Category Archives: Wales

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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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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29 April 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems: Protect swimming pools and leisure centres from closure with “critical health infrastructure” status
  • Welsh Lib Dem leader meets Aber student union following scrapping of teacher training

Lib Dems: Protect swimming pools and leisure centres from closure with “critical health infrastructure” status

The Liberal Democrats have called for swimming pools and leisure centres to be designated as “critical health infrastructure” to protect them from closure.

It comes as new analysis by the party shows 266 local authority swimming pools and 261 leisure facilities have been closed since 2015.

Once new openings are taken into account, there has been a net loss of 31 local authority swimming pools and 19 leisure facilities since 2015.

A series of Parliamentary Questions from Helen Morgan MP to Ministers showed year on year closure of swimming pools across the country alongside the loss of leisure centres.

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

  • London Lib Dem Launch – Blackie slams Khan record on crime
  • Cole-Hamilton: Patients deserve better than the SNP’s new normal
  • “Our Welsh workers are not collateral damage”-Welsh Lib Dems call for clarification on jobs following Tata Steel oven closure
  • Cole-Hamilton attacks SNP ministers as opioids continue to blight Scotland

London Lib Dem Launch – Blackie slams Khan record on crime

Mayoral Candidate, Rob Blackie, has launched the London Liberal Democrat today with a pledge to ‘fix the Met’.

The party launched its campaign at Pop Brixton, located in the neighbourhood Rob has spent much of the past 20 years raising his family.

Blackie told the media and a group of close supporters that Sadiq Khan does “not deserve” a third term due to his record on crime. He also dismissed the Conservative chances, accusing the party of giving up on London after selecting a Trump-backing candidate.

Blackie said Sadiq Khan’s failure on crime is the reason he is standing as mayor.

Seasoned campaigner, Blackie, 50, described how he became a victim of crime himself. His neck was broken in a vicious gang mugging in Vauxhall, and he now has a titanium neck.

Speaking to journalists in Brixton this morning (Tuesday), Blackie said:

My top priority is crime and policing.

Sadiq Khan’s failure on those issues is the main reason I am standing against him.

Violent crime has risen by 30 percent in London since Mr Khan has been in office.

Sexual offence clear-up rates have halved in the last eight years.

Let me just read one shocking sentence from Baroness Casey’s report on the Met Police, published last year – the account of a serving police officer, who said: ‘If you look at our performance around rape, serious sexual offences, the detection rate is so low you may as well say it’s legal in London.’

Just let that sink in… ‘You may as well say it’s legal in London.’

It is just shameful.

Sadiq Khan blames everyone else for this but himself. The buck stops with him and we will call him out in this campaign.

In his speech, Blackie described how he grew up in London playing on the street with neighbouring children from all over the world. He added:

I love living and working in the most cosmopolitan city on the planet.

That is the London I love, and the London we want to ‘get back’.

He also took a swipe at the London Conservatives, describing Susan Hall as “beyond the pale”. He said:

Far from embracing London, she attacks it. Liking tweets that call our city Londonistan and venerate Enoch Powell.

Does she even like London? She certainly doesn’t love our great city. When the Conservatives chose her as their candidate, they gave up on this election.

Cole-Hamilton: Patients deserve better than the SNP’s new normal

Responding to new figures showing only 65.2% of people attending A&E were seen within the 4 hour target in the week ending 10th March, while 2,943 people waited over 8 hours, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

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12 March 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Stuart’s failure to call out racist Hester comments “jaw-dropping”
  • 1,197 suspected drug deaths in 2023
  • Firefighters face risks as government fails to deliver RAAC register
  • Welsh Lib Dems call for more support for childcare sector in Wales
  • Care leavers shouldn’t be forced to “bear burden of proof” when it comes to accessing housing support
  • Blackie calls on Susan Hall to disown racist Frank Hester remarks

Stuart’s failure to call out racist Hester comments “jaw-dropping”

Responding to Graham Stuarts’ comments this morning on Times Radio where he refused to say Frank Hester’s alleged comments were racist and refused to say the money should be returned, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

Graham Stuart’s refusal to call out these racist comments was simply jaw-dropping.

The Conservative Party has flat out refused to return these donations despite these comments being inexcusable. How low can you go?

Rishi Sunak can bunker down and hide in Downing Street as long as he wants but every day he doesn’t return this money is another damning blow to the Conservative Party’s credibility.

1,197 suspected drug deaths in 2023

Responding to new Police Scotland figures showing that there were 1,197 suspected drug deaths between January and December 2023, which is a 10% increase compared to 2022, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

When 100 people a month are dying in Scotland’s drugs deaths emergency, we need to be open to anything that will save them. Each represents a life cut short and a family torn apart by grief.

