19 May 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Govt must not be allowed to forget unacceptable five week wait for UC
  • Govt must get a grip on coronavirus crisis to prevent further deaths
  • Govt needs to get a grip of care home crisis
  • Govt pledges to look into Lib Dems’ Mental Health plan for NHS & care staff
  • Lib Dems oppose Govt’s Trade Bill
  • Govt must request an extension to the transition period now

Govt must not be allowed to forget unacceptable five week wait for UC

Responding to ONS statistics out today which reveal a rise in unemployment and a six fold increase in the number of people claiming unemployment benefit, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

The Coronavirus crisis is leaving the most vulnerable at risk. Thousands of families face financial hardship and people are rightly worried.

The furlough scheme has rightly helped protect jobs but there are still millions of people that need help. That’s why Liberal Democrats are urging the Government to prevent further redundancies by extending income support for self-employed workers.

Ministers must also not be allowed to forget the unacceptable five week wait for universal credit support. The Government must end this wait by raising benefit rates, abolishing sanctions and turning day-one Universal Credit loans into grants.

Govt must get a grip on coronavirus crisis to prevent further deaths

Responding to the figures published by the ONS showing that there have been more than 44,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the UK, Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson, Munira Wilson, said:

Hearing that the number or coronavirus-related deaths is now more than 44,000, including 9,980 deaths which took place in care homes in England and Wales, the British public will rightly be appalled.

The Government has failed to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our society from coronavirus. For Ministers to keep trying to claim they put a ‘protective ring’ around care homes is not only false, but will be regarded by many as only adding further insult to all those grieving the loss of a loved one.

Government Ministers must now be frank with the British public. They must not only explain how this was allowed to happen under their watch, but how they are going to ensure that we step up the level of protective equipment as well as the system to test, trace and isolate so that they can get a grip on the crisis and prevent further deaths.

Govt needs to get a grip of care home crisis

Responding to evidence before the Health Select Committee today where the Chief Executive of Care England confirmed cases of people “who were symptomatic discharged into care homes”, Liberal Democrat Health and Care Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

It is heartbreaking to hear of so many coronavirus-related deaths in care homes. People are rightly worried about their loved ones.

It is made horribly worse when we know more could have been done had elderly patients with coronavirus symptoms had not been discharged into care homes without being tested.

The Government needs to get a grip. No care home should have to wait until 6 June to be offered a test and every frontline care worker putting themselves in harm’s way must have the right protective equipment. We must ensure no one is left behind.

The British people deserve clear, honest answers to some serious questions now and a commitment to an independent inquiry, so we can learn lessons.

Govt pledges to look into Lib Dems’ Mental Health plan for NHS & care staff

Today the Health Secretary has confirmed that he will look into Liberal Democrat proposals which include providing a 24-hour mental health phone-in line for all care staff, as well as fast-track access to a professional mental health service.

The proposals, announced earlier this week, seek to ensure the health and care workforce, who have gone above and beyond to tackle this virus get the support they need.

Munira Wilson, Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson said:

COVID-19 will leave a deep scar on our health and care workforce, who have gone above and beyond to tackle this dreadful virus. Thousands have faced significant trauma, many have endured serious illness and some have lost colleagues. So I am very pleased the Health Secretary has pledged to look at Liberal Democrat proposals.

Our proposals include a mental health support hotline, open to staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our hospitals and care services are staffed around the clock, so the support services staff need should be too. In addition, we propose measures to ensure NHS and care staff are not penalised for days off due to ill health.

The UK mental health response to COVID-19 should be world-class. That means investing now to prepare for the challenges ahead. The clap for carers is not just a gesture – people want to see those on the frontline supported right through this crisis and beyond. Ministers must get on top of the mental health impact of COVID-19 by backing our measures to support our vital NHS and care staff when they need it most.

Lib Dems oppose Govt’s Trade Bill

Today, Liberal Democrats will oppose the Government’s Trade Bill, having tabled an amendment which would prevent the bill from progressing.

The Party is opposing the legislation not only on the grounds of a lack of Parliamentary scrutiny, but it contains no underlying principles that could form the basis of negotiations for future trade deals. For example, issues such as environmental standards, employment and animal welfare standards, or international development goals are ignored.

Ahead of the Trade Bill’s second reading, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Business and Trade, Sarah Olney, said:

The passage of the Trade Bill today will give the Government total freedom to make whatever trade deal they like, with whomever they like, with no accountability. They are trying to sneak through the legislation whilst they think no one is looking.

The passage of this bill will mean that MPs are denied scrutiny of the UK’s future trade deals, leaving them with less power to agree trade deals than MEPs had within the EU. Equally, there is no mention of any national priorities for the basis of a future trade deal, when climate requirements or employment and animal welfare standards should be at the forefront of any negotiation.

The Liberal Democrats will continue to oppose this legislation for as long as the Government continues to try and prevent Parliament from playing an essential role in how future trade deals are agreed. Until the Government ensures proper accountability for Ministers and that our basic welfare standards as well as climate requirements cannot be undermined, this legislation is not fit for purpose.

Govt must request an extension to the transition period now

Responding to the UK Government’s publication of legal texts for negotiations with the EU, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

The warnings from experts couldn’t be clearer, there is not enough time for the UK to secure a deal with the EU.

The UK government’s draft trade agreement published today was too little too late. Boris Johnson should have published those texts months ago.

At a time when our NHS, economy, and food supply chains are already overstretched, the UK government must do all they can to prevent any further pressure on these vital systems.

They must secure an extension to the transition period now. Liberal Democrats will continue to urge them to do the right thing and ensure the UK does not crash out without a deal in place.

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One Comment

  • Of all of these, it is the trade bill that should be receiving attention – the media and people are wanting non-CorViD19 stories. This one plays nicely as it nicely shows what the Brexit nutters in the Conservative party meant by taking back control and it wasn’t Parliamentary sovereignty.

    However, someone needs to look at soundbites, yes it might make no difference to the action being taken by LibDems, but it makes all the difference between whether the story gets picked up. So that “Lib Dems oppose Govt’s Trade Bill” needs to be translated into something more emotional such as “Government betrays Leave voters”

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