30 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Highest levels of excess deaths demands Government learn lessons
  • Liberal Democrats call for review into school exclusions
  • Liberal Democrats: Government are failing survivors of sexual violence
  • Government must step in with Green incentives to save the car industry
  • Liberal Democrats: Record high of self harm in prisons shows extent of crisis
  • Leaked letter shows thousands of care home residents being exposed to virus

Highest levels of excess deaths demands Government learn lessons

Responding to ONS statistics that reveal England has had the highest excess mortality across Europe in the first half of 2020, Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

The unforgiving consequences of the pandemic have left too many families mourning loved ones. It didn’t need to be like this.

It is clear the Government has made mistakes. With a possible second wave occurring in countries across Europe at the moment, the Prime Minister must launch an independent inquiry immediately.

This is not a time for protecting political interests. This is a time to learn from mistakes and protect the country from more heartache.

Liberal Democrats call for review into school exclusions

Responding to new figures for permanent and fixed-period school exclusions in England for 2018/19, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

These figures make appalling reading. Every year thousands of children – often the most vulnerable – are being written off by our education system. Children eligible for free school meals are more than four times as likely to be permanently excluded – that says it all.

This Government should be ashamed that they have presided over continually high rates of permanent exclusion. Cutbacks to school budgets undoubtedly play a part in this. So too does the culture which prizes exam results and league table rankings over care and support.

We need see action to address the disproportionate number of exclusions among pupils on free school meals, as well as Black Caribbean, Gypsy and Roma, and Traveller pupils. That’s why we need to see a review into disparities in school exclusions.

Liberal Democrats: Government are failing survivors of sexual violence

Today, the Crown Prosecution Service announced a new strategy to tackle the drop in charging and prosecutions for rape, as it was also reported that the number of rape convictions in England and Wales had fallen to a record low.

Responding, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Daisy Cooper said:

Survivors deserve justice. They must be properly supported to come forward, and be listened to when they do. However, Government inaction is failing survivors of sexual violence and allowing too many criminals to walk free.

Although the CPS’ new strategy is clearly badly needed, this move alone will not overturn the dramatic drop in convictions.

The Government announced a review to identify why convictions have fallen more than a year ago, but the group conducting it has only met four times and we still haven’t seen any results.

Ministers must complete the review as soon as possible and urgently make improvements across the whole justice system. Survivors mustn’t be left waiting any longer for the justice they need.

Government must step in with Green incentives to save the car industry

Responding to reports that the UK car industry is likely to have its worst year since 1954, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

This pandemic has left the car industry on its knees. The Government must step in to stem the tide of job losses. But the recovery must also be an opportunity: the car industry must change to produce low emission, green vehicles.

The Tories have slashed support for electric vehicles and have failed to invest properly in new infrastructure such as charging points, promising only a green number plate as consolation. Unsurprisingly, sales for electric vehicles remain low.

Liberal Democrats are calling for a green recovery for the car industry. The government should ensure that 100% of all new cars sales are electric by 2030 and they should consider slashing VAT to 5% on electric vehicles. This will make it easier and cheaper for people to make the green choice while helping our car industry recover.

Liberal Democrats: Record high of self harm in prisons shows extent of crisis

Responding to the statistics released today showing that self-harm incidents in custody have risen again, reaching a record high, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Daisy Cooper said:

Our prisons are in crisis. The number of self-harm incidents, especially in women’s prisons, is shockingly high and rising.

Because of overcrowding and under-staffing, prisoners spend far too much time locked in their cells, with a lack of support or purposeful activity. To make matters worse, the Conservative Government has introduced new laws that its own assessment says could well lead to more violence and self-harm in prisons.

Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to end overcrowding, including by scrapping pointless short sentences that cause overcrowding and actually increase re-offending.

Women should only be sent to prison where absolutely necessary: for the most serious crimes, or where they pose a threat to the public. Effective community-based sentences would be far better for preventing re-offending, and far less damaging for the people involved.

Leaked letter shows thousands of care home residents being exposed to virus

Responding to a leaked letter from Care UK showing that they no longer have access to regular testing for staff and residents, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

If we needed any evidence that this Government is still throwing care homes to the wolves, then this is it. From the very beginning of the pandemic this Government failed to ensure care homes had access to adequate testing and PPE, whilst discharging patients with the virus into their homes.

This letter is damning. With a potential second peak on the horizon, the UK’s largest provider of social care no longer having access to regular testing for staff and residents will leave thousands of our most vulnerable exposed to coronavirus.

The Prime Minister and his Government are not learning the lessons they need to if we are to prevent more people losing their lives. An inquiry into the Government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis must begin now, so Ministers can learn from their errors and help protect families right across the country from more heartache.

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3 Comments

  • Peter Martin 31st Jul '20 - 7:25am

    “We need see action to address the disproportionate number of exclusions among pupils on free school meals, as well as Black Caribbean, Gypsy and Roma, and Traveller pupils.”

    In some of these cases, racism will be a factor. But it’s not the main factor. Why aren’t Asian children mentioned?

    Almost by definition, these children do not come the middle classes, or even the more affluent of the working classes. They mainly don’t experience any desire for formal education in their family backgrounds. So they go to school but really don’t want any part of it. So naturally they just don’t fit in and conflicts arise.

    I don’t know what the answer is but it has to involve offering something other than sitting in a classroom for years on end with the prospect of just few meaningless certificates at the end of it.

    Forcing unwilling children back into the classroom isn’t going to do anything for the quality of education generally. We’ll end up with even more cases of politicians who advocate the principle of comprehensive generally, but will do whatever it takes to provide a private education for their own children.

  • Liberal Democrats are calling for a green recovery for the car industry. The government should ensure that 100% of all new cars sales are electric by 2030
    Electric cars aren’t green. Yes they might have low emissions when being driven (yes electric cars do have emissions, just not from a tail pipe), but hidden from sight are the very ungreen costs of construction and disposal.
    We need to get our heads round the problem that we don’t really need the volume of cars produced before CoVid19. The current situation is providing an opportunity to downsize and become more green, will we grasp it or do as we have done in the past and look the gift horse in the mouth?

  • Well, well, so Boris Johnson has created 30 new peers. No doubt tomorrow LDV will have a press release from Lord Newby…… already in tonight’s Guardian,

    “The Liberal Democrats’ leader in the Lords, Lord Newby, added: “By giving a large number of his cronies peerages, he has shown that the Tories have abandoned any pretence of reducing the size of the bloated House of Lords.”

    Of course we know that is something the Liberal Democrats would never dream of ???? …… especially the departed, Sir Nicholas.

    But what it shows is what nonsense an unelected second chamber is. No doubt it will fuel the independence bandwagon north of the border where the single chamber parliament is elected by PR.

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