These numbers are already going in the wrong direction and with the SNP and Greens having pushed through a budget that delivers a real-terms cut to drug services, I am extremely concerned that problems will simply get worse.

Every tool at our disposal needs to be used to reduce harm and save lives. That includes protecting the drug and alcohol budget, integrated drug checking facilities and preparing now for a network of safe consumption rooms because help can’t just be limited to Glasgow.

Well-meaning words won’t stop people dying. Humza Yousaf and his government must deliver swift change and ensure they never take their eye off the ball again.

Firefighters face risks as government fails to deliver RAAC register

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today urged the Scottish Government to compile a complete list of buildings where the dangerous bubbly concrete known as RAAC is present, as a minister conceded that the presence of the material could present safety implications for firefighters responding to incidents.

In response to a parliamentary question from Mr Cole-Hamilton, community safety minister Siobhian Brown admitting that “Where the material is in poor condition there could be greater risk of weakness or collapse”.

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7 March 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Resolution Foundation reveals £8bn pensioner tax bombshell in Budget
  • “All the hallmarks of a backroom deal”- Welsh Lib Dems react to decision to keep new controversial Senedd voting system
  • Donelan scandal: Lib Dems demand ethics advisor probe and Science Minister to step aside whilst investigation ongoing
  • Carmichael calls for UK ban on imports from illegal Israeli settlements
  • SNP cancel bus fund after spending less than 6% – Rennie
  • McArthur responds to news that more crimes will not be investigated

Resolution Foundation reveals £8bn pensioner tax bombshell in Budget

Jeremy Hunt’s Budget includes an £8bn tax bombshell for pensioners, analysis from the Resolution Foundation has revealed.

All 8 million tax-paying pensioners will see their taxes increase due to the freezing of income tax thresholds. This will leave the average taxpaying pensioner £1,000 worse off by 2027-28, – or an £8 billion collective hit.

Responding to the analysis, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

Buried in the small print of this Budget is a disgraceful £8 billion pensioner tax bombshell.

People who have worked hard and done the right thing all their lives are being hammered by Jeremy Hunt with years of unfair tax hikes, leaving them an average of £1,000 worse off each.

This Conservative government has shown their true colours, pensioners are not their priority. They would rather cut taxes for the big banks than look after those who have given so much for so long to our society.

“All the hallmarks of a backroom deal”- Welsh Lib Dems react to decision to keep new controversial Senedd voting system

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have described the decision to keep the new Senedd voting system as having “all the hallmarks of a backroom deal”.

From 2026, votes will be cast for parties instead of individual candidates as part of plans to expand the Senedd.

Critics of the new voting system say that it takes power away from the voter and places it in the hands of political party bosses.

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5 March 2024 – today’s press releases (part 3)

  • Embargoed budget trail: The Conservatives are the great tax swindlers
  • Welsh Lib Dems accuse Welsh Gov of abandoning rural Wales in final budget debate
  • “Funding our futures” – Welsh Lib Dems demand action on school deficits
  • Welsh Lib Dems call for major culture change in care system

Embargoed budget trail: The Conservatives are the great tax swindlers

Responding to the Chancellor’s embargoed budget trail, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

The Conservatives are the great tax swindlers after years of hiking them on hardworking families.

Rishi Sunak has led the economy into a recession and forced families to pick up the tab. They have no shame.

The Conservatives must put the NHS at the heart of the budget. It is no wonder the economy isn’t growing when millions of people are stuck on NHS waiting lists, unable to work.

The only way out of this mess is a General Election to deliver the change this country desperately needs.

Welsh Lib Dems accuse Welsh Gov of abandoning rural Wales in final budget debate

Today in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have accused the Welsh Labour Government of abandoning rural Wales.

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1 March 2024 – today’s (other) press releases

  • Urgent theft from vehicle reports in London up 31%
  • Welsh Lib Dems look ahead towards Cardiff Spring conference

Urgent theft from vehicle reports in London up 31%

London is facing an epidemic of thefts from vehicles, new figures show.

Data obtained by Lib Dem London Mayoral candidate Rob Blackie, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI), show that there has been a 31% increase in 999 calls relating to theft from vehicles since 2015 – the year before Sadiq Khan took office.

There were 27,584 theft from vehicle emergency reports in the capital in 2023 – up from 21,009 in 2015.

