12 April 2024 – today’s press releases

  • GDP figures: Economy stuck in the slow lane
  • Defence: Only the Lib Dems are committed to reversing troop cuts
  • Energy Minister stands down: Drumbeat of Conservative resignations is becoming deafening
  • More than half of councils see rise in sewage dumps
  • Jardine Secures Commons Debate on Consular Assistance

GDP figures: Economy stuck in the slow lane

Responding to the latest GDP figures, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

This sluggish growth shows the UK economy is stuck in the slow lane under the Conservatives.

This government has no plan to fix the damage they’ve done to people’s living standards.

Instead we have a prime minister and Chancellor totally out of touch with families feeling the pinch. The only way to get the economy moving again is to kick this economically illiterate Conservative government out of office.

Defence: Only the Lib Dems are committed to reversing troop cuts

Responding to Labour and the Conservatives announcements on defence policy today, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

Only the Liberal Democrats are committed to reversing the Conservatives’ irresponsible cuts to Army troop numbers. With Putin waging war in Europe and Trump threatening the future of NATO, cutting the British Army by 10,000 troops is a major threat to our long-term national security.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives and Labour only offer meaningless talk about vague aspirations for some unspecified time in the future.

Energy Minister stands down: Drumbeat of Conservative resignations is becoming deafening

Responding to the Energy Minister, Graham Stuart, standing down from his government role, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper MP said:

The drumbeat of Conservative resignations is becoming deafening. Ministers are finding any excuse they can to get away from this deeply unpopular Conservative government.

Even Rishi Sunak’s Ministers know that time is up on this tired and out of touch government.

The writing is on the wall for Rishi Sunak, and the sooner he calls a general election the better. The country, and his own MPs, know the clock is ticking.

More than half of councils see rise in sewage dumps

Scottish Liberal Democrat Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today said that the SNP-Green Government “haven’t lifted a finger” to tackle Scotland’s sewage scandal after new figures analysed by his party revealed that the number of sewage dumps increased in most council areas between 2022 and 2023.

Across the whole of Scotland in 2023, there was a 10% increase in the number of sewage dumps, with 21,660 discharges logged.

Analysis by Scottish Liberal Democrats of data from Scottish Water shows that 20 councils experienced an increase in sewage dumps between 2022 and 2023 alone. The data also reveals that:

  • Between 2022 and 2023, Fife experienced the biggest percentage increase in sewage dumps, with the number of dumps almost quadrupling from 213 to 733.
  • Moray also saw a huge rise over the single year, with the number of sewage dumps increasing by 117.5%.
  • Argyll & Bute had the highest number of sewage dumps with 3,768 in 2023 and dumping lasting 30,078 hours.
  • Sewage dumps in South Lanarkshire totalled 3,111 and lasted 27,682 hours in 2023, while the number of dumps in Dumfries & Galloway came to 2,397 and lasted 24,682 hours.

These figures are likely to be underestimates because Scottish Liberal Democrat research has revealed that there is no monitoring of sewage dumping at all in three local authorities: Dundee, East Dunbartonshire and Edinburgh. In ten more local authorities (Angus, Clackmannanshire, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray, Orkney, Shetland, South Ayrshire and West Dunbartonshire) just one or two more sites are monitored.

Scottish Water has pledged to deliver 1,000 additional monitors by the end of 2024, but this will still mean less than half of the Scottish network will be monitored.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

Communities across Scotland will be alarmed by such big upticks in sewage dumps.

SNP and Green ministers haven’t lifted a finger to address this scandal. Instead, they sit idle while our rivers, coastlines and waterways take a battering.

The true scale of the problem is likely a lot worse because very few sewage pipes are properly monitored. While ministers hide the dirtier reality, the government-owned water company is hiking its prices for customers and rewarding its executives with bumper bonuses.

Scottish Liberal Democrats have published plans for a Clean Water Act that would see vital updates to our sewage network and a clamp down on discharges. If the SNP and Greens are at all serious about protecting the environment, they will stop excusing sewage dumping and listen to our plans.

Jardine Secures Commons Debate on Consular Assistance

Edinburgh West MP Christine Jardine has secured a key parliamentary debate on her bill to guarantee government help for Britons wrongly imprisoned abroad.

Ms Jardine has introduced her Consular Assistance Bill, which would guarantee a legal right to consular support for British citizens who have been wrongfully detained or denied legal representation while abroad. After the chance to make progress was blocked previously, the Bill is scheduled to return to the Commons on the 26th of April.

The Liberal Democrat’s campaign was inspired by a discussion with Richard Ratcliffe, whose campaign to free is wife Nazanin from detention in Iran she had supported.

Other similar injustices suffered by people like dual national Vladimir Kara-Murza in Russia, who had all been wrongfully imprisoned for months before receiving support from the UK Foreign Office and Jaqtar Singh Johal could be addressed by the Bill.

The debate on April 16th provides a chance to press the Government on their inconsistent support for British citizens.

Christine Jardine said:

I was stunned to learn that getting support from our government if you are wrongly detained is entirely at the discretion of the local consulate, and there is currently no way of guaranteeing protections like legal representation, medical support and basic human rights.

Too many British families whose relatives have been detainmed without trial have to fight their cases themselves to win support from the Foreign Office support. This is simply not good enough.

It is vital that we introduce a guaranteed mechanism, ensuring UK Government assistance for any British citizen who faces human rights abuses abroad.

This is not about losing your passport or facing genuine criminal charges but people who find themselves detained without any recourse to legal processes and are then denied visitation and other rights.

This upcoming debate is the perfect way to continue dialogue on the issue ahead of the return of my Consular Assistance Bill to Parliament in the coming weeks.

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This entry was posted in News, Press releases and Scotland.
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3 Comments

  • Peter Martin 15th Apr '24 - 10:52am

    ” The only way to get the economy moving again is to kick this economically illiterate Conservative government out of office.”

    I agree.

    However, it needs more than just a change of tenant in Number 10.

    If Sarah Olney thinks the Tories’ economic policies are incorrect, “illiterate” even, she also needs to explain how they are incorrect and what she would do differently.

    So far I haven’t seen anything that’s significantly different from either Labour or the Lib Dems.

    I’m starting to think that the 35% or so of the electorate who don’t vote might have a point. If they are all the same, why bother voting for any of them?

  • I’m curious about Christine Jardine’s bill: Who would decide whether a person has been ‘wrongly’ jailed and is therefore eligible for guaranteed consular assistance, or has been correctly jailed and is therefore not eligible? And does the bill specify exactly what ‘assistance’ must be provided? After all, ‘assistance’ is a bit vague. Presumably it could mean anything from, giving legal advice to discrete Government-to-Government contacts to put pressure on the foreign Government, or in some cases providing publicity etc.

    My first thought is this sounds like a nice idea but is possibly something not really suitable for legislation because each case would require individual judgement about what actions are best.

  • David Evans 16th Apr '24 - 9:39am

    Peter (Martin),

    I think you are focusing too much on one aspect of fine detail in the report and assuming/implying that it is all that Sarah Olney is saying.

    We all know (as does Sarah) that there is so much more wrong with the Conservatives than just economic illiteracy, although its almost religious mantra that ‘the market’ will solve everything is clearly incompetent. A second starter for 10 with that party is the ingrained willful blindness to corruption that seems to be a prerequisite for becoming one of its MPs.

    When you have a problem with someone staying in your house who is repeatedly stealing your stuff, the answer, and the only answer, is to kick them out. Until you have done that, to quote Metallica – “Nothing else matters.”

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