Category Archives: News

Just deserts at Conservative Conference

Last week Ed Davey called on the Conservatives to cancel their Conference and sort out the economic mess they had created.

After days of rebellion, doom and u-turns, I bet they wish they had listened to him.

They aren’t getting the best press, that’s for sure, but then they don’t deserve it.

Kwasi Kwarteng’s feeble attempts at humour in his speech belie any contrition. And I doubt many of those who are now condemned to years of high mortgage payments will feel that either he or Liz Truss truly do get it.

The u-turns on the 45p tax rate and the publication of the OBR forecasts, although major events, are not the only things that need to change.

The Conservatives are showing themselves up as way nastier than they were when Theresa May gave her warning to Conservative Conference a whole twenty years ago.  This generation of leaders seem to have taken it as encouragement to become even worse.

For example, party Chairman Jake Berry had this to say to people struggling to pay their bills this Winter:

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3 October 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Departing Conservative ministers handed over £410,000 in redundancy pay
  • Davey: Kwasi Kwarteng must resign so botched Budget can be scrapped
  • Conservative ministers slammed for holding 67 parties as British economy implodes
  • Kwarteng speech: Laughing about the turbulence is an insult to millions

Departing Conservative ministers handed over £410,000 in redundancy pay

Former Conservative ministers are set to be handed more than £410,000 in redundancy payments, new analysis by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

This includes £18,860 for Boris Johnson, £16,876 for former cabinet ministers including Priti Patel and Michael Gove, and £14,491 for the former Solicitor General Alex Chalk.

The Liberal Democrats have called on Johnson and other outgoing ministers to forgo the thousands of pounds in redundancy payments, so the money can be used to support struggling families instead.

Under the Ministerial and Other Pensions and Salaries Act 1991, those resigning from office are entitled to 25% of the annual salaries they were paid when holding that office. Analysis by the Liberal Democrats suggests that, across government, this will lead to a total bill to the taxpayer of at least £410,642.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Cabinet Office Spokesperson Christine Jardine, said

It is outrageous that as families cut back on food and heating, outgoing Conservative ministers are being awarded thousands of pounds, many of them after just a few weeks in the job.

It seems Liz Truss is against handouts for the British people, but not for her Conservative colleagues. Once again it’s one rule for Conservative MPs, another for everyone else.

Former ministers are given financial security, while struggling families and pensioners are facing economic chaos, higher bills and collapsing health services.

Outgoing Conservative ministers should do the decent thing and pass up their payoffs for the good of the country.

Davey: Kwasi Kwarteng must resign so botched Budget can be scrapped

Responding to Kwasi Kwarteng’s refusal to resign this morning despite his U-turn over the 45p tax rate, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

Kwasi Kwarteng didn’t listen when people’s mortgages soared, the pound tanked and the economy nosedived. Now he’s only acting because of internal rows at the Conservative party conference.

It just shows the Conservatives are totally out of touch with the country.

The Chancellor has lost all credibility and must resign now. Then Parliament needs to be recalled so we can scrap this rotten Budget, offer extra help to struggling mortgage borrowers and ensure our NHS and schools get the funding they need.

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So, no abolition of the 45p rate after all…

45p tax cut U-turn: Now scrap corporation tax cut and bankers bonuses too

Responding to Kwasi Kwarteng’s U-turn on abolishing the 45p rate of tax, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

This humiliating U-turn comes too late for the millions seeing their mortgage rates soar because of this botched budget.

The Conservatives must now cancel their conference and recall Parliament, to sort out this mess for the sake of the country.

The corporation tax cut and the bankers bonus rise need to be scrapped and we need a clear plan to help mortgage borrowers cope with eye-watering interest rate rises. It can’t be

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Welcome to my day: 3 October 2022 – any fool can cut taxes…

And so it becomes clear that, in order to cut taxes in a way that “disproportionately benefits the wealthy”, there will have to be cuts in public spending. In truth, that’s exactly what you’d expect from the boys at the Institute of Economic Affairs, given their belief in a small state.

