22 May 2019 – today’s press releases

It’s not easy being in a political party’s Press Team when the governing party is in meltdown. After all, Theresa May is seemingly holed up in 10 Downing Street, a chair wedged under the door handle to prevent anyone from getting in. The Leader of the House is gone, and who knows if she’s merely the first of many?

And all this on the eve of European Parliamentary elections in which the Conservatives are expected to take a kicking not dissimilar to that the Liberal Democrats took in 2015…

  • Lib Dems: Botched Apprenticeship Levy implementation hurting most disadvantaged
  • Gove clutching at straws with new plastic strategy
  • Cable: This election will strike a hammer blow to the heart of Brexit
  • Lamb: Whorlton Hall hospital scandal must be ended by Health Sec

Lib Dems: Botched Apprenticeship Levy implementation hurting most disadvantaged

Today’s report by the Public Accounts Committee on the apprenticeship programme finds that the percentage of apprentices from disadvantaged areas has fallen since 2015.

Commenting on the report, Public Accounts Committee member and Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

The Conservatives’ botched apprenticeship reforms have badly let down young people. Apprenticeship starts have fallen off a cliff since the levy was introduced in 2017. Small businesses want to take on more apprentices but training providers don’t have the money.

There is too much bureaucracy and too little flexibility. And it’s the most disadvantaged young people who are losing out.

Liberal Democrats demand better for our young people. We would boost the quality of apprenticeships by ensuring that each one includes a recognised qualification. And we would re-prioritise those with the lowest skills by rebranding Level 2 courses as ‘traineeships’ that provide a stepping stone to further study.

Once businesses have a well-functioning apprenticeship programme, we can then offer them the flexibility they are so desperate for by expanding the Apprenticeship Levy to fund other forms of skills and training.

Gove clutching at straws with new plastic strategy

Responding to the Government’s proposals to bring in new controls on plastic items, Liberal Democrat DEFRA spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

It is good to see that the Government finally conceded that there is a need to get serious about plastic pollution, but this plan is not ambitious enough to save our seas.

We need to tackle our throw-away culture, and this new government strategy doesn’t come close to taking the steps we need to take. If we are waiting a year to bring in these changes, 4,700 million straws and 1,800 million plastic cotton buds will be thrown away before we get real about tackling it.

Instead of reheating old press releases about taking action in a years time, they should take action now to protect our environment for future generations.

Cable: This election will strike a hammer blow to the heart of Brexit

Tonight, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable will address activists on the eve of poll in Cambridge.

He is expected to say:

Tomorrow Remainers have the chance to send a message to the Tories and Labour who have so bitterly let the country down over the past three years. Theresa May’s legacy will be three years of leaderless squabbling and wasted opportunities.

Every Liberal Democrat elected tomorrow will be a strong voice for a People’s Vote and remaining in the EU.

We have seen members of other parties pledge to support the Liberal Democrats because of our clear message that the people should have the final say. We are the strongest remain party and tomorrow we can deliver.

We are proud to say that every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to stop Brexit. Liberal Democrats activists have knocked on over 800,000 doors through this campaign, and tomorrow we will be out again working hard from dawn to dusk to deliver the result this country needs.

Tomorrow Remainers can punish the Conservatives and Labour for letting them down and strike a hammer blow to the heart of Brexit.

Lamb: Whorlton Hall hospital scandal must be ended by Health Sec

Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb has called for the Secretary of State to personally commit to ending the ongoing scandal at Whorlton Hall hospital as uncovered by Panorama. The former Health Minister said:

The abuse and mistreatment of vulnerable adults at a specialist hospital has been uncovered by the BBC’s Panorama programme.

I applaud Panorama for uncovering a disgusting culture at Whorlton Hall. This abuse of people with Learning Disability and Autism is profoundly disturbing. There must be severe consequences for those who are guilty of this behaviour but also for the company who allowed this to happen. There can be no place for providers who allow this to happen. What was uncovered was not a one-off incident, which would be bad enough, but a whole rotten culture.

The bottom line is that far too many people with LD and autism still end up inappropriately in these institutions when they are capable of living in the community with support. This is a shameful abuse of their human rights. They continue to be treated as second class citizens.

Incredibly, the Transforming Care programme, intended to get people out of institutions, ended in March and we are still waiting for a replacement programme.

I call on the Secretary of State to personally commit to ending this ongoing scandal and for the Government to commit significant additional resources to building community support to enable people to live better lives out of these institutions.

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2 Comments

  • Richard Underhill 23rd May '19 - 8:27am

    The PM’s statement on her Brexit bill did not include publication of the details. She intends to bring it to the Commons after the recess. The Leader of the House does not want to present it and resigned.
    There was a statement on steel from the Business Secretary, who happens to be our local MP. He does understand that a steelworks is different from other businesses, in that turning off the blast furnaces, or mothballing them, makes it difficult to restart them. The owner of the business, bought for £1 when in financial difficulty, was “unwilling, or unable”, to provide further funds and asked the government for emergency funding. A loan was seriously considered, but the business lacked the prospects of ability to repay in terms of both assets and prospects of future profitability. The Official Receiver is now in charge and, backed by a government guarantee, has been able to pay the workforce for the current month, early. The Minister did not provide any estimate of the likely cost to the public purse of honouring his guarantee. He did hope that other steel businesses might be interested in buying the business, but it is “early days” and expressions of interest must be considered by the receiver. The Labour spokesperson, Long-Bailey, wanted to nationalise, but also gave no estimate of the likely costs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebecca_Long-Bailey.
    Although competition in steel prices, mainly from China, has been severe, the company has been saying that it produces high quality steel, with the unstated implication that it sells at high prices without competition.
    The insolvency of the company worsens the situation as suppliers demand cash up front and financiers have been unwilling to lend.
    Local MPs (Labour) reminded us that a Tory government had (partially) nationalised Rolls-Royce ( a defence contractor making aero-engines). Tony Benn had referred to the actions of the Heath government. Michael Heseltine had to admit that Benn was correct. The Rolls-Royce and Bentley car business was sold to Volkswagen. The Rolls-Royce brand name was sold to BMW.

  • Richard Underhill 23rd May '19 - 2:29pm

    The resignation of Andrea Leadsom has had very little effect.
    Did she time it to help a leadership bid?
    The Tories still have ambitious junior ministers willing to fill any vacancy.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_Stride.

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