22 May 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Govt must leave no one behind in the fight against coronavirus
  • Record low in retail sales demand reform
  • Self-employed must not be left behind
  • Education Sec has failed to listen to teachers and parents through this crisis – Moran
  • If he’s broken the guidelines, Cummings will have to go – Davey

Govt must leave no one behind in the fight against coronavirus

Responding to ONS statistics which show the highest monthly borrowing on record, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

These figures show the devastating impact this crisis is having on our economy. People and businesses across the country are facing financial hardship, and it’s right that the Government is using its ability to borrow money very cheaply to help save jobs.

We must make sure that no one is left behind as we tackle this cruel virus. The Government must extend its support for self-employed people in line with the furlough scheme, and expand it to cover those who are currently left out, including the newly self-employed.

As we recover from this crisis, it will be essential that the Government continues to invest to protect jobs and build a fairer, greener and more productive economy that works for everyone.

Record low in retail sales demand reform

Responding to ONS statistics out today which reveal the volume of retail sales in April 2020 fell by a record 18.1%, Liberal Democrat Business Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

Countless businesses and workers are fearing financial hardship because of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, with retail and our high streets hit particularly hard.

We must make sure that no one is left behind. The Government must extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until all parts of the economy can open fully and safely and ensure small businesses and charity shops have the financial support they need to survive.

Going forward, Ministers must also boost investment and foster the environment needed for local businesses to grow and create jobs by finally scrapping the broken business rates system.

Self-employed must not be left behind

Today, analysis by the LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance on the impact of the coronavirus crisis on self-employed people found that “over the last month, 46% have had trouble paying for basic expenses such as rent, mortgage payments or essentials.”

Responding, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

The coronavirus crisis is leaving thousands of families facing financial hardship. We must ensure no one is left behind. The Government must extend its support for self-employed people in line with the furlough scheme, and expand it to cover those who are currently left out, including the newly self-employed.

The government rightly paid out grants this month but that was to cover lost earning over the past three months. With the economy in a dire situation and the social distancing measures likely to continue for several months millions of self-employed people who are currently living on the edge.

Taxi drivers, hairdressers, cleaners and childcare providers, amongst many other self-employed people in our communities, need the help and support that is being given to furloughed staff.

Education Sec has failed to listen to teachers and parents through this crisis – Moran

Responding to the government’s release of the SAGE advice on school reopening, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

The government at the 11th hour have relented and released the scientific advice. Serious questions need to be asked about why it took so long for this to be made public. The delay has caused unnecessary stress to parents and teachers and left schools answering questions in the dark.

The advice suggests that any reopening when the R rate is close to 1, which it may well be right now in some regions of the UK, risks causing a second peak. There are also concerns for BAME and older teachers – why has the Government ignored this in their guidance?

This whole sorry saga is a sad indictment on Gavin Williamson, his failure to listen, and his lack of control of his department during this crisis.

If he’s broken the guidelines, Cummings will have to go – Davey

Responding to reports that Dominic Cummings broke the governments lockdown guidelines, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

Millions of people have made incredible sacrifices over the past three months to do their bit to stop the coronavirus. They have been forced to cancel their normal daily lives as well as important family gatherings like weddings. Many have had to witness the funerals of loved ones through video conference.

They expect senior members of the Prime Minister’s office to stay home too.

If Dominic Cummings has broken the guidelines he will have to resign, it is as simple as that.

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