2 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Sunak at COP27: PM embarrassed by Boris Johnson’s attendance
  • Welsh Government Must Do More to Combat Fuel Poverty
  • Matt Hancock should resign and trigger by-election
  • Welsh Conservatives Dysfunctional, Divided and Ineffective
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats – Welsh Government Must Change Their Mind on COVID Inquiry

Sunak at COP27: PM embarrassed by Boris Johnson’s attendance

Responding to the news that Rishi Sunak will now be attending COP, Liberal Democrat Climate Change Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse MP said:

This whole debacle has shown the environment is simply not a priority for Rishi Sunak. He’s only going after being embarrassed by Boris Johnson’s attendance.

We need action rather than just attendance from the Prime Minister. Building more renewables, the cheapest and most popular form of energy, and insulating our cold and draughty homes will accelerate progress towards net-zero, cut energy bills and increase the UK’s energy security.

Welsh Government Must Do More to Combat Fuel Poverty

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on Labour to do more to tackle fuel poverty in Wales following the release of annual fuel poverty estimates.

The data released by the Welsh Government today shows that fuel poverty had risen in Wales during 2021, before the largest price hikes even came into effect in 2022.

The figures show 14% of all households in Wales were living in fuel poverty by the end of 2021, up from 12% in 2018. It also showed 3% of homes were living in severe fuel poverty and 11% of homes were at risk of falling into fuel poverty.

The data showed that those living in the private rental sector (22%) and in rural areas (17%) were more likely to be living in fuel poverty.

Estimates from the Welsh Government in April stated that up to 45% of Welsh homes could be in fuel poverty by the end of 2022.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have stated that while the Conservatives in Westminster were responsible for not taking action on energy profits with a strong windfall tax, Labour had left Wales vulnerable to price shocks by not investing enough in insulation programmes or in improving poor housing stock.

Previous research by the Liberal Democrats has shown that Labour’s current insulation programme could take 135 years to complete and the party has called for a £1.75 billion scheme to accelerate home insulation which they say would create 10,000 full-time equivalent jobs across Wales over 15 years and generate around £2.2bn for the Welsh economy in addition to reducing the £67 million per year spent by the Welsh NHS on conditions caused by poor housing.

The party has also called on the Welsh Government to publish fuel poverty reports twice a year, including with a breakdown by local authorities. Currently, the data is only published sporadically every few years.

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and Mid & West Wales Senedd Member Jane Dodds said:

The report tells us what we already knew, that the Welsh Government aren’t taking home insulation seriously enough.

If the numbers of people in fuel poverty rose even before the latest price increases this year came into effect I dread to think what they are now, especially in rural regions like my own with a large number of homes off-grid.

The Conservatives may have failed to act on the profits of energy giants, but Labour has left Welsh households vulnerable to price shocks like these.

Our plans for an accelerated home insulation programme would not only help decrease those in fuel poverty, but also help save the planet and contribute to economic growth.

Energy prices are only going to get higher, Labour needs to act now and not continue to kick the can down the road.

Matt Hancock should resign and trigger by-election

The Liberal Democrats have called for Matt Hancock to resign and trigger a by-election following the announcement that he will be spending up to three weeks on “I’m a Celebrity”. It comes after Transport Minister Mark Harper said that appearing on the show would be “not compatible” with being an MP.

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said:

Even government ministers admit Matt Hancock is failing in his job. He is abandoning his constituents by going to the jungle and is shirking from his responsibilities. In any normal workplace he’d be sacked.

Matt Hancock should resign and let the people of West Suffolk choose an MP who will actually serve them and treat them with respect

His decision to abandon the country during the vital covid inquiry is particularly outrageous. Rather than providing answers that bereaved families are crying out for, and helping the inquiry in every way he can, he is choosing to feed his ego in the jungle. It is selfish and shameful.

Welsh Conservatives Dysfunctional, Divided and Ineffective

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have slammed the Welsh Conservatives as “dysfunctional, divided and ineffective” as a political group pointing towards disagreements between the party’s Member of Parliament and Members of the Senedd.

The accusation comes after the new Welsh Secretary rejected his predecessor’s call for St. David’s Day to be made a bank holiday.

The calls for St David’s Day to be made a bank holiday is supported by the Welsh Conservative group in the Senedd and its Leader Andrew RT Davies, but seemingly not by the Party at a Westminster level.

This is one of many issues where the party’s MPs seem not to be on the same side as its Senedd Members.

Another controversy has been over HS2 funding. The Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd have supported calls for £5 billion in consequential funding to be made available to Wales to spend on transport in Wales but last month in response to a question by Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Green, Welsh Secretary (then Wales Office Minister) David TC Davies rejected the calls stating that the project benefited both England and Wales.

Scotland has received £10 billion in consequential funding from HS2.

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

This ongoing fiasco where we see the Welsh Conservatives in Westminster and the Senedd fundamentally disagree with each other over multiple issues only goes to show what a dysfunctional, divided and ineffective political force they are in Wales.

A strong Welsh Conservative party would have no issues in ensuring Wales gets the £5 billion in transport funding its taxpayers deserve or on whether our national day should be a bank holiday.

Time and time again we have seen these divisions lead to the people of Wales losing out.

11/13 of Wales’ Conservative MPs represent rural areas, yet they couldn’t even get the UK Government to carry out a regional economic impact assessment of the Australian and New Zealand trade deals, potentially selling our Welsh farmers down the river.

The Welsh Conservatives, both its MPs and MSs need to decide whether they represent the interests of the Welsh people or not.

Welsh Liberal Democrats – Welsh Government Must Change Their Mind on COVID Inquiry

Responding to an admission by UK Covid Inquiry Chair that not all decisions made in Wales will be covered in the UK inquiry, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

The Chair’s comments reflect what we all feared, that the UK Covid inquiry won’t cover Welsh-specific decisions in enough detail.

Decisions made in Wales, by our devolved Government were often different and had an impact, be it negative or positive. The Welsh Government made specific political capital out of this point multiple times.

The bereaved families of Wales deserve an inquiry that pays full attention to that decision-making in Cardiff Bay.

My party strongly believes in devolution, if Welsh Labour also do they need to understand that with increased powers comes increased scrutiny. An inquiry is not about apportioning blame, but rather learning vital lessons and ensuring we have a robust health system going forward.

The First Minister and Welsh Labour should urgently set up a Wales-specific COVID inquiry. Baroness Hallet herself today indicated it is not too late to do so.

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