21 March 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Interest rates: Families are still facing a mortgage cliff edge
  • Khan ‘failing’ on Met Police reform – Lib Dems slam mayor’s record on first anniversary of Casey report
  • Cole-Hamilton challenges Yousaf on SNP Government’s climate record
  • Rennie responds to poverty statistics
  • Water Industry Commission for Scotland branded an embarrassment

Interest rates: Families are still facing a mortgage cliff edge

Responding to the Bank of England’s decision to keep interest rates at 5.25%, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

This is cold comfort for millions of homeowners who still face massive hikes in their mortgage bills after Liz Truss crashed the economy. Many families still face a mortgage cliff edge despite this news.

Liz Truss’s disastrous mini-budget and the Conservative party’s economic vandalism has put intolerable pressure on people’s finances.

This Conservative government has no good story to tell on the economy.

The only way to break this cycle of stagnation and financial hardship is to kick this out of touch government out of office. Rishi Sunak needs to stop his desperate attempt to cling on to power and call an election.

Khan ‘failing’ on Met Police reform – Lib Dems slam mayor’s record on first anniversary of Casey report

A year on from the publication of Baroness Casey’s damning report on the Met police, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has made “no or only slow progress on key issues”, according to analysis by the Lib Dems.

The Casey Report, released on 21 March 2023, branded the Met Police as ‘institutionally sexist, racist and homophobic’. It was commissioned following the murder of Sarah Everard.

On the first anniversary of the report’s publication, Liberal Democrat London mayoral candidate Rob Blackie listed ten key areas where there has been slow or no progress:

  1. Domestic abuse cases with a ‘positive outcome’ fell from an already low 10.7% to 8.4%
  2. Less than one in ten rape cases have a ‘positive outcome’
  3. The Met still undertakes manual searches of police officer social media – making it far more likely that inappropriate recruits are not detected
  4. One in seven Met police officers is absent from frontline duty
  5. 565 additional rape and sexual offence investigators have been promised – but only 238 – 42% are in place.
  6. The Met is struggling to recruit – and is expected to end 2023/4 around 1,415 officers short, despite having Home Office funding available.
  7. More ethnic minority police officers have left the force in the last year than at any time since 2013.
  8. The proportion of new recruits to the Met who are ethnic minority has not increased since 2016
  9. Confidence in the police to do a good job has continued to fall – from 67% in March 2016 to 47% today
  10. Despite the Casey report’s description of black Londoners being disproportionately stop and searched by the Met, 46,000 ethnic minority Londoners have been searched for drugs, overwhelmingly cannabis, in the last year.

Rob Blackie said:

Sadiq Khan’s promised to reform the Met and restore Londoners’ trust. But since these pledges, detection and conviction rates have plummeted and public trust in the police has fallen. Figures published by the London Policing Board show that less than half of Londoners now think the Met is doing a good job.

The Mayor speaks as if all this was someone else’s problem and nothing to do with him, but he is responsible for running the police. The buck stops with him.

Sadiq Khan’s failure to make London safer for women since Sarah Everard’s murder represents his single biggest failure of his eight years in office.

I would make fixing the Met my top priority, putting 500 more officers back on the streets by diverting funding from election gimmicks and ensuring that the police spend more time on tackling serious crime, rather than wasting their time carrying out stop and searches for cannabis.

Too many Londoners suffer from the fear of crime, and the reality of violent crime. We are seeing crime rising across the capital with trust in the police falling. This is why I am standing for mayor.

Cole-Hamilton challenges Yousaf on SNP Government’s climate record

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon during First Minister’s Questions, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

Yesterday, the Committee on Climate Change delivered a devastating verdict about the record of the Scottish Government.

The key 2030 emissions target just won’t be met.

The government is off course by a country mile on heat pumps, electric vehicles, recycling and more.

And its Chair, Chris Stark, said yesterday the “strategy is just not there”.

