6 June 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems pledge to transform parental leave with £2.4 billion investment including doubling of statutory maternity pay
  • Hester: How low can the Conservatives go?
  • Conservative announcement “not worth the paper it’s written on”
  • Welsh Lib Dems commemorate 80th anniversary of D-Day
  • Temporary NHS staff spend reaches record high under SNP
  • Cole-Hamilton: SNP Government must accept failures on M9 crash

Lib Dems pledge to transform parental leave with £2.4 billion investment including doubling of statutory maternity pay

  • The Liberal Democrat manifesto will include a plan to transform parental leave, including doubling Statutory Maternity Pay to £350 a month
  • Proposals also include increasing paternity pay and creating an extra use-it-or-lose-it “dad month”, to encourage more fathers to take parental leave
  • Ed Davey says Lib Dem proposals would give parents “the choice and flexibility they need”

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has announced his party’s manifesto will include an ambitious plan to transform parental leave, including doubling Statutory Maternity Pay to £350 a week and introducing a use-it-or-lose-it “dad month” of paid leave for new fathers.

The party’s bold plans for reform also include making paid parental leave day-one-rights at work, rather than the current 26 week period which means those in new jobs don’t qualify, and extending them to self-employed parents.

As well as raising Statutory Maternity Pay, the Liberal Democrats would increase paternity pay to 90% of earnings and create a new use-it-or-lose-it “dad month,” encouraging more fathers to take parental leave. The party argues this would increase choice for families and help more new fathers take time off work to spend time with their child in those crucial first weeks and months, in turn helping Mums to stay in their chosen careers.

Currently, low rates of statutory maternity and paternity pay are not high enough to give parents a real choice, while the UK’s two weeks of statutory paternity leave lags far behind most advanced economies. Around a quarter of fathers are not eligible for paternity pay, either because they are self-employed or because they have not been with their employer continuously for six months.

The party argues that encouraging more fathers to take parental leave is good for families and critical to closing the gender pay gap. On average, women face a ‘pay penalty’ of 45% lower earnings in the six years after giving birth to their first child.

The Liberal Democrats have said that their £2.4 billion investment in parental leave would be paid for by a plan to clamp down on tax avoidance and evasion, recovering more of the £36 billion that is going uncollected every year under the Conservatives.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

Millions of parents are being denied the choice to spend more time at home during that all-important first year with their child, because the UK still lags behind other countries on shared parental leave.

Many mothers and fathers are being forced back to work early because they simply can’t afford to take more time off.

The Liberal Democrats’ proposals would give new parents the choice and flexibility they need, backed up by a package of proper support. We would boost statutory pay for new parents, alongside a new ‘dad month’ to help more fathers take time off work to be with their new baby during that first year, giving mums a better career boost.

Hester: How low can the Conservatives go?

Responding to the new £5m donation to the Conservatives from Frank Hester, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper MP said:

How low can Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives go? If the Conservatives spend this money they will be proudly funded by a man who made the most appalling racist and sexist comments.

Ultimately the buck stops with Rishi Sunak. Sunak must personally intervene and make sure not a penny of this money is spent.

No amount of tainted funding will stop the threat the Liberal Democrats pose to the Conservatives in many seats across the country.

Conservative announcement “not worth the paper it’s written on”

Responding to the Conservatives’ announcement on Child Benefits, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

These Conservative policies aren’t worth the paper they are written on, after years of hiking taxes on hardworking families.

Conservative Ministers have had years to help parents with the cost of living but have done absolutely nothing apart from hiking taxes.

It begs the question, what have they been doing all this time?

Welsh Lib Dems commemorate 80th anniversary of D-Day

Today, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have marked the 80th anniversary of the D-day landings in Normandy.

On the 6th of June 1944, Allied forces launched “Operation Neptune”, one of the largest amphibious assaults in history, in order to liberate France and later on the rest of central Europe from the Nazi regime.

Over 20,000 Welsh servicemen and women played an active role in the invasion force on the day, with the South Wales Borderers regiment landing in Normandy as part of the 50th infantry division.

Commenting, the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS said:

Today we remember the thousands of Allied servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.

Their resilience and determination against a seemingly unstoppable tyrannical force should serve as a reminder for us all today to continue the fight for liberty and democracy.

As time carries on and events like D-day pass into history, we must always remember the stories of those involved and we must never forget their service and sacrifice.

Temporary NHS staff spend reaches record high under SNP

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today said NHS staff and patients are paying the price for the SNP’s carelessness after new figures revealed that the Scottish Government is spending more money on temporary NHS staff than ever before.

NHS workforce figures show that in 2023/24:

  • £490m was spent on bank and agency nursing and midwifery staff, up from £447.4m the previous year;
  • £129m was spent on locum doctors and dentists – an increase of £10m from 2022/23;
  • Combined, these figures represent a total spend of £619m on temporary staff across the NHS – the highest figure on record.

It comes as Alex Cole-Hamilton and Christine Jardine took to the campaign trail in Edinburgh in a bid to “brush the SNP away”.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

These figures show the cost of trying to paper over the cracks created by the SNP’s botched workforce planning.

The complete failure by this SNP-Green government to recruit and retain staff stretches all the way back to Nicola Sturgeon cutting training places and claiming that was ‘sensible’. Now staff and patients are both paying the price for their carelessness.

The SNP have created a false economy that is causing Scotland’s NHS to spend vast sums of money on expensive agency workers.

Scottish Liberal Democrats would completely overhaul the SNP’s failed NHS Recovery Plan to get workforce planning back on track and increase training places in key areas such as mental heath and dentistry. The SNP also need to reverse their opposition to a Burnout Prevention Strategy, otherwise they run the risk of losing many more NHS staff who we desperately need.

Cole-Hamilton: SNP Government must accept failures on M9 crash

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon during First Minister’s Questions, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

In the early hours of 5th July 2015, John Yuill and Lamara Bell were returning from a camping trip when their car left the road on the M9.

The police were alerted to the crash but didn’t turn up for three days. All the while, Lamara was still alive, trapped, calling for help. She may have survived if help had arrived sooner.

In the weeks beforehand, my party had been warning about the chaos in the call centre at Bilston Glen, caused by the rushed centralisation of the police by the SNP Government. John Swinney was Deputy First Minister at the time.

The fatal accident inquiry system is so broken that it has taken 9 years to report on the deaths of John and Lamara, with final conclusions only published last week.

Will the Deputy First Minister accept that her government has failed on two counts: first, the botched centralisation that contributed to this tragedy in the first place, and second, the intolerable wait for answers the families have had to endure?

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This entry was posted in News, Press releases, Scotland and Wales.


  • Matt Wardman 7th Jun '24 - 7:37am

    I haven’t commented here for some time, so I thought I’d drop in to say that Ed Davey is doing a great job using an unusual and enjoyable strategy. I look forward to the visit to a naturist club.

    I’m in Ashfield however, so a Lib Dem vote is somewhat moot. It will be tactical this time in some form – here that probably means a Labour vote to expel the Leeanderthal Man.

  • It would be nice – especially given the commemorations yesterday – if we heard a bit more about Europe from a party which I always believed had a United Europe as part of its DNA.

  • Peter Martin 7th Jun '24 - 11:43am

    July 1966 would have marked the 50th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme in WW1. I do remember England’s win in the World Cup of that month but I don’t remember any commemorations about the Somme which was much more costly of human life than D-Day. Admittedly I was much more interested in football than history then.

    Nov 1968 would have marked the 50th anniversary of the end of WW1. I don’t remember anything about that either. I’m not saying there weren’t any commemorations but I’d say they were relatively low key compared with what we have just seen with the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

    Did I just miss these events or have we become more willing to celebrate military events in the last 50 years or so?

    I’m not sure whether we had it right in the 60s or if we have it right now. It depends on our motives I suppose. But I do suspect that there is an element of militarism creeping into our celebrations.

