11 January 2019 – today’s press releases

Time to take a deep breath, and work out who the Government is. Is it the centre-right modernists, led by Amber Rudd? Is it the opportunistic wannabes, led by Sajid Javid and Jeremy Hunt? Or, is Theresa May in office but not in power? Hard to tell from the outside.

But there are still other things ticking over, and there are issues way beyond Brexit, as today’s press releases show…

  • Causes of mental ill-health in schools must be tackled
  • Lib Dems: Penny has dropped with Hunt
  • Lib Dems: UC needs investment, not just reform
  • Lib Dems: Pigs more likely to fly than Brexit legislation to be completed by March 29th

Causes of mental ill-health in schools must be tackled

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has demanded the causes of mental ill-health in schools be tackled after a House of Commons committee inquiry found that children and young people “face unacceptably long waits” for mental health treatment.

The Public Accounts Committee has today (11th January) published its report into mental health services for children and young people.

The committee concludes that:

  • Most young people with a mental health condition do not get the treatment they need
  • Government should step up action to increase staff numbers and develop required skills
  • Cross-departmental planning must improve, with focus on prevention and early intervention

The committee is demanding new ways of supporting young people’s mental health through prevention and early intervention, particularly in schools.

Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson, and member of the Public Accounts Committee, Layla Moran MP said:

Our report finds that, shamefully, children and young people with mental health conditions are undoubtedly being failed. Mental health staff do a fantastic job but services are under-funded, over stretched and don’t have enough staff to provide a decent service.

Earlier this week the Government published its long-term plan for the NHS, but it is clear that Ministers have not committed enough funding and cross-Departmental planning to really get on top of the mental health crisis.

Liberal Democrats demand better. I want some of the systematic causes of mental ill-health removed from our education system. That means an end to the toxic high-stakes testing culture, abolishing Ofsted, reforming league tables and focusing on decent community, council and youth services to support our young people.

Lib Dems: Penny has dropped with Hunt

Responding to Jeremy Hunt’s admission this morning that Parliament could block a no-deal Brexit while voting down the deal could mean the UK remaining in the EU, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

It would seem the penny has finally dropped within the Government, at least with Jeremy Hunt. Be in no doubt, a chaotic no-deal Brexit is a choice and it is in the gift of the Government to prevent it.

In the interests of people’s livelihoods, the Prime Minister must end the uncertainty and rule out a no-deal now. If not, Liberal Democrats will take every step possible within Parliament to force her.

With concern palpable among Tory ranks that Brexit can be stopped, it is clear Liberal Democrats are closer than ever to securing a People’s Vote. It is time MPs, particularly the Labour leadership, explored their conscience and supported that growing campaign.

Lib Dems: UC needs investment, not just reform

Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine has warned the Conservatives must commit to “major investment” to remedy the problems with Universal Credit. Ms Jardine said:

The Conservative’s botched roll-out of Universal Credit continues to cause real pain and misery that must be stopped. Liberal Democrats demand better than the Conservatives’ cruel policy of balancing the books on the backs of the poor.

Instead of putting the most vulnerable in society through another 12 months of misery, Rudd should end the benefits freeze immediately and fully restore the billions the Tories’ cut from Universal Credit’s Work Allowance. That is the major investment we need. Failure to do so will see this crisis go on and on.

Meantime, Liberal Democrats know child benefit can make the difference between families with young children making ends meet or not. Rudd simply has not gone far enough. Nothing short of fully reversing the two-child cap on child benefit will be acceptable.

Lib Dems: Pigs more likely to fly than Brexit legislation to be completed by March 29th

Responding to comments from a Number 10 Spokesperson that Brexit legislation will be completed by 29th March 2019, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake MP said:

It is laughable that Number 10 are even attempting to make people believe that the Brexit legislation will be complete by 29th March.

Due to the Conservative Government’s insistence on pushing everything into the long grass, Parliament still has huge amounts to get through, including much of the Immigration, Environment, and Health Brexit Bills. Let alone the Withdrawal Agreement.

There is more of a chance of pigs flying than there is of the Brexit legislation being completed by 29th March. The Tories have made a mess of Brexit and are wasting everybody’s time peddling this rhetoric. That is why the Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for a people’s vote, with the option to remain in the EU.

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  • Joseph Bourke 12th Jan '19 - 1:04am

    The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has issued a response to Amber Rudd’s announcement echoing Christine Jardine’s call for an end to the benefit freeze:

    “This is a welcome statement of intent from the new Secretary of State, and we hope to see action in the coming months which will build on this. Universal Credit has the potential to loosen the grip of poverty, and it is positive that many of the concerns expressed by claimants have been heard.

    “Allowing more flexibility on the regularity of payments, and making it easier to ensure they go to the main carer in a family, should make a material difference to claimants, as should improving the processes for paying for housing and childcare.

    “There is still much more to do to deliver on the Secretary of State’s ambitions and create a country which works for everyone. The benefits freeze continues to be the single biggest policy sweeping families into poverty.

    “If the Government is serious about being on the side of low-income families they will take immediate action to end this freeze one year early.”

  • Mark Valladares…..Lib Dems: UC needs investment, not just reform….

    No! No! No!…It needs abolishing.

    It seems that it costs more to administer than all those benefits it replaced. It does little/nothing to encourage people into work, ‘tweaks’, ‘add ons’ and ‘take offs’ are, to use a hackneyed phrase, akin to moving deckchairs on the ‘Titanic’.

    UC is an idea driven by Tory ideology (sadly, enabled/supported by this party). The, so called, ‘flexibility’ promises are driven by the government’s fear of a cross party rebellion, court judgements and bad publicity; like ‘unicorns and faerie gold’ they will evaporate when their ‘caring’ image is no longer needed.

    Tory promises (as pensioners, headteachers and anyone who doesn’t fit their ‘market ideology’ have discovered) are worthless.

    This party trotted out ‘Our Shirle’ to make a bad Tory idea less bad; let us not make the same mistake again.

  • Best way to tackle poverty is to
    1. Education and Training
    2. Adequate minimum wage
    3. Ensure work is available
    4. Provide accomodation at affordable rates
    5. Ensure benefits for those that can’t work enable them to live a meaningful life.

    If people are unemployed, we should provide a path way back to work and that shouldn’t consist of sanctioning them into homelessness and crime, which seems to be the present policy.

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