The problem is that, instead of dealing with economic models and “rational behaviour”, the proponents of the policies coming out of Downing Street are faced with people and a vast array of existing inequalities. The societal model is not perfect at the outset, and thus the theoretical concept is flawed. It is not possible for people to simply work more hours, or get better paid jobs, if those hours, those jobs, are not available or accessible.

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ALDC By-Election Report

It was a busy week for by-elections with 9 principal Council seats up for grabs – and some great Lib Dem results.

We start with a brilliant double victory in Warrington. Two Lib Dem held seats were being contested in Grapenhall ward and both were brilliantly retained by new Lib Dem councillors Helen Speed and Mark Browne who together polled over 56.4% of the vote (almost a 10% increase in Lib Dem vote share. Well done to Helen, Mark and the local team in Warrington!

Warrington MBC, Grapenhall ward
Liberal Democrat (Helen Speed and Mark Browne): 1073 & 1047
Conservative: 524 & 462
Labour: 193
Independent: 60

We had another great Lib Dem hold on Harborough DC as Lib Dem Geraldine Whitmore won Market Harborough Logan ward – increasing the Lib Dem vote share by over 10%! Well done and congratulations to Cllr Whitmore and the local Lib Dem in Harborough.

Harborough DC, Market Harborough Logan ward
Liberal Democrat (Geraldine Whitmore): 582
Conservative: 382
Labour: 250
Independent: 60

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Lib Dems mark Black History Month

Black History Month starts today and this year its theme is “Time for Change: Action not words”

From the Black History Month UK website:

To get to a better tomorrow, we can’t just focus on the past. The past is in the past. We can acknowledge and learn from it, but to improve the future, we need action, not words. We need to come together around a shared common goal to achieve a better world for everyone.

This year’s Black History Month in October is more important than ever. It’s not just a month to celebrate the continued achievements and contributions of Black people to the UK and around the world. It’s also a time for continued action to tackle racism, reclaim Black history, and ensure Black history is represented and celebrated all year round.

For those of us looking to be better allies, the message is clear:

Being an ally means moving beyond short-term or performative gestures and taking real, long-term action. In the workplace, in places of education and learning, and in the public sphere, this means having policies in place that achieve real outcomes.  As an individual, it means actually practising what you preach. In the wake of 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests, many organisations and individuals committed to tackling racism.

This was done around the world by taking the time to learn about the black experience and additionally, in the UK, this included learning about the historical legacy of colonialism and slavery. That was an important step forward, but it won’t fundamentally change institutional racism today.A number of recent reports have called out racism across a range of sectors, from international aid and education to healthcare and policing. As a society, we all know there is a problem with institutional racism. Now we need to work together to tackle it.

Stonewall have produced a really good guide on being a good ally to black LGBT+ people.

Lib Dem AM Hina Bokhari set out what Black History Month means to her:

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Tim Farron set to run London Marathon for air ambulance charity

Our former leader really is a glutton for punishment. Last year he ran the London Marathon, raising over £5000 for the Brathay Trust, a social enterprise supporting young people in Cumbria.

And tomorrow he plans to do it all again:

This time, he’s fundraising for the Great North Air Ambulance and has already raised more than £3000.

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Lib Dem social media ad calls on Conservatives to cancel conference and sort out their mess

On Thursday we reported on Ed Davey’s call for the Conservatives to cancel their Conference and get on with sorting out the mess they have created in the economy. We will all feel the effects of their recklessness in the months and years to come.

The party’s comms teams have backed this up with this social media ad. If you haven’t seen it in your feeds, that’s probably a good thing as party members and supporters aren’t usually the target audience of our campaigns.

Conferences are supposed to be a moment to showcase the best your party has to offer, to make the most of that spot in the media. The sight of Conservatives drinking champagne while people face soaring bills and find it increasingly difficult to get a mortgage will not, we suspect, go down particularly well with voters.

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30 September 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Truss urged to hold mortgage lender summit in Number 10 as millions left in “anxious limbo”
  • OBR forecasts: Economy left “flying blind” for two months
  • Calls reiterated for Welsh Government to Close Qatar Offices After Death of British National

Truss urged to hold mortgage lender summit in Number 10 as millions left in “anxious limbo”

The Liberal Democrats are urging the Prime Minister Liz Truss to host an emergency summit with mortgage lenders in Number 10 this weekend, instead of heading off to Conservative Party conference.

