31 January 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Govt must follow evidence not chase headlines in fight against knife crime
  • Moran: Rough sleeping shames our whole country
  • Tory Govt woefully unprepared for no deal Brexit
  • Cable: Cancelled recess shows extent of Tory chaos
  • Davey: Shocking new figures expose prison crisis
  • Pharma giant stockpiling emergency trauma packs
  • Huge increase in part-time and postgraduate graduates
  • Cash-strapped councils asked to prepare for no deal is an insult to local services

Govt must follow evidence not chase headlines in fight against knife crime

Responding to the Home Secretary’s plan to give new powers to the police to tackle knife crime, Liberal Demcorat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The UK is in the grip of a knife crime epidemic, so all ideas should be considered, especially ways to stop the glorification and incitement of this violence on social media.

But Ministers must remember that ASBOs have a very mixed record – they were often seen as a “badge of honour’ by young offenders and required significant police resources which no longer exist thanks to the Conservatives’ police cuts.

Worse still, this plan ignores the evidence and the policy of the current Justice Secretary, that short term prison sentences won’t deter young people from carrying knives and instead increase the risk of re-offending.

Ministers must follow the evidence not chase the headlines.

The victims of knife crime and their families deserve better and Liberal Democrats demand better for them. We will recruit more officers to restore community policing and invest in a proper public health approach that brings together youth services, community groups, schools and the NHS to tackle this shocking rise in violent crime.

Moran: Rough sleeping shames our whole country

The Liberal Democrats have today called for cross-party support for Layla Moran’s Bill to scrap the Vagrancy Act following the publication of official figures which reveal there were 4,677 rough sleepers across England in Autumn 2018.

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said:

The fact that thousands of people sleep rough every night shames our whole country. These figures don’t even capture the many more ‘hidden homeless’ in insecure and unsuitable accommodation.

Even worse, hundreds of homeless people die each year, as the tragic death of Kane Walker in Birmingham on Sunday reminded us. The Tories are failing our most vulnerable people.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. We want the Government to be building up to 100,000 social homes a year, provide accommodation and support to those in need, and finally back my Bill to scrap the Vagrancy Act.

Tory Govt woefully unprepared for no deal Brexit

Responding to the Institute for Government report which warns the Conservative Government isn’t ready for the prospect of the UK leaving the EU with no-deal, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

This report makes clear what we all fear: the Tory Government is woefully unprepared for crashing out of the EU.

Despite spending over £4 billion on no-deal preparations, the Conservative Government have still failed to ensure that vital laws will be in place or that our health, food or legal sectors will have the systems in place to cope with crashing out.

What’s worse, this report suggests the Tories have also been unhelpfully secretive in the way they have made preparations. No need to guess why.

There are just 8 weeks left until supposed exit day and yet there is no deal in sight and Theresa May refuses to take no deal off the table. Liberal Democrats demand better. It’s time to give the people the final say on the deal with the option to stay in the EU.

Cable: Cancelled recess shows extent of Tory chaos

Responding to the announcement that February recess for the House of Commons has been cancelled, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

The Liberal Democrats have no problem with working hard to deliver whatever needs to be done in the national interest.

But there is no doubt that the Tory Government is in this desperate position as a result of their own chaotic planning. There is a huge tranche of legislation which needs to be worked through and given proper scrutiny.

The Prime Minister must accept reality and seek a postponement to the Article 50 deadline which would give time, not just for Parliament to legislate, but for the people to have the final say. Nobody voted for this no deal outcome the Conservative Government is threatening as they run down the clock.

Davey: Shocking new figures expose prison crisis

The Liberal Democrats have called for urgent action to tackle overcrowding and recruit more prison officers following new figures showing a dramatic increase in deaths, self-harm and assaults in prison.

The statistics, published today by the Ministry of Justice, show that in 2018 there were 325 deaths in prison, up 10% since 2017.

They figures also reveal self-harm incidents and assaults have reached new record highs. In the 12 months to September 2018, there were:

  • 52,814 incidents of self-harm, up 23% year-on-year;
  • 33,803 assaults, up 20% year-on-year & the highest on record;
  • This includes 10,085 assaults on staff, up 29% year-on-year.

Liberal Democrats Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

These shocking statistics are yet more evidence that our prisons are in crisis. They are stuffed full of people on short sentences, leaving overstretched staff simply unable to cope and unable to provide the rehabilitative and mental health services prisoners need.

Prisoners are fighting, self-harming, attacking staff and even dying as a result. The Liberal Democrats demand better.

Ministers should urgently recruit more prison officers and reduce overcrowding by ending pointless short-term sentences. Our goal must be to transform prisons into places of rehabilitation and recovery, to cut re-offending and make our communities safer.

Pharma giant stockpiling emergency trauma packs

Responding to the announcement that emergency “trauma packs” flown into the UK during terrorist attacks are being stockpiled by pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson, Catherine Bearder, Liberal Democrat MEP, said:

Vital trauma packs can be sent to hospitals from the EU within hours. Customs checks will delay the packs getting to patients in emergency situations – it’s terrifying. The prime minister must take no deal off the table now.

This short time frame is particularly necessary during unexpected large-scale emergencies, such as terrorist attacks, as hospitals do not always stockpile these packs on a large enough scale to deal with these extreme emergencies.

It is completely within Theresa May’s power to rule out a no deal but she continues to refuse as she attempts to scaremonger people into supporting her defeated deal. The only way out of this chaos is to offer the people a final say, with the option to remain in the EU.

Huge increase in part-time and postgraduate graduates

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds has welcomed figures showing a huge expansion in Welsh part-time undergraduates and postgraduate students.

Figures published today show that there has been a 35% increase in part-time undergraduates from Wales. There has also been a 58% increase in the number of postgraduates supported.

Under reforms introduced by Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Minister Kirsty Williams, students from Wales now receive the equivalent of the National Living Wage in grants and loans while they study.

Wales is also now the only country in Europe to introduce equivalent maintenance support across full-time and part-time undergraduates, as well as postgraduates. This has resulted in huge boost in students applying.

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds said:

These figures are fantastic news for Wales.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have long argued that living costs are the biggest barrier to people studying at university. That is why, in government, Kirsty Williams has introduced a new package that ensures students receive the equivalent of the National Living Wage in grants and loans while they study. The figures published today show that these reforms are making a real difference.

Wales is now the only country in Europe to introduce equivalent maintenance support across full-time, part-time undergraduates, as well as postgraduates. This is yet further evidence of the positive impact the Welsh Liberal Democrats are having in government.

Cash-strapped councils asked to prepare for no deal is an insult to local services

Responding to the letter from Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government calling for local authorities to prepare for a no deal Brexit, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Local Government Wera Hobhouse said:

Asking cash-strapped councils to prepare for a no deal when it is in the Government’s gift to rule it out is nothing short of an insult to local services.

With local government being eroded at every opportunity and councils struggling to even run just the most basic services, to add this burden for no reason other than to scaremonger support for the Prime Minister’s already defeated deal is utterly shameful.

Local government is being disregarded and facing funding cut after funding cut. Adult social care is facing a £3.6 billion funding gap by 2025, yet the Conservative Government have delayed the publication of Social Care Green Paper six times. The Tories are wasting the public’s time and money navel-gazing and it is having a damaging effect on our communities.

The only way out of this chaos is to give the public a final say, with the option to remain in the EU.

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