Lib Dem Mayoral Candidate, Rob Blackie, said:

This is yet another damning indictment of Sadiq Khan’s record as Mayor over the last eight years. Londoners tell me they are worried about cars being broken into on their street. They want the police to act because the problem is getting so much worse.

We need every officer out there investigating crime and focusing on what’s important to Londoners. That’s why I will be ensuring that the Met spends less time wasting effort on stop and searches for cannabis and more time on tackling serious crime.

Fixing the Met will be my top priority and the Liberal Democrats will give it the funding and focus it needs.

Welsh Lib Dems look ahead towards Cardiff Spring conference

The Welsh Liberal Democrats will be hosting their annual Spring conference this weekend in Cardiff.

Over a two-day period (Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd of March), party members are expected to be debating motions on Childcare, Local Government funding and providing a Fair Deal for Wales amongst others.

The conference will be opened by the Rt.Hon. The Mayor of Cardiff, Cllr Bablin Molik, the first woman of colour to be appointed as the Lord Mayor of the Welsh capital.

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28 February 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Welsh Lib Dems call for national net zero framework
  • Welsh Lib Dems demand fairer deal for farmers

Welsh Lib Dems call for national net zero framework

Today in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the Welsh Government to build a national framework to strengthen local authorities’ climate action plans.

Currently, the Welsh Local Government Association receives Welsh Government funding to help local Authorities develop a climate action plan.

19 of Wales’ 22 local authorities have declared a climate emergency, with 14 of these having a climate action plan.

However, according to the Climate Emergency UK’s 2021 scorecard, Welsh local government plans received an average score of 31% compared to a national average of 50%.

Commenting, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS said:

The Welsh Government’s net zero approach, whilst well-intended, lacks a clear framework for area-based climate action in Wales.

According to the Climate Emergency UK’s 2021 scorecard exercise, Welsh local authorities’ climate action plans received an average score of 31%, well below the UK national average of 50%.

With local authorities having influence over roughly a third of emissions in their local area, there is a clear need for a coordinated territorial approach.

We need a unified approach if we want to reach net zero within the set time zone.

By working together and establishing a coordinated national framework that can help guide local authority plans, we can take the first step in delivering a better tomorrow for us all.

Welsh Lib Dems demand fairer deal for farmers

Today in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the Welsh Government to deliver a straightforward and simple farming scheme that works for both food producers and the natural environment.

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8 February 2024 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • No fault-evictions: PM must deliver on his government’s promises
  • Welsh Lib Dems react to “farcical” rise in train fares
  • Crumbling schools: Govt must stop sitting on its hands and speed up rebuilding

No fault-evictions: PM must deliver on his government’s promises

Responding to figures that show no-fault evictions spiked by almost a third last year, Liberal Democrat Housing spokesperson, Helen Morgan MP said:

Rishi Sunak’s failure to bring forward the ban on no-fault evictions is having devastating consequences for vulnerable families across the country.

No family should lose their home through no-fault of their own. Yet, under this Conservative government that is exactly what they are allowing to continue.

The Prime Minister needs to do something that does not come naturally to him, deliver on his government’s promises.

Welsh Lib Dems react to “farcical” rise in train fares

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have described the latest rise in train fares by the Transport for Wales as “farcical”.

The Welsh Government has announced that rail fares in Wales will rise by 4.9% from the 3rd of March, claiming that the rise was needed to allow Transport for Wales to meet higher costs and continuing investment.

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7 February 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Government have left dental services to rot and now think they can rebuild it with a handful of toothpicks
  • 2.2 million people’s work impacted by being stuck on NHS waiting lists
  • Dentist dossier: Five Conservative failures on dental care
  • “More opportunities needed for young people living in rural Wales”- Welsh Lib Dems

Government have left dental services to rot and now think they can rebuild it with a handful of toothpicks

Responding to Health Secretary Victoria Atkins morning interviews on the Government’s new dental plan, Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

Seeing a Minister duck and dive on the reality of dental funding cuts will be hard to swallow for millions who have been left waiting for so long under this Government.

The reality is they’ve left our dental services to rot and now think they can rebuild it with a handful of toothpicks.

People are sick and tired of a Conservative government that doesn’t know how to fix yet another crisis of its own making.

2.2 million people’s work impacted by being stuck on NHS waiting lists

Around 2.2 million people are seeing their work impacted by being stuck on waiting lists for NHS treatment, including many going on long-term sick leave or reducing their hours, analysis by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

This is up from 1.41 million people whose work was being affected by waiting for NHS treatment in January 2023. It comes after Rishi Sunak admitted this week he has failed to meet his pledge to bring down NHS waiting lists.

