14 August 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats call on Williamson to resign in the face of grades chaos
  • Plummeting health visitor numbers demand action, Liberal Democrats warn

Liberal Democrats call on Williamson to resign in the face of grades chaos

Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran has described Gavin Williamson as “out of his depth” and said that he must go in the wake of yesterday’s “shambolic” grade outcomes.

Moran’s push for Williamson to resign follows criticism of the Secretary of State’s errors through the COVID-19 crisis, from the failure to ensure disadvantaged pupils had access to remote learning devices to botched efforts to open schools more widely before the pandemic was under control.

The Party are calling for all pupils to have a right to appeal their grade awards with no charge, and the chance to sit the examinations at the earliest possible date at no cost. They are further demanding that the Government urge universities to be lenient in admissions requirements.

Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

The shambolic handling of A-level results has left many young people in crisis. Despite the warning signs from Scotland, the Education Secretary pushed ahead with plans which ignored teachers’ advice and have disproportionately affected pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. With this unfair system, he has created untold confusion and distress.

Gavin Williamson is an Education Secretary out of his depth and out of excuses. He must take responsibility for his mistakes and step down with immediate effect. Our young people and our country cannot afford these blunders to continue into September, ahead of a potential second wave.

If the Government continue to refuse to put their trust in teachers predictions, they must ensure every pupil has the right to appeal free of charge, and the opportunity to sit these examinations should they wish. We also need to see clear guidance from the Government to universities to ensure greater leniency in admissions decisions.

Plummeting health visitor numbers demand action, Liberal Democrats warn

The Liberal Democrats have called for an “emergency recruitment strategy” for frontline workers after revealing a third of health visitors across hospital trusts and clinical commissioning groups have been cut since 2015.

Liberal Democrat MP Daisy Cooper, who uncovered the figures through a written parliamentary question, warned cutting such vital preventative services is “letting vulnerable children down” and “costing the tax-payer more in the long-run.”

In response to Daisy Cooper, junior Conservavtive Health Ministers Jo Churchill confirmed responsibility for commissioning of health visiting services transferred to local authorities in October 2015.

Across England, health visitors work mainly with children from birth to five years, their families and at-risk or deprived groups such as the homeless, addicts or travellers.

As of March this year, there were 6,828 full-time equivalent health visitors working in hospital trusts and clinical commissioning groups. This is a drop of 3,408 – one in three – since the peak of 10,236 in September.

These figures do not include staff working in primary care, general practitioner surgeries, local authorities or other providers and therefore the drop could be a lot higher.

Liberal Democrat MP Daisy Cooper said:

The coronavirus crisis has taken an enormous toll on people, not least the front-line carers working day and night. However, years of central underfunding and neglect has left our health services without the resources they need.

Health visitors do vital and unique work to support mothers and those children most at-risk but the Conservatives have presided over cuts that have reduced NHS health visitors by a third.

By cutting such vital preventative services, the Government is not only letting vulnerable children down but costing the tax-payer more in the long-run.

While the Prime Minister asks us to clap for the NHS, he turns a blind eye to how stretched health and care services are.

People deserve better. That is why the Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to support our frontline workers with an emergency recruitment strategy with a transformational investment in health and social care.

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One Comment

  • It’s not just the two million exam downgrades from this chaotic UK government, but the fact that Grant Shapps (aka Michael Green et al) got the Covid cut off date for exit from from France wrong by 24 hours. An open and shut case for two resignations not one.

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