Category Archives: Press releases

12 July 2024 – today’s press release

I’d rather let this feature slip during the General Election – the flood of press releases, and the fact that they generally got rather better coverage than usual made it seem slightly less necessary to cover them here. But, perhaps now that the news cycle has settled a bit, and given that we have a vastly larger Parliamentary Party in the Commons, this feature may offer some insight into what our new MPs are up to.

That said, there’s only one today…

SEPA need to show plan for cleaning up Portobello

Responding to comments from SEPA, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, saying that paddling or bathing in the water at Edinburgh’s Portobello beach could pose a risk to health, Scottish Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West Christine Jardine said:

This is an iconic location in our capital but once again people are being asked to stay out of the water because of threats to health. As Edinburgh gears up for its busiest season, this sends a terrible message.

Residents and visitors need more information out of SEPA as to what is leading to these closures and what action is being taken to deliver a long-term solution.

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12 June 2024 – today’s press releases (Scotland and Wales)

  • Scottish Liberal Democrats call for climate-focused industrial strategy
  • “Free transport the key to fighting child poverty” – Welsh Lib Dems
  • “We cannot fail our children in the fight against racism” – Welsh Lib Dems

Scottish Liberal Democrats call for climate-focused industrial strategy

Scottish Liberal Democrat deputy leader Wendy Chamberlain today laid out her party’s plans for a new industrial strategy “which has tackling the climate emergency at its heart” during a visit to a clean power-start up.

Wendy Chamberlain was at PlusZero, a Harris-based company specialising in the production, distribution and operation of green hydrogen.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats would support science, research and innovation, particularly among small businesses and start-ups with an interest in zero-carbon and environmental technologies, by:

  • Investing in energy storage, including green hydrogen, pumped storage and battery capability;
  • Continuing to participate in Horizon Europe and joining the European Innovation Council, both of which have a big focus on hydrogen as a breakthrough technology;
  • Aiming for at least 3% of GDP to be invested in research and development by 2030;
  • Improving joint ministerial work on new cross-cutting policies such as the UK industrial strategy.

Wendy Chamberlain said:

The UK can lead the world with innovation and ingenuity. Liberal Democrats will put tackling the climate emergency at the heart of a new industrial strategy, cutting emissions and driving a strong economic recovery.

Businesses and entrepreneurs should be supported to create clean well-paid jobs in every part of Scotland.

While other parties abandon their climate commitments, only the Scottish Liberal Democrats have a plan that can give businesses the certainty they need to invest in products and unlock their global potential.

We need to seize the economic opportunities of net zero now. We simply can’t afford for the UK to be left behind on green skills and the industries of the future.

“Free transport the key to fighting child poverty” – Welsh Lib Dems

This week in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have reiterated their calls for free public transport for everyone under the age of 25.

A recent report from the Senedd Petitions Committee highlighted the positive impact that affordable transport could have towards fighting child poverty.

According to the report, public transport fares in Wales have skyrocketed up to 74% over a 10-year period.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have claimed that, because most under-18s rely on buses and trains, exorbitant costs are barring access to education, jobs, and essential activities.

Speaking in the Siambr, party leader Jane Dodds MS citied the free bus scheme in Scotland as an example of the positive benefits that free public transport can have.

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12 June 2024 – today’s press releases

  • GDP: Conservatives have utterly failed to deliver the growth promised
  • Ed Davey calls for young carers to receive education support as latest TV broadcast released
  • Thames Triathletes sickness: Environment Agency investigation needed
  • Craig Williams bet on election date: Sunak must suspend him
  • Conservatives: Record of failure on defence
  • Sky Leaders’ Debate: Sunak “out of touch” on NHS waiting lists

GDP: Conservatives have utterly failed to deliver the growth promised

Commenting on the latest GDP estimates, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

As Rishi Sunak’s time as Prime Minister peters out, so does the UK’s economic growth.

The Conservatives have utterly failed to deliver the growth they repeatedly promised, instead presiding over stagnation and economic misery for hardworking families across the country.

The Conservatives’ manifesto shows they simply lack the ambition and vision to get the economy moving again. It’s clear for voters across the country that the only way to make it happen is to vote them out of office on 4 July.

Ed Davey calls for young carers to receive education support as latest TV broadcast released

  • Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey speaks to carers in latest TV broadcast airing later tonight
  • Liberal Democrats propose Young Carers Pupil Premium, ensuring carers keep up with their learning
  • Ed Davey, who cared for his mother as a child, says the plans will help young carers fulfil their potential
  • Up to three in 10 (27%) of young carers are missing school

The Liberal Democrats will announce plans for young carers in England to receive extra funding for their education as part of a major expansion of the pupil premium. The policy would support over 50,000 children with caring responsibilities to catch up on their learning.

The latest policy announcement comes as Ed Davey’s new Party Election Broadcast airs tonight on BBC and ITV, with the party leader hearing from carers.

In the film, Ed Davey, who cared for his mother as a child and now cares for his disabled son, hears from a young carer who struggles to balance their learning with caring responsibilities.

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11 June 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems call for “Clean Water Authority” to tackle sewage dumping and overhaul failing water industry
  • Conservative manifesto: no one will believe what they’re promising
  • Suspected drug deaths increase by 10%

Lib Dems call for “Clean Water Authority” to tackle sewage dumping and overhaul failing water industry

  • Ed Davey announced plan to launch the Clean Water Authority, a tough new regulator with powers to tackle sewage dumping and reform the water industry in England and Wales
  • Water companies would be required to publish real-time data on the volume of sewage they dump into rivers
  • Analysis reveals Conservative MPs voted over 1,600 times against tougher measures to tackle sewage dumping in last Parliament
  • Leader Ed Davey said the bold proposals “will end the Conservative sewage scandal once and for all” and clean up our waterways

The Liberal Democrats have today announced plans to launch the Clean Water Authority, a tough new regulator with powers to take decisive action against failing water companies over the sewage scandal.

