21 November 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Surfers against Sewage Report: “Shameful” that people are falling sick from swimming in sewage
  • 400,000 patients waiting for NHS treatment since last Autumn Statement
  • Sexual harassment survey: Comment on BTP findings
  • Welsh Lib Dems urge speed up of Net Zero Plan
  • Welsh Lib Dems call more for ambitious clean air target
  • Welsh Lib Dems lay down their demands for Wales from upcoming Autumn statement

Surfers against Sewage Report: “Shameful” that people are falling sick from swimming in sewage

Responding to the Surfers Against Sewage report which has found bathing sites in the UK are failing to meet minimum safety levels, while hundreds of people are falling sick due to sewage pollution, Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Tim Farron MP said:

It is shameful that so many popular swimming spots are being ruined and people are getting seriously ill because of filthy sewage dumping. Water companies are being allowed to get away with committing environmental vandalism on a huge scale while pocketing huge bonuses.

This is an insult to families across the country who just want to swim at their local river or beach without worrying about falling sick because of disgusting sewage. It’s about time Conservative ministers cracked down on sewage dumping, starting with banning bonuses for water company bosses until this filthy practice is brought to an end.

400,000 patients waiting for NHS treatment since last Autumn Statement

  • The NHS backlog has grown to 7.8 million since last year’s Autumn Statement, with almost 400,000 waiting for treatment since before November 2022
  • Liberal Democrat Leader calls on the Chancellor to bring down NHS waiting lists to get people back to work and boost economic growth
  • Ed Davey: “Any plan for economic growth needs a plan for urgent NHS action. Without a new NHS plan, tens of thousands of people will be left out of work, in pain, desperate for treatment.”

Nearly 400,000 patients have been on a waiting list to start NHS treatment since before last year’s Autumn Statement, research by the Liberal Democrats has been revealed.

This new analysis of NHS figures shows a staggering 391,122 patients have been stuck in a backlog waiting for consultant-led treatment since before last November’s Autumn Statement. Meanwhile, the number of patients stuck on NHS waiting lists has increased to 7.8 million, up 700,000 compared to last year.

It comes as new polling by the Liberal Democrats found that one in seven working age adults (15%) say they’ve had to take a significant length of time off work in the past year as they wait for NHS treatment or surgery for a health condition.

The Liberal Democrats are warning that these treatment backlogs are damaging economic growth and will continue to impact both the economy and people’s quality of life without a significant rescue package.

The party is calling on the Government to include a new NHS plan with a robust series of measures to support the health service through this winter and longer term in the Autumn Statement. The Lib Dem NHS plan includes a strategy to boost GP numbers by 8,000, a major boost to cancer treatment services including funding for 200 new radiotherapy machines, expansion of mental health services and extra support for social care, including a new Carer’s Minimum Wage.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said:

People are suffering in pain and our economy is being dragged down by a Conservative Government failing our NHS. The constant chaos and in-fighting of this Government has seen Ministers too busy fighting off sleaze and scandal instead of focusing on reducing their record NHS waiting lists.

Any plan for economic growth needs a plan for urgent NHS action. Without a new NHS plan, tens of thousands of people will be left out of work, in pain, desperate for treatment. People are being forced out of work because they can’t get speedy healthcare treatment.

Investing in our healthcare system needs to be a priority in the Autumn Statement, otherwise we will find ourselves in an economic stalemate with an ever growing backlog of patients.

Sexual harassment survey: Comment on BTP findings

Responding to a new British Transport Police survey detailing that over a third of women have been victims of sexual harassment while commuting by train or tube, Lib Dem Mayoral Candidate, Rob Blackie, said:

It is deeply disturbing that women on their commute to work are suffering sexual harassment on such a huge scale.

When I recently asked Transport for London about this very issue, I was told that sexual harassment is at ‘a very low rate’. Their attitude is shocking. I am pursuing both TfL and the Mayor to take responsibility for safety on London’s trains and tubes.

Welsh Lib Dems urge speed up of Net Zero Plan

Today in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have urged the Welsh Government to speed up the implementation of their Net Zero Skills Action plan in the face of a worsening climate crisis.

The proposed scheme would see Wales utilise offshore wind in the Celtic Sea as a renewable energy source, whilst also providing training for thousands of new jobs in the green energy sector.

