Category Archives: Scotland

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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1 May 2024 – yesterday’s other press releases

  • Sadiq Khan’s record of failure exposed
  • Fiefdoms of filth: Scottish Lib Dems unveil new sewage league table
  • Lib Dems on verge of historic breakthrough in London
  • “Bringing truth back into politics”- Welsh Lib Dems back anti-deception proposal
  • Rennie speaks in motion of no confidence in Scottish Government

Sadiq Khan’s record of failure exposed

Sadiq Khan has once again failed to deliver on key manifesto promises, says Liberal Democrat London Mayoral candidate Rob Blackie.

On the eve of the elections he listed 2021 manifesto pledges that the London Mayor failed to implement:

  • Deliver a ferry at Hammersmith Bridge
  • End rough sleeping
  • Pilot a new City Hall housing developer to directly build

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30 April 2024 – yesterday’s (other) press releases

  • Suspected drug deaths up by 11%
  • Welsh Lib Dems criticise Tata’s “heavy handed” approach to steel workers concerns
  • Cole-Hamilton speaks in abortion safe access zones debate
  • UK Governments Rwanda plans are “cold and callous”- Welsh Lib Dems
  • Blackie: scrap business rates, boost our high streets

Suspected drug deaths up by 11%

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today warned that the country’s drugs crisis continues to “end lives and blight communities”, as new quarterly statistics revealed that suspected drug deaths have increased by 11%.

Figures published today show that between December 2023 and February 2024, the total number of suspected drug deaths was 278, which is 11% higher than the previous quarter in which 267 suspected drug deaths were recorded.

Public Health Scotland also confirmed that: “Based on the latest post-mortem toxicology testing, nitazenes were detected in 38 deaths (from the first detection in June 2022 to 31 December 2023).”

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

Scotland’s drug deaths emergency continues to end lives and blight communities.

We are also seeing increasing evidence of nitazenes, a synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin, contributing significantly to that crisis.

I have joined with campaigners in warning that these substances represent a growing part of the drugs death crisis, highlighting that their presence in Scotland will require an immediate response. That’s why I asked Humza Yousaf about nitazenes during First Minister’s Questions in early January.

Despite these emerging threats, the Scottish Government have delivered a brutal real-terms cut to drug services.

Well-meaning words and promises just won’t cut it. As well as delivering radical and transformational action to help all those suffering, I want ministers to protect and strengthen the drug and alcohol budget so that everyone can access care when they need it.

Welsh Lib Dems criticise Tata’s “heavy handed” approach to steel workers concerns

Today in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called out Tata Steel for threatening to withdraw redundancy packages from workers at their Port Talbot site if they decide to go on strike over potential job losses.

The company also rejected plans submitted by the unions which would have kept at least one of the blast furnaces running at the site.

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20-21 April 2024 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Lord Cameron urged to answer questions in the House of Commons amid global conflicts
  • Long Covid may have reduced Scotland’s GDP by £120m and cost 11,000 jobs
  • Scottish Liberal Democrats attack Government over GP closures
  • Blackie: Abolish London’s bedtime

Lord Cameron urged to answer questions in the House of Commons amid global conflicts

  • Liberal Democrats call on “unelected and unaccountable Foreign Secretary” to take questions from MPs
  • Layla Moran MP writes directly to the Foreign Secretary demanding accountability

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Layla Moran MP, has written to the Foreign Secretary urging him to appear in the House of Commons this week.

The letter to Lord Cameron follows escalation of the conflict in the Middle East, a G7 Summit, and the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Last week, the government blocked a request by cross-party MPs which called on Lord Cameron to be accountable for the question.

In the letter, Layla Moran MP writes:

The public are demanding answers from you about the government’s response to these situations.

Every day thousands of people write to their MPs, wanting to know what the government is doing to ensure aid can reach the people of Gaza, why we haven’t proscribed the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps or wanting to know how we are combatting Russia’s expansionist exploits into our allies’ territory.

In the 21st century, it should not be the case that our Foreign Secretary is both unelected and unaccountable.

You speak on behalf of the United Kingdom as our most senior diplomat. Yet you refuse to speak to your own elected Members of Parliament.

Our constituents must have the ability to have their concerns put directly to the Foreign Secretary.

Long Covid may have reduced Scotland’s GDP by £120m and cost 11,000 jobs

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today called on the Scottish Government to develop a long-term plan for tackling Long Covid after a new economic report indicated that the condition may have reduced Scotland’s GDP by a massive £120m.

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19 April 2024 – today’s press releases

  • River Thames Tsar should be created to tackle sewage crisis
  • Menzies Scandal: Ethics adviser must investigate Conservative Chief Whip
  • Sick note speech: Sunak blaming British people for failures on NHS and economy
  • Lib Dems respond to SNP interview on ditched climate targets

River Thames Tsar should be created to tackle sewage crisis

  • Liberal Democrat Leader calls for new government appointed role to hold Thames Water to account for sewage pollution
  • New role could pave the way for wider reforms of water industry with increased environmental accountability and new representation on water company boards
  • Ed Davey will make the announcement during a local elections visit to the River Mole in Esher and Walton today

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a new River Thames Tsar to be appointed by the government, in a bid to hold the country’s biggest water firm to account.

