29 May 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Sewage fine proposals: Letting water companies off the hook would be “utter disgrace”
  • Almost 340,000 children on mental health waiting lists as postcode lottery leaves some waiting over a year
  • Number starting apprenticeships in England has fallen by a third
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats to vote against Welsh First Minister Vaughan Gething in no-confidence vote
  • Highland MP comments on road death figures
  • Jardine responds to homeless being “sent out” of Edinburgh ahead of Taylor Swift concert

Sewage fine proposals: Letting water companies off the hook would be “utter disgrace”

Responding to proposals that could see financially stressed water companies receive fewer or no penalties for sewage pollution, Liberal Democrat Environment spokesperson Tim Farron MP said:

Any attempt to let these polluting giants off the hook would be an utter disgrace.

This plan is proof Ofwat should be scrapped. This Conservative government has allowed this toothless regulator to stagger on too long.

It is time someone finally stood up to these water firms.

Almost 340,000 children on mental health waiting lists as postcode lottery leaves some waiting over a year

  • Liberal Democrats call for a mental health professional in every primary and secondary school
  • Ed Davey warns the Conservative party has “abandoned parents and children” as he sets out urgent plan to fix the crisis in young people’s mental health
  • 336,886 children on mental health waiting lists, some waiting an average of 15 months to be seen in stark postcode lottery

Almost 340,000 children and young people are on mental health waiting lists with some areas seeing average waits of 15 months, House of Commons Library research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

To help tackle the crisis in children’s mental health and reduce waiting lists, the Liberal Democrats have announced that their manifesto will include a commitment to a mental health professional in every primary and secondary school. The policy would be funded through a trebling of the Digital Services Tax, which would raise an extra £1.5 billion a year.

The data exposes a disturbing postcode lottery with average waits for children’s mental health treatment in some areas more than double the national average. Children in St Helens in Merseyside are waiting an average of 444 days on mental health waiting lists, the longest in the country. Other areas with staggeringly high average waits include Buckinghamshire (378 days), Coventry and Warwickshire (375 days) and Warrington (371 days). The average waiting time for children and young people for mental health treatment is 187 days.

The figures also reveal the areas with the highest number of children on waiting lists for mental health treatment. The worst is in Birmingham and Solihull where more than 17,000 children and young people are on a mental health waiting list. This is followed by Kent and Medway (15,500), Coventry and Warwickshire (15,500) and Southampton and the Isle of Wight (11,100).

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

Thousands of children are being left in limbo, forced to suffer intolerably long-waits for mental health treatment. They are being failed by this Conservative government who have neglected the NHS and abandoned parents and children.

Liberal Democrats would put a dedicated, qualified mental health professional in every school both primary and secondary, funded by a tax on the social media giants that are such a big part of the problem.

Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to get rid of this appalling Conservative government and fix the health and care crisis.

Number starting apprenticeships in England has fallen by a third

The number of people starting apprenticeships has fallen by 172,000 since 2015/16, House of Commons Library research analysed by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

This drastic fall equates to the number of apprenticeships starts falling by one-third since 2015/16. The Lib Dems slammed the figures as evidence of a “legacy of failure” by this Conservative government.

It comes as Rishi Sunak is in St Ives to promote his policy to scrap university courses to fund 100,000 apprenticeships. In St Ives, there has been a 39% drop in the number of apprenticeship starts, from 740 in 2015/16 to 450 in 2022/23.

Rishi Sunak’s constituency has seen a 40% decline in the number of apprenticeship starts, falling from 5,080 in 2015/16 to 3,020 in 2022/23. In Education Secretary Gillian Keegan’s seat of Chichester, there were 30% fewer apprenticeship starts in 2022/23 than in 2015/16.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for the apprenticeship levy to be scrapped. Under current rules, firms with an annual wage bill of above £3m must set aside 0.5% of their payroll for apprenticeships. However, many organisations are unable to use the funds, where levy money is then reclaimed by the Treasury if remaining unused for two years. This has led to the number of apprenticeship starts falling every year since the controversial levy was introduced.

Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Munira Wilson, said:

The Conservatives have broken our apprenticeship system and betrayed young people for years, this election is no different.

Young people across the country are being let down by a Conservative government that is failing to offer them the skills they need to thrive.

As the cost-of-living crisis continues, it is vital to get our economy growing by investing in the skills of our next generation.

This Conservative government has overseen a legacy of failure. Now, across massive parts of the country, it’s only the Liberal Democrats who can send the Conservatives a message and kick them out of office.

Welsh Liberal Democrats to vote against Welsh First Minister Vaughan Gething in no-confidence vote

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have announced they will vote against the Welsh First Minister Vaughan Gething in a no-confidence vote expected in the Senedd next week.

Commenting ahead of the vote, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and Mid & West Wales Senedd Member Jane Dodds said:

This vote is about cleaning up politics in Wales. We all expect our leaders to meet the high standards that their office requires, and the First Minister has not met those standards.

Vaughan Gething has had the opportunity over the recent months to do the right thing and return the donation yet has failed to do so.

The Liberal Democrats want to see a different kind of politics in Wales and across the UK and that’s why we have called for a cap on donations to political parties.

Highland MP comments on road death figures

Responding to figures from Transport Scotland showing that in 2023, 155 people lost their lives on Scotland’s roads, with Scotland not on track to meet the road casualty reduction target of 50% reduction by 2030, Caithness Sutherland & Easter Ross MP Jamie Stone said:

155 lives lost on Scotland’s roads is 155 lives too many. I don’t want to see any more families left without loved ones because the Scottish Government continues to drag its heels when it comes to tackling dangerous trunk roads.

When the SNP came into government in 2007, they pledged action to improve trunk roads in the North and North East, yet 17 years later and next to nothing has happened.

Communities across Scotland deserve better than missed targets and deadlines. As a matter of public safety, our roads urgently need to be upgraded.

Jardine responds to homeless being “sent out” of Edinburgh ahead of Taylor Swift concert

Responding to the news that a number of homeless people have been sent out of Edinburgh ahead of Taylor Swift performing in the city next weekend amid a shortage of hotel rooms and temporary accommodation, Scottish Liberal Democrat Christine Jardine, who is re-standing in Edinburgh West where Murrayfield Stadium is located, said:

These reports are a shocking illustration of the extent of Scotland’s housing crisis.

Nobody facing homelessness should ever have to be removed from their community, let alone sent up to 100 miles away or over the border for a roof over their head.

SNP ministers have axed a third from the housing budget and presided over record high levels of homelessness. The cost of living crisis, which Liz Truss compounded, has left people struggling to pay their rent and mortgages.

People need governments which can guarantee them a safe and secure roof over their heads. That’s why Liberal Democrats would build more homes, re-establish social renting as a long-term option and bring thousands of long-term empty homes back into use.

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This entry was posted in News, Press releases, Scotland and Wales.
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2 Comments

  • Mary Fulton 30th May '24 - 7:32am

    It is typical of the BBC that they would use a completely misleading headline – ‘homeless being sent out of Edinburgh ahead of Taylor Swift concert’. Of course, the truth is that the hotel rooms that are used by the Council to accommodate homeless people are fully booked due to the Taylor Swift concert so the Council has no choice but to source accommodation far outwith the city.
    The issue of the lack of housing for rent in Edinburgh is not due to a lack of housing – it is due to such a large proportion of rental properties being offered to tourists on short-term rents as this is a more profitable option for those who own the properties.

  • Yeovil Yokel 30th May '24 - 7:47am

    I understand today is the last day that Parliament sits before the election. I would like to see Ed Davey take time out of his frenetic campaigning schedule to pay a special tribute to Caroline Lucas, who has sat with the Lib Dems during her time in Parliament, which will end today. She has been a fine advocate for progressive policies and a courageous lone voice for her party. She may be the last Green MP to sit in the House of Commons for a while.

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