26 October 2018 – today’s press releases

A very diverse range of press releases today, it must be said…

Universal Credit causing unacceptable hardship

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has slammed the Conservative Government for refusing to listen to problems experienced by those on Universal Credit as the Public Accounts Committee urges Ministers to make fundamental changes to the scheme.

The Public Accounts Committee has today (26th October) published its report into the implementation of Universal Credit. The committee concludes that:

  • The DWP’s dismissive attitude to real-world experience is failing claimants
  • The recent announcement of delayed roll-out is not a solution
  • The Government must work with third-party organisations to shape programme

Liberal Democrat MP and Public Accounts Committee member, Layla Moran said:

Day in and day out I hear stories of payment delays, penalties and technical failures leading to hardship and mental health problems. But instead of listening to constructive criticism, the Conservatives attempt to force through Universal Credit without reform is creating a new poll tax.

This damming report proves what many of us suspected, and the Liberal Democrats demand better. The billions of pounds of funding that were cut from Universal Credit in 2015 must urgently be restored so that people get the support they need.

Government ignoring climate change threat to homes

Responding to the Committee on Climate Change report ‘Managing the coast in a changing climate’, former Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey said:

This alarming report shows how climate change can and is already affecting the lives of millions – with huge numbers of homes at risk of flooding.

The costs of climate change damage will only get greater if we don’t act faster. Yet the Government is now on a “go slow” path to tackling climate change – when Liberal Democrats had put us in the fast lane.

Just last week the Government asked the Committee on Climate Change for advice on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, moving towards net-zero emissions. But they told the Committee not to offer any advice on the existing targets for ten years.

This is deeply worrying. They’re trying to kick the can down the road not realising that climate change is here now. Liberal Democrats demand better.

Repression of Uyghurs amounts to Ethnic Cleansing

A group of Liberal Democrat MPs have today written to the Foreign Secretary urging the Government to condemn the Chinese Government’s repression of the Uyghur community in the Xinjiang province in North West China.

In the letter, the group of Liberal Democrat MPs called on the Government to specially condemn the “re-education camps” before the upcoming UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of China in November.

The intervention comes as satellite photos were taken in October revealing at least two of the ‘training camps’ – located near the cities of Kashgar and Hotan – are growing rapidly.

Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael said:

What is happening to the Uyghurs in Xinjiang is clearly a deliberate act of ethnic cleansing by the Chinese state. It cannot be right that millions of people are being detained based on their ethnicity and being forced to renounce their religion and culture, as is being widely reported.

When I met with Dolkun Isa, the President of the World Uyghur Congress, last week, he told me about the camps, and what was happening to his community. It was harrowing.

The UK Government should take a lead in denouncing this gross violation of human rights, and call on the Chinese Government to close the camps.

PM must “do the right thing” on same-sex marriage as Bill is blocked

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has called on the Government to “do the right thing” and allow MPs a vote on allowing same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland following two Tory MPs blocking the Same-Sex Marriage (Northern Ireland) Bill from progressing in the House of Commons today.

Liberal Democrat MP, and co-sponsor of the Same-Sex Marriage (Northern Ireland) Bill, Layla Moran said:

It is shocking that one of the Tory Government’s own MPs has blocked this Bill going forward. It flies in the face of a large majority of the Northern Irish public and politicians who support same-sex marriage.

Liberal Democrats demand better. Every couple in all parts of the United Kingdom, no matter where they live or who they love, deserve the right to get married.

Following the successful campaign to change guidelines to make sure human rights in Northern Ireland are respected by the Government, Ministers must act. They must stand up to the DUP, do the right thing and allow MPs a vote on allowing same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

Government ‘dragging its feet” on helping Chagos islanders

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine MP has today demanded the Government address the immigration struggles of Chagos islanders, after the British Indian Ocean Territory (Citizenship) Bill was blocked from advancing for the second time.

The Bill, which has cross party support, was objected to at its initial Stage 2 reading on Friday 16th March 2018 and has now been blocked in the House of Commons for a second time.

The Home Affairs Committee report on the Windrush generation recommends that the Government support the British Indian Ocean Territory (Citizenship) Bill and “allow anyone who can prove that they are descended from a person born on the Chagos Islands to register as a British overseas territories citizen and thereby have a right to remain in the UK”.

Christine Jardine said:

The Government cannot kick the can down the road on Chagossians’ futures forever in the hope it won’t be noticed. We will not let them repeat the mistreatments of Windrush.

The Home Secretary has promised to consider this appeal for months now. He must immediately confirm whether the government will support the BIOT Bill and quash the worries of the descendants of those evicted from Chagos, who can’t return home and can’t meet the steep costs of citizenship.

This is is the Windrush scandal all over again. This Conservative Government has neither learned nor changed.

Minister must answer for ‘secret’ fracking meeting

Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Tim Farron has today called for the Climate Change Minister, Claire Perry, to make a statement to Parliament to explain why she held an unrecorded meeting with fracking companies.

The Liberal Democrat MP also wants the Climate Change Minister to explain her proposed plan to relax rules designed to halt fracking operations given Cuadrilla has been forced to suspend fracking at their Lancashire site after a 0.8 magnitude earthquake was recorded.

Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron said:

The public will expect questions to be asked about the Climate Change Minister and her ‘secret’ meeting with fracking companies. We need to know who Minsters are being lobbied by and what they discussed, otherwise there can be no confidence in the Government.

Given the Climate Change Minister has also proposed a plan to relax rules designed to halt fracking, the public have a right to know why. Lib Dems put those measures in place to safeguard communities, as has been the case in Lancashire.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. The Climate Change Minister must give a statement to Parliament and be held to account by MPs.

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