Leader Ed Davey visits the River Mole in Esher and Walton, a marginal Surrey constituency, to announce the policy. The Esher and Walton constituency was in the top 100 worst for sewage dumping last year and saw a staggering 135% increase in spills.

This policy is part of the party’s plan for water industry reform, including transforming water companies into “Public Benefit Companies”, by ensuring environmental experts sit on water utility boards. The reforms aim to put an end to water companies putting profit before the environment. The Liberal Democrats have also called for Ofwat to be abolished, so a new tougher water regulator can be created.

The new River Thames Tsar proposed by the Liberal Democrats would have various roles, including:

  • Attending Thames Water board meetings
  • Hosting public meetings with river users and environmental groups
  • Ensuring the Environment Agency follows up on reports of sewage pollution into the Thames and its tributaries

The latest policy announcement follows the Government’s decision to appoint a River Wye Tsar last week, amid concerns of agricultural pollution. The Liberal Democrats are calling for the new River Thames Tsar to have a high public profile, with Feargal Sharkey and Steve Backshall suggested as possible candidates.

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18 April 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Police taking up to 17 and a half hours to respond to anti-social behaviour calls
  • Thames Water: This corporate clown show must end
  • “Flushed away”- Welsh Lib Dems urge Welsh Government to support maintenance of public toilets
  • Scot Lib Dems respond to SNP and Greens ditching climate change targets
  • Khan manifesto launch
  • Cole-Hamilton speaks after more days of turmoil for Humza Yousaf

Police taking up to 17 and a half hours to respond to anti-social behaviour calls

Average police response times to anti-social behaviour incidents have increased by 37% since 2021, with some forces taking an average of 17 and a half hours to arrive at the scene, shocking new figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

The figures were obtained through a series of Freedom of Information requests to all police forces in England. 27 forces provided full responses.

In 2023, it took an average of 3 hours and 40 minutes across police forces for an officer to turn up to the scene of anti-social behaviour incidents. This is an increase of 34% compared to average wait times across police forces in 2021, which stood at 2 hours and 44 minutes.

The figures revealed a disturbing postcode lottery, with huge differences in average response times between police forces.

Suffolk had the longest wait times in England last year, with police taking an average of 17 and a half hours to attend anti-social behaviour reports, followed closely behind by Norfolk where wait times were 17 hours and 29 minutes. Cambridgeshire also had extremely long wait times, which stood at 11 and a half hours.

Meanwhile, anti-social behaviour calls in Essex were attended to in less than 8 minutes on average.

In recent years, some forces also experienced huge deteriorations in wait times. In Surrey, where Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey will be making a campaigning visit today, wait times have increased by 281% since 2021, up to nearly 5 and a half hours.

London wait times have more than tripled in that same time period, up a staggering 353%.

The shocking figures come just months after the Crime Survey for England and Wales found that in the year ending September 2023, more than one third of people had experienced or witnessed some type of anti-social behaviour, with the police recording 1 million incidents.

The Liberal Democrats have slammed the Conservative Government for these figures, arguing that years of ineffective resourcing have left local police forces overstretched, under-resourced and unable to effectively respond to local crime. This includes taking more than 4,500 community officers (PCSOs) off the streets since 2015.

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17 April 2024 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • Lib Dem comment on Sadiq Khan’s latest pre-election pledge on women’s safety
  • McArthur welcomes assisted dying bill being assigned to health committee
  • “Cultural vandalism”- Welsh Lib Dems urge Welsh government to save National Museum
  • Cole-Hamilton urges SNP Government to deliver transparency on Russian land ownership
  • “Families are being cut off” -Welsh Lib Dems urge Welsh Gov to lift immigration status barriers on school grants

Lib Dem comment on Sadiq Khan’s latest pre-election pledge on women’s safety

Commenting on Sadiq Khan’s promise to fund a free, independent legal advice pilot service for survivors of rape and serious sexual offences, if re-elected, Liberal Democrat London mayoral candidate Rob Blackie said:

Under Sadiq Khan, the police are catching rapists and sexual offenders half as often as they did when he became Mayor in 2016. This is a scandal. But in last night’s debate the Mayor would not even say that he is sorry for this.

The Mayor’s plan does not promise to catch significantly more sexual offenders. It even includes policies that were promised last year.

McArthur welcomes assisted dying bill being assigned to health committee

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur has welcomed the news that the Scottish Parliament’s health committee has been assigned as the lead committee for scrutinising his Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill.

The decision to assign a bill a lead committee is taken by the Scottish Parliament business bureau. The bill is also expected to be scrutinised by the Finance committee and Delegated Powers committee.

The committee will now decide how it wishes to proceed, which is likely to start with call for the submission of written evidence followed by oral evidence sessions with a wide range of witnesses and stakeholders, concluding with Mr McArthur, appearing before the committee.

The Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill was published on 28th March, alongside polling from Dignity in Dying showing strong support for assisted dying in every constituency and region of Scotland.

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12 April 2024 – today’s press releases

  • GDP figures: Economy stuck in the slow lane
  • Defence: Only the Lib Dems are committed to reversing troop cuts
  • Energy Minister stands down: Drumbeat of Conservative resignations is becoming deafening
  • More than half of councils see rise in sewage dumps
  • Jardine Secures Commons Debate on Consular Assistance

GDP figures: Economy stuck in the slow lane

Responding to the latest GDP figures, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

This sluggish growth shows the UK economy is stuck in the slow lane under the Conservatives.

This government has no plan to fix the damage they’ve done to people’s living standards.

Instead we have a prime minister and Chancellor totally out of touch with families feeling the pinch. The only way to get the economy moving again is to kick this economically illiterate Conservative government out of office.

Defence: Only the Lib Dems are committed to reversing troop cuts

Responding to Labour and the Conservatives announcements on defence policy today, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

Only the Liberal Democrats are committed to reversing the Conservatives’ irresponsible cuts to Army troop numbers. With Putin waging war in Europe and Trump threatening the future of NATO, cutting the British Army by 10,000 troops is a major threat to our long-term national security.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives and Labour only offer meaningless talk about vague aspirations for some unspecified time in the future.

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10 April 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Government amendment on “deeply damaging” non-disclosure agreements does not go far enough to protect victims
  • Shoplifting: Govt continues to let organised gangs off the hook
  • Cole-Hamilton criticises state of sewage monitoring
  • SNP burn through ScotWind cash in record time
  • McArthur responds to opposition to assisted dying bill

Government amendment on “deeply damaging” non-disclosure agreements does not go far enough to protect victims

After tireless campaigning by Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, the Government in the House of Lords has tabled an amendment to the Victims and Prisoners Bill that ensures non-disclosure agreements preventing victims from disclosing information to the police or other bodies (including confidential support services) cannot be legally enforced.

Responding to the tabling of this amendment, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said:

The Liberal Democrats have long been campaigning to end the deeply damaging practice of non-disclosure agreements. This amendment is a welcome move that will help victims to access the support they need.

But while this is a step in the right direction, the Government is not going far enough in giving victims their voice back.

We need a complete ban of NDAs in cases of sexual misconduct, harassment and bullying to ensure that no victim is silenced.

Shoplifting: Govt continues to let organised gangs off the hook

Responding to the news that assaulting a shop worker will be made a separate criminal offence in England and Wales, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:

For too long, the Conservative Government have been sitting on their hands while hardworking shopkeepers are left to face the brunt of the shoplifting epidemic alone.

As the majority of shoplifting cases go unsolved, the Conservatives has repeatedly failed to get even the basics right of tackling this issue – something their new gimmicks won’t change.

It is now vital the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary invest in proper community policing and ensure all shoplifting thefts are investigated.

The government is currently letting organised criminal gangs off the hook and leaving shopkeepers hugely vulnerable.

Cole-Hamilton criticises state of sewage monitoring

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has called on the SNP and Greens to get tough with Scottish Water as it was revealed that in three local authorities there is no monitoring of sewage dumping at all and in ten more local authorities just one or two sites are monitored.

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9 April 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Hospital’s spend £3million on pest control as patients suffer from rats and insects
  • Cameron and Trump: European leaders’ summit needed to seize frozen Russian assets
  • Cole-Hamilton: SNP have failed to help A&E recover
  • Lib Dems launch London Transport Policy – Blackie: “No more bus cuts”

Hospital’s spend £3million on pest control as patients suffer from rats and insects

  • Staff report being bitten by bugs as rats roam maternity and emergency wards
  • Freedom of Information requests reveal NHS Hospitals coping with 18,000 pest incidents since 2021
  • Liberal Democrat Leader demands urgent repair fund for crumbling hospitals

Freedom of Information Requests by the Liberal Democrats have revealed the extent of pests roaming NHS Hospitals. As the NHS repair backlog reaches record levels, these new revelations show staff and patients subjected to poor conditions.

Since 2021, over 60 NHS Trusts have reported £3.7 million spent on pest control at their hospitals. Imperial College NHS Trust, which includes St.Mary’s Hospital London, spent a staggering £383,597 on pest control, including dealing with 748 pest incidents last year alone.

East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust spent £119,199 to deal with mice in the kitchen, maggots in the mortuary and rat droppings in a corpse bag, amongst many other pests.

The most shocking incidents were reported by East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Trust, which includes Colchester Hospital and Ipswich Hospital. Staff reported:

  • Black insects are biting the legs of staff
  • Ants and fly infestations
  • Rats in the ambulance area

At Ashford NHS Trust, dead headless pigeons and dead rabbits, as well as slug and ants were reported. Royal United Hospitals Bath reported pests in the children’s ward and breast clinic.

