16 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • We need a proper Green Recovery Plan to protect jobs
  • People deserve better than this Government’s NHS Test and Trace system
  • Government must not use commission as an excuse to stall on tackling racism
  • Government’s half-baked merger plan is threat to international aid

We need a proper Green Recovery Plan to protect jobs

Responding to ONS unemployment figures showing that the number of workers on payrolls has fallen by 649,000 between March and June, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

Every single person losing their job reminds us that coronavirus is a tragedy that cuts across every aspect of people’s lives. Managing this health and economic crisis demands the best possible leadership at the top of our country.

The Conservative Government’s shambolic handling of the pandemic has made the economic challenge we are facing far worse than it need have been. We need much better political leaders than Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings if we are going to help those losing their jobs.

With this sharp rise in job losses, the Chancellor must urgently look at additional support, otherwise there will be an unemployment tsunami in October.

And we need a real vision for creating new jobs and the jobs of the future. The Chancellor’s summer statement offered little more than a sticking plaster. The Liberal Democrats are instead calling for a major £150bn Green Recovery Plan that will create millions of good quality jobs, safeguarding the UK’s future.

People deserve better than this Government’s NHS Test and Trace system

Responding to statistics out today that reveal NHS Test and Trace has only reached 71.1% of ‘close contacts’ of people who have tested positive for COVID-19, Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

The coronavirus crisis is taking an enormous toll and people are rightly worried about loved ones. The only way to allay fears and keep people safe is with a comprehensive strategy to test, trace and isolate every case of coronavirus.

Under the leadership of this Prime Minister, however, it is becoming clearer that the Government failed to prepare. It is no wonder a management consultancy has been drafted in to get things right, but at what cost?

People deserve better. The Liberal Democrats will continue to hold the Prime Minister’s feet to the fire to ensure the country’s test and trace program – app and all – is rapidly brought up to speed. That is how we can get back to normal as soon as possible.

Government must not use commission as an excuse to stall on tackling racism

Responding to the Government’s publication of the membership of its Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, Liberal Democrat Equalities Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

As Black Lives Matter has shown, the Conservative Government urgently needs to redress institutional racism in the criminal justice system and many other parts of our society.

I wish the commission well, and commit the Liberal Democrats to playing a constructive role. But, to guarantee this commission has real teeth, the Prime Minister should commit now to ensuring the recommendations to come don’t just sit and gather dust.

Conservative Ministers must not use the commission as an excuse to stall on tackling racism. We need a Race Equality Strategy now, starting with scrapping the Hostile Environment policies and suspicion-less Stop and Search.

Government’s half-baked merger plan is threat to international aid

Responding to the International Development Committee’s final report into the ‘Effectiveness of UK aid’, which warns the ‘impulsive’ decision to abolish DFID is likely to have dire consequences, Liberal Democrat International Development Spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain said:

For countless vulnerable people in need around the globe, UK international aid has made a vital difference. We should be proud of that.

All the experts warn that Dominic Raab’s half-baked plan is threatening international aid. The Tories should be ashamed for looking at reducing global poverty as nothing more than a political choice.

We need oversight now more than ever. Ministers must commit to retaining the ICAI, the International Development Committee and a Development Minister in Cabinet or public faith will be washed away.

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  • richard underhill 17th Jul '20 - 8:21am

    “alternative to Boris Johnson and Kier Starmer”, neither of which is a Liberal Democrat.
    We must not waste time. We must not write off the next general election. There is no way I would have voted for a coalition led by the previous Labour leader, and many voters felt the same, but we can do what we have previously done and support policies with which we agree and oppose policies with which we do not agree.
    We should build on the agreement resulting from the Lib Lab coalition in the Scottish Parliament and find a way to achieve electoral reform to STV at an election which we expect to be held under First Past the Post.
    We are the most democratic of the main parties.
    We must not abandon such an important policy.
    We have named a street after Enid Lakeman.
    She was on the winning side in a referendum in the Irish Republic.
    For the sake of democracy in the UK we must continue her work.

  • richard underhill 17th Jul '20 - 9:27am

    17th Jul ’20 – 8:21am
    There is a left-over policy from the 1997 general election. Labour promised to remove all the hereditary peers, but did not finish the job, although their then leader in the Lords repeatedly promised that they would do so. She must have been disappointed in the Blair-Brown government.
    If we think about this in the context of the current campaign in the UK that Black Lives Matter (which of course they do, as yesterday’s program about the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence made very clear).
    We can anticipate that very few elected Labour MPs will want to defend hereditary peers, but if any do we can remind them that some members of the House of Lords were slave owners and were paid when what they consider their “property” was freed and financial compensation was paid to the slave owners. The UK population was shocked when they heard that a cargo of slaves was tipped into the sea and support for the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade increased.
    Working as a merchant seaman in this despicable trade was also dangerous and unpopular because of the attitudes of the ship-owners to their employees.
    It follows that the heirs of peers who resisted the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and / or the abolition of slavery and /or the ineffective enforcement by the Royal Navy (see cartoons in Punch) do not deserve to be members of the parliament in a democratic country and should consider whether they want to pay financial compensation in some way.
    The first policy passed by the federal conference of the Liberal Democrats was against slavery.
    We should continue to oppose slavery in all its forms as party policy.

  • richard underhill 17th Jul '20 - 9:31am

    17th Jul ’20 – 9:27am
    There is a risk of hypocrisy.
    Tories can be pointed to a book that their former leader William Hague wrote about the subject. He is now a peer, but unlike Margaret Thatcher he is not hereditary.

  • Peter Martin 17th Jul '20 - 10:27am

    “NHS Test and Trace has only reached 71.1% of ‘close contacts’ of people who have tested positive for COVID-19,” ,

    If the R rate was say 1.5 we’d have a big problem because the virus would be spreading. Everyone infected would be passing the virus to 1.5 others. However if 70% of all contacts were isolated this would reduce the R rate to 0.45 and the virus would quickly die out.

    So, obviously 80% or 90% would be better, but 70% is good enough to keep the virus from doing too much more damage.

  • David Garlick 17th Jul '20 - 10:48am

    Can we stop elevating DC to the role of Leadership. He is an adviser. Our focus and our attack must be on BJ or as I refer to him that BBJ. That is where the power and the responsibility resides.
    The time for talk of coalition is in the future when we have elected more LD MP’s. Personally I will vote against any version of coalition as I have in the past.

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