30 April 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Four Seasons collapse shows social care crisis unfolding on Tory’s watch
  • Gosport investigation vital to ensure justice is done – Lamb
  • Free sanitary products to be available in Welsh colleges
  • Lib Dems: A vote for Labour is a vote for Brexit

Four Seasons collapse shows social care crisis unfolding on Tory’s watch

Responding to the news that one of Britain’s largest care home groups, Four Seasons Health Care, is on the brink of administration, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Judith Jolly said:

For the many thousands of residents and staff at the Four Seasons Health Care, the news that the group is set to go into administration will be deeply worrying.

Another social care crisis in unfolding on the Tories watch as they repeatedly delay confronting the funding and structural problems in social care.

Questions must now be answered by the Conservative Government as to how such a major care home group could have gone into administration, potentially putting at risk thousands of people’s care and thousands of jobs.

Liberal Democrats are ready to challenge the problems in social care. We would ensure an effective and efficient NHS and care system which will be there for our loved ones when they need it with a penny on income tax to directly invest funds in social care.

Gosport investigation vital to ensure justice is done – Lamb

Today, police have launched a formal investigation into the deaths of hundreds of patients who died at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital.

Liberal Democrat former Health Minister Norman Lamb, who launched the Review of deaths at Gosport Hospital, welcomed the decision saying:

This will come as an enormous relief to so many families who have been left totally devastated by the loss of loved ones at Gosport Hospital. Bishop James Jones’ panel uncovered a quite horrific scandal – at least 460 people lost their lives as a result of totally inappropriate prescribing of opioids.

Families were left ignored and in the dark for far too long. It is vital that justice is now done. The Government must ensure that the police have the resources to rigorously and urgently pursue this inquiry.

Free sanitary products to be available in Welsh colleges

A £845,000 fund will ensure sanitary products are available to learners in Welsh colleges, free of charge, following an announcement made by the Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Minister Kirsty Williams today.

It follows the announcement of £2.3m to provide sanitary products in Welsh schools. Today’s announcement means period poverty will be tackled in schools and colleges, ensuring more young women are supported.

Once again, products will be made accessible in the most practical and appropriate way, with colleges encouraged to support environmentally sustainable products.

Speaking in the National Assembly for Wales today, Kirsty Williams said:

Members will be aware that we recently announced a further £2.3m to make period products available to learners in all schools, free of charge.

I am pleased today to also announce additional funding of £845,000 to offer the same free service to learners at Further Education colleges.

As well as supporting our disadvantaged young women, the funding will go wider – focusing on dignity, equality and well-being.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds commented:

Young women should never have to miss out on their education because they can’t afford sanitary products. That’s true in schools and it’s true in colleges, which is why this funding is so important.

Welsh Liberal Democrats want to remove barriers in education and tackling period poverty is one of the ways we’re doing that.

Lib Dems: A vote for Labour is a vote for Brexit

Responding to the Labour NEC failing to unequivocally back the people having the final say on Brexit, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

With all the Brexit chaos, it beggars belief that the Labour leadership have failed to unequivocally commit to giving the people the opportunity to exit from Brexit.

Today’s pointless deliberations by the Labour NEC amount to nothing more than a stitch up by Corbyn’s cronies. They have once again chosen to ignore their own supporters and the interests of the country.

People therefore have a clear choice at the upcoming elections. If you want Brexit then vote Labour, Tories, UKIP, or the Brexit party. If you want to stop Brexit then vote for the Liberal Democrats.

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  • Richard Underhill 1st May '19 - 9:36am

    “Four Seasons collapse”
    Could this be a case of incompetence in administration, including finance?
    If so, what about the customers?
    Who picks up the pieces?

  • Baroness Jolly thinks that the Four Seasons collapse could be resolved , “with a penny on income tax to directly invest funds in social care.”

    Is this the same penny ? another penny ? a new penny ? or a placebo of a penny ?…… the party can’t think of anything else…. except for a penny on income tax ?

    It’s disingenuous to pretend the Lib Dems have no part in this. Baroness Jolly was there when Southern Cross went down in 2011…… not just because it was over borrowed, but because the Lib Dem supported austerity cuts to local government forced down the company’s income.

    As for Four Seasons, Nils Pratley writes in the Guardian today, “Can we not ban hedge funds and private equity firms from owning care homes….. or at the very least write rules to prevent would be debt wizards playing games of financial leverage in a sector that ought to be a model of balance sheet stability”.

    The present crisis is rooted in a process enforced by H/2 Capital Partners, an American hedge fund controlled by a billionare, Spencer Haber whose ‘talent’ is bagging distressed loans at knock down prices.

    No, Baroness Jolly, the elastoplast of a penny on income tax covers up a vacuum of Lib Dem policy. As a former Social Care portfolio holder I know we need a profound look at the ownership, structure and financing of the care home sector (including outside the private sector) to tackle what has become a running sore.

    Financial engineers and junk bond opportunists should not be the natural owners and funders of large care homes companies. Far better to get more pension fund money, and public ownership, to seek lower but more stable returns, through the door.

    In the outsourcing sector, the collapse of Carillion a year ago led the government to insist that providers of public services should have solid balance sheets – thus the rush of rights issues from the likes of Capita and Kier Group and the administration and debt-reduction plan at Interserve. Why should care homes be different? Given that entire sector is underpinned by local authority funding, the government ought to be able to to insist on greater financial strength.

    Our old people – i.e. all of us eventually – demand better.

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