The call comes as hundreds of mortgage products have been withdrawn from sale since the Government presented its mini budget last week.

Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

The Conservatives have plunged our country into an economic crisis and what’s worse is that the damage is purely self inflicted.

Rather than head off on a jolly to party conference this weekend, Liz Truss should hold an emergency meeting with mortgage lenders in Number 10 to fix the chaos caused by her budget.

Millions of people are being left in an anxious limbo. Some are struggling to get the mortgages they need to get on the housing ladder while others are being left worried sick about losing their homes, all because of this Government’s catastrophic failure.

It would be unforgivable for Conservative ministers to sit around talking amongst themselves instead of taking action to sort out this mess.

The buck stops with the Prime Minister, she must not leave innocent mortgage borrowers to pick up the bill.

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Tory councillors walk out of cost of living debate

So this is what happened at Westmorland and Furness when Liberal Democrats tabled a motion on the cost of living crisis.

The motion was passed and fully supported by all the remaining councillors.

Tim commented:

Our country is facing the biggest cost of living crisis in a generation – politicians of all stripes need to work together.

For Conservative councillors to abandon the meeting is an appalling dereliction of duty and sadly shows how out of touch their party is with the needs of people in Westmorland, Furness and Eden.

The Conservative Group explained that “the meeting had exceeded its time limit and the chair had invited members of the group to leave the meeting which they did due to having other commitments.” Strange then that it didn’t apply to all the other councillors.

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“The Tories are the most economically right-wing major party in the developed world”

According to John Burn-Murdoch in the FT “The Tories have become unmoored from the British people“. The charts are very telling and worth looking at. You can see them here but best to go to the FT itself.

Through the mini-Budget Liz Truss has moved the Conservatives to the right of Brothers of Italy and US Republicans, and even to the right of Bolsonaro’s party in Brazil.

This is set alongside a chart showing the position of British voters on the two axes of social and economic values. Even the most right wing of Conservative voters are not in sympathy with Trussonomics. Lib Dem and Labour voters lie even further to the left, of course. In numerical terms, the Truss Government scores 9.4 out of 10 (far right), whereas Conservative voters average 4.2, and British voters overall have an average score of 3.2.

The Tories have plotted a course to the very edge of the economic map, and when they scan the horizon there is nobody to be seen.

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What does the economic chaos mean for us?

Yesterday’s YouGov poll gave Labour an unprecedented 33 point lead over the Tories. With Lib Dems dropping to 7% you might think that is bad news for us, but, as we all know, polling is granular, and it actually increases our chances in Blue wall seats.

In the Guardian, Gaby Hinchcliffe reports on our chances in Surrey, driven by fears over fracking as well as the cost of living (which has now gone far beyond high energy prices).

For in his (Jeremy Hunt’s) South West Surrey seat and Dominic Raab’s Esher and Walton, plus neighbouring Guildford and Woking, Lib Dems are snapping closer to Tory heels.

Seats like this only really wobble in a crisis, as happened in the mid-1970s after economic turmoil under Ted Heath, and in the 1990s after the last sterling crisis. The combination of economic chaos and threats to the green belt is theoretically a gift to them. But is it enough to collapse the “blue wall”, that small but strategically important set of Tory-held seats where Labour can’t win but the Lib Dems just might?

Neil Sherlock, a former adviser to Nick Clegg, fought South West Surrey for the Lib Dems in 1992. He remembers the thrill of feeling the tide running his way, until the last few days when voters suddenly got cold feet. “They’d say, ‘I’d love to vote for you, but we’re not having that Neil Kinnock’,” he recalls. The Lib Dems thrive under opposition leaders who don’t scare their voters, a description that increasingly fits Keir Starmer. But still, though they came within a few hundred votes of snatching South West Surrey in 2001, it’s always hovered just beyond reach.

The YouGov poll may be a bit of an outlier, so we need to watch the general trend, of course. However the vultures are gathering.

For example, a petition to Parliament to “Call an immediate general election to end the chaos of the current government” is already well past the 100,000 threshold that triggers a debate in Parliament.