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7 June 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Davey: Sunak leaving D-Day early a “dereliction of duty”
  • Lib Dems pledge to create new National Parks
  • D-Day: Lib Dems call on Sunak to donate Hester £5 million to a veterans’ charity
  • Scottish Liberal Democrats commit to returning UK to Erasmus
  • Lib Dems call for new protections for rivers and coastlines as sewage dumped over 83,000 times in Welsh waters last year

Davey: Sunak leaving D-Day early a “dereliction of duty”

Responding to reports that Rishi Sunak left D-Day commemorations in Normandy early, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

One of the greatest privileges of the office of Prime Minister is to be there to honour those who served, yet Rishi Sunak abandoned them on the beaches of Normandy. He has brought shame to that office and let down our country.

I am thinking right now of all those veterans and their families he left behind and the hurt they must be feeling. It is a total dereliction of duty and shows why this Conservative government just has to go.

Lib Dems pledge to create new National Parks

  • The Liberal Democrat manifesto will include a pledge to create at least three new National Parks, with additional funding to boost the National Parks budget
  • Ed Davey said that the proposals would help “protect our beautiful countryside for the next generation” and make good on the “broken promises of the Conservative Party”
  • The party sets out plans where the Chilterns, Surrey Hills, and North Downs could be among the first new National Parks created in 14 years

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to create new National Parks across England, Ed Davey will announce today.

The policy would lead to an expansion of National Parks by adding at least three new parks to the existing ten in England, with new funding of £50m a year for new and existing National Parks.

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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.

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5 June 2024 – the Scottish and Welsh press releases

  • Scottish Liberal Democrats launch plans to end SNP’s sewage scandal
  • Rennie responds to SNP’s national education agency announcement
  • “Vaughan Gething must go” – Welsh Lib Dems react to no confidence result

Scottish Liberal Democrats launch plans to end SNP’s sewage scandal

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton and deputy leader Wendy Chamberlain have today said the SNP Government is “neck-deep in failure” as they launched their party’s plans to clamp down on sewage dumping in Scotland’s rivers during a campaign visit to the River Almond.

Research by the party shows that sewage was dumped in the River Almond for a total of 148 hours in 2023 alone. This figure could be much higher as only one part of the river is monitored for sewage overflows. Residents living near the Almond claim that the water has become discoloured, stating that “foaming and fungus” had appeared in its surface.

Across Scotland, there were more than 21,000 sewage dumps logged in 2023 alone, up from 19,676 in 2022. However, the problem is likely to be far worse because only a small fraction of sewage discharges are monitored.

Scottish Liberal Democrats have launched plans for a Clean Water Act that would see:

  • Scotland’s Victorian sewage network updated;
  • Every sewage dump monitored and published with binding targets for their reduction;
  • A blue flag system for Scotland’s rivers;
  • A complete ban on the release of sewage in protected areas such as bathing waters.

The proposals for Scotland are part of a UK-wide campaign by the Liberal Democrats to clean up waterways and get governments to take action.

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5 June 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Ed Davey calls for 62-day cancer treatment guarantee as NHS target missed for 100,000 patients
  • Ed Davey pledges to be “voice of carers” as he opens up about personal experience of care
  • Sunak a “pound shop Boris Johnson”: Ten times the Conservatives have misled the public with dodgy figures
  • D-Day: Davey sets out plans for veterans and military personnel
  • Revealed: Commuters have faced £1,100 ticket bombshell since 2019 as Lib Dems pledge to freeze rail fares
  • Family taxes: Conservative stealth rises have left everyone worse off

Ed Davey calls for 62-day cancer treatment guarantee as NHS target missed for 100,000 patients

  • The Liberal Democrats have announced that their manifesto will include a pledge of a legal right for cancer patients to start treatment within 62-days
  • Ed Davey says “far too many patients are still waiting far too long to start treatment” and that the “Liberal Democrats will make improving cancer care a top priority”
  • Almost 100,000 cancer patients waited longer than 62-days to begin treatment last year

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has announced his party would give cancer patients a legal right to start treatment within 62-days after an urgent referral.

Ed Davey said his party would make “improving cancer care a top priority,” adding the issue was deeply personal to him having lost both his parents to cancer as a child.

Currently cancer care targets are routinely missed, with almost 100,000 cancer patients last year waiting longer than 62 days to begin treatment after an urgent referral, the worst on record. The 62 day target has not been met since 2015.

The Liberal Democrats would introduce a legal guarantee that 100% of patients will be able to start treatment within 62 days from urgent referral. The new cancer treatment guarantee would be enshrined in the NHS constitution, which already sets out a number of other patients’ rights. It would place a legal duty on the Government and the NHS to put the policies and resources in place to ensure the patient can start treatment within 62 days.

The manifesto pledge will form part of a plan to improve cancer care services with an additional £4bn invested over the next five years.

Liberal Democrat Leader, Ed Davey said:

Like millions of people, my life was turned upside down by cancer, which took both my parents from me when I was young. I know how painful it feels to see your loved one left in limbo – diagnosed with cancer but waiting months for the treatment they need.

Every day counts in a battle against cancer. But far too many patients are still waiting far too long to start treatment after being diagnosed as cancer delays soar to the worst levels on record.

Despite all the progress by our incredible scientists and NHS staff, the UK still lags behind other countries when it comes to cancer survival rates – and these delays are a major reason why. That’s why the Liberal Democrats will make improving cancer care a top priority, and fight every day for better care for you and your loved ones.

Ed Davey pledges to be “voice of carers” as he opens up about personal experience of care

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has today pledged to be the “voice of carers” as he said care will be at the heart of his party’s manifesto.

