12 February 2019 – today’s press releases

Digital exclusion shows Universal Credit not fit for purpose

Responding to reports that almost half a million people needed help to apply for the government’s flagship Universal Credit benefit online, DWP Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

The Liberal Democrats raised the issue of digital exclusion with Conservative ministers months ago, but these concerns clearly haven’t been taken on board. This underlines the need to look again at Universal Credit, which is clearly not creating the simpler and more accessible benefits system that was intended.

It is failing the very people it was supposed to be designed to help. Now the Government has acknowledged that Universal Credit has created a greater need for food banks, it is time they accepted it needs more than just the tinkering we have seen.

Universal Credit just isn’t fit for purpose, and it’s time the Government accepted responsibility.

Conservatives pass one of worst pieces of legislation ever witnessed

Speaking after the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill was passed in the House of Commons tonight by just 58 votes, former Liberal Democrat Care Minister Norman Lamb MP said:

Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people are at risk of unlawfully having their freedom restricted and receiving inappropriate care. That is the deeply flawed system this Bill should have fixed, but instead the Conservatives produced one of the worst pieces of legislation ever seen.

I set the Government two tests at the beginning of this process. Does the new system safeguard individuals’ human rights and does the new system result in very vulnerable people being better protected? Conservative Ministers have failed both of these tests.

It is incredibly worrying that the Conservative Government are still pursuing this change in legislation when there has been overwhelming and united opposition from parties and care organisations. People deserve better, and the Liberal Democrats will keep fighting for the rights of the most vulnerable.

Motorists to be driven round the bend by Brexit bureaucracy

The House of Lords has this evening formally approved a Brexit regulation allowing the Government to issue new international driving permits, which could be required to travel to several EU countries in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Responding, Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Jenny Randerson said:

International Driving Permits are a relic of the 1960s with different countries requiring different formats, not forgetting, the only way to get one is through queuing up at the post office.

EU countries may require drivers to buy these permits if the UK crashes out without a deal, causing delays and hassle to all those who drive across the continent for holidays, not to mention severely hampering British business.

This is just another example to add to the list of transport and border issues that have been brought about by Brexit.

Previously, UK drivers could enjoy travelling across Europe by road pretty seamlessly, but now will risk prosecution if they do not adequately prepare. The only way out of this mess is for the Prime Minister to take no deal off the table and to give the public a final say, with the option to remain in the EU.

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