15 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • ONS earnings figures: Economic mismanagement is leaving pay packets stretched further than ever
  • Vaughan Gething Qatar Press Briefing – More Soundbites Rather than Real Solidarity
  • Liberal Democrats Raise Concerns Over the Impact of Australian and New Zealand Trade Deals on Wales
  • Conservatives failing to count cost of windfall tax loophole

ONS earnings figures: Economic mismanagement is leaving pay packets stretched further than ever

Responding to the latest ONS labour market and earnings figures which show pay falling in real terms, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

This Government’s economic mismanagement is leaving pay packets stretched further than ever before just as bills spiral out of control.

This is the worst cost of living crisis in a generation and Thursday is judgement day for the latest Conservative Chancellor in post. He cannot make the same mistakes as his predecessors who crashed the economy and left families to pick up the bill.

Thanks to the Conservative party’s botched budget and reckless mismanagement of the economy, homeowners are being forced to pay hundreds of pounds more a month on their mortgage whilst their take home pay is eaten away by inflation. The public will never forgive Conservative MPs for this.

Vaughan Gething Qatar Press Briefing – More Soundbites Rather than Real Solidarity

Responding to Vaughan Gething’s press conference where he continued to defend the Welsh Labour Government sending a delegation to Qatar during the World Cup, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:

I am not convinced by the arguments set out today by Vaughan Gething nor previous arguments from the Welsh Labour Government seeking to justify this morally unjustifiable trip.

The Welsh Government should be upfront about its intentions going to Qatar, it is not to ‘support Team Wales’ but is to seek investment.

These tainted investment opportunities are going to come at the cost of providing diplomatic legitimacy to Qatar’s hosting of this tournament despite the country’s atrocious human rights record that has left over 6,500 migrant workers dead, punishes being gay with execution or imprisonment and treats women as lesser human beings.

Vaughan Gething has stated that the Welsh Government will “proactively use Wales’ place in the World Cup in Qatar to promote our strong Welsh values”, yet today has again not provided any evidence on how the Government will do this.

The last time I checked, unless the three ministers have been promote to Team Cymru itself and are going to be on that pitch, their presence isn’t going to affect how our national team performs and our national team are already upholding our values.

If Labour actually wanted to show solidarity with those living under Qatar‘s poor human rights record, or the families of the victims that have died during the construction of World Cup stadiums, they would cancel their unjustifiable trip immediately and instead join the vast majority of fans who will be watching the games from home, and to show some consistency on “saving them air miles” that was used to justify the Welsh Government not attending COP27 last week.

Liberal Democrats Raise Concerns Over the Impact of Australian and New Zealand Trade Deals on Wales:

The Liberal Democrats have reiterated concerns over the negative impacts the UK’s trade deals with Australia and New Zealand could have on the Welsh agricultural industry.

  • The contribution from Sarah Green MP comes in the same debate as explosive comments made by the Former Conservative environment secretary George Eustice who told the House of Commons the Australia free trade deal was “not actually a very good deal for the UK.”
  • Welsh Conservative MPs and MSs have publicly defended both the New Zealand and Australian trade deals

During a debate on the UK’s new Free Trade Agreements with Australia and New Zealand in the House of Commons yesterday, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for International Trade and Wales, Sarah Green MP, highlighted the Conservative Government’s failure to analyse the impact of the deals on the different nations and regions in the UK. Her comments follow previous criticism from the Welsh Liberal Democrats, who have accused the Conservatives of selling Welsh farmers down the river in one-sided trade negotiations.

The deals would eventually give Australia and New Zealand tariff-free access to UK meat markets, with no major concessions in return. Both deals have been criticised by the Farmer’s Union for Wales (FUW) and National Farmers Union Wales (NFU Wales).

The FUW reported that the increase in New Zealand’s import quota for sheep meat in year one of its UK agreement is more than forty times higher per capita than the equivalent quota agreed in its deal with the European Union. According to the FUW, this “demonstrates a failure of the UK Government to protect UK agriculture in trade negotiations.”

