15 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

Lib Dems call on retailers to scrap the gender price gap

To mark World Consumers Rights Day, Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine has written to major cosmetic manufacturers and retailers across the UK as part of her campaign to scrap the gender price gap.

Commenting on her campaign, Ms Jardine said:

We are a quarter of the way through 2019 and still men and women pay different prices for the same basic products. This is entirely unacceptable.

For World Consumer Rights Day I am writing to the most prominent cosmetic manufacturers and retailers across the UK to ask them to change their outdated and sexist pricing structures. If this Conservative Government won’t stand up to these companies, then the Liberal Democrats will.

Discrimination on gender grounds is illegal and I’ll be naming and shaming those who refuse to tackle the gap, including the Conservative Government. There is no justification for this tax on women and girls and I urge MPs from all parties to back my bill to put an end to this outdated and sexist practice.

Jardine demands urgent welfare changes in keynote speech

In her first keynote speech as Liberal Democrat Work and Pensions spokesperson, Christine Jardine will today outline her priorities to her party’s conference in York and demand the Conservative Government stop cutting welfare payments, end the freeze on working-age benefits and abandon the two child benefit cap.

Christine Jardine is expected to say:

We have a special responsibility as liberals.

Those failures by this Tory Government undermine the drive towards a fairer society that this party – the Liberal Democrats – has always held as its most defining principle.

Remember, it was Lloyd George who originally laid the foundations and Beveridge that laid out the vision of the welfare state.

So today I want to make a special plea to Amber Rudd.

In the short time she’s been there we have all noticed the step change, but it’s not enough.

While this Secretary of State has at least acknowledged some of the problems with Universal Credit, ESA and PiP… it’s not enough.

Amber you need to fix it.

Stop all those who are finding ways to reduce payments, making it difficult to claim or not recognising that poverty can affect those working too.

Stop the freeze, abandon the two child benefit cap and help families who can’t afford the childcare that would allow the job they’ve found to actually transform their lives take them out of poverty.

Tories have always claimed they are the party that protects the family… well so far all this Tory Government has done is drive families into poverty, debt and homelessness.

Revealed: 100s of local councils have no plans to increase EV charging points

The Liberal Democrat conference in York will today [16/03/19] debate solutions to tackle growing transport emissions after revealing over 100 councils have no plans to increase the number of electric vehicle charging points.

Liberal Democrat Climate Change Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse warned local councils have been “hamstrung by Conservative Government cuts” and said it was time Ministers took “urgent action”.

Of the 301 local councils that responded to the Liberal Democrats Freedom of Information request, 107 do not have a plan to increase the number of charging points. 122 local councils confirmed they have a formal plan, but only an additional 62 have taken steps to increase the number of EV charging points without a formal plan.

Ahead of the May local elections, the Liberal Democrats at their Spring Conference will debate a series of measures to help councils. They include:

  • Introduce new planning legislation ensuring that all new developments and large-scale regeneration schemes include electric car charging facilities.
  • Invest significantly in schemes to speed up the strategic roll-out of rapid charging points. Work with local authorities to expand them to popular in-town locations such as public car parks and supermarkets.
  • Invest in residential on-street charging, using the existing lamp post infrastructure wherever possible so as not to clutter the pavement.

Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Jenny Randerson said:

Unless there is urgent action to tackle out of control transport emissions, our environment and the health of future generations will suffer. People deserve better, and Liberal Democrats demand better.

Given electric and low emissions vehicles are key to tackling climate change, it is deeply concerning that almost one hundred local authorities across the country have no plans to increase the number of charging points.

Liberal Democrat Climate Change Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse added:

There is no doubt these councils are being hamstrung by Conservative Government cuts, crippling their ability to tackle this climate change emergency. For the benefit of current and future generations, these cuts must be reversed.

Ministers must take urgent action. Unless we transition away from petrol and diesel cars the price we have to pay in the future is far higher than the price of electric charging points.

Layla Moran launches independent education commission to build “education system of the future”

Lib Dem Education Spokesperson Layla Moran MP has launched a new independent Education Commission today. The Commission, chaired by Teach First co-founder Jo Owen, will work with the teaching profession, researchers and wider industry to develop a more radical and pragmatic vision for a future-perfect education system. While Layla convened the Commission she does not sit on it, nor does any other elected politician.

Speaking at the Association of School and College Leaders’ Annual Conference in Birmingham at lunchtime, Layla said that “funding cuts have exposed the underbelly of the system” that has “a toxic culture of over-testing, over-burdensome inspections … and senseless numbers-based competition driven by league tables.”

In response to the impact of recent education reforms on schools, she highlighted the “need to challenge the fundamentals of our education system”, led by the Commission.

She has issued a call to arms to politicians of all parties to work together to build a common vision that they can all work towards.

Liberal Democrats preparing for possible European elections

The Liberal Democrat spring conference in York will debate preparations for the European Parliament elections.

The debate follows votes in the House of Commons this week where MPs voted for an extension of Article 50, making it likely the UK will still be an EU member state at the time of the EU elections in May.

The party’s delegates will debate calls for the Government to ensure “fair UK representation in the European Parliament”.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake MP said:

Theresa May, aided and abetted by Jeremy Corbyn, has made an absolute dog’s dinner of this Brexit process. It was therefore no surprise that MPs this week voted to extend Article 50.

Liberal Democrats have been fighting tooth and nail to keep the UK represented in Europe. Given it is now more than likely the UK will still be a member state come the European elections, it is in our national interest to prepare for them.

The Party has started putting in place a system which would allow us to select Liberal Democrat candidates. We will be ready to go to the polls with a clear offer; every Liberal Democrat elected is another voice fighting for a People’s Vote, with the option to stay in the EU.

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