11-12 January 2020 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Govt must back Lib Dem bill for family reunion rights for child refugees
  • Lib Dems demand statement on arrest of British ambassador to Iran
  • Lib Dems demand reform to protect High Street retailers

Govt must back Lib Dem bill for family reunion rights for child refugees

Responding to an NGO report calling for child refugees to be given the right to sponsor close family members to join them, the Liberal Democrats have urged the Government to support their bill that would do just that.

Without My Family, a report published today by Amnesty International, the Refugee Council and Save the Children, criticises the Conservative Government for “deliberately and destructively preventing child refugees from being reunited with their families”.

The Refugees (Family Reunion) Bill, tabled by Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Hamwee, would expand family reunion rights so that unaccompanied child refugees in the UK can sponsor close family members to join them.

Responding to the report, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

Child refugees who’ve been forced to flee their homes and separated from their families are some of the most vulnerable people in the world. We must do all we can to protect them.

The UK has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need, but the Conservative Government is doubly failing to uphold that tradition.

The Conservatives are preventing child refugees in the UK from being reunited with their family, and this week they voted against allowing child refugees elsewhere in Europe to join family members here.

Liberal Democrats are fighting for these children. We have tabled legislation that would allow unaccompanied child refugees in the UK to sponsor close family members to join them.

Sadly Conservative Ministers have so far refused to support our bill, but I urge them to think again.

Lib Dems demand statement on arrest of British ambassador to Iran

Responding to news that Iran broke international law in detaining the British Ambassador to Iran, Ed Davey, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats said:

This is a shocking violation of international law at a critical time. The Iranian regime has already proven to be tragically incompetent with 176 innocent lives lost as a result of an inexcusable error.

The Iranian regime must now also answer for its flagrant disregard of diplomatic immunity.

The Foreign Secretary must make a statement to Parliament about how the UK government will respond to Iran’s actions, and review the measures in place to protect all those working in the UK Embassy in Iran.

Lib Dems demand reform to protect High Street retailers

Responding to news that Beales Department Store may have to call in administrators, Sarah Olney MP, Liberal Democrat Business Spokesperson, said:

This weekend we’ve seen Mothercare close its last branches, Debenhams shutting more outlets and now Beales announcing that they are at risk of collapse. Every closure will see people around the country face the bleak prospect of losing their jobs and livelihoods.

The internet age means shopping is changing. But that doesn’t mean we should accept seeing our High Streets hollowed out. Too many online stores rake in profit but pay little or no tax, while High Street shops are saddled with costly business rates and exorbitant rents.

The Government must urgently look at radical reform, or consider scrapping business rates completely. This system is not fit for purpose in 2020. With more uncertainty ahead thanks to the shadow cast by the Johnson’s Brexit agenda, Ministers must do everything possible to ensure retailers across the UK have a chance to stay in business.

What’s more, we must find ways to tax companies operating online more effectively, to ensure a level playing field for retailers.

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2 Comments

  • On High Streets, this is an opportunity to shout loud about our manifesto policy to replace business rates with a commercial land value tax. I used this in my parliamentary campaign because it would save our local small businesses 29% in tax.
    I call on our party leadership and HQ team to give this major publicity; this short statement is not enough. Show we care about more than Brexit; here is an excellent chance surely. It is streets ahead of the government’s idea for giving High Street grants to local councils.

  • Yes. We must now bang the drum loudly on our policies. In leaflets,media on the doorstep, anywhere we can.

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