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4 June 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Long-term sickness risks £18 billion black hole under Conservatives as Lib Dems call for mental health MOTs
  • Debate: The country deserved better than that
  • Cole-Hamilton: SNP’s mishandling of health costing the economy
  • Welsh Lib Dems react to school year announcement
  • Cole-Hamilton: SNP have failed to get to grips with A&E crisis
  • Mental health treatment targets missed again
  • Scottish Liberal Democrats: SNP must go further and faster with rail travel

Long-term sickness risks £18 billion black hole under Conservatives as Lib Dems call for mental health MOTs

  • The Liberal Democrats announce regular mental health ‘MOT’ checks at key points in people’s lives including for new parents and retirees
  • Ed Davey said the Prime Minister’s “failure to cut NHS waiting lists is damaging the economy” and party’s new commitment would “help people get back to work”
  • Analysis reveals that over the course of the next Parliament long-term sickness could cost the economy £18.3 billion

Record levels of long-term sickness under the Conservatives are set to blow an £18.3 billion black hole in the public finances over the next Parliament, new analysis by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The party said it shows that Rishi Sunak’s failure to bring down NHS waiting lists is holding the economy back and costing taxpayers billions.

Each person out of work due to long-term illness costs an average of £5,200 in lost tax revenue, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility. The latest figures show a shocking 2.8 million people were out of work due to ill health in February 2024, up around 700,000 compared to the start of this Parliament in 2019. It means the rise in long-term sickness under the Conservative Party is leading to a staggering loss of almost £3.7 billion in lost tax revenue per year, or £18.3 billion over the next parliament.

Rishi Sunak recently admitted the government has failed to cut NHS waiting lists with 6.3 million people still waiting for treatment, double the number since 2015. Over 1.35 million (53%) of those inactive because of long-term sickness reported that they had a mental health condition such as depression, bad nerves or anxiety.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for the introduction of regular mental health check-ups at key points in people’s lives when they are most vulnerable, to help tackle the root causes of the mental health crisis. This would include new parents, children and young people, men in their 40s, carers and retirees, all of whom are at high risk of mental ill health.

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3 June 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Ed Davey launches plan for free personal care to end hospital crisis and help people stay in their own homes
  • Chamberlain: Liberal Democrats will restore public service to our politics
  • McArthur responds to SNP Government scrapping recycling target
  • Alex Cole-Hamilton’s opening statement in STV Leaders’ Debate

Ed Davey launches plan for free personal care to end hospital crisis and help people stay in their own homes

  • Liberal Democrats announce groundbreaking plans to offer free personal care to all those who need it
  • Ed Davey will put care at the heart of the Liberal Democrats’ plan for the country, becoming the first ever party to have a dedicated chapter in manifesto on care
  • Latest figures show over 12,700 hospital beds taken up by patients ready to be discharged with some waiting months
  • The party’s flagship social care announcement will be funded by reversing tax cuts given to big banks by the Conservatives

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey will today launch a bold plan to fix the social care crisis, including providing free personal care to help elderly people stay in their own homes for longer.

The groundbreaking policy would revolutionise the care system in England and alleviate pressure on the NHS, by providing free personal care for everyone who needs it. The plan would help more people to receive the care they need in their own homes and prevent people having to sell their house to pay for personal care.

Personal care covers nursing care, help with mobility, hygiene and medication, whether people are in their own home or a care home. Those needing residential care would still have to contribute towards their accommodation.

Ed Davey, who has been a carer himself throughout his life, said that too often family carers were being left to “pick up the pieces” because the care system wasn’t there for them. He added that fixing the care crisis is fundamental to tackling the crisis facing the NHS.

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2 June 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems call for new protections for rivers and coastlines as sewage dumped over 100,000 times in bathing water areas
  • Rennie writes to Justice Secretary following FAI report on M9 crash
  • Cole-Hamilton responds to £450m EU funding revelation
  • Cole-Hamilton speaks ahead of first Scottish leaders’ debate

Lib Dems call for new protections for rivers and coastlines as sewage dumped over 100,000 times in bathing water areas

  • Rivers to be given new protected status against sewage discharges with current government scheme branded “toothless”
  • Party uncovers water firms have discharged sewage over 100,000 times in current bathing water status areas
  • Lib Dems set out “boldest manifesto on cleaning up our rivers and coastlines”

The Liberal Democrats have announced a massive expansion of marine protected areas and a new Blue Flag status for rivers will be included in their general election manifesto.

In response to sewage being pumped into bathing water status rivers, the party has announced plans for new Blue Flag rivers, setting legally binding targets to prevent sewage dumping in those sites. Blue Flag rivers would give special protected status for swimmers and wildlife.

The current government bathing water scheme has failed to protect waterways from sewage discharges by only requiring increased water quality testing. Analysis by the Liberal Democrats has found since 2020, water companies have discharged sewage into bathing water areas 105,347 times, equating to a staggering 694,487 hours worth of sewage.

The two worst offending companies were United Utilities, which dumped sewage into the Lake District, and South West Water, found to be polluting beaches in Cornwall and Devon.

The Liberal Democrats are also announcing new plans to protect coastal marine wildlife, which would see the expansion of the blue belt of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to cover at least 50% of the UK territorial waters by 2030.

Marine environments are currently in a state of crisis due to sewage and plastic pollution. The new target on MPAs would be achieved by working in partnership with UK Overseas Territories, as well as mandating the government to monitor the sites.

The latest announcement on water quality follows the party announcing its plans to abolish Ofwat, introducing a new regulator with greater powers, as well as a ban on water company executive bonuses.