As we reported yesterday, Ed Davey has called on Liz Truss to cancel the Conservative conference and recall Parliament so MPs can debate the economic crisis.

And there are rumours that letters of no confidence in Liz Truss have already been sent to the 1922 Committee. Although the rules state that a leader should not be challenged for at least a year after a contest, there is nothing to stop the Committee changing the rules.

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29 September 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Davey: Truss must cancel Conservative conference to deal with economic crisis
  • Revealed: 32 crumbling hospital buildings including in PM’s backyard
  • Truss in complete denial on BBC Local Radio round
  • Liz Truss refuses to guarantee people’s pensions are safe
  • Fracking interview: Truss shows contempt for rural communities

Davey: Truss must cancel Conservative conference to deal with economic crisis

Ed Davey demands Liz Truss and her ministers spend time fixing the budget as new research finds Government energy bill support will be wiped out by higher mortgage bills

Typical family faces £2,000 rise in mortgage bills following last week’s disastrous budget

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has called on Liz Truss to cancel the Conservative party conference this weekend, and instead recall Parliament to vote to fix the disastrous mini-budget. The party is also calling on the Government to bring forward a rescue package for homeowners unable to pay higher mortgage bills as a result of last week’s budget.

Ahead of the energy price cap rising on Saturday (1st October), new analysis by the Liberal Democrats reveals the predicted rise in mortgage bills is more than double what the Government has offered to support households with their energy bills.

The Government has pledged to freeze energy prices at £2,500 for the average household, which would have equated to around £1,000 support for the average household.

However, the fallout from last week’s budget is predicted to force the Bank of England to raise interest rates to as much as 5% next year, costing the average mortgage borrower on a Standard Variable Rate a staggering £2,100 per year. Those on an average tracker mortgage would face an even higher annual increase of £3,000 per year if interest rates rise to the predicted 5% next year.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

There is no way the Conservative Party can hold their conference whilst the British economy nosedives. The arrogance of Liz Truss and Conservative Ministers is frankly an insult to millions who now face higher bills as a direct result of last week’s budget. From this weekend they will abandon their posts in Downing Street, leaving a mess behind them and heading for the cocktail parties and mutual back-patting of the classic conference season.

In one fell swoop, Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng crashed the economy, trashed the pound and paved the way for record interest rate rises.

Innocent mortgage borrowers will be left to pick up the bill of this gross incompetence. It is time Parliament is recalled and new measures passed to save families and pensioners unable to cope with this mortgage crisis. This botched budget cannot survive any longer.

Revealed: 32 crumbling hospital buildings including in PM’s backyard

  • Dangerous roofs not set to be replaced until 2035, Freedom of Information request reveals.
  • Hospitals in the Prime Minister’s and Health Secretary’s local areas have roofs at risk of collapse.
  • Liberal Democrats call on Government to fix the budget to save NHS from real-terms cuts amid rising inflation

32 hospital buildings across the country are fitted with dangerous roofs at risk of sudden collapse, data uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

The Freedom of Information request has revealed that 32 buildings at 19 NHS Trusts are fitted with reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) which is said to be ‘structurally weaker’, ‘lightweight’ and ‘cheaper’ than a regular fitting. NHS England has also revealed that the dangerous roofs are not set to be fully replaced until 2035.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, near Liz Truss’s constituency, is the worst in the country with four buildings fitted with the dangerous material. The chief executive of the hospital has previously likened the material to a “chocolate Aero bar” with bubbles that could break and collapse at any point. Liz Truss this morning refused to guarantee that the hospital would be fixed in an interview with BBC Norfolk, adding that she couldn’t make any promises on the Health Secretary’s behalf.

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Davey: Truss must cancel Tory conference to deal with economic crisis

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has called on Liz Truss to cancel the Conservative party conference which begins this weekend, and instead recall parliament to vote to fix the disastrous mini-budget. Lib Dems are also calling on the government to bring forward a rescue package for homeowners unable to pay higher mortgage bills as a result of last week’s budget.

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Lib Dem Councillors shortlisted for national awards

The Local Government Information Unit has released the shortlists for its annual awards and four Liberal Democrat Councillors have made the billing!

