24 January 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Borrowing Figures: The Govt have no economic competence left
  • Stockport becomes first council to launch a sewage inquiry amid public outrage
  • Mark Drakeford Challenged on Abysmal Ambulance Waiting Times

Borrowing Figures: The Govt have no economic competence left

Responding to the latest borrowing figures, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

A toxic combination of Conservative incompetence and reckless decision making at the top of Government have blown a hole in the country’s finances, and now ministers are making British families pay for it.

A long-list of Conservative Chancellors have hiked taxes, added hundreds of pounds a month to mortgages and left the country with unnecessarily high borrowing costs. The British public will never trust the Conservative party again with the economy. This Conservative Government doesn’t have a shred of economic competence left after months of chaos.

Stockport becomes first council to launch a sewage inquiry amid public outrage

  • Water company hauled in front of public meeting to defend thousands of hours worth of sewage discharges into rivers
  • The Environment Agency confirms in written evidence that water quality is “poor” and the Water Industry “is responsible”
  • Chair of the new inquiry Cllr Smart slams “a national scandal which pollutes our rivers and puts animals lives at risk”

Liberal Democrat run Stockport Council has become the first council in the country to launch an official Sewage Inquiry.

There is widespread outrage across Stockport after United Utilities dumped sewage into the river Mersey a staggering 977 times last year, lasting 3,271 hours. Across Stockport, the water firm discharged 13,372 hours of sewage discharges into local rivers.

Analysis of company house records by the Liberal Democrats found United Utilities are paying their executives over £2 million in bonuses despite polluting rivers across the North West, including the Lake District.

Local people are raising fears of dogs and children paddling in the River Goyt and the Mersey.

Councillor Lisa Smart is chairing the inquiry and last night heard the first oral evidence at a public meeting. United Utilities were asked questions by Lisa Smart on the eye-watering number of sewage dumps into rivers.

The inquiry has already received written evidence from the Environment Agency which found “Achieving Good Ecological Status or good water quality at an element level in these waterbodies will be extremely challenging and will largely be predicated on Water Industry investment”.

Once the inquiry is complete, Cllr Smart will publish a report with recommendations to both United Utilities and the Government.

Chair of the Stockport Sewage Inquiry, Liberal Democrat Councillor Lisa Smart, said:

The sewage crisis risks ruining our treasured rivers forever. People in Stockport are furious that water companies are being allowed to get away with it.

United Utilities are rewarding their executives with eye-watering bonuses whilst local people fear walking their dogs along our local rivers and streams such as the Mersey, the Goyt and Poise Brook. We also have Otters who live in the area and are being forced to swim in foul sewage.

This is a national scandal which pollutes our rivers and puts animals’ lives at risk.

If the Government won’t act, then we will. I am proud to chair the first ever official inquiry into sewage being discharged into rivers. Conservative Ministers have ignored local people in Stockport for too long on the sewage crisis. Now our voices will be heard at last

Mark Drakeford Challenged on Abysmal Ambulance Waiting Times

During today’s First Minister’s Questions in the Senedd Mark Drakeford was challenged by Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds over recent ambulance waiting statistics, which have reached their highest level in history.

Commenting in the Chamber Jane Dodds MS said:

First Minister, imagine someone has just called 999 with chest pains. When would you expect an ambulance to arrive?

I’m sure you’ll recognise that question from the Leader of the UK Labour Party, Keir Starmer, who asked the Prime Minister that same question last week. The Prime Minister refused him a straight answer.

I’ll give the First Minister the answer to that question for Wales: – For the person who’s just called 999 with chest pains (an amber call) they will likely wait over an hour for that ambulance to arrive – at least half past 2.

If the person who’d just called 999 was in a life-threatening situation, they could wait as long as 15 minutes in Powys. The target for those red calls is 8 minutes.

The last time these targets were met was July 2020 and the figures have been in freefall ever since. This has been going on far too long, and the decision of hard-working ambulance staff to take industrial action shows that there is a real crisis in our health service. They work incredibly hard and I thank them all.

So, First Minister, can you tell me when you expect these targets to be met? Will it be another 2 and a half years before you can meet your own Government’s target?

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One Comment

  • Stop fining companies for transgressions. Companies don’t take decisions and fines are regarded as “working expenses” and passed on to customers. Fine those who are responsible for decisions, i.e. the executives.

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