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Liberal Democrats pledge to reverse Conservative cuts to public health grant with £1bn a year to tackle “ticking time bomb” for NHS

  • Liberal Democrats pledge to tackle “ticking time bomb” for NHS with a major funding boost for the Public Health Grant
  • The party’s manifesto will include a commitment to increase the Public Health Grant which will help fund health checks for 40-74 year olds, health visits for infants and their mothers, and wider access to blood pressure tests
  • Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said her party’s policy will reverse the “scandalous” cuts made by the Conservatives since 2015

The Liberal Democrats will today commit to reversing Conservative cuts to the Public Health Grant which funds vital health checks for infants, children, mothers, working age adults …

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1 June 2024 – today’s press releases

  • 100,000 households face mortgage rate hike by polling day as Conservatives face ‘blue wall reckoning’
  • Conservative community care annoucement papering over NHS cracks
  • Pride Month: Welsh Liberal Democrats pledge to keep fighting for a more inclusive society
  • Welsh Lib Dems call for more trains on Heart of Wales line
  • Cole-Hamilton: Liberal Democrats will deliver a fair deal for local communities

100,000 households face mortgage rate hike by polling day as Conservatives face ‘blue wall reckoning’

  • A typical mortgage holder will see their payments rise by £240 a month
  • Over 3,300 households a day set to see their mortgages rise between now and polling day on 4th July
  • Liberal Democrats warn that Rishi Sunak faces a “blue wall reckoning” with mortgage holders in key battleground seats among the hardest hit

100,000 households will face a mortgage increase between now and polling day on 4th July, House of Commons Library research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has found.

This amounts to an average of 3,333 households a day being hit with higher mortgage rates. It comes as the Bank of England maintained interest rates at 5.25% earlier this month. A typical mortgage holder will see their payments rise by £240 a month.

The Lib Dem-commissioned analysis by the House of Commons Library, based on data from the Financial Conduct Authority, found that households will face an increase to their mortgages ahead of General Election polling day on 4th July.

The Lib Dems said Rishi Sunak’s claim that his economic plan is working shows he is living in a “parallel universe,” at a time when families are saddled with hundreds of pounds a month more on their mortgage.

The party said the Prime Minister is set for a “blue wall reckoning” with the data showing Liberal Democrat – Conservative battlegrounds such as Taunton Deane, Tewkesbury and Steve Barclay’s seat of North East Cambridgeshire among the worst affected.

In total, households coming off fixed rate mortgages ahead of polling day will pay an additional £290 million in mortgage costs over the next year.

Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson, Sarah Olney said:

This Conservative government crashed the economy and now they are condemning hard-working households to a mortgage nightmare.

Rishi Sunak’s claim that the government’s plan is working shows he is living in a parallel universe, as every day thousands of families are seeing their mortgage go up by eye-watering amounts.

The Prime Minister is set for a blue wall reckoning in key battleground seats where fed up voters are ready to say enough is enough with this out-of-touch Conservative Government on 4th July.

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31 May 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems announce plans for free school meals for all primary school children
  • NHS Confederation survey: Conservatives have run our health service into the ground
  • Premier League season tickets spiral as Lib Dems call for free-to-air football
  • Towns funding: Conservatives aren’t fooling anyone
  • Rennie responds to M9 crash after “unforgiveable” wait for findings
  • Cole-Hamilton commits to keeping triple lock on pensions

Lib Dems announce plans for free school meals for all primary school children

  • The Liberal Democrats have announced their ambition to extend free school meals to all primary school children, beginning with all children in poverty.
  • The party will fund their manifesto policy by introducing a share buyback tax, inspired by a similar tax introduced by Joe Biden in the US.
  • Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey slams Conservative government for “letting children go hungry in the worst cost of living crisis in a generation”.

The Liberal Democrats have launched their ambition to extend free school meals to all primary school children, funded by a new share buyback tax.

The party’s plan includes an immediate extension of free school meals to all 900,000 children living in poverty who currently miss out. The second phase would see all primary school children receiving free school meals as the public finances stabilise.

Analysis by PWC found that every £1 spent on free school meals for the poorest children generates £1.38 in health and earnings benefits, including improvements to children’s health, education and future working life opportunities.

The new policy will make the Liberal Democrats the most ambitious party on free school meals. The government currently only provides meals for all children in reception, year 1 and year 2. In year 3 and above, the government has set stringent conditions on family income for children receiving free school meals.

The manifesto pledge would be funded by a 4% levy on the share buybacks of FTSE 100 listed corporations, similar to the excise tax on buybacks implemented by President Biden in the US, which could raise around £1.4bn a year.

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30 May 2024 – today’s press releases

I really couldn’t do today’s summary without covering Ed Davey’s adventures in Somerset.

Whilst I’m sure that there are those out there who think that it’s all a bit silly, I’d suggest that it does two things:

  • Gets out the message that, actually, Ed is kind of fun, and:
  • Allows him to get across two messages in an easy soundbite when he’s got media attention.

And, that attention is spread further, to voters who might otherwise not hear our message, as Shelter have demonstrated:

There weren’t that many press releases today, strangely, but here are the ones we’ve received:

  • Conservatives have “legalised littering”
  • Cole-Hamilton: Liberal Democrats stand ready to fix broken politics
  • Scottish Liberal Democrats welcome Edinburgh Jazz Bar re-opening as social enterprise

Conservatives have “legalised littering”

Responding to the Conservative’s announcement that fly-tippers face driving licence points, Liberal Democrat Local Government Spokesperson Helen Morgan said:

The Conservatives have effectively legalised littering. Under their government, fines for littering and fly-tipping are so low that people are being let off scot-free up and down the country.

The fact that fly-tipping is going unpunished is simply appalling. If people aren’t being fined, it’s no wonder that they think they can dump their rubbish on the streets without consequence.

The Conservatives have had years to get tough on fly-tippers and litterers but have failed at every turn. The Liberal Democrats are calling for real action against fly-tippers by increasing fines and using the profits to crack down on this anti-social crime.

Cole-Hamilton: Liberal Democrats stand ready to fix broken politics

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton today outlined how the party will fix our broken politics, as he unveiled its plan for cleaning up the sleaze and scandal created by both the SNP and Conservatives.

Alex Cole-Hamilton took to the campaign trail in central Edinburgh to unveil the plans to put power into the hands of voters, end the sleaze and cronyism and make politics work for you again.

His party’s plan includes:

  • Making every vote count by introducing proportional representation for electing MPs;
  • Ending the WhatsApp deletion scandals;
  • Reforming the House of Lords;
  • A written constitution for the UK;
  • A right to recall your MSP.
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29 May 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Sewage fine proposals: Letting water companies off the hook would be “utter disgrace”
  • Almost 340,000 children on mental health waiting lists as postcode lottery leaves some waiting over a year
  • Number starting apprenticeships in England has fallen by a third
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats to vote against Welsh First Minister Vaughan Gething in no-confidence vote
  • Highland MP comments on road death figures
  • Jardine responds to homeless being “sent out” of Edinburgh ahead of Taylor Swift concert

Sewage fine proposals: Letting water companies off the hook would be “utter disgrace”

Responding to proposals that could see financially stressed water companies receive fewer or no penalties for sewage pollution, Liberal Democrat Environment spokesperson Tim Farron MP said:

Any attempt to let these polluting giants off the hook would be an utter disgrace.

This plan is proof Ofwat should be scrapped. This Conservative government has allowed this toothless regulator to stagger on too long.

It is time someone finally stood up to these water firms.

Almost 340,000 children on mental health waiting lists as postcode lottery leaves some waiting over a year

  • Liberal Democrats call for a mental health professional in every primary and secondary school
  • Ed Davey warns the Conservative party has “abandoned parents and children” as he sets out urgent plan to fix the crisis in young people’s mental health
  • 336,886 children on mental health waiting lists, some waiting an average of 15 months to be seen in stark postcode lottery

Almost 340,000 children and young people are on mental health waiting lists with some areas seeing average waits of 15 months, House of Commons Library research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

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Lib Dems launch Wales General Election campaign with vow to tackle Conservatives’ “legacy of failure”

  • Ed Davey condemns Conservative “legacy of failure” as Lib Dems kick off General Election campaign in Wales
  • The party has committed £1 billion extra funding for the agriculture budget, accusing Rishi Sunak of “taking farmers for granted”
  • “This election gives Wales the opportunity of a lifetime to show the Conservatives the door”, Ed Davey will tell activists in Wales

The Liberal Democrats will today launch their general election campaign in Wales with a promise to reverse the Conservatives’ “legacy of failure” and champion British farming.

Speaking in Wales, Ed Davey will set out a rescue plan for farmers, including £1 billion in extra …

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28 May 2024 – today’s press releases, the Scottish edition

  • Cole-Hamilton meets anti-sewage campaigners as he reveals Scotland’s worst affected rivers
  • Equivalent of more than 1 in 7 Scots are on a waiting list
  • Cole-Hamilton: Urgent action needed on A&E waiting times

Cole-Hamilton meets anti-sewage campaigners as he reveals Scotland’s worst affected rivers

Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Alex Cole-Hamilton today met anti-sewage campaigners in Edinburgh as the party published new analysis which reveals the worst rivers in Scotland for sewage dumping.

Sewage was dumped into Scotland’s rivers for a shocking 183,832 hours last year, with 16,010 sewage spills in total. This is equivalent to an average of over 44 sewage dumps into rivers every single day.

The 10 worst rivers for duration of sewage dumping in 2023 were:

  • River Carron
  • Clyde Estuary
  • River Clyde
  • Biggar Burn
  • River Nith
  • Clyde Estuary/Firth of Clyde
  • Cluden Water
  • River Ayr
  • Leader Water
  • Ladywell Burn

Sewage was dumped into the River Carron for 17,781 hours in 2023, and the Clyde Estuary saw the most individual sewage dumps with 2,090.

Alex met local anti-sewage campaigners Jack Caldwell and Hal Osler at the picturesque Shore in Leith where sewage is dumped directly into the Water of Leith by the government-owned water company.

Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

On doorstep after doorstep, people are telling me how disgusted they are that sewage is being pumped into their rivers.

Last year there were an average of 44 sewage dumps into rivers across Scotland every single day, but even this disgusting figure may be an underestimate as the vast majority of sewage dumps are not monitored.

The Water of Leith, where I am today, is one of many rivers where there is absolutely no monitoring of sewage dumping, even though we know it is happening.

Communities all across Scotland are rightly furious that their local rivers are being spoiled while they face huge price rises from the government-owned water company and its executives are pocketing bumper bonuses. SNP ministers are spin doctors for outdated sewage standards.

Liberal Democrats have led the campaign to turn the tide on the sewage scandal. If you elect a Liberal Democrat MP you will get a hardworking local champion who is focused on getting the sewage out of our rivers and winning the change our country desperately needs.

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28 May 2024 – today’s press releases, the Federal edition

  • Triple Lock Plus promise is “empty” as Conservatives accused of “hypocrisy”
  • Lib Dems call for community environmental experts to sit on water company boards
  • Apprenticeships: treatment of apprentices as second-class workers will only continue under the Conservatives

Triple Lock Plus promise is “empty” as Conservatives accused of “hypocrisy”

Responding to Mel Stride’s morning round, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

The sheer hypocrisy of the Conservatives to claim they are on the side of pensioners is laughable at best and dishonest at worst.

Our nation’s pensioners have been clobbered by stealth taxes, and failed on social care – these promises are empty.

This is a once-in-a-generation election and we’re seeing more and more pensioners back the fair deal being put forward by the Liberal Democrats, especially where it’s a two-horse race between us and the Conservatives.