The Liberal Democrats said it showed the Conservative government’s failure to tackle soaring NHS waiting lists was dealing a “hammer blow” to the economy.

The figures are based on the latest Office for National Statistics survey looking at the impact of being on an NHS waiting list, conducted between October 2023 and January 2024. The survey found that over one in four adults report they are waiting for a hospital appointment, test, or to start receiving medical treatment through the NHS.

Among those who said their lives had been impacted by waiting for NHS treatment, 24% said their work had been affected, equivalent to over 2.2 million people across the country. Of these, the survey suggests that around 626,300 (29%) people had reduced their hours, 367,000 (17%) had gone on long-term sick leave and 151,000 (7%) had stopped working to go on illness related benefits.

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6 February 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Sunak interview: Most people worry when they are hit with a surprise £1,000 bill, the PM does not even register it
  • PopCon: Tory MPs at launch pocketed £85,000 in severance payments
  • Dental plan “too little too late” for people desperately queuing in Bristol
  • “No child deserves to go hungry”- Welsh Lib Dems
  • Mid and West Wales MS Jane Dodds urges for more support for rural GP’s
  • “Simply papering over the cracks in our services”- Welsh Lib Dems

Sunak interview: Most people worry when they are hit with a surprise £1,000 bill, the PM does not even register it

Responding to the Prime Minister’s interview this morning, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper MP said:

Rishi Sunak either does not care or does not get it. As the Prime Minister buries his head in the sand and pretends everything is fine, people across the country are suffering.

Most people when they are hit with a surprise £1,000 bill worry about how they are going to make their next mortgage payments or put food on the table for their children.

Instead, the Prime Minister does not even register the significance of that amount of money. Out of touch does not even begin to describe Sunak.

The Prime Minister’s cold soundbites that everything is working simply do not survive contact with reality.

PopCon: Tory MPs at launch pocketed £85,000 in severance payments

The Conservative MPs at today’s Popular Conservatism launch pocketed almost £85,000 in taxpayer-funded pay-outs, analysis by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The Liberal Democrats said, “This is not popular Conservatism, it’s economic vandalism.”

Liz Truss pocketed a £18,660 taxpayer payout despite previously criticising “handouts” to help with the cost of living, while Jacob Rees-Mogg claimed £16,800 despite attacking the size of the state. Other Conservative MPs who attended the event, including former Chief Whip Wendy Morton, former Home Secretary Priti Patel and ex-education minister Andrea Jenkyns, all took severance payments worth thousands of pounds. In total Conservative MPs at the event pocketed £84,955 in taxpayer-funded payouts.

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23 January 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Davey on Houthi strikes: Vital Parliament has its say
  • Simon Clarke and Sunak soap opera: A fourth PM without an election would be “ludicrous”
  • Operation Onyx One Year On – 1,400 Met Officers Still Under Investigation for Sexual Abuse
  • Welsh Lib Dems urge Welsh Government to make good on promise to “prioritise care not profit”
  • Mid and West Wales MS Jane Dodds calls on Welsh Government to protect businesses from floods

Davey on Houthi strikes: Vital Parliament has its say

Responding to the latest set of strikes on the Houthi rebels, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

Liberal Democrats are concerned about the Houthis’ attacks in the Red Sea and so we support the case for limited strikes, so long as they remain limited.

However, it is absolutely vital that Parliament has an opportunity to have its say, via a debate and a vote. The Prime Minister has so far failed to grant either. It is deeply disappointing that elected representatives are being bypassed on an issue as important as military action.

Simon Clarke and Sunak soap opera: A fourth PM without an election would be “ludicrous”

Responding to Simon Clarke calling on Rishi Sunak to be replaced as Prime Minister, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper MP said:

It is utterly ludicrous that the Conservative Party is even discussing installing a fourth Prime Minister without giving voters a say.

The Conservatives are once again fighting like rats in a sack while families face soaring bills and an NHS crisis.

People are sick and tired of this never-ending Conservative Party soap opera. It’s time for Rishi Sunak to give voters the chance to put an end to this farce and call a general election.

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19 January 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Rob Blackie: Flashy Fares Freeze Fools No One
  • Welsh Lib Dems push for Senedd reform

Rob Blackie: Flashy Fares Freeze Fools No One

Following Sadiq Khan’s announcement he is freezing fares for a year, Lib Dem Candidate for London Mayor, Rob Blackie, said:

Sadiq Khan’s flashy fare freeze fools no one. It is typical of a Mayor who prefers delivering headlines to delivering for Londoners.

We all know the state of Transport for London’s finances and so the Mayor will simply claw this back through other means – most likely after votