17 April 2024 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • Lib Dem comment on Sadiq Khan’s latest pre-election pledge on women’s safety
  • McArthur welcomes assisted dying bill being assigned to health committee
  • “Cultural vandalism”- Welsh Lib Dems urge Welsh government to save National Museum
  • Cole-Hamilton urges SNP Government to deliver transparency on Russian land ownership
  • “Families are being cut off” -Welsh Lib Dems urge Welsh Gov to lift immigration status barriers on school grants

Lib Dem comment on Sadiq Khan’s latest pre-election pledge on women’s safety

Commenting on Sadiq Khan’s promise to fund a free, independent legal advice pilot service for survivors of rape and serious sexual offences, if re-elected, Liberal Democrat London mayoral candidate Rob Blackie said:

Under Sadiq Khan, the police are catching rapists and sexual offenders half as often as they did when he became Mayor in 2016. This is a scandal. But in last night’s debate the Mayor would not even say that he is sorry for this.

The Mayor’s plan does not promise to catch significantly more sexual offenders. It even includes policies that were promised last year.

McArthur welcomes assisted dying bill being assigned to health committee

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur has welcomed the news that the Scottish Parliament’s health committee has been assigned as the lead committee for scrutinising his Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill.

The decision to assign a bill a lead committee is taken by the Scottish Parliament business bureau. The bill is also expected to be scrutinised by the Finance committee and Delegated Powers committee.

The committee will now decide how it wishes to proceed, which is likely to start with call for the submission of written evidence followed by oral evidence sessions with a wide range of witnesses and stakeholders, concluding with Mr McArthur, appearing before the committee.

The Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill was published on 28th March, alongside polling from Dignity in Dying showing strong support for assisted dying in every constituency and region of Scotland.

Mr McArthur said:

I have always been of the belief that providing terminally ill Scots with the choice of an assisted death is a core healthcare matter and it is right that my bill is subject to rigorous and robust scrutiny by MSPs with deep experience of legislation that relates to health matters.

I look forward to working with the committee as it carries out its important work over the coming months.

Our current laws on assisted dying are failing too many terminally ill Scots at the end of life.

I believe that a bill containing robust safeguards, similar to those which have been safely and successfully introduced in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the United States where they continue to enjoy strong public support, is the right way to tackle this important issue and give terminally ill Scots the choice they need.

“Cultural vandalism”- Welsh Lib Dems urge Welsh government to save National Museum

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the Welsh Government to ensure that the National museum of Wales will not be forced to close.

Over the weekend, the chief executive of Museum Wales Jane Richardson announced that at least 90 jobs will have to be axed following a reduction in funding.

Ms Richardson also warned that the National Museum in Cardiff may also be forced to close because of its deteriorating condition.

Commenting, the Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate for Cardiff East Rodney Berman said:

It would be nothing less than scandalous cultural vandalism if the Welsh Government allows the National Museum of Wales to shut.

We cannot allow ourselves to have a scenario where we have a capital city without a cultural centre where we can rightfully express Wales heritage and history.

Welsh Labour cannot be allowed to wage a cultural war against this country in the interest of curbing costs. For far too long now the arts and culture have been forced to take a backseat when it comes to government funding.

Commenting, the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS said:

It is deeply troubling that there is a real possibility that we here in Wales will be without a national museum soon.

We as a country rightfully pride ourselves on our rich cultural history, and buildings like the National Museum in Cardiff allow us to celebrate this with the rest of the world.

To allow the closing of such a culturally significant building would be nothing short of a national disgrace from the Welsh Government, who have so far failed to show any real desire to safeguard Wales heritage and history.

We must find a way to stop this devastating closure and to preserve the museum in the long-term so that future generations are able to experience Wales’ cultural heritage.

Cole-Hamilton urges SNP Government to deliver transparency on Russian land ownership

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today urged the SNP-Green Government to deliver full transparency over who owns land in Scotland during a questions session in the Scottish Parliament.

Scotland has one of the most concentrated systems of land ownership in the world, with half of all privately owned land held by 433 people.

Speaking in Parliament, Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

When Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, there was rightly a focus on the Russian oligarchs who own land in Scotland. We know of four, at least two of whom have links to the Kremlin and were included on the ‘Putin List’ published by the US Treasury Department in 2018.

However, there is a loophole in this register which means some landowners are exempt from it, which could mean there are still landowners hiding their identity and potential wealth and may have links to Putin’s kleptocracy.

So can I ask the Cabinet Secretary whether she is satisfied with the system as it exists today and what plans the government has to further increase transparency around this issue?

“Families are being cut off” -Welsh Lib Dems urge Welsh Gov to lift immigration status barriers on school grants

This week in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the Welsh Government to ensure that a family’s access to the School Essentials Grant is not being blocked due to their immigration status.

A recent report from the Bevan Foundation highlighted how many Local Authorities are currently excluding children from the grant due to their immigration status, especially those affected by the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) policy.

This is despite clear Welsh Government guidance stating that school uniform grants do not count as public funds.

A survey from the same foundation found that almost 1 in 6 children are still worried about not having the right materials or right clothing for school.

Commenting, the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS said:

I warmly welcome the Welsh Government’s continued support for the School Essentials Grant, a crucial policy in the fight against inequalities in education that was spearheaded by our party more than a decade ago.

However I am afraid that access to this vital grant is currently not being made available to every child here in Wales, with some missing out due to their immigration status.

Disparities in listed criteria and application processes across various Local Authorities are creating unnecessary confusion for thousands of families.

I urge the Welsh Government to ensure that all children, regardless of their backgrounds or origins, can access the School Essential Grant and gain an equal footing when it comes to their education.

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This entry was posted in London, News, Press releases, Scotland and Wales.
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One Comment

  • Mary Fulton 18th Apr '24 - 6:52pm

    It is wrong to claim that half of private land in Scotland is owned by 433 people….it is owned by 433 owners, and many of those owners are not people but companies. And who owns these companies? Sometimes other companies, sometimes family trusts, sometimes companies owned by millions of shareholders, and sometimes particularly rich individuals. Whatever system of property registration, it is not difficult for ultimate owners to hide their ownership behind complex ownership structures.

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