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5 April 2024 – today’s press releases

  • NICs: Prime Minister is still peddling this deception
  • Chamberlains’s Carer’s Leave Bill to come into force
  • 91,000 people call 999 or turn to A&E after struggling to get GP appointment
  • Rennie: Fall in modern languages teachers jeopardises vision for Scotland
  • Blackie: ‘My top priority: fix the Met’

NICs: Prime Minister is still peddling this deception

Responding to the changes to National Insurance (NI) and freezing of income tax thresholds coming into force tomorrow, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson, Sarah Olney MP said:

The Prime Minister is still peddling this deception and voters will see straight through it.

Hammering the public with unfair stealth taxes and then claiming people will be taking home more in their pay packets is frankly offensive.

This is an out of touch Prime Minister leading a directionless Conservative government with his party more interested in clinging on to power than ensuring people are better off. They do not deserve to be in power for a moment longer.

Chamberlains’s Carer’s Leave Bill to come into force

The “landmark” Carer’s Leave Bill introduced by North East Fife MP and Scottish Liberal Democrat deputy leader Wendy Chamberlain will come into force on Saturday 6th April.

The Bill will give an estimated 2.4 million carers across the UK a statutory right to take five days of unpaid leave per year. Carer’s UK have described this as a ‘landmark’ piece of legislation which would help carers to better balance work and care.

Wendy Chamberlain introduced the Carer’s Leave Bill in June 2022 after winning a place in the Private Member’s Bill lottery. The Bill enjoyed cross-party support and was passed on 19 May 2023. The legislation comes into effect on 6th April 2024

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4 April 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Police taking up to 28 hours to attend burglaries
  • Sharp decline in STEM teacher numbers
  • Scottish Liberal Democrats respond to Loch Lomond Highland Games cancellation

Police taking up to 28 hours to attend burglaries

Average burglary response times have increased by a shocking 25% in just one year, with some forces taking an average of 28 hours for an officer to arrive at the scene, damning figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

The figures were obtained through a series of Freedom of Information requests to all police forces in England. 26 forces provided responses.

Burglaries are often considered as Grade 2 priority incidents, which most police forces aim to respond to within one hour. The College of Policing defines these as “incidents where a witness or other evidence is likely to be lost”, and “a degree of urgency is still associated with immediate police action.”

But in the 2022/23 financial year, it took an average of 9 hours and 8 minutes across police forces for an officer to turn up to the scene when a burglary was reported. This is an increase of 25% from the previous year, when average wait times across police forces stood at 7 hours and 17 minutes. 20 of the 26 police forces reported longer wait times in 2022/23, compared to 2021/22.

When compared to figures from 2020/21, the deterioration in wait times was even more stark. 11 forces saw their burglary response times more than double in that time period. South Yorkshire experienced the largest deterioration in wait times, which increased by a shocking 443% – up from 2 hours and 21 minutes in 2020/21, to 12 hours and 47 minutes in 2022/23.

The figures also revealed a disturbing postcode lottery, with response times varying significantly depending on the police force. The worst performing force was Northamptonshire, with a staggering average response time of 28 hours and 2 minutes for burglary calls. They were followed closely behind by Durham, where victims were left waiting nearly 26 hours for an officer to arrive. Meanwhile, average response times in Bedfordshire were nearly 15 minutes, while Cumbria response times sat at just a little over one hour.

It comes just months after the latest Home Office statistics revealed that 3 in 4 burglaries went unsolved in the year ending September 2023.

The Liberal Democrats have slammed the Conservative Government for these figures, arguing that years of ineffective resourcing have left local police forces overstretched, under-resourced and unable to effectively respond to local crime. This includes taking more than 4,500 community officers (PCSOs) off the streets since 2015.

The party is calling for a return to proper community policing, where officers are visible and trusted, with the time and resources to focus on tackling neighbourhood crime like burglaries.

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3 April 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Aid worker deaths: Davey calls on government to suspend arms sales to Israel
  • Royal Mail proposal to cut second class deliveries: Another slap in the face
  • London Lib Dems response to Khan economic announcement
  • Worst hit rivers for sewage dumps revealed as Lib Dems call for new Blue Flag status
  • Rennie responds to CalMac boss stepping down

Aid worker deaths: Davey calls on government to suspend arms sales to Israel

The Liberal Democrats have called on the government to suspend arms sales to Israel, following the deaths of seven aid workers including three British nationals in an Israeli air strike in Gaza.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

The deaths of these British aid workers in Gaza is an absolute disgrace. These brave people were trying to help starving families in Gaza.

Clearly, the thought that British-made arms could have been used in strikes such as these is completely unacceptable.

The government must take swift action to suspend arms exports to Israel. We must redouble our efforts to secure an immediate bilateral ceasefire.

Royal Mail proposal to cut second class deliveries: Another slap in the face

Responding to the news that Royal Mail wants to reduce second class deliveries to three days a week, Liberal Democrat Business Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

These plans are a slap in the face for families being asked to pay more for less.

The cost of first and second class stamps has gone up sharply in recent years. It risks creating a cost of postage crisis, as people feel forced to pay for first class stamps because second class delivery days are being slashed.

People shouldn’t have to pay the price for Royal Mail’s failure, after executives missed their delivery targets and paid themselves eye-watering bonuses.

London Lib Dems response to Khan economic announcement

Responding to Sadiq Khan’s joint economic announcement with Rachel Reeves today (Weds), Rob Blackie, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London, said:

Labour’s plan ignores London’s biggest economic problem – Brexit. Labour are too scared to say that Brexit has damaged London’s economy, making us poorer and costing us jobs.

For instance, technology companies now have to spend time and money complying with two data laws, one each from the EU and the UK. And too many European citizens in London are made to feel unwelcome.

As Liberal Democrat Mayor I will campaign to fix the damage done by Brexit, and bring in a London passport to protect London’s EU citizen rights.

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2 April 2024 – today’s press releases (part 1)

  • Stealth taxes to drag 1.6 million pensioners into paying income tax
  • Sunak laughing on radio: Stop hunkering in offices and call an election
  • Cole-Hamilton: No one should have to wait 12 hours at A&E
  • More than 1,900 stuck in hospital

Stealth taxes to drag 1.6 million pensioners into paying income tax

1.6 million pensioners are set to be dragged into paying income tax due to the government’s stealth tax freeze by 2027/28, new research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The House of Commons Library analysis looks at the impact of the Chancellor’s decision to freeze the personal allowance at £12,570, the rate at which people start paying tax. Without the stealth tax freeze, the allowance would have risen to £15,220 in the coming financial year (2024/25) and up to £15,990 in 2027/28.

The analysis estimated that around 1.2 million pensioners will be dragged into paying income tax in 2024/25. By 2027/28, 1.6 million additional pensioners will be paying income tax compared to if the Personal Allowance had been increased in line with inflation.

The latest DWP figures show there are 12.7 million people receiving the state pension. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, well over 60 per cent of these pensioners now pay income tax, up from around 50% in 2010. The research found 8.5 million people over the age of 65 were now paying tax on their income, up from roughly 4.9 million in 2010.

Separate analysis from the Resolution Foundation has found that the freezing of income tax thresholds will leave the average taxpaying pensioner £1,000 worse off by 2027-28, or a collective hit of £8 billion.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

These stark figures reveal the stealth tax bombshell facing pensioners under this Conservative government.

Older people who have worked hard and contributed all their lives are now being clobbered with years of unfair tax hikes.

Jeremy Hunt’s pensioner-punishing Budget will not be forgotten come the next election. The Conservative Party faces a reckoning at the ballot from older voters sick of being taken for granted.

Sunak laughing on radio: Stop hunkering in offices and call an election

Responding to Rishi Sunak laughing at being asked when the next General Election will be on BBC Radio Tees, Liberal Democrat local government spokesperson Helen Morgan MP said:

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28 March 2024 – today’s press releases (part 1)

  • GDP stats: Rishi’s recession confirmed
  • Thames Water: Broken firm needs to be taken into special administration
  • McArthur’s Assisted Dying Bill published by Scottish Parliament
  • Blackie unveils plan to “Green” the Silvertown Tunnel

GDP stats: Rishi’s recession confirmed

Responding to this morning’s ONS figures confirming the UK economy did go into recession last year, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

These damning figures confirm the damage done to the UK economy by Rishi’s recession. This Conservative government has no plan for growth or to help families paying the price for years of economic chaos through soaring mortgages and rents.

The Liberal Democrats have a bold plan to get the economy growing again, fix our broken trading relationship with Europe and support small businesses on the brink. It’s clear the best thing for the economy would be a general election, so we can kick the Conservative Party out of power and offer the real change the country needs.

Thames Water: Broken firm needs to be taken into special administration

Responding to the news that Thames Water’s shareholders will not be injecting the first £500 million of funding that was agreed last summer, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson and MP for Richmond Park Sarah Olney said:

Thames Water is a broken firm. It is teetering on the brink of collapse and it is clear that things cannot go on as they are.

Drastic action is needed to keep the taps running for millions of customers. Execs have pocketed sky-high bonuses, given billions to overseas investors whilst watching their infrastructure crumble. The board should hang their heads in shame.

No longer should this firm be allowed to mistreat customers and destroy our environment with their filthy sewage.

That is why ministers must use their powers to put Thames Water into special administration immediately, to then be reformed into a public benefit company. Only that way can we ensure this polluting giant will begin working for its customers again.

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27 March 2024 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • Ed Davey warns Sunak facing sewage local elections backlash on campaign visit to Dorset
  • Khan already failing on Met recruitment
  • Sewage spills rise: 21,660 “disgusting” sewage dumps in 2023
  • Scottish Liberal Democrats respond to Housing Bill
  • Cole-Hamilton responds to hackers’ threat of publishing NHS stolen data
  • Rennie: Ministers’ fingerprints all over Tydeman sacking

Ed Davey warns Sunak facing sewage local elections backlash on campaign visit to Dorset

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey will today warn that Rishi Sunak is facing a “sewage backlash” at the ballot box in May’s local elections, on a visit to West Dorset as part of his campaign tour of the West Country.

Ed Davey will be meeting CEO of Surfers Against Sewage, Giles Bristow, and visiting West Bay beach, a popular tourist destination where pollution alerts were put in place after raw sewage was discharged last year.

The Liberal Democrats have led the campaign in Westminster to tackle the sewage scandal since 2021, and it’s been a key issue in their big victories in previous local election campaigns and four parliamentary by-election wins.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for the water industry to be “ripped up from top to bottom” to ensure profit is no longer put above environmental goals, and the creation of a new tougher regulator to replace Ofwat. Since the Liberal Democrats were the first party to call for a ban on water firm executive bonuses over two years ago, a number of water CEOs have given theirs up.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

Rishi Sunak and Conservative MPs are facing a sewage backlash after years of blocking tough measures to crack down on water firms. The water industry needs to be ripped up from top to bottom, to stop profits and shareholders’ dividends driving everything. It is time to start again.

Sunak may have bottled a General Election, but he cannot hide from voters in the local elections where communities will voice real anger at this environmental scandal.

From Dorset to Yorkshire, lifelong Conservative voters across the country are switching to the Liberal Democrats because they’re fed up with seeing their rivers and beaches ruined by sewage.

Under this Conservative government both sewage in our rivers and water company profits have increased hand in hand. Enough is enough: it is clear the only way to end this sewage scandal is to boot the Conservatives out of government.

Khan already failing on Met recruitment

Responding to Sadiq Khan’s announcement that a possible Labour Government would give London more resources to recruit police officers, Lib Dem Mayoral Candidate Rob Blackie said:

This smacks of another pre-election gimmick from the Mayor. Surely any future Government wouldn’t deny London the resources it needs if it decides to elect a different party into the Mayoralty?

In any case, the Mayor is already failing on police recruitment. Numbers are going backwards and he has had to hand money back to the Government for his lack of success. So Londoners will be sceptical. Sadiq Khan has made similar promises before and not delivered.

Under Sadiq Khan’s leadership, a police officer told the Casey enquiry into the Met police that detection rates for sexual offences and rape had fallen so low that ‘it may as well be legal’ in London.

Today the Metropolitan police are catching rapists half as often as when Sadiq Khan became Mayor in 2016. And 6,000 police are stuck in the back office instead of the frontline.

This is not a policing record to be proud of. The Liberal Democrats’ top priority will be to fix the Met.

Sewage spills rise: 21,660 “disgusting” sewage dumps in 2023

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today demanded that the SNP and Greens stop defending outdated sewage standards as new Scottish Water figures revealed a 10% increase in the number of sewage dumps in 2023.

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27 March 2024 – today’s press releases (part 1)

  • NHS satisfaction survey: Govt can’t be trusted with NHS
  • Sewage spills rise: Ed Davey calls for national environmental emergency to be declared
  • Lib Dem comment on E.coli in Thames
  • Scotland’s sewage crisis 40% worse than previously thought
  • Bus journeys plummet by 31%

NHS satisfaction survey: Govt can’t be trusted with NHS

Responding to the British Social Attitudes survey on NHS satisfaction, Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

This is a damning assessment of the Government’s management of the NHS. Years and years of neglect and incompetence has run our NHS into the ground.

NHS staff work around the clock to see thousands and thousands of patients but the public are understandably frustrated that they’re often waiting too long to see a GP, or to get a hospital appointments for diagnosis and treatment.

The public know this Conservative Government cannot be trusted with our NHS, and they will want to deliver their verdict at the next general election.

Sewage spills rise: Ed Davey calls for national environmental emergency to be declared

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has called on the government to declare a national environmental emergency after the number of sewage spills in 2023 increased by 54% on the previous year, putting ecosystems already at breaking point on the brink of collapse.

As part of this national environmental emergency, the Liberal Democrats are calling for an urgent meeting of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) to review the impact of sewage spills on human health – for river and sea swimmers in particular. Campaign group Surfers Against Sewage released a report last year showing almost 2,000 people reported getting sick last year after swimming in the sea or rivers.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

The Liberal Democrats have been warning this Conservative government for years that the sewage scandal is ruining the country’s rivers and beaches and pushing ecosystems to the brink of collapse.

Rishi Sunak and the Conservative Party have failed to listen and as a result sewage spills are increasing, our precious countryside is being destroyed and swimmers are falling sick.

It is time for this Conservative government to finally deal with this disgraceful situation and declare a national environmental emergency. That must include convening an urgent SAGE meeting to look into the impact of sewage spills on people’s health.

Only by treating the sewage scandal with the urgency it demands can we save our rivers and beaches for future generations to enjoy.

Lib Dem comment on E.coli in Thames

Commenting on findings of high E.coli levels in the Thames by River Action today, Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Rob Blackie said:

This is the consequence of 72 billion litres of raw sewage pumped into the Thames in London since 2020.