Lib Dem Voice’s Editorial team send our congratulations and good luck on the night to for Liberal Democrats:

Ruth Dombey – Sutton Borough Council (Leader of the Year)

Ruth was first elected in 2002 and has been Leader of Lib Dem led Sutton council since 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

Susan Goodchild – Central Bedfordshire District Council (Community Champion)

Susan has been a Councillor since 2005 serving on both Bedfordshire County and Central Bedfordshire District Council. She is the Governor of a local school and involved in a number of community groups.

 

 

 

 

 

Peter McDonald – South Cambridgeshire District Council (Resilience and Recovery)

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Apologies

We are very sorry out the outage overnight. Our technical wizards have been working on it and have now restored LDV to its former glory.

As usual, please email us on [email protected] if you spot any issues with the website. Sometimes all the team are either glued to Strictly, in a council meeting or out for a drink and miss these things.

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Lib Dem Eastleigh wins Council of the Year award

Eastleigh Council has won the prestigious “ Council of the Year” award from the  Association for Public Service Excellence,  recognising its excellent performance in delivering front line council services. The awards receive hundreds of submissions every year and only outstanding councils, that have met the stringent criteria of the expert judges, are shortlisted for Council of the Year.

There are 22 Categories of award and as well as Council of the year. Eastleigh’s  Direct Services team won the  award for Transport and Fleet Maintenance and  the Council was  shortlisted in 4 other categories.

Accepting the award  on behalf of the Council, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Policy, Councillor Tonia Craig said:

Being recognised as Council of the Year is a superb accolade and reflects the commitment of our staff to deliver truly excellent frontline services. I would like to pay tribute to all our teams who work so hard to support communities and improving lives in our Borough – and to thank APSE for this recognition.

Eastleigh is one of the Party’s flagship Councils with has 34 Lib Dem Councillors  out of 39 and we have been in control since 1995.

You can see the Eastleigh Team receiving the award here:

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26 September 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Falling pound: Recall Parliament to fix failed Budget
  • Kwarteng must resign if pound reaches parity with dollar

Falling pound: Recall Parliament to fix failed Budget

The Liberal Democrats have called on the Government to urgently recall Parliament, so the Chancellor can fix his disastrous and out of touch Budget which has sent the pound plummeting.

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

Last week the Chancellor announced a shambolic budget that gave huge unfunded tax cuts to big banks and the wealthiest while leaving struggling families and pensioners in the cold. As a result we are seeing the pound plummet into free fall

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Welcome to my day: 26 September 2022 – a bad time to be poor, or vulnerable, or…

High inflation, rising interest rates and a mad scientist approach to economic management do not tend to instil confidence, as the markets indicated on Friday, following Kwasi Kwarteng’s “this is not a budget” statement. The hedge fund guys have already made hay – they obviously had a pretty good idea what was coming – and now the rest of us can find out what is in store.

There is little doubt that there is much that needs to be done in order to build a thriving future for the United Kingdom. From how our country is governed, to the supply of housing or provision of energy, and onto protecting our environment, many tough decisions will need to be taken. And, from a “customer perspective”, some patience is needed too. You can’t turn round the NHS overnight, just as infrastructure projects, especially big, strategic ones, don’t happen just because someone announces the intention no about it.

But the first thing you need is government that can think strategically, and not just about securing its own future in office. The outgoing administration seemed solely focussed on this week’s headline, making it to next weekend without imploding. But you would have to admit that this one does seem to have a strategy, even if it seems hard to credit it.

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25 September 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Families facing £290 tax hike next year despite 1p cut, new analysis reveals
  • Kwarteng’s budget “staggeringly out of touch”
  • Mark Fullbrook saga: We need an urgent investigation into conflicts of interest

Families facing £290 tax hike next year despite 1p cut, new analysis reveals

A typical family will see their taxes hiked by £290 next year despite the 1p tax cut, new research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed, while top bankers are handed a tax giveaway of over £100,000.

It comes as analysis shows the total tax hit from the Conservative government’s freeze on income tax thresholds is now set to reach £32.4 billion over the next two years – £6.5 billion more than previously expected. The figures are based on an update of the OBR’s previous forecasts undertaken by the House of Commons Library, taking into account soaring inflation.