Take tree planting, they say Scotland needs to do twice as much, but the government has just reduced spending on that by nearly half. It’s going to put people out of work and tree nurseries have already signalled they will have to torch hundreds of thousands of saplings because of the cuts.

To think the Environment Secretary once boasted that global leaders were looking to her government for advice. Well, her phone is silent now.

So, can I ask the First Minister, where are the Green Party in all of this? Fewer bus and train services, going nowhere on renewable heating, a botched deposit return scheme – doesn’t he recognise that bringing them into government has done precious little to help us combat the climate emergency?

Rennie responds to poverty statistics

Responding to new statistics which show that between 2018 and 2022 10% of people in Scotland, including 14% of children, were in persistent poverty after housing costs, with children living in relative poverty increasing to 260,000 in 2022-23, Scottish Liberal Democrat communities spokesperson Willie Rennie MSP said:

The SNP promised to reduce child poverty substantially by 2030, but it looks like we’re headed in the wrong direction.

These dismal figures should be a point of shame for both our governments. While the SNP have failed to build the thousands of homes promised for social rent, the Conservatives’ devastating cuts to social security have put more and more people at greater risk of poverty.

Scottish Liberal Democrats want to turn a tide on this scandal, and that’s why we want to see an expansion of funded childcare to make it accessible for all and an extension of free meals to all primary school children.

Water Industry Commission for Scotland branded an embarrassment

Responding to this morning’s Public Audit Committee evidence session which discussed the Water Industry Commission for Scotland spending money on expensive dinners and a £77,000 Harvard training course for one member of staff, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

When I first heard reports of this spending I was gobsmacked. It sounds as if the commission was spraying public money around like a fire hose.

Sewage was dumped at least 14,000 times last year, blighting our rivers and beaches. In the face of that scandal we need sober and effective watchdogs that are able to hold the government-owned water company to account.

Instead we have a commission which has been dragged before parliament in embarrassment.

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


  • Encouraging by election results yesterday. Let us hope it holds for May 2nd.

  • Disappointing to see ‘Lib Dems’ using the violent and pejorative word, “slam” in their campaign against the Mayor of London, but encouraging to hear Mr Cole-Hamilton calling for more ‘sobriety’.

  • Anthony Acton 22nd Mar '24 - 1:55pm

    Why does the party do so well in local elections when we do so badly in national opinion polls?

  • Simon McGrath 22nd Mar '24 - 2:50pm

    @ David Raw : “Disappointing to see ‘Lib Dems’ using the violent and pejorative word, “slam” in their campaign against the Mayor of London”

    could you explain what this means please

  • Peter Davies 22nd Mar '24 - 3:35pm

    ‘Slam’ is not a term refering to Sadiq Khan nor used by Rob Blackie. It’s a short version of ‘criticise’ used by sub-editors and press officers.

  • Peter Davies is correct. The word ‘slam’ was used by whoever produced the press release issued by Party HQ for publication and sent for publication to LDV.

    At best the word is sloppy tabloid journalism, at worst it has connotations of violence – which I’m sure Councillor McGrath knows full well without reference to a dictionary.

  • It says: ‘slam mayor’s record’ (not the mayor himself). Is the mayor’s record going to be upset by this journalistic cliché?
    (And it was never ‘sloppy tabloid journalism’ – print headlines have limited space, so subs have to use short words like ‘bid,’ ‘probe,’ ‘slam’).

    Meanwhile, it seems there is a long list of failures, and people in London suffering actual violence…

  • Matthew Radmore 22nd Mar '24 - 10:35pm

    Let’s focus our efforts on getting rid of this terrible government. I’m happy for their record, attitude and policies to be slammed and slammed again!

  • Chris Moore 23rd Mar '24 - 7:00pm

    Reform performance in locals won’t match up to national polling:

    1. Because they have very few local candidates.
    2. Beyond a handful of areas, their organisation is non-existent.
    3. And in any case, internet polling is probably exaggerating their national support.

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