28 May 2024 – today’s press releases, the Federal edition

  • Triple Lock Plus promise is “empty” as Conservatives accused of “hypocrisy”
  • Lib Dems call for community environmental experts to sit on water company boards
  • Apprenticeships: treatment of apprentices as second-class workers will only continue under the Conservatives

Triple Lock Plus promise is “empty” as Conservatives accused of “hypocrisy”

Responding to Mel Stride’s morning round, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

The sheer hypocrisy of the Conservatives to claim they are on the side of pensioners is laughable at best and dishonest at worst.

Our nation’s pensioners have been clobbered by stealth taxes, and failed on social care – these promises are empty.

This is a once-in-a-generation election and we’re seeing more and more pensioners back the fair deal being put forward by the Liberal Democrats, especially where it’s a two-horse race between us and the Conservatives.

Lib Dems call for community environmental experts to sit on water company boards

  • Ed Davey announces new reforms to hold the water industry to account on a visit to the Lake District
  • BBC recently uncovered millions of litres of raw sewage was illegally pumped into Lake Windermere
  • Liberal Democrats have also called for Ofwat to be replaced by a tougher regulator to end the sewage scandal

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey will today announce his party’s manifesto will include a pledge to put community environmental experts on water company boards to hold water bosses to account for the sewage scandal and the urgent action we need to end it.

The party has already announced it would scrap the failing regulator Ofwat and ban water CEO bonuses, and will today outline more bold reforms of the water industry.

Liberal Democrats would reform water companies into “Public Benefit Companies”, and ensure local environment experts within the community sit on the boards as non-executive directors to improve public accountability and transparency. Their role would include ensuring sewage spills are taken seriously, that the concerns of the community are raised at board level and that the environment and public health are always put ahead of profits.

These environmental experts would also hold town hall meetings to listen and report back to communities on action taken on local people’s concerns from ending sewage discharges to improving water quality.

Ed Davey will be in the Lake District, where the local water company, United Utilities, has pumped sewage into UNESCO protected lakes. Local groups and environmental campaigners have held regular protests outside the office of United Utilities.

Liberal Democrat analysis of Companies House records found United Utilities have made a staggering £2.3 billion in operating profits since 2019 and paid their top executives over £2 million in bonuses, all whilst pumping raw sewage into lakes where people swim.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

Water companies are getting away with this national sewage scandal whilst Conservative MPs and Ministers have just sat on their hands.

These disgraced firms are destroying our treasured lakes and rivers with their filthy sewage dumping – hitting human health, harming our precious environment and damaging the local tourism economy all at the same time.

Enough is enough. It’s time to get tough on the water industry and a key part of that change must be new ways to hold these firms to account, putting power in the hands of the local communities suffering from this scandal.

Local environmental experts on company boards could hold water bosses’ feet to the fire and local people would finally have a say in how their water company is run.

Liberal Democrats will have the boldest manifesto plans to end the sewage scandal – from a tough new regulator to a ban on greedy exec bonuses to holding water bosses properly to account.

This election will be about saving our country’s precious environment for the next generation, not least in special places like the Lake District.

Apprenticeships: treatment of apprentices as second-class workers will only continue under the Conservatives

Responding to the Conservative party’s announcement on apprenticeships, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson, Munira Wilson MP said:

The Conservative Party has broken the apprenticeship system and this announcement does nothing to address the major issues the sector faces.

The shockingly low pay for those on apprenticeships will remain, doing nothing to encourage more people to take apprenticeships up or tackle soaring drop out rates.

This treatment of apprentices as second-class workers will only continue under the Conservatives.

Urgent reform is needed, not more muddled, ill-thought through bluster from a party that has decimated our education sector and our economy.

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One Comment

  • Peter Hirst 8th Jun '24 - 1:06pm

    Why not take a more structured approach to the water industry, a bit like the railways. We need more transparency and a system of warnings, fines, more oversight and finally taking them back into public ownership depending on their responses. It must be clear what monopoly suppliers need to do to retain the freedom to manage their business.

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