Liberal Democrat research shows a household with two adults paid the median salary of £31,876 will pay an additional £290 in income tax next year as a result of the freeze, despite the basic rate being reduced from 20% to 19%. This tax bill will rise to £590 by 2024-25, due to the tax threshold remaining frozen as inflation goes even higher.

A teacher on a starting salary of £25,700 will see their taxes rise by £121 next year (2023/24), once the freeze of the income tax threshold is taken into account, while an NHS nurse will see a £107 rise.

Meanwhile, a top banker earning £2.5 million will see a tax cut of over £117,000. It means the Conservative government’s tax giveaway to one top-earning banker would be enough to cancel the tax hike for over 1,000 nurses.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

It is staggeringly unfair that this Conservative government is hiking taxes on struggling families while giving big businesses and banks a massive tax giveaway.

Cutting taxes for the most wealthy while hammering ordinary people with years of stealth taxes shows just how out of touch this government has become.

The facts are clear: Liz Truss and the Conservatives are only cutting taxes for the few, while millions of people will pay more.

Kwarteng’s budget “staggeringly out of touch”

Responding to Kwasi Kwarteng’s performance on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

Kwasi Kwarteng and this Conservative Government are staggeringly out of touch. He showed in his budget that banks and billionaires come first, while families and pensioners come last.

This Government has shown its true colours, making regular people pay in the long run for their economic vandalism. Now, they must cancel recess and allow Parliament to have a say on these shambolic plans.

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23 September 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Fiscal statement: Not a plan but “a recipe for disaster”
  • A Budget for the Mega Rich at the Expense of Ordinary Citizens
  • Debt dossier: Five times Truss and Kwarteng warned unsustainable borrowing could cripple the economy
  • Ed Davey: “Billionaires’ budget” shows Chancellor doesn’t have a clue

Fiscal statement: Not a plan but “a recipe for disaster”

Responding to the Chancellor’s fiscal statement today, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

This statement was an admission of failure from a Conservative government that is totally out of touch with the British people. It is not a plan, but a recipe for disaster that will leave families suffering from soaring prices while banks and oil and gas companies rake in huge profits.

Instead of a real plan to grow the economy, the Conservatives are reheating the same old failed policies and lifting the cap on bankers’ bonuses.

Handing billions of pounds of tax cuts to banks and multinational companies will do nothing to help people get a GP appointment when they need it, give our children a better education; and make our streets safer.

It’s clear that Kwasi Kwarteng and the Conservatives are taking the British people for granted and have no plan to deal with soaring energy bills, sky-high petrol prices and rising food costs.

A Budget for the Mega Rich at the Expense of Ordinary Citizens

Responding to the Conservatives’ mini budget, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS has labelled the plans announced as “a hideously out-of-touch’ budget designed to benefit the mega rich at the expense of ordinary citizens”.

Commenting Jane Dodds MS said:

What we have seen today is gross negligence. The Conservatives are intent on a budget that robs the poor to pay for the mega rich.

Someone on £200,000 a year will benefit by an extra £3,000 a year meanwhile those on the breadline will continue to struggle. It is almost criminal and completely detached from reality.

Cuts to cooperation tax, the removal of the bankers’ bonus cap and the abolishing of the top band of income tax for those earning over £150,000 will do absolutely nothing to help the average family this winter.

The Conservatives are reheating the same policies they’ve tried for the last 7 years that haven’t worked and have instead left the UK with stagnant growth, widening inequality and one of the lowest productivity rates in Europe.

This is the most financially irresponsible budget I have ever seen laid out and it will inevitably lead to either cuts in public services or more debt for our children and grandchildren through increased borrowing.

We need a general election immediately to remove this irresponsible and reckless Conservative Government out of power.

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Reactions to the “fiscal statement” (not a Budget, apparently)

First from Ed Davey:

Sarah Olney is our spokesperson for Treasury and Business & Industrial Strategy and she spoke in the debate:

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Davey: We won’t step aside for Labour in West Lancashire but…

Labour MP Rosie Cooper who has represented West Lancashire since 2005 has announced she is stepping down as an MP after 17 years to chair the Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Speaking Kay Burley yesterday, Ed Davey paid tribute to Cooper and said the Lib Dems would not be stepping aside to give Labour a clear run.

