18 July 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

There was a bit of a glitch yesterday, as the press releases ended up in my spam folder for some reason. Things seem to be back to normal, so the usual service resumes here…

  • Welsh Lib Dems – time to embrace zero-carbon housing
  • Lib Dems: EU resolution a vital step in UK’s duty to stand up for people of Hong Kong
  • Davey demands urgent action as knife crime epidemic continues to spread
  • Umunna: OBR report shows No Deal Brexit would be unforgivable
  • Lib Dems: Johnson’s ‘fishy tales’ have no plaice in Number Ten
  • Lib Dems: Milestone victory to block no-deal
  • Gauke talks the talk but can’t walk the walk

Welsh Lib Dems – time to embrace zero-carbon housing

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have welcomed the Better Homes, Better Wales, Better World report and called for Welsh Government and the housing sector to fully embrace the potential of zero carbon housing to reduce fuel poverty and fight climate change.

The independent report was commissioned by Ministers last year and calls on the Welsh Government to set ambitious housing targets to meet its ambition of achieving net zero carbon by 2050.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Housing spokesperson, Cllr Joe Carter said:

Zero carbon homes reduce fuel poverty, improve health and wellbeing, and are necessary if we are to save our planet. The Welsh Liberal Democrats are committed to delivering zero carbon housing, we hope the Welsh Government share our commitment.

Housing makes up 8% of carbon dioxide emissions so any attempts to tackle climate change must include housing. Wales has the potential to lead the way in zero carbon housing, this report shows us how we can do it.

We are pleased that the Progressive Agreement between the Welsh Lib Dems and Welsh Labour is not only focused on the quantity of social housing, but the quality as well.

Lib Dems: EU resolution a vital step in UK’s duty to stand up for people of Hong Kong

Liberal Democrat MEP Antony Hook today urged all EU Member States to speak out and stand with the people for Hong Kong in their fight for democracy and human rights.

Mr Hook used an urgency resolution in the EU Parliament to also reiterate the importance of the “one country, two systems” framework and the need for Carrie Lam to unequivocally withdraw the proposed Extradition Bill.

Speaking after the Resolution was passed, Antony Hook MEP said:

The EU has a proud history of defending human rights and democracy internationally. At a time when these values are increasingly under attack passing this resolution is a vital step in ensuring that all Member States, including the UK, continue to speak up for those who are fighting for their rights and freedoms.

Up to two million people have taken to the streets of Hong Kong to protect these values and they should be proud of the historic role they have played in doing so.

Together as 28 countries, the EU has a voice that cannot be ignored by Beijing. As countries that promote human rights and democracy, we must use that voice and influence to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of Hong Kong.

Welcoming the Resolution, Alistair Carmichael MP, the Liberal Democrat Chief Whip in the House of Commons, said:

Passing this resolution in the EU Parliament is a vital step in the UK upholding its moral and legal duty to the people of Hong Kong. When we use our influence as part of the EU we send a stronger message than we could ever hope to alone.

It is essential that the people of Hong Kong know that we are with them in their fight for democracy and human rights. This resolution drafted by my colleague Antony goes to show that those across Europe are standing firmly with them.

The Conservative UK government must now ensure that they are putting these values first and not kowtowing to pressure from China. They must work to guarantee that there is an independent investigation into police violence in the region and secure the total withdrawal of the Extradition Bill.

Davey demands urgent action as knife crime epidemic continues to spread

The Liberal Democrats are calling for urgent investment in community policing and youth services, as new official statistics show that knife crime and robberies have risen dramatically, while police officer numbers have fallen since 2015.

The crime figures, published today by the Office for National Statistics, show that:

  • There was an 8% increase in police-recorded knife crime from 2017-18 to 2018-19.
  • Knife crime has risen by 77% since 2014-15, to its highest level since records began in 2010-11.
  • There was an 11% increase in police-recorded robberies from 2017-18 to 2019-19.
  • The number of robberies has risen by 71% since 2014-15, to its highest level since 2006-07.

Meanwhile, the Home Office has also published the latest police workforce statistics today. These show that:

  • The number of police officers has fallen by 4,022 (3%) from March 2015 to March 2019.
  • The number of Police Community Support Officers has fallen by 2,823 (23%) in the same period.

Responding to the figures, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Britain’s knife crime epidemic is continuing to spread, and far too many young lives are being destroyed by it.

