22-28 August 2020 – the week’s press releases

It’s summertime, not much happening at Westminster, and most attention on the Liberal Democrats was focussed on the leadership contest. Time to catch up with what you might have missed…

  • Cost of tackling food crime soars more than 1000% due to Brexit, Liberal Democrats reveal
  • Boris Johnson put saving his advisor above the national interest
  • Williamson allowing someone else to take the blame for exam fiasco
  • Liberal Democrats: Missed test and trace targets show need for inquiry

Cost of tackling food crime soars more than 1000% due to Brexit, Liberal Democrats reveal

The Liberal Democrats have revealed the cost of the National Food Crime Unit, vital in making sure food sold in the UK is safe, has seen costs soar by more than 1000% in the past five years as a direct result of Brexit.

Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron warned the cost of Brexit is “increasingly clear” and urged Ministers to uphold high food safety standards and prevent the UK being “flooded with cheap imports that put our health at risk.”

Figures uncovered by a Liberal Democrat freedom of information request have revealed the NFCU budget has gone from a budget of just £420,739 since it’s creation in 2015 to more than £5.7m in 2020/21.

The extra funding comes via the expanded Food Standards Agency budget, in order to facilitate NFCU readiness for “any risks or opportunities presented by the UK’s exit from the EU.”

Liberal Democrat Food and Rural Affairs Spokesperson Tim Farron:

We all want to know what’s in every product we consume, and have faith that it’s correctly labelled.

While it is right the Government provides essential funding to tackle food crime, we cannot ignore the fact that the costs have gone up more than 1000% as a result of Brexit.

The true cost of falling out of the EU is increasingly clear. As Ministers struggle to cut trade deals, we are set to lose access to many protections that will cost millions to replicate here in the UK.

To end the uncertainty and prevent soaring costs, the Government must commit to upholding our high food safety standards, supporting British producers and ensuring our markets are not flooded with cheap imports that put our health at risk in the future.

Boris Johnson put saving his advisor above the national interest

New survey data from the Office for National Statistics shows that the Dominic Cummings scandal eroded people’s belief that the UK would emerge more united from the coronavirus crisis.

The proportion of people believing that Britain would emerge from the pandemic “very or somewhat united” fell from 49% the week before the Cummings scandal broke, to 43% the week after, and has fallen further since to 28%. Meanwhile, the proportion saying we will be “very or somewhat divided” jumped from 31% to 38% when the scandal broke, and now stands at 55%.

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

Despite the enormous toll that the coronavirus crisis is taking, the British people have shown a powerful desire to pull together as a country. We have seen it in countless extraordinary acts of kindness and sacrifice to keep others safe.

At times like this, the Government should be fostering that sense of unity, but Boris Johnson has sadly undermined it with his alarming lack of leadership, confusing messages and poor judgement.

It is clear that, when Boris Johnson chose to put saving Dominic Cummings above the national interest, he did enormous damage not only to public trust in the Government but also people’s hopes of a more united country.

The British people are amazingly resilient and optimistic, but we are being let down by the weakness and incompetence of our current Prime Minister.

Williamson allowing someone else to take the blame for exam fiasco

Responding to the news that Ofqual head Sally Collier has resigned, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

It is incredibly disappointing that Gavin Williamson has refused to take responsibility for the combination of initial school return failure and the more recent exam fiasco and has instead allowed to let someone else take the blame.

He has lost the trust of students, parents and teachers who he failed to consult, leaving universities and colleges in chaos.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister is still yet to apologise for the stress and harm his government caused to students, parents and teachers.

Gavin Williamson is simply not the person the deliver a safe return to schools and must resign.

Liberal Democrats: Missed test and trace targets show need for inquiry

Responding to figures revealing the Government’s test and trace system has missed its 80% target for a ninth consecutive week, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

With students going back to school and autumn arriving, the priority must be keeping people safe as lockdown is eased.

Despite it being months since we went into lockdown, 1 in 4 close contacts are consistently not being contacted. The Government must take a serious look at its efforts to deliver the comprehensive strategy to test, trace and isolate every case of coronavirus that is needed to keep people safe.

Given the multitude of mistakes made by this Government throughout the pandemic, an inquiry must be launched now so that all levels of Government can learn lessons to prevent further spread of the virus.

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This entry was posted in News and Press releases.
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One Comment

  • You’re slacking in your descriptive narrative Mr Valladares. No use of the words, broken, emergency, crisis, disaster, incompetent / s or dispicable? merely the relatively timid scandal and fiasco, to be sure things are looking up for the government.
    More seriously you report the cost of the NFCU has increased by a factor of just over 10 over a five year period and state this is directly due to Brexit, are you suggesting that the budget would have remained static had Brexit not happened? The NFCU was of course established in 2015 in response
    to the review of the 2013 horse meat incident, remember that scandal?

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