It amounts to an environment catastrophe in the capital.

The Conservative government have let water companies get away with polluting for too long. It must crack down on Thames Water.

Instead of action, we have seen huge increases in sewage dumped into the river.

If elected I will work to stop sewage being dumped into our rivers and campaign to make water companies pay for the damage they’ve done.

Scotland’s sewage crisis 40% worse than previously thought

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today accused the Scottish Government of being “defenders of outdated sewage standards” as figures published by Scottish Water revealed that that there were an additional 5,668 sewage dumps in Scotland in 2022, on top of the initial 14,008 that were reported in March.

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26 March 2024 – today’s press releases

  • No progress on A&E after a year of Humza Yousaf as FM
  • Rennie responds to David Tydeman sacking
  • Scottish Liberal Democrats respond to housing figures

No progress on A&E after a year of Humza Yousaf as FM

Responding to new figures showing only 62.9% of people attending A&E were seen within the 4 hour target in the week ending 17th March, just as bad as when Humza Yousaf became First Minister, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

Waiting times in A&E are just as bad as they were a year ago when Humza Yousaf moved from being Health Secretary to First

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25 March 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Cameron must address the Commons not just Tory MPs on 1922 Committee
  • Lib Dems welcome motion passed by UN Security Council
  • Rennie responds to former Scottish Government adviser dismantling independence claims

Cameron must address the Commons not just Tory MPs on 1922 Committee

Commenting on the reports that the only Conservative MPs on the 1922 Committee will be given the opportunity to question Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron this afternoon, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

When we’re facing such serious national security threats, it is outrageous that only Conservative backbenchers will hear from the Foreign Secretary and have the chance to question

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22 March 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Ed Davey statement regarding The Princess of Wales
  • “The system failed Kaylea, we cannot allow it to happen again”- Mid and West Wales MS Jane Dodds
  • Tory support in freefall – Rob offers London liberal choice
  • Scottish Liberal Democrats respond to publication of Fair Fares Review

Ed Davey statement regarding The Princess of Wales

Responding to the Princess of Wales’ video statement, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said:

What sad news. My thoughts and prayers are with the Princess of Wales tonight.

Liberal Democrats join the whole country in wishing her a speedy recovery and hope the Royal Family will be given space and privacy at this difficult time.

“The system failed Kaylea, we cannot allow it to happen again”- Mid and West Wales MS Jane Dodds

This week in the Senedd, the Mid and West Wales MS Jane Dodds urged the Welsh Government to learn from the tragic case of Kaylea Titford and improve the child safeguarding system here in Wales.

The disabled 16-year-old passed away in 2020 after being found in conditions that were described as “unsuitable for an animal”.

Kalyea’s parents were both charged with manslaughter by gross negligence and are currently serving a combined total of 18 years behind bars.

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21 March 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Interest rates: Families are still facing a mortgage cliff edge
  • Khan ‘failing’ on Met Police reform – Lib Dems slam mayor’s record on first anniversary of Casey report
  • Cole-Hamilton challenges Yousaf on SNP Government’s climate record
  • Rennie responds to poverty statistics
  • Water Industry Commission for Scotland branded an embarrassment

Interest rates: Families are still facing a mortgage cliff edge

Responding to the Bank of England’s decision to keep interest rates at 5.25%, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

This is cold comfort for millions of homeowners who still face massive hikes in their mortgage bills after Liz Truss crashed the economy. Many families still face a mortgage cliff edge despite this news.

Liz Truss’s disastrous mini-budget and the Conservative party’s economic vandalism has put intolerable pressure on people’s finances.

This Conservative government has no good story to tell on the economy.

The only way to break this cycle of stagnation and financial hardship is to kick this out of touch government out of office. Rishi Sunak needs to stop his desperate attempt to cling on to power and call an election.

Khan ‘failing’ on Met Police reform – Lib Dems slam mayor’s record on first anniversary of Casey report

A year on from the publication of Baroness Casey’s damning report on the Met police, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has made “no or only slow progress on key issues”, according to analysis by the Lib Dems.

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20 March 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Ed Davey launches local election campaign with hourglass stunt
  • SEPA log thousands of complaints about state of Scottish waterways
  • Welsh Lib Dems raise concerns over future of dentistry in Wales
  • “Communities must benefit from new grid developments” – Welsh Lib Dems

Ed Davey launches local election campaign with hourglass stunt

  • Lib Dem Leader unveils hourglass stunt in Blue Wall Hertfordshire, declaring “Time’s running out for Rishi Sunak”
  • Ed Davey focusses his party’s campaign on local health and social care services, sewage pollution in rivers and the cost of living crisis.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has launched his party’s English local elections campaign with an hourglass stunt, declaring “Time’s running out for Rishi Sunak”, and calling on the country to vote for change in May.

Ed Davey visited the Blue Wall battleground of Harpenden in Hertfordshire, which is set to be a marginal constituency at the next election. He will begin his local election tour this week, visiting every corner of the country as the party looks to make further gains on local councils.

