5 December 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems Slam Unacceptable Delay in Support for Off-Grid Homes
  • Gordon Brown Review Shows a Lack of Ambition for Wales
  • Michelle Mone: Lib Dems demand publication of PPE contract

Lib Dems Slam Unacceptable Delay in Support for Off-Grid Homes

Government delays support for off-grid homes until 2023

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have slammed delays by the UK Government in rolling out a scheme designed to support people living in off-grid homes.

The Conservative minister responsible for energy bill support has announced that off-grid households will not receive any help with their spiraling bills until at least 2023, despite MPs from all parties calling for urgent action throughout 2022.

The UK Government is also yet to establish the full details of how hard-hit residents will be able to access the help they need due to taking months to develop what has been described as an “over-complicated and under-generous” scheme.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have been campaigning for a price cap on heating oil and LPG to ease the pressure on the many families in rural Wales living off the national gas grid.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS represents Mid & West Wales which contains areas such as Ceredigion where 74% of properties are estimated to not be connected to the gas grid. In Powys the figure is 55% while in Pembrokeshire it is 41%.

Graham Stuart, the Minister for Energy and Climate, revealed the delay to off-grid support in a letter to MPs this week.

Jane Dodds, Lib Dem Senedd Member for Mid & West Wales said:

Families across my region and other rural parts of Wales are desperately in need of support with their energy bills which haven’t been protected by a price cap like those on the national grid.

For months upon months the Conservatives failed to act and now they are delaying action again. It isn’t good enough. Especially as the majority of Welsh Conservative MPs and MSs represent rural areas.

The Liberal Democrats will continue to call for a price cap on heating oil and LPG to be introduced. Rural communities have been taken for granted by the Conservatives for far too long.

Gordon Brown Review Shows a Lack of Ambition for Wales

Responding to the publication of Gordon Brown’s constitutional report, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

While we welcome that Labour are finally moving on the issue of the House of Lords after decades of campaigning by the Liberal Democrats, Wales feels like nothing but a sidenote in this report, showing a lack of ambition for our nation.

The also appears to follow a long-running pattern of giving Scotland more powers than Wales.

In particular, the recommendation on devolving youth justice to Wales actually falls short of the Silk Report from 2011, which recommended devolving policing and looking at criminal justice. In this regard, Labour seemed to have moved backwards.

Another crucial element not present is the devolution of borrowing powers, vital if Wales is to be able to build the infrastructure our economy needs to thrive.

Finally, the elephant in the room is once again missing. If we are to build a truly fair and equal democratic system in the UK, that means ditching first past the post elections in Westminster and bringing in proportional representation, something which Labour has again missed out.

Michelle Mone: Lib Dems demand publication of PPE contract

The Liberal Democrats are demanding the publication of documents related to the contract awarded to Conservative peer Michelle Mone’s company PPE Medpro, alongside any emails and text messages between Baroness Mone and government ministers.

It comes after Matt Hancock claimed that Baroness Mone sent him “threatening” and “aggressive” messages lobbying him to award contracts to companies she was affiliated with and stood to make a profit with.

Liberal Democrats are also calling for VIP lanes for PPE to be scrapped. In a vote in the House of Lords last week, the Government voted against a Liberal Democrat amendment to ban VIP lanes in future procurement decisions.

Liberal Democrat Cabinet Office Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

The public deserves to know the full details of how Baroness Mone and this company landed these contracts. We shouldn’t have to read Matt Hancock’s diary to find out the details of what happened.

In the midst of a global health crisis, Conservative ministers allowed their friends to cash in on human suffering, skip the queue and receive millions in PPE contracts. Conservative MPs should back calls for transparency and not vote for a crony cover up.

It’s been nearly three years since the start of the pandemic, but the public is still being drip fed new scandals through leaks and bombshell revelations teased out in interviews. How many more are left to uncover?

It’s time for Tory MPs to call time on this Conservative cronyism and back calls for transparency rather than voting for a cover up.

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