26 September 2020 – conference day 2 press releases

  • Liberal Democrats condemn health inequalities “exposed in technicolour” by Covid crisis
  • Liberal Democrats demand Raab steps up sanctions against China over treatment of Uyghurs
  • Liberal Democrats call on Government to tackle ‘Long Covid’

Liberal Democrats condemn health inequalities “exposed in technicolour” by Covid crisis

In her first keynote address as Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson Munira Wilson will condemn the health inequalities “exposed in technicolour” through the COVID-19 crisis, and call for a Minister for Wellbeing to ensure that Government decisions are “fundamentally in keeping with health and wellbeing.” She is expected to say:

The coronavirus has not just laid bare the fundamental problems facing our NHS and care sectors, it has exposed in technicolour the health inequalities facing the UK, and shown us why we need to rethink the way we see healthcare as a whole.

We have seen the impact of poor and overcrowded housing, insecure employment and our broken welfare system on not just our physical health, but also our mental health and wellbeing.

We have seen those health inequalities play out in real time, most shockingly in the disproportionate impact of COVID on people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, on people with disabilities, and on the poorest.

When we think about the future, it’s clear that going “back to normal” is not an option. It is time to re-boot and re-think the way we live our lives, and the Government’s role in helping us to do so in a more sustainable, healthier way.

That starts with making someone at the Cabinet table responsible: a Minister for Wellbeing who will scrutinise the Government’s actions and ensure they are fundamentally in keeping with health and wellbeing.

As well as this, in the same way that Equality Impact Assessments pushed equality up the agenda, we need to introduce wellbeing assessments to make sure new laws empower people to live healthier lives.

Liberal Democrats demand Raab steps up sanctions against China over treatment of Uyghurs

In her first keynote address as Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, Layla Moran will demand the Foreign Secretary does more to hold the Chinese Government to account in response to the treatment of the Uyghur population. She will warn “we can’t just sit by and watch while a genocide is being engineered against the Uyghurs”.

Layla Moran is also set to call for the Government to ban the sale of products produced in the labour camps in Xinjiang, as well as condemning the Government’s plans to cut foreign aid.

In her speech she is expected to say:

Aid spending

We have a Tory Government that is considering scrapping our aid spending commitments, and it’s turning a blind eye to human rights atrocities abroad, and flouting international law.

…..

The Liberal Democrats will always stand with the oppressed and the marginalised across the globe, as the only truly internationalist party that seems to be left in Parliament today.

…..

With illnesses like Covid-19, no one is free from it until everyone is free from it.

…..

Our response is only as strong as the weakest healthcare system. To withhold aid now is not only morally wrong, it’s against our own interests too.

Uyghur population

What’s happening to the Uyghur population in Xinjiang province is nothing short of genocide. End of.

History is watching us. The world is looking to the UK and the international community to stand up and take action.

We can’t just sit by and watch while a genocide is being engineered against the Uyghurs.

I wonder, has Dominic Raab seen the footage of people being led off trains to internment camps? I simply don’t believe he hasn’t.

Which begs the question: why is he ignoring it?

…..

Any company selling products produced in the labour camps should not receive our support.

And I call on our Government to ban the sale of those products immediately.

…..

The Government must do the right thing and quickly.

That includes using Magnitsky-style sanctions against state and non-state individuals who are involved in implementing these clear violations of human rights.

…..

And if we allow these companies to move their operations to the UK, or we fail to take the security threat seriously, we’re tacitly accepting that repression, the ‘re-education’, the sterilisation and other inhumane abuses are OK.

It is not OK.

So, Dominic Raab, pull your finger out.

Liberal Democrats call on Government to tackle ‘Long Covid’

Today Liberal Democrat proposals which, if taken up, would see the Government get a grip on the coronavirus crisis have been passed at the Party’s Autumn conference.

In particular, the motion urged the Government to not only recognise and commission research into ‘Long Covid’, but also develop a rehabilitation strategy for investing in and increasing services to help people recover from the virus.

Following the passing of the motion, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

As we enter into a second wave, it’s essential that the Government learns the necessary lessons from the first wave of the pandemic and steps up support for all those who need it. In particular, it is crucial the Government puts in place a rehabilitation strategy for all those who have fallen seriously ill from the virus.

Ministers cannot pretend that everyone bounces back after 14 days – there will be thousands of people recovering from coronavirus who will need further support after being discharged from hospital for example.

This not only means the Government needs to commission research into ‘Long Covid’ so that we can understand more about the long term impact of the virus, but people also desperately need personalised rehabilitation with additional support from community services, and the Government must work with the NHS and royal colleges to make sure that happens.

The NHS is about to be put under a huge amount of pressure once again as we head into this second wave and it’s vital this Government scales up provision so that whether its coronavirus or not, people get the care they need.

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