The Liberal Democrats made major gains across Hertfordshire from the Conservative party in last year’s local elections. In 2023, the Liberal Democrats gained over 400 council seats across the country.

At today’s launch, Ed Davey unveiled a blue and gold hourglass in front of Liberal Democrat activists. After turning it upside down, the sand revealed the words ‘Time’s Running Out Rishi!’ He was joined by St.Albans MP and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats Daisy Cooper, and Victoria Collins, the party’s parliamentary candidate for Harpenden and Berkhamsted.

The Liberal Democrats will focus their local elections campaign on local health and social care services, as well as the local environment and the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Speaking after the stunt, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

Time’s running out for Rishi Sunak. He might have bottled a May General Election.

He might hope the tide will turn, squatting in Downing Street for a few more months.

But even the Prime Minister can’t deny people across England the chance to have their say in local elections on the Second of May.

Rishi Sunak’s government is running out of road because people know it is time for change.

And people are voting for us because it is time for the Liberal Democrats.

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20 March 2024 – the overnight press releases

  • Chamberlain to lead debate on electoral fairness and calls out attempts to “rig the rules”
  • PAC report on Social Care: Too many vulnerable people struggling to get the care they need
  • McArthur sets out response to embargoed climate report
  • Rennie comments on new claims from Pregnant Then Screwed

Chamberlain to lead debate on electoral fairness and calls out attempts to “rig the rules”

Scottish Liberal Democrat deputy leader Wendy Chamberlain MP will lead a debate in Westminster Hall on Wednesday about strengthening electoral fairness and preventing parties from “rigging the rules,” following recent moves by the Conservative Party to introduce certain changes ahead of the upcoming General Election.

The debate will take place in Westminster Hall tomorrow (Wednesday) and is expected to begin at 11am. Ms Chamberlain will pick up on a variety of changes recently introduced by the Conservatives, including compulsory Voter ID requirements and almost doubling the spending limit for UK elections to around £35 million.

In November, the UK election watchdog, the Electoral Commission, said it had “not seen evidence” to support changes to spending limits.

Ms Chamberlain’s debate comes just one week after her party called for the Conservatives to return donations from Frank Hester, a Tory party donor who reportedly said that the MP Diane Abbott made him “want to hate all black women.”

Speaking ahead of the debate, Ms Chamberlain said:

I am concerned that some of the latest moves by this Conservative Government represent a desperate and dirty attempt to rig the rules in their favour because they know they’ve lost the support of the public.

Last year, thousands of people were denied at a voice at the local elections because of the Voter ID rules ushered in by the Tories. Hundreds of thousands of people now risk being turned away at the next election at a cost to the taxpayer of £120,000,000 over the next decade.

Their unjustified doubling of the national spending limits points to the Conservatives Party’s eagerness to design the system and play it to their advantage. We also know from the Frank Hester scandal that they will excuse the inexcusable if it means bringing in big money and clinging onto power.

Liberal Democrats have been and continue to be long-standing advocates for fairness, transparency and electoral reform. I want to show that our politics should not be tilted towards those with the deepest pockets, and that we need constructive discussions about how to make the system better and work in the interests of all.

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19 March 2024 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • Almost 20,000 older people waited over four hours for an ambulance after falls last year
  • Half of places on secondary postgrad teaching courses unfilled
  • Almost a third of pupils missing school and decline in support for teachers and pupils

Almost 20,000 older people waited over four hours for an ambulance after falls last year

  • The Liberal Democrats launch their local election campaign unveiling shocking new figures of elderly patients waiting too long for an ambulance
  • Ed Davey to visit Hertfordshire where he will declare this May “the chance to send this out of touch Conservative government a message”
  • Number of older patients waiting over 4 hours for an ambulance after falling has almost doubled since 2019/20
  • One patient waited close to three days for an ambulance to arrive after a fall

Almost 20,000 older people in England waited more than four hours for an ambulance to arrive after having a fall last year, more than double the number in 2019/20, figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

The Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey will visit the Blue Wall battleground of Hertfordshire to launch his party’s local election campaign. Ed Davey will focus his party’s campaign on local health services.

The new data was uncovered by the Liberal Democrats through Freedom of Information requests to ambulance trusts in England. It shows there were 19,904 incidents in 2022/23 where someone aged over 65 had a fall and had to wait more than four hours for an ambulance to arrive, or an average of 54 people a day.

This is a stark 96.5% rise since before the pandemic in 2019/20 for the trusts that provided data across the full four years.

Even more shockingly, 1,411 older patients waited over 12 hours for an ambulance to arrive after falling last year, a more than tenfold increase compared to 2019/20. The East of England Ambulance Trust had the worst record with nearly 8,000 incidents that took longer than four hours and 769 that took longer than 12 hours to respond last year.

The West Midlands had an average response time for elderly falls of one hour 54 minutes and in that region a patient waited close to three days after experiencing a fall.

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