The scheme would also provide support for workers, such as those currently employed at TATA steel, to transition into low carbon sectors.

The Party are now urging the Welsh Government to implement the plan as soon as possible whilst also including a transitional Basic Income, to help steer Wales into a greener future.

Commenting, Jane Dodds MS said:

Today I am urging the Welsh Government to get a shift on and implement their Net Zero Skills Action Plan before it is too late.

We are in a tight race against the clock, a race we are currently losing.

If we are to get a fighting chance in this climate crisis, then we must push towards a greener deal for all of Wales.

The resources are there at our disposal, and the opportunity to create thousands of jobs is just within our grasp.

We have once in a generational opportunity here to capitalize on something that would steer us into a brighter and greener future, all we must do is press go.

Welsh Lib Dems call more for ambitious clean air target

Today in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal Democrats will support the Air Quality and Soundscapes (Wales) Bill.

Despite backing the bill, party leader Jane Dodds MS has urged the Welsh Government to make assurances for rural families who heavily rely on solid fuel to heat their homes, as part of government plans for smoke control areas.

The highest percentage of off-grid households are across Mid and West Wales, with almost 75% of properties in Ceredigion not being connected to the grid.

Commenting, Jane Dodds MS said:

I would like to state how pleased I am that this bill is finally progressing. We have waited far too long for tough new measures on air pollution to be brought forward.

We as a party have long fought for a Clean Air Act, pledging in the last Senedd election to introduce one within the first 100 days if elected.

Air pollution is an invisible threat that poses an immense danger to everyone here in Wales. Long-term exposure to dirty emissions can cause cardiovascular and respiratory issues, as well as increase the risk of developing cancer.

Simply put, dirty air shortens people’s lives. Which is why I support this, Bill.

At the same time however, we must be mindful of the impact that some measures could have on families in rural communities that rely on wood-burning fires for warmth.

We must make sure that these people are giving our full support in transitioning away from these stoves. They cannot afford to have their only heat source taken away from them.

Welsh Lib Dems lay down their demands for Wales from upcoming Autumn statement

Today the Welsh Liberal Democrats have laid down their priorities for Wales in the wake of the upcoming Autumn Statement.

The party have laid down the following prioritise:

  • Invest in our NHS, with a specific focus on providing funding for desperately needed dentistry services across Wales to cut down on waiting lists. Whilst also giving more school children access to preventative treatment through Design to Smile.
  • Invest in our future by giving desperately needed funds to schools to tackle the school funding crisis so that they can help support children from low-income families to succeed and access vital resources.
  • Invest in our economy by reducing business rates for small businesses through 2024-25.
  • Support people with the cost of living by taking direct action in supporting people struggling to keep a roof over their head by providing further financial support.

The party have also lashed out at the UK Conservative party for their systematic mismanagement of the economy that has dragged Wales down , while simultaneously demonising those who need the most support by threatening to remove desperately needed services to the sick and vulnerable.

Commenting on Party priorities, Jane Dodds MS said:

In the wake of the upcoming Autumn statement, we as a party have laid down what we want to see prioritised for Wales.

In a nutshell, we want to see investment. We want to see investment in our NHS, investment in our economy and an investment in our future.

Our NHS is in a dire state here in Wales, particularly in regard to our dentistry services. We must focus on providing funding for desperately needed dentistry services so that we can cut down on waiting lists.

We also need to invest in our economy by slashing rates for small businesses while at the same time ensuring that our schools are receiving funds that go directly to supporting children from low-income families.

We also need to help push people out of this cost-of-living crisis, behind every single statistic on homelessness is a person that needs help. We as a country must ensure that people struggling to keep a roof over their heads are being supported as much as possible.

She added:

In this year’s Autumn statement, instead of going after big banks and oil and gas giants, the Tories have decided to go after those most vulnerable in our society.

In the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, they have provided no support for struggling families.

We cannot let the Tories shake the narrative to suit them best, we cannot forget the damage that has been done.

The Conservatives, through all their chaos and mismanagement, have left our country teetering on the brink with an economy that has seen practically zero growth.

Instead of offering a helping hand to drag people out of the cost-of-living crisis, the Tories have instead raised taxes for those who cannot afford it while at the same time cutting taxes for those who can afford it.

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