Lib Dems call for community environmental experts to sit on water company boards

  • Ed Davey announces new reforms to hold the water industry to account on a visit to the Lake District
  • BBC recently uncovered millions of litres of raw sewage was illegally pumped into Lake Windermere
  • Liberal Democrats have also called for Ofwat to be replaced by a tougher regulator to end the sewage scandal

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey will today announce his party’s manifesto will include a pledge to put community environmental experts on water company boards to hold water bosses to account for the sewage scandal and the urgent action we need to end it.

The party has already announced it would scrap the failing regulator Ofwat and ban water CEO bonuses, and will today outline more bold reforms of the water industry.

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28 May 2024 – the overnight press releases

  • Sunak’s Triple Lock Plus would be wiped out by £1,000 stealth tax on pensioners
  • Briefing: Five ways the Conservative Party has betrayed pensioners

Sunak’s Triple Lock Plus would be wiped out by £1,000 stealth tax on pensioners

Responding to the Conservative Party’s announcement on a “Triple Lock Plus” for pensioners, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

Rishi Sunak’s stealth tax hikes will blow a £1,000 hole in pensioners’ pockets by 2027, over four times more than what he is giving back with this meagre announcement.

The Conservative Party has hammered pensioners with years of unfair tax hikes and broken their word on the

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27 May 2024 – today’s press releases

  • 92% of burglary cases go unsolved in some areas as Lib Dems call for police response guarantee
  • Fining parents will lead to “national service tax”

92% of burglary cases go unsolved in some areas as Lib Dems call for police response guarantee

  • Ed Davey warns “too many families now feel unsafe in their own homes” as new figures show some areas see over nine in ten burglary cases go unsolved
  • Liberal Democrats will call for Burglary Response Guarantee in manifesto to ensure all domestic burglaries are attended by a police officer
  • At least 85% of burglary cases went unsolved in Michael Gove’s local area of Surrey Heath and Jeremy Hunt’s in Waverley

The Liberal Democrats will tomorrow announce their plans for a Burglary Response Guarantee, as new data uncovered by the party reveals the shocking scale of unsolved burglaries in local areas across England and Wales.

The figures were compiled from a series of Freedom of Information requests by the party, which for the first time have broken down unsolved burglaries data by local area. 33 of 43 police forces across England and Wales provided full responses with data provided for 329 local areas.

Official government figures show that nearly 76% of burglaries went unsolved in 2023. However, the new Liberal Democrat figures expose a disturbing postcode lottery, with some local areas seeing even worse outcomes than the national average. Elmbridge – home to Dominic Raab’s constituency of Esher and Walton – had the worst record in the country, with a staggering 92% of burglaries going unsolved in 2023. 91% of burglaries went unsolved in South Cambridgeshire, while 90% of cases went unsolved in Runnymede in Surrey.

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14 billion litres of sewage pumped into the River Thames last year

  • Liberal Democrats uncover “disgusting revelation” from Information Request to Thames Water
  • South West London site suffers from over 500 million litres of sewage in just one day
  • Liberal Democrats call for Thames Water to be “ripped up”

The River Thames has suffered from at least 14.2 billion litres of sewage in 2023, the Liberal Democrats have discovered.

Environment Information Requests by the party has revealed that since 2020, at least 85.9 billion litres of sewage has been pumped into the capital’s river.

Water firms have no legal obligation to report the volume of sewage discharged, only the duration of the discharge.

However, the Liberal Democrats have now found that Thames Water do operate some sewage monitors which measure volume due to an agreement with the Environment Agency.

The capital’s water firm used volume sewage monitors whilst constructing the Thames Tideway project. These are the only known sewage monitors of their kind fitted in the country, and do not cover the entire network. The total volume of sewage discharged into the Thames is therefore likely to be significantly higher than these figures.

It was noted Thames Water also failed to provide data for the month of February.

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Ed Davey and Alex Cole-Hamilton officially launch Scottish Liberal Democrats’ election campaign with calls to save NHS dentistry

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton today officially launched the Scottish party’s campaign for the General Election.

The pair held a rally with candidates and activists in North Queensferry, beneath the iconic Forth Bridge, to set out how the party is targeting the “acid yellow wall of the SNP” to win the change Scotland desperately needs.

They also highlighted how NHS dentistry has been left to rot all across the UK, leaving millions without the care they need.

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said:

Just like the Conservatives, the SNP have got to go. They have failed Scotland for far too long. They’ve shown people that they can’t be trusted with the economy, our NHS, the environment or our place in the world.

It’s clear that in many parts of Scotland it is the Scottish Liberal Democrats who can get the SNP out. This election is our chance to deliver the change Scotland desperately needs.

Our strong local champions will stand up for their communities and fight for a fair deal.

Take dentistry, where people the length and breadth of the UK are finding they can’t see an NHS dentist. It’s a national scandal that children’s teeth are left to rot and people are forced to carry out their own dental work. It’s time to end dental deserts and bring back local NHS dentists right across the UK.

Getting you fast access to an NHS dentist is at the heart of our offer to voters at this election. A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to save NHS dentistry.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton told the crowd:

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17 May 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Davey calls for big mental health investment on visit to Mid Dunbartonshire
  • Hunt owes an apology to millions of hardworking Brits after tax hikes
  • McArthur to host assisted dying Q&A at Scottish Liberal Democrat conference
  • Welsh Lib Dems blast Welsh Gov for failing women suffering from cancer
  • “It’s time to back our GP’s”- Mid and West Wales MS Jane Dodds

Davey calls for big mental health investment on visit to Mid Dunbartonshire

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey has called for more support for people suffering from mental ill-health on a visit to the Milngavie and Bearsden Men’s Shed.

Ed, who is visiting Scotland for the Liberal Democrats’ Conference, will be joined by Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Alex Cole-Hamilton and Mid Dunbartonshire candidate Susan Murray.

Ed is calling for a trebling of the tax on social media giants to raise an extra £770 million for Scotland over the next five years, to fund dedicated mental health professionals in schools and GP surgeries and cut waiting times for patients.

Trebling the Digital Services Tax would raise an extra £9.5 billion for the UK over the next five years, of which £770 million would be allocated to Scotland.

Later in the day, Ed will deliver a keynote speech at the Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference in Hamilton.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said:

The SNP have been too caught up in their carousel of chaos to deal with the real and serious issues people are facing like the mental health crisis.

Right across Scotland people deserve to be supported by their local health services, for too long we have seen mental health, in particular, be neglected.

That’s why Liberal Democrats are calling for a big expansion of mental health services across Scotland, funded by the social media giants who are such a big part of the problem.

Above all, we need the ongoing melodrama from the Scottish nationalists to end so the Government can focus their time on delivering for the people of Scotland, not saving their sinking ship.

Hunt owes an apology to millions of hardworking Brits after tax hikes

Analysis by the Liberal Democrats has found 6.5 million people are being dragged into a higher tax band as a result of Conservative party budgets, including 15,000 in Jeremy Hunt’s own constituency.

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16 May 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Mortgage repossession claims reach five-year high as families risk losing their homes to Conservative chaos
  • Carer’s Allowance report: Government cannot bury its head in the sand
  • Scottish Liberal Democrat conference to call on Swinney to ditch SNP’s takeover of social care
  • Welsh Lib Dems call for foster carer salary
  • Cole-Hamilton urges First Minister to tackle rural healthcare crisis

Mortgage repossession claims reach five-year high as families risk losing their homes to Conservative chaos

Mortgage possession claims have reached their highest level since 2019 as soaring mortgage rates since the mini budget hit homeowners, figures published by the Ministry of Justice today have revealed.

Mortgage possession claims occur when banks or lenders take homeowners to court before repossessing their home. The latest figures show there were 5,182 mortgage repossession claims in the first quarter of 2024, the highest number since 2019.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

These deeply worrying figures show a steep rise in families at risk of losing their homes due to soaring mortgage rates.

This Conservative government crashed the economy with their disastrous mini budget and sent mortgage rates spiralling. But now Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt have failed to lift a finger to help those impacted by this Conservative chaos.

It is unforgivable and shows just how out of touch the Conservative Party is with people struggling to get by.

Carer’s Allowance report: Government cannot bury its head in the sand

Responding to a Government report on the experiences of those claiming and receiving Carer’s Allowance which said that there was ‘room for improvement’ in preventing overpayments, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

Thousands of carers are caught up in the overpayment scandal, and we’ve heard many heart-breaking stories about the fear and distress it is causing.

The Government cannot bury its head in the sand and pretend this is a minor issue. It is an outrageous national scandal and Ministers must act now: writing off old overpayments and reforming their flawed and failing system.

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15 May 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Windermere illegal sewage dumps: A complete scandal that can’t go on
  • PMQs: Armed forces homes only to be repaired in emergencies as PM refuses to stump up extra cash
  • Sewage vote: Conservative MPs vote against law that would have sent water companies to court
  • 80,000 Scottish households face mortgage rate hike by November
  • Accounts Commission report shows councils have faced a scythe to their funds
  • “Deliver a payment scheme that farmers can have faith in” – Welsh Lib Dems call for Welsh Gov to listen to farmers over SFS reforms

Windermere illegal sewage dumps: A complete scandal that can’t go on

Responding to the news that untreated sewage was illegally pumped into Lake Windermere, Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Tim Farron MP said:

This is a scandal. We can’t let them get away with this any longer.

The public are rightly furious that their favourite local rivers and lakes are being spoiled while water company bosses accept huge bonuses.

I hope Parliament accept my amendment today which could see water company bosses prosecuted for sewage pollution.

Rishi Sunak and his government must finally take tough action to tackle sewage dumping now instead of cosying up with the big water company bosses.

PMQs: Armed forces homes only to be repaired in emergencies as PM refuses to stump up extra cash

The Prime Minister today refused to commit extra cash for repairs for armed forces families homes despite the Head of Accommodation for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation revealing that military families could only expect repairs to their home in emergencies.

The lack of money for repairs was revealed by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation’s new Head of Accommodation in her first update to military families this month.

Air Commodore Leah Griffin assured families that she was working to challenge the budget settlement but said non-urgent repairs and home improvements were “not currently affordable”.

Air Commodore Griffin also said that she was having to “make the case for investing in Service family housing” due to finances in the DIO that are “more challenging than ever”.

It comes as serving personnel and their families are having important requests for home repairs and upgrades denied as a lack of funding means only emergency work is being approved.

This is despite long-running problems that have seen many families forced to live in damp, cold and mouldy accommodation and troops put up in shipping style containers at Tern Hill Barracks.

Lib Dem MP Helen Morgan challenged Rishi Sunak over his commitment to the armed forces today at PMQs after this shocking admission. In response, the Prime Minister refused to commit to any additional funding to address this situation.

The North Shropshire MP has had constituents report to her that their military housing has experienced horror stories ranging from exploding boilers to collapsing roofs. In one case, a constituent recently required alterations to their shower to access it after major surgery but was told this was not possible due to the lack of budget for housing repairs. The problem was only fixed when Helen became involved.

The news undermines the Prime Minister’s claims to be prioritising defence and the Government’s recent commitment to bringing all military accommodation up to the Decent Homes Standard – a pledge that came in response to a proposed law change from Helen Morgan who has been a long-time campaigner on this issue.

In response to the Prime Minister’s answer, Liberal Democrat MP for North Shropshire Helen Morgan MP said:

Rishi Sunak talks a big game about defence but he isn’t even prepared to guarantee service families decent quality homes to live in.

Military morale is lower than ever because those who serve our country have been subject to years of neglect by this Conservative government.

Service people put their lives on the line to keep us and our allies safe. The least they should get in return is a clean, warm and safe home.

