30 September 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Truss urged to hold mortgage lender summit in Number 10 as millions left in “anxious limbo”
  • OBR forecasts: Economy left “flying blind” for two months
  • Calls reiterated for Welsh Government to Close Qatar Offices After Death of British National

Truss urged to hold mortgage lender summit in Number 10 as millions left in “anxious limbo”

The Liberal Democrats are urging the Prime Minister Liz Truss to host an emergency summit with mortgage lenders in Number 10 this weekend, instead of heading off to Conservative Party conference.

The call comes as hundreds of mortgage products have been withdrawn from sale since the Government presented its mini budget last week.

Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

The Conservatives have plunged our country into an economic crisis and what’s worse is that the damage is purely self inflicted.

Rather than head off on a jolly to party conference this weekend, Liz Truss should hold an emergency meeting with mortgage lenders in Number 10 to fix the chaos caused by her budget.

Millions of people are being left in an anxious limbo. Some are struggling to get the mortgages they need to get on the housing ladder while others are being left worried sick about losing their homes, all because of this Government’s catastrophic failure.

It would be unforgivable for Conservative ministers to sit around talking amongst themselves instead of taking action to sort out this mess.

The buck stops with the Prime Minister, she must not leave innocent mortgage borrowers to pick up the bill.

OBR forecasts: Economy left “flying blind” for two months

Responding to Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng rejecting calls for an earlier OBR forecast on the budget today, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

Delaying this forecast means shutting the door long after the horse has bolted.

Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng are allowing the economy to fly blind for two months, while their reckless plans cause pension and mortgage misery for millions of British people.

Families and businesses can’t afford to wait any longer for this government to fix their botched, unfair Budget. Truss and Kwarteng must cancel the Conservative Conference, recall Parliament and propose a new Budget now, before any more people lose their homes or close their business.

Calls reiterated for Welsh Government to Close Qatar Offices After Death of British National

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have reiterated their calls to the Welsh Labour Government to shut down their offices in Qatar after a British national was found hanged in the country and an investigation by the Times showed he was tortured by Qatari security forces. The calls come as Qatar has already come under increased scrutiny for its poor human rights record, particularly its treatment of workers on the construction of the World Cup stadiums

Marc Bennett, a senior British executive at a subsidiary of Qatar Airways was allegedly tortured by Qatar’s secret police ten weeks earlier. A report by the Times Newspaper has also detailed how authorities in Qatar rushed to rule Marc Bennett’s death a suicide despite their counterparts in the UK declaring that there was “no specific evidence of suicidal intent”.

Bennett was allegedly snatched from the offices of Qatar Airways in Doha by the secret police and taken blindfolded to a notorious detention centre where he was stripped naked and had water from a high-pressure hose blasted on his genitals. He was kept in custody for three weeks where, it is claimed, he was “slammed against walls and subjected to sleep deprivation techniques”.

Following Bennett’s death, the then International Trade Secretary Liz Truss visited Qatar a month later and within months, the Qatari government unveiled a £10 billion investment package in Britain.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have argued that the revelations only prove their previous calls to the Welsh Government that Qatar is an authoritarian police state that should not be prioritized for friendly relations.

The Welsh Government currently operates a trade office in Qatar alongside one in the UAE which shares similar human rights concerns. The Welsh Liberal Democrats have said these offices should be shut and their resources moved to democratic nations with good human rights records.

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

The Welsh Government should not be prioritising a friendly relationship with an authoritarian state that has been involved in the torture of a British national.

This is on top of a range of human rights issues we have already highlighted, including homophobia, systemic discrimination against women and modern slavery.

We are strongly in favour of Wales having a strong international footprint to promote our outstanding businesses and exports across the globe, but we also want to make sure Wales has an ethical trade policy that does not just consider raw profit, but also human rights and democracy.

I am not comfortable that the limited resources of Trade and Invest Wales are being used to promote trade in these two authoritarian nations where being part of the LGBT+ community can still be punished by execution and women’s rights a treated such little regard.

I want Wales to be a confident and outward-looking nation, but I also want to see Wales stand up strongly for human rights, democracy and liberty. I would urge First Minister Mark Drakeford, as Portfolio Holder for International Relations and Trade, to urgently consider closing these offices. The resources could be moved to democratic nations with strong human rights records, we are still yet to see any international presence by Wales in Africa, Latin America or Oceania for example.

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