9-10 November 2022 – the press releases…

Apologies, press release fans, as I got rather caught up in the drama of the US midterms yesterday. So, without further ado…

  • Gavin Williamson anti-bullying video exposes ‘rank hypocrisy’ of Conservative Government
  • Lib Dems: Strip Gavin Williamson of his knighthood if found guilty of bullying
  • Sunak failing the next generation as he refuses to protect education budgets
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats respond to Nurse Strike Action
  • The Government have failed cancer patients
  • Home repossessions increase significantly as budget sets off a mortgage ticking time bomb

Gavin Williamson anti-bullying video exposes ‘rank hypocrisy’ of Conservative Government

Responding to the resurfaced Government anti-bullying video recorded by Gavin Williamson MP during his time as Secretary of State for Education, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Education, Munira Wilson MP, said:

This exposes the rank hypocrisy and double standards at the heart of this Conservative government.

Gavin Williamson himself admitted that bullying is never acceptable.

Schools rightly have a zero tolerance approach to bullying. But once again it seems it’s one rule for Conservative ministers and another for everyone else.

Lib Dems: Strip Gavin Williamson of his knighthood if found guilty of bullying

The Liberal Democrats have written to the Forfeiture Committee, calling for Gavin Williamson to be stripped of his knighthood if the complaints against him are upheld.

In a letter to the Committee’s chair Sir Chris Wormald, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain said that the serious allegations against Williamson risked bringing the whole honours system into disrepute.

She also called on Rishi Sunak to confirm he would back taking away Gavin Williamson’s knighthood if the investigations into his behaviour find him guilty.

The Forfeiture Committee has the powers to take away knighthoods and will consider any case where there is evidence that the honours system is being brought into disrepute.

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

The complaints being made about Gavin Williamson are extremely serious and suggest a bullying culture at the very top of the Conservative Party. If these complaints are upheld he should be stripped of his knighthood, or else the whole honours system risks being brought into disrepute.

Rishi Sunak appointed Williamson to Cabinet despite knowing of serious complaints about his behaviour. Since then he sat on his hands for days instead of taking action.

The very least Sunak could do now is confirm he would support taking Williamson’s knighthood away if the investigations into his behaviour find him guilty.

Sunak failing the next generation as he refuses to protect education budgets

Following Rishi Sunak’s failure to guarantee that school and college budgets will not be cut in next week’s Autumn Statement at Prime Minister’s Questions, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Munira Wilson MP said:

The Conservatives are planning more public spending cuts to pay for their own economic incompetence, now it is our children who will suffer.

School trips are already being axed, teaching assistants are being laid off and urgent classroom repairs are being ignored as buildings crumble. Further cuts mean pupils with additional needs won’t get the support they need and activities like performing arts clubs will be stolen away by this Conservative government.

The PM’s refusal to commit to protecting education budgets mean that schools and colleges will have no choice but to make further cuts to everything, but what happens to those already stripped back to the bare essentials?

This Conservative Government is failing to fund education. Rather than investing in the next generation, Rishi Sunak seems hell-bent on balancing the books on their backs.

Welsh Liberal Democrats respond to Nurse Strike Action

Responding to the news that RCN members have agreed to strike in all Health Boards in Wales apart from Aneurin Bevan Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

The Welsh Liberal Democrats support the RCN in their actions announced today. Our nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system. It is not acceptable they have been offered a below-inflation pay rise.

This is the first statutory ballot in the RCN’s history, no one wants to see strikes in healthcare take place, but the economic situation, largely caused by the incompetence of the UK Conservative Government, has left our hardworking staff with little option.

We rightly clapped for our nurses during COVID, but clapping isn’t enough. When we have nurses using food banks the system clearly isn’t working and we must do better.

Both Labour in Cardiff Bay and the Conservatives in Westminster need to get their heads together and ensure healthcare staff can be paid at a fair rate. I will continue to call on Labour to negotiate with the RCN.

The Government have failed cancer patients

Responding to BBC analysis which shows there has been a sharp rise in long waits for cancer therapy in the past four years, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

The Conservatives have taken our health service for granted and have left thousands of waiting cancer patients in the dark.

This Government needs to act now to get a grip on these devastating cancer waiting times, so cancer patients get the urgent care they need to give them the best chance of survival.

Millions of patients are being failed by this Government which has driven our health services into the ground for far too long.