What we don’t do is waste money putting it into elections where we are not convinced we can win. We target our resources. We will always give electors a choice. Of course we will have a candidate. That’s the democratic thing to do.

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22 September 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Fracking: Rural areas treated like guinea pigs
  • Interest rates: Homeowners being punished by Government failure to control inflation
  • Recession: Blame lies with Conservative MPs
  • NHS announcement an ‘A, B, C of failure’
  • Lib Dems table motion to cancel Parliament recess and scrutinise mini Budget
  • Kwarteng growth plan: Shocking admission of Conservative failure

Fracking: Rural areas treated like guinea pigs

Responding to the British Geological Survey’s Report on fracking, Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

The government’s own experts have refused to say fracking is safe. That they choose to plough on regardless shows a callous disregard for our communities and countryside. From Surrey to Somerset, the government are treating people in rural areas like guinea pigs.

The Conservatives obsession with fracking lays bare that they don’t actually think that Climate change is happening and are not willing to take the urgent action needed. They are delaying climate action at every corner. The mask has finally slipped and is revealing Liz Truss and Jacob Reece Mogg as climate change deniers. It is bizarre that this has become their priority, rather than renewables: the cheapest and most popular form of energy.

If people suffer polluted water and dangerous earthquakes, this decision will prove unforgivable.

Interest rates: Homeowners being punished by Government failure to control inflation

Responding to the Bank of England raising interest rates by 0.5%, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

This a hammer blow to struggling homeowners who are being punished by the Government’s failure to control inflation. This monster rate rise could have been avoided if Conservative Ministers bothered to take action sooner on energy bills and the rising cost of living. Instead, the Bank of England is left with no choice but to hike mortgage costs for millions.

It is first time buyers I fear for the most, who have scrimped and saved for their first house. Tomorrow Liz Truss has to clean up the mess made by this Conservative Government and bailout families and pensioners who will suffer as a result of this mortgage hike. This should start with re-installing an Emergency Mortgage Support Fund which was cruelly scrapped by Conservative Ministers.

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Lib Dem MPs respond to energy and tax proposals

Lib Dems have been commenting on the plans by Liz Truss, Kwasi Kwarteng and Jacob Rees Mogg to prevent household and business bills zoom out of control over the winter.

This morning Kay Burley interviewed Sir Ed Davey on Sky News about the government’s proposals for business and household relief. Davey said he was worried about the plans to cut corporation tax. Banks and bankers are among those that will get the lion’s share of that.

They are refusing to put taxes up, which I do support. Oil and gas companies are making huge profit… There should be a windfall tax on

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Jane Dodds: Cost-Of-Living, the NHS and Housing Should Be This Senedd’s Priorities

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS has today outlined her key priorities for the Senedd to address during its new term. These priorities are:

  • Addressing the cost-of-living crisis.
  • Tackling backlogs in the NHS and NHS dentistry.
  • Fixing problems in the Welsh housing sector.

Jane Dodds warned that the Welsh Labour-Plaid Cymru partnership in Cardiff Bay was failing to tackle these key issues and emphasised that strong action needed to be taken immediately.

Despite an announcement of an energy price freeze by UK Prime Minister Liz Truss, energy bills are still expected to be double that of last winter for most families and businesses in …

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21 September 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Business energy bills announcement: a temporary sticking plaster
  • IFS debt analysis: Taxpayers footing the bill for Truss’s ideological obsessions
  • Conservatives handing banks a £6 billion tax cut, new research reveals
  • Calls for an Investigation into Failed Welsh Government Insulation Schemes
  • Demands Welsh Government ‘Names and Shame’ Property Developers Failing to Act on the Building Safety Scandal
  • Dental Crisis: Only 34% of Patients in Southwark Have Been Seen by an NHS Dentist in Past Two Years

Business energy bills announcement: a temporary sticking plaster

Responding to the government announcement on bills for businesses and the public sector, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson, Sarah Olney MP said:

This temporary sticking plaster comes too late for the many small businesses that already closed their doors for the last time because they couldn’t afford soaring bills.

The Conservatives have sat on their hands for months while treasured pubs, cafes and high street shops went to the wall.

This delayed announcement will leave our small businesses, schools and hospitals under a cloud of damaging uncertainty. The government have no plan beyond these next six months, paralysing businesses who need to make decisions for the long term. Support for high streets and public services should be in place for at least the next year and include measures to improve energy efficiency and cut bills in the long term.

The announcement shows the Conservatives have no plan and no understanding of the pressures facing our businesses and public services.

IFS debt analysis: Taxpayers footing the bill for Truss’s ideological obsessions

Responding to IFS analysis which shows debt is being left on an unsustainable path by the government, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

Liz Truss is asking hard-pressed taxpayers to fund her ideological obsessions in the middle of the biggest cost of living crisis in a generation. This is no way to govern Britain.

The Conservatives are prioritising record oil company profits and bankers’ bonuses whilst families struggle to pay their own heating bills.

This Government has lost all sense of fiscal responsibility. Future generations will be paying off the Conservatives’ debt for years to come with no guarantee of economic growth.

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Scottish Conference to debate a 4 day working week and nuclear power

Regional and national conferences will give Liberal Democrat members a much needed chance to get together over the next couple of months.

Last week, the preliminary agenda for Scottish Conference was published. The three day event will take place in Hamilton between 28 and 30 October.

There are going to be some controversial debates.  Proposals to reverse our long standing opposition to new nuclear power stations,  backing a 4 day working week, and a new model requiring local authorities to provide new homes for social buy sit alongside  more classical liberal fare on restricting employers rights to snoop on employees working at home and giving more powers to local government.

Conference will also debate a constitutional amendment, proposed by current leader Alex Cole-Hamilton, that future Scottish leaders should be allowed to be either an MP or MSP and future deputy leaders could be councillors as well as parliamentarians.

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Martin Thomas reflects on Royal Deeside

When I was a student, my Summer job was as a youth hostel warden in Braemar. In July, I wandered round the gardens of Balmoral when they were open to the public. In August, if I was off on a Sunday morning, I’d take the bus to Crathie Kirk to see the Royal Family go to Church and was actually able to attend the service myself.

I was used to seeing members of the Royal Family in the village. Locals were keen to give them privacy on their much needed break.

Martin writes of his own love of Royal Deeside. He’s felt the benefit of its restorative qualities for decades, in good times and bad. I have my own reasons to be grateful to this beautiful part of the world. I met my husband there. He walked into the hostel for a night, stayed for a week and a half and left with a lot more than he had bargained for.

Anyway, back to Martin’s tribute:

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William Wallace: Social change during the Queen’s Reign

Next in our series of tributes to the Queen from Lib Dem parliamentarians is from William Wallace. He has a unique perspective. Like Mary Reid, he remembers the death of her father and as a Westminster Abbey chorister sang when his coffin arrived in Westminster Hall and at the Queen’s coronation. He talks about the social change that the Queen helped along during her reign.

My Lords, I am conscious that admitting that I can remember the monarchy before Queen Elizabeth is to admit that I am well over the average age, even in this House. My first image of the monarchy was, indeed, of the Queen’s grandmother, Queen Mary, who used to come to listen to sermons in Westminster Abbey whenever a particularly radical canon, Canon Marriott, was preaching the social gospel—something which would now be considered far too left-wing for any current bishop to talk about. I learned a little more when, as a junior chorister, I sang when the coffin of George VI arrived at Westminster Hall for the lying-in-state, and rather more about the symbolic importance of the monarchy when, as a more senior chorister, I sang at the Coronation.

People have talked a lot about how much the country has changed since then. When I think back to that period, it is astonishing what sort of change we have been through. As I walked past the abbey this morning, I remembered that it was black in 1952, covered in soot. Outside, a gallery had been built for people to watch from over a bomb site, which is now the Queen Elizabeth II Centre. Inside, nearly a thousand Peers were in the north transept, in their full robes and with their coronets, and nearly a thousand Peeresses were in the south transept. In a few months’ time, when the ballot for perhaps 100 of us who wish to attend the next Coronation arrives, we should remember that social deference has ended and the social order in this country is different from what it was then.

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