  • @Peter Martin: That’s actually an interesting question. I remember growing up in the 1970s and WWII being a HUGE part of popular culture in a way that WWI just wasn’t (other than on Remembrance Day). For example war comics were an absolute staple of reading – almost all focused on stories only about WWII. I can only speculate about the reasons, but I would suspect it was largely a case of the more recent war eclipsing memories of the historically more distant one. WWII may also have felt closer to home because of the Battle of Britain and the extensive German bombing of London and other cities, something that didn’t really happen in WWI. Also, DDay did ultimately lead to the liberation of Western Europe, as well as the (apparently, permanent) establishment of liberal democracy and peace there, whereas WWI and all those awful battles ultimately just lead to another war 21 years’ later, so maybe there was a bias towards remembering those things that we felt we could be proud of?

    Personally I think we have a good balance of what we commemorate today, and the 80th anniversary of DDay is well worth remembering. And is something I guess Rishi Sunak is today wishing he’d paid more attention to 🙂

  • Peter Martin makes an interesting point about the Battle of the Somme and 1966, and yes, Peter, there were ceremonies in 1966 (a big one at Thiepval – film clips see below).

    The difference then was there was no daytime television (it didn’t start until 1986) with quasi interviewers asking people to revisit their PTSD. All you could see was a test card.

    Back then, I happened to know a number of WW1 veterans from the Bradford Pals. They organised a 1966 re-union visit to the Western Front, a film of which I believe is somewhere on the internet.

    As for politics, Prime Minister Asquith lost his eldest son in September, 1916 (as I believe did Arthur Henderson)… and was never the same man again….. hence the Asquith/LLG split in December, 1916.

    some film clips on You tube :

    france: british veteran of first world war commemorate 50th … British Pathé
    https://www.britishpathe.com › asset

    With Heart and Hand: Battle of The Somme – View media Digital Film Archive – Northern Ireland https://digitalfilmarchive.net › media › with-heart-and-ha… “It is the 1st of July 1966 in Thiepval, France Charlie Witherspoon reports from the commemoration service of the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.”

    Yes, in 1966 there was a diversion with the football World Cup on black & white TV.

  • I belong to the generation (Boomers) who were told nothing about the war, either at home or in school. My father only told me funny anecdotes about his time in the Army. Our parents wanted to forget and concentrate on giving us happy childhoods. As a result we were woefully ill-informed. Living in a small town I didn’t know about the Blitz or about D-Day, and I certainly didn’t hear about the Holocaust until my teens. I really didn’t like Remembrance Day as it just seemed to be glorifying war.

  • Nonconformistradical 7th Jun '24 - 7:48pm

    @Mary Reid
    I’m same generation as you. I recall my mother saying something about flying bombs but not much else.

    I think our parents, having lived through it all were too close to it to be able to talk openly with their offspring about it. My maternal grandfather was living with us and I recall him talking about the Boer War and WW1 (he was an ARP warden for some part of WW2)

  • I was born in 43. Parents told me of two instances of bombing of a nearby railway line and a V2 landing 2 miles away in Tottenham. First one caused some of the ceiling to fall on my cot, the second sent the ironing table over which just missed me , I was playing nearby on the floor. Half the Tottenham street was virtually destroyed. My mother told me of nights in the Anderson shelter. My father was in Heavy Rescue in Poplar and did describe bombing incidents and the horrific scene on the night of the first major bombing attack. There were many other stories, one rom an uncle who was a prisoner for 3 years and another who cleared landing beaches in Italy.
    A girl friends father landed in Normandy a few days after the initial landings, was soon wounded by a mortar and returned to England. He particularly remembered the awful smell from all the dead animals in the fields, you do not think of that do you?.
    So we were told, I think it was important as it gave us young children some understanding of the dangers in the post war era, we all knew about the Berlin Air Lift, Korean War etc. Perhaps it was living and being brought up in central London, there was so much damage around that children inevitably asked questions, after all we played on the bomb sites.

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