Home repossessions increase significantly as budget sets off a mortgage ticking time bomb

  • Staggering rise in repossessions by court bailiffs, nearly doubling compared to last year

New figures out today from the Ministry of Justice show that “mortgage claims, orders, warrants and repossessions have increased significantly”.

Compared to the same quarter in 2021, mortgage possession claims are up 30%. Mortgage orders for possession are up 103%, warrants up 157% and repossessions by county court bailiffs up 91%.

Today’s figures do not yet account for the massive increase in interest rates following the disastrous mini-budget.

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to include a fund in the Autumn Statement next week to save homeowners from losing their homes.

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

These worrying figures risk being just the tip of the iceberg, with the Conservatives’ disastrous mini-budget setting off a mortgage ticking time bomb for families across the country.

Millions are already struggling to pay a Conservative Property Penalty worth hundreds of pounds, and now more people are in danger of losing their own home through no fault of their own.

No one should have to worry about the roof over their head because of this Government’s catastrophic incompetence.

Ministers must use next week’s Autumn Statement to launch a Mortgage Protection Fund, targeted at those most at risk of losing their homes, to offer struggling households a lifeline up to £300 a month. This could be funded by reversing tax cuts for large banks that are making huge profits from soaring interest rates.

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5 Comments

  • Regarding the nurses, the CEO of the RCN said that the basic problem is the lack of staff, so that nurses are overworked. Being pragmatic makes that an important reason for pay increases to recruit more staff. Other grounds for pay increase run the risk of giving to those with the biggest clout or strongest union support and forgetting others who are similarly struggling and only makes the whole of society less fair rather than more fair.
    I hesitate for example to support big pay rises for lecturers and teachers and lawyers etc.. who are already on reasonable salaries. What about social care staff for example ?
    Our party is now making fairness our key message, so how can we support one group of workers against others ?
    Perhaps what is really needed is a general strike to tell government that the whole pay and economic system is unfair and we need a redistribution of wealth.

  • Nonconformistradical 11th Nov '22 - 10:36am

    “the CEO of the RCN said that the basic problem is the lack of staff, so that nurses are overworked. Being pragmatic makes that an important reason for pay increases to recruit more staff. ”
    Quite. Overworked people – more likely to make mistakes? Big problem when patients’ lives might be at stake?

    “Desperate NHS pays up to £2,500 for nursing shifts”
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-63588959
    “NHS bosses are increasingly paying premium rates for agency staff to plug holes in rotas, the BBC has found.

    Spending in this area rose by 20% last year to hit £3bn in England.

    For many shifts, bosses have been so short-staffed they have been willing to breach the government pay caps for these agency workers, most of whom are doctors and nurses…..”

  • Nonconformistradical is correct to point out what is wrong with the Agency System (something which Lib Dem leaders could usefully address).

    Whilst they’re at it, the party leadership could also usefully point out that staff shortages are yet another knock on outcome of Brexit….. something they seem very shy to do.

  • Mick Taylor 11th Nov '22 - 3:13pm

    Hm. Our dear leader is reluctant to the point of being catatonic about pointing out that so many of our problems stem from Brexit. Here’s an opportunity to push the party’s policy of rejoicing the single market and the customs union and never a peep. Who is he listening to that makes him so determined not to even utter the word Brexit. Many people I know now recognise the futility of trying to pretend that these problems are temporary and related to anything they can think of except the real cause, being outside the EU.
    Now in his speech, to be fair, he did say that we shouldn’t be turning our backs on our European neighbours, but then stopped and didn’t give the hint of a suggestion as to what we should do about it.
    Time to be bold methinks. Time to get out there are point out the bleeding obvious, namely that our increasing problems are a direct result of the appalling deal Johnson made with the EU and it is now time to reappraise and go back into the single market and customs union. Of course, that will put us in the very real position that Brexiteers wrongly said we were, namely as rule takers and not rule makers, but perhaps that could be left for another day, when we actually have the courage to call for rejoining.

  • Nonconformistradical 11th Nov '22 - 3:41pm

    @Mick Taylor
    I’d prefer that he said a good deal more about the need to train more medical staff of our own – to do the essential work which needs done, rather than leaving people to try to make some sort of living working for the likes of Amazon and some fashion retailers …. selling us stuff much of which we don’t really need and which contributes to continuing environmental degradation.

    We’ve spent too long poaching medical staff from other countries

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