21 September 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Business energy bills announcement: a temporary sticking plaster
  • IFS debt analysis: Taxpayers footing the bill for Truss’s ideological obsessions
  • Conservatives handing banks a £6 billion tax cut, new research reveals
  • Calls for an Investigation into Failed Welsh Government Insulation Schemes
  • Demands Welsh Government ‘Names and Shame’ Property Developers Failing to Act on the Building Safety Scandal
  • Dental Crisis: Only 34% of Patients in Southwark Have Been Seen by an NHS Dentist in Past Two Years

Business energy bills announcement: a temporary sticking plaster

Responding to the government announcement on bills for businesses and the public sector, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson, Sarah Olney MP said:

This temporary sticking plaster comes too late for the many small businesses that already closed their doors for the last time because they couldn’t afford soaring bills.

The Conservatives have sat on their hands for months while treasured pubs, cafes and high street shops went to the wall.

This delayed announcement will leave our small businesses, schools and hospitals under a cloud of damaging uncertainty. The government have no plan beyond these next six months, paralysing businesses who need to make decisions for the long term. Support for high streets and public services should be in place for at least the next year and include measures to improve energy efficiency and cut bills in the long term.

The announcement shows the Conservatives have no plan and no understanding of the pressures facing our businesses and public services.

IFS debt analysis: Taxpayers footing the bill for Truss’s ideological obsessions

Responding to IFS analysis which shows debt is being left on an unsustainable path by the government, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

Liz Truss is asking hard-pressed taxpayers to fund her ideological obsessions in the middle of the biggest cost of living crisis in a generation. This is no way to govern Britain.

The Conservatives are prioritising record oil company profits and bankers’ bonuses whilst families struggle to pay their own heating bills.

This Government has lost all sense of fiscal responsibility. Future generations will be paying off the Conservatives’ debt for years to come with no guarantee of economic growth.

Conservatives handing banks a £6 billion tax cut, new research reveals

The Conservatives are set to hand big banks a tax cut of more than £6 billion over the next two years, new House of Commons Library analysis commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The research shows that the finance and insurance industry is set to benefit more than any other sector from Prime Minister Liz Truss’ plans to freeze corporation tax instead of increasing it next year to 25%.

Big banks and other finance companies in the UK would see their taxes slashed by £2.6 billion in 2023/24, followed by another tax cut of £3.6 billion the following year. The research comes amid reports the Government is also considering lifting the cap on bankers’ bonuses at Friday’s mini Budget.

The big four high street banks made an eye watering profit of over £34 billion in 2021-22 and off the back of that, bankers saw bonuses of over £4 billion – the highest since before the financial crisis.

Ahead of the mini-Budget on Friday the Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to cancel the planned tax cut for banks and other large corporations, and use the money raised to give extra support to struggling households with their energy bills.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

It is shameful that the Conservatives are choosing to cut taxes for the big banks, while leaving families and pensioners still struggling to pay their bills this winter.

The action taken by the Government will still see people’s energy bills double compared to last year. Meanwhile, big banks will be celebrating a bumper payday under the Conservatives as families have to choose between going cold or hungry.

It is time Liz Truss put the British people first by scrapping this bankers’ tax cut and helping hard-pressed families instead.

Calls for an Investigation into Failed Welsh Government Insulation Schemes

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called for an investigation into successive failed insulation schemes by the Welsh Government.

Today in the Senedd, during a debate on the Equality and Social Justice Committee’s report on Fuel poverty and the Warm Homes Programme, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS who sits on the ESJ committee called for an investigation into successive failed home insulation schemes by the Welsh Labour Government.

During the debate Jane Dodds accused the Welsh Government schemes of leaving Welsh households extremely vulnerable to the energy crisis, being poorly targeted and too slow to be rolled out.

Previous research by the Welsh Liberal Democrats has shown that the current Nest insulation scheme is being rolled out so slowly it could take up to 135 years to insulate every fuel poverty stricken home in Wales.

The research also shows that almost half of those who received support through the Programme last year were deemed to not be in fuel poverty –and that figure was more than 60% in the previous year, suggesting the scheme is being poorly targeted.

Estimates released by the Welsh Government earlier this year predict that over 45% of households in Wales could now be living in fuel poverty.

Despite having committed to eradicating fuel poverty in 2003, rates in Wales have remained stubbornly high.

