Catch-up: 24 November 2019 – the day’s press releases (part 1)

Gotten myself into a bit of a backlog position, I’m afraid – the price you pay for going to St Albans, it seems…

  • Lib Dems to invest 7 billion to save our schools
  • Lib Dems: McDonnell refuses to come clean on Brexit
  • EU staff at Johnson’s local NHS trust feel “anxiety” over Brexit
  • Lib Dems: Tory manifesto is built on a lie

Lib Dems to invest 7 billion to save our schools

The Liberal Democrats have today announced an extra £7 billion over five years from the Party’s infrastructure budget for new school buildings and repairs to keep up with rising pupil numbers.

The funding will be distributed to local authorities and ring-fenced specifically to be spent on school improvements.

Following the announcement, Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary Layla Moran said:

Our schools should be world-class, but years of under investment and funding cuts have left our schools crumbling, with repairs being unaffordable. It is completely unacceptable that in the 21st century our children are being taught in Victorian conditions.

Enough is enough. The Liberal Democrats would invest an extra £7 billion over five years from our infrastructure budget for new school buildings.

The Liberal Democrats will not only invest this money in making our schools fit for purpose, but this is an addition to the £10 billion for schools we have promised as well as hiring 20,000 more teachers. A vote for the Liberal Democrats in this election is a vote for ensuring a brighter future for our children.

Lib Dems: McDonnell refuses to come clean on Brexit

Responding to John McDonnell’s refusal to say whether he’d back Leave or Remain in a future EU referendum, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary Chuka Umunna said:

The Labour Party leadership is betraying Remain voters on the biggest issue facing the country since the Second World War.

The adoption of a position of ‘neutrality’ in the face of Brexit – a project of an elite made up of Johnson, Farage, Rees-Mogg and the rest – pre-empts the Labour Party Special Conference which was supposed to determine the leadership’s position on whether to back Leave or Remain.

Saving the NHS and safeguarding our public services will be so much harder if we Brexit but Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are simply sitting on the sidelines, acting as bystanders rather than stopping it happening.

Liberal Democrats will be the strong voice that Remainers need, fighting unequivocally to stop Brexit so we can build a brighter future.

EU staff at Johnson’s local NHS trust feel “anxiety” over Brexit

The Liberal Democrats have warned that Boris Johnson is putting the NHS at risk in his own backyard, after internal documents reveal that NHS staff from the EU at Johnson’s local hospital trust feel “anxiety” over Brexit.

Board documents from earlier this year show that NHS executives at Boris Johnson’s local Hillingdon Trust warned that the most significant risk posed by Brexit is the “anxiety felt by approximately 300 EU nationals in the workforce in terms of their jobs and future at the Trust.” A separate document concluded that “the risks to plant and equipment/parts where the supply from the EU is significant.”

It comes as figures published by the Liberal Democrats reveal that over 3,250 NHS staff from the EU have left the health service so far this year, including 1,116 nurses. The data, based on responses to Freedom of Information requests from 50 NHS hospital trusts, reveal that:

  • over 11,600 NHS staff from the EU have left the health service in the three years since the Brexit vote, including 4,783 nurses.
  • Over 3,252 NHS staff from the EU have left the health service so far this year (Jan – Oct 2019), including 1,116 nurses.

Some of the worst affected NHS trusts so far in 2019 include London North West (362 EU leavers), Oxford University Hospitals (304 EU leavers) and University Hospitals Bristol (203 EU leavers).
The Liberal Democrats have warned that shortages of NHS staff will get even worse under Tory plans that would see EU nationals charged a “nurse tax” worth thousands of pounds to come and work for the NHS. Nurses and other health professionals from the EU do not currently pay any fees to come and work for the NHS.

However, under Conservative proposals, visa fees and the NHS surcharge would be extended to EU workers, meaning an EU nurse would have to pay £1,089 to work in the NHS for the first year and £3,589 for five years.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary Luciana Berger said:

These figures reveal the major threat Brexit poses to our NHS, including in Boris Johnson’s own backyard where EU staff are worried about their future here.

The Conservatives’ treatment of NHS nurses and doctors from the EU has been utterly shameful. People looking after our sick and elderly relatives have been left living in unbearable uncertainty, and now the Tories want to clobber them with a nurse tax worth thousands of pounds to come and work in the NHS. This will make the severe staff shortages faced by the NHS even worse and patient care will suffer as a result.

The Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit to protect our NHS. We will make clear to staff from the EU that they are valued, tackle the staffing crisis and invest an extra £35 billion in health and social care.

Lib Dems: Tory manifesto is built on a lie

Responding to the launch of the Conservative manifesto, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Ed Davey said:

The Tory manifesto is built on a lie: that Brexit can be implemented without causing years of chaos and damage to our economy.

These promises are not worth the paper they are written on. Boris Johnson’s Farage-endorsed Brexit deal would leave the UK £70 billon worse off, meaning less money to invest in our schools, hospitals and tackling the climate emergency.

The best way to build a brighter future is to stop Brexit, so we can invest the £50 billion Remain bonus in our public services and tackling inequality.

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