The potential increase in imported meat poses a serious threat to Welsh lamb and cattle farmers, who risk going out of business.

During her contribution, Green also highlighted Liberal Democrat calls for the UK Government to outline an overarching trade strategy, setting out the UK’s economic ambitions, minimum standards on human rights, environmental standards, labour standards and safety standards. She also urged the government to clarify what success looks like in securing trade deals.

Commenting Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Green stated:

This Conservative Government has failed Wales by neglecting to carry out detailed assessments of how these trade deals will impact them, as well as other regions and nations in the UK.

In Wales, a world-class lamb industry is now at risk, as are the communities relying on it.

The Liberal Democrats are calling on this Conservative government to fully assess the impact new trade agreements will have on the different parts of the UK.

They must also set out an overarching trade strategy that guarantees a stringent assessment of any trade deal against minimum standards on human rights, environmental standards, labour standards and safety standards.

This Conservative party cannot continue selling out entire industries for marginal economic gain while silencing the voices of those affected by denying proper parliamentary scrutiny.

Conservatives failing to count cost of windfall tax loophole

The Liberal Democrats have accused the Conservatives of letting oil and gas giants off the hook, as a Conservative minister admitted the government is not even checking how much tax is being avoided through the glaring loophole in its windfall tax.

The Liberal Democrats are urging Jeremy Hunt to use this week’s Autumn Statement to close the loophole and raise millions more pounds to help struggling families and protect vital public services this winter.

Shell admitted earlier this month that it has paid zero windfall tax despite making record profits from soaring gas prices, while BP will pay just £700m on £7.1bn in profits. Both oil and gas giants have profited from the government’s investment allowance, a loophole that gives companies 91p back in tax for every £1 invested in fossil fuel extraction.

However, in response to a series of parliamentary questions tabled by the Liberal Democrats, Conservative Treasury Minister James Cartlidge admitted that “no estimate has been made to date of the amount of tax revenue that has been offset by the Investment Allowance”. He added that the government is not collecting monthly figures on how much oil and gas companies are avoiding in tax through the loophole.

The minister also appeared to suggest the windfall tax has not raised any money at all yet, instead saying that “the first payments are expected later this year.”

Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

The Conservatives’ botched windfall tax has already seen millions of pounds of taxes poured down the drain. It’s staggeringly incompetent that they won’t even check how much more is set to be lost.

People are struggling to heat their homes, pay their mortgage or put food on the table, while the NHS is on its knees. But the Conservatives’ want to make the rest of us pay for their mess, while letting oil and gas giants off the hook.

Jeremy Hunt must close this glaring loophole before more vital tax revenue is lost. It’s time to introduce a proper windfall tax so we can support struggling families and our schools and hospitals this winter.

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This entry was posted in News and Press releases.

One Comment

  • George Thomas 16th Nov '22 - 8:37pm

    Lib Dems making a lot of noise in Wales which is good to see.

    I think conclusion regarding Qatar tries to say too many things and it’s getting lost.

    Going to Qatar is the best way of showing solidarity with migrant workers and members of the LGBTQ+ community IF Vaughn Gething is willing to be uncomfortably vocal on concerns, this is clearly better than staying home and Qatari leaders not knowing what Wales is, but going there and staying silent or even going out of way to praise conditions is the worst thing to do. These conversations aren’t new (see apartheid in South Africa with different sports touring or boycotting) so I would measure appropriateness of action on basis of what happens next with focus on how life gets better or worse in Qatar for people who will still be there after media circus disappears. David Beckham’s actions are most like FIFA during 2018 World Cup but others will be judged best with retrospect.

    Welsh Labour not going to COP27 is difficult to defend seeing as climate emergency is the most important political matter right now and will be for next several decades.

    Yes, Welsh farmers in particular and farmers in general have been screwed over by trade deal with New Zealand and Australia. We’re in ludicrous situation where Tories want to fly meat halfway around the world (and people to Rwanda) but claim they’re party ready to represent UK at COP27 and future climate events.

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