The report released from the Auditor General reviewed by the ESJ stated that the predecessor insulation scheme to Nest, Arbed was hampered by “gaps, and inaccuracies in management information and a lack of ongoing contract monitoring and compliance”.

The Auditor General’s report also highlighted the decommissioning of £7.5 million of European Structural Funds because Arbed was unable to spend its budget, and Nest didn’t have the capacity to increase delivery.

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:

The failure of the Welsh Government’s £400 million, multi-agency programme aimed at eradicating fuel poverty by 2018 raises serious concerns about the Welsh Government’s commitment to tackling fuel poverty. This is even more so the case now it seems that the Nest programme is suffering from similar failures.

Welsh Labour need to commit to an investigation to address the failure to properly manage public money here.

It is important to learn lessons from these failures, Welsh households cannot wait a potential 135 years to insulate vulnerable homes. The impact on public health, the economy and the environment of not solving this problem is insurmountable.

The Welsh Government has huge questions to answer about the scale, investment, management and pace of any future scheme.

Demands Welsh Government ‘Names and Shame’ Property Developers Failing to Act on the Building Safety Scandal

Welsh Liberal Democrats have demanded that the Welsh Government publicly names and shames property developers that are refusing to engage in remediation work on buildings affected by the cladding and building safety crisis.

Five years on from the Grenfell disaster there are still buildings throughout Wales (mainly concentrated in Cardiff and Swansea) that are considered unsafe due to ill-suited building materials or techniques.

Earlier this month, a series of small fires in the Victoria Wharf development in Cardiff Bay triggered fears another disaster could happen if action isn’t taken soon.

Although the Welsh Government has committed to rolling out the Building Safety Act and is negotiating a Developer Agreement to get developers to sign up to cover remediation costs, the Welsh Liberal Democrats and building safety campaigners have stated that the process is not transparent and full of uncertainty and a lack of clarity.

Of significant note, the Welsh Government has not committed to a timeline for enacting the Building Safety Act which is already in place in England.

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

It has been five years since Grenfell now. We cannot carry on with this situation where homeowners are left in unsafe homes, paying out huge amounts of money towards remediation work, court bills or waking watches.

This has a huge impact on not only their finances but also their mental health.

Some of these buildings are only meters away from the Welsh Parliament, we cannot have any more excuses.

We need to see the extension of the Building Safety Act, in full, to Wales immediately and it is high time those property developers refusing to engage with the Welsh Government are publicly named and shamed and legislated against.

Dental Crisis: Only 34% of Patients in Southwark Have Been Seen by an NHS Dentist in Past Two Years

The number of people who’ve seen an NHS dentist in Southwark has plummeted in recent years, shocking new figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

Only 34% of adults in Southwark, were able to secure an appointment with an NHS dentist in the past two years. This is down from 46.2% who saw an NHS dentist in the two years up to 2018.

In a similarly desperate situation, only 38% children in Southwark have been able to see a dentist in the last 12 months, despite the NHS recommending under-18s see a dentist at least once a year. This is down from 47% of children who had seen an NHS dentist in the year to 2018.

It comes as distressing polling has found that one in five (21%) adults unable to see a dentist have carried out DIY dentistry in a desperate attempt to relieve their pain.

The stark figures were compiled by the House of Commons Library following a request by the Liberal Democrats.

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to set out an NHS winter rescue plan this week as soon as Parliament returns, to provide urgent help to those living in dental agony. This would also include immediate action to reduce dangerously long ambulance waiting times and speed up access to healthcare for the almost seven million people stuck on NHS waiting lists.

Commenting, Cllr Victor Chamberlain, Leader of the Southwark Liberal Democrat Group said:

Far too many people in Southwark are struggling to see an NHS dentist and get the affordable dental healthcare they need.

We’ve reached a breaking point in this crisis. NHS dentist appointments are becoming harder to get than ever and some practices are shutting their doors to NHS patients all together, but the government is missing in action.

As the cost of living catastrophe continues to hit households hard, private dentistry is not a feasible alternative for the many people living in pain.

It’s a national scandal that people in our community are desperately turning to dangerous DIY dentistry because our public health services have been run into the ground by this Conservative government.

The Liberal Democrats are urging the Government to fund an NHS winter rescue package to improve access to NHS dental appointments, reduce ambulance waiting times and speed up treatment for those who need it.

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One Comment

  • Suzanne Fletcher 22nd Sep '22 - 9:05am

    How do I start getting press releases again? and how does anyone not on a list to get them view them?

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