People should be able to walk down their streets without fear of being attacked or robbed, but under this Conservative Government that simply isn’t the case in far too many places.

Unnecessary Tory cuts to the police and youth services have taken thousands of police officers off the streets and left many young people without a positive alternative to gangs and violence.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. We will give forces the funding they need to restore community policing, and invest in genuinely innovative and engaging youth services.

After years of Tory failure, we need urgent action to make our streets safer and make people feel safer too.

Umunna: OBR report shows No Deal Brexit would be unforgivable

This morning, the Office for Budget Responsibility published its Fiscal Risks Report, revealing that the UK will enter a recession if it leaves the EU without a deal.

Liberal Democrat Business and Treasury spokesperson Chuka Umunna MP said:

Britain has a dysfunctional economy that stops people getting on and living a happy, secure life. It would be unforgivable to heap further stress and anxiety on families who are already struggling by deliberately pursuing a policy that the Government’s own independent economic watchdog now says will result in a recession.

But that is precisely what the next Prime Minister has said he will do. It might please his party which makes up less than 1% of the electorate, but this report confirms that it will bring misery to the other 99%.

Brexit has resulted in a weak pound, higher inflation, big falls in manufacturing output, construction, and business investment – and we have not even left the EU yet.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party that can get into Government who are committed to stopping Brexit and have a plan to tackle the economic problems which led people to vote for it in the first place.

Lib Dems: Johnson’s ‘fishy tales’ have no plaice in Number Ten

The European Commission has insisted that no EU rules exist that require kippers to be posted with plastic ice pillows.

This followed Boris Johnson waving a kipper on stage at the Conservative Party hustings yesterday, asking “Why does a kipper from the Isle of Man need to be told by the EU that he has to provide a pillow of ice with every kipper? It’s an unnecessary cost. And what are you supposed to do with the pillow of ice? How do you dispose of it?”

An EU spokesperson flatly contradicted the claims made by Mr Johnson stating the issue between the Isle of the Man and the mainland was “entirely a UK matter”.

Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies is chair of the European Parliament’s fisheries committee. Following the exchange, he said:

Boris Johnson made his career as a journalist by writing stories about the EU that bore no relation to the truth.

His latest fishy tale may have gone down well with Tory party members, but it sends the strongest possible message to Britain’s European partners.

With just days to go before he becomes prime minister the whole of Europe has been reminded that this is a man whose words cannot be trusted and that he should be nowhere near Number Ten.

Lib Dems: Milestone victory to block no-deal

Responding to the votes this afternoon on the amendments to stop the next Prime Minister being able to pro-rogue Parliament, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

The votes today were a milestone victory in blocking Boris from trampling on our democracy.

These votes on the Lords’ amendments make it potentially illegal for a Boris Johnson administration to prorogue Parliament in the run up to October 31st.

We are stopping a no-deal Brexit, and we can stop Brexit. The only real way out of this chaos is a People’s Vote, with the option to stay in the EU, and the Liberal Democrats will keep fighting as we have done today to make this a reality.

Gauke talks the talk but can’t walk the walk

Following David Gauke’s speech today calling for an evidence-led approach to sentencing to tackle reoffending, Liberal Democrat Justice spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

David Gauke is one of the few progressive thinkers in the Tory Cabinet, but unfortunately his influence is limited. He is right about short prison sentences, but he hasn’t been able to translate that into action and bring his entrenched colleagues behind a complete change in attitude to our penal system.

Sadly, the worst is yet to come. Prime Minister Johnson seems certain to replace him with someone who ignores the evidence on what works to cut crime.

The evidence is now clear. Short prison sentences are expensive and counterproductive. They contribute to the overcrowding in our prisons that hinders effective rehabilitation for all prisoners.

So why are we still spending millions locking people up for a few weeks or months?

The Liberal Democrats demand better. We won’t just talk about ending short sentences; we’ll bring forward the legislation to do it.

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One Comment

  • Peter Hirst 21st Jul '19 - 2:10pm

    Presumably, zero carbon housing refers to the use of carbon during a year. The building costs are not zero carbon and perhaps should be looked at. When a car’s net carbon footprint is half due to manufacture, the same might apply to housing. Does anyone know the carbon costs of building a home? Certainly, detached housing will be higher than terraced and communal living.

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