous taxed due to it being employer pension contributions which weren’t and aren’t subject to either NI or PAYE.

    To me the real issue is what the government spends the monies on. Given past performance, expect it to be on tax reductions that only really benefit the wealthy rather than on anything that actually benefits the country and the general public…

  • Helen Dudden 3rd May '24 - 12:06pm

    One note. Shellfish is not considered safe for consumption in polluted water.

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