Our armed forces deserve a Government that takes their needs seriously and backs up its words with real actions.

That means upgrading military housing and removing repair contracts from companies that don’t do their job.

We used to talk about building homes fit for heroes – and that’s the very least we can deliver.

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14 May 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Unemployment rising: Govt is playing economic whack-a-mole
  • Lib Dems report Sunak to the Ethics Adviser over improper use of government resources at speech
  • Rees-Mogg Farage comments: Sunak must suspend the whip
  • Cole-Hamilton: A&E must not keep being ignored
  • Cole-Hamilton responds to breast cancer screening inequalities
  • “Lack of leadership”- Welsh Lib Dems call for new minister needed to eradicate child poverty

Unemployment rising: Govt is playing economic whack-a-mole

Responding to the latest labour market figures showing a rise in unemployment, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

After years of economic chaos, these are concerning figures.

The Conservative government has played economic whack-a-mole for too long, unable to grow the economy, and now too many face the prospect of losing their job.

The public has lost all faith in the Conservative party to manage the British economy. Our economy desperately needs a General Election.

Lib Dems report Sunak to the Ethics Adviser over improper use of government resources at speech

The Liberal Democrats have reported the Prime Minister to the Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests for using the government crest at his party political speech yesterday.

In his speech at Policy Exchange, the Prime Minister gave an overtly party political speech in which he framed from the start as being about the choice voters will face come the next General Election. The speech was deemed so party political that on the government’s own website much of the speech was redacted.

Despite this, the Prime Minister spoke from a lectern bearing the Royal Coat of Arms which the Liberal Democrats have said is a clear breach of the Ministerial Code as it states that: “Ministers must not use government resources for party political purposes”.

The Liberal Democrats have asked the Ethics Adviser to investigate this apparent breach of the Code, saying that “Rishi Sunak must be taking the public for fools if he thinks that the speech he gave was anything other than a politically charged rant.”

Liberal Democrat Cabinet Office spokesperson, Christine Jardine MP said:

The Prime Minister’s party political speech earlier today appears to be a clear breach of the Ministerial code. Taxpayers should not have to fund the lectern he gives this from.

Rishi Sunak must be taking the public for fools if he thinks that the speech he gave was anything other than a politically charged rant. The pathetic excuses he made for his own party’s failures will fall on deaf ears.

The country has stopped listening to the Prime Minister and the Conservative party. They want a General Election and to finally see the back of this awful government that has trashed our NHS, let water companies off the hook, and has forced far too many to choose between heating and eating.

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14 May 2024 – the overnight press releases

  • IFS: Conservative party broken promises and neglect of NHS “unforgivable”
  • Parliament backs Lib Dem amendment to exclude MPs arrested for serious offences
  • Scot Lib Dems call for parliament to scrutinise government handling of baby deaths

IFS: Conservative party broken promises and neglect of NHS “unforgivable”

Responding to the IFS report showing that NHS spending will rise less quickly than the Conservative party planned in their 2019 General Election manifesto, Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

The Conservative party has left patients and staff to bear the brunt of rising demand, endless waiting lists, and deadly A&E delays.

Their neglect of

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13 May 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Bathing water: Govt needs to go further and stop sewage being pumped into bathing water sites
  • Maternity Care: Time Govt end postcode lottery
  • PM speech: Sunak should listen to the public and call a General Election
  • McArthur comments as legal action launched over deposit return scheme losses

Bathing water: Govt needs to go further and stop sewage being pumped into bathing water sites

Responding to the government announcing new designated bathing water sites, Liberal Democrat Environment spokesperson Tim Farron MP said:

The government needs to go much further and stop sewage being pumped into bathing water sites. Conservative Ministers allowed disgraced water firms to spill sewage into these sites over 30,000 times last year. No swimmer should have to fear raw sewage making them sick.

Today the Liberal Democrats have tabled an amendment to make water companies criminally liable for their sewage pollution. I am urging MPs from all parties to back this and finally get tough on these firms.

Maternity Care: Time Govt end postcode lottery

Commenting on the the Birth Trauma Inquiry, Liberal Democrat MP and Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss, Helen Morgan MP said:

This inquiry has exposed what many of us have long feared about the state of the country’s maternity services.

For so many women to have such traumatic experiences of birth is nothing short of a national tragedy. Too many are being failed in pregnancy, birth and aftercare as this report shows.

It’s time the Government took action to end the postcode lottery in maternity services. I urge them to accept the report in full.

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2 May 2024 – today’s press releases

  • OECD report: This Conservative government is economically illiterate
  • Polls close: Voters want an end to this appalling Conservative government
  • Cole-Hamilton responds to SNP leadership news
  • “End this nonsense and give the money back”- Welsh Lib Dems urge First Minister to return dodgy donations

OECD report: This Conservative government is economically illiterate

Responding to the OECD report which says that the UK will have the slowest growth of the largest developed nations next year, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson, Sarah Olney MP said:

This Conservative government is economically illiterate. Their no-growth policies have left the public enduring sky-high mortgage rates, the price of a weekly shop going through the roof, and stealth taxes hammering both pensioners and working people.

The only way through this quagmire of economic stagnation that the Conservative party has led us into is a general election. This Conservative government is out of touch, out of ideas and should be kicked out of office.

Polls close: Voters want an end to this appalling Conservative government

Responding to polls closing for this year’s local elections, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

The message across the country today was loud and clear. Voters want an end to this appalling Conservative government.

People are sick of the Conservative party’s endless infighting, unaffordable mortgages, an NHS in freefall and filthy sewage being pumped into their rivers and seas.

They want change and they want to see the end of Rishi Sunak’s Conservative party in office. That is why, up and down the country, so many lifelong Conservative voters backed the Liberal Democrats today, because they know Liberal Democrat councillors will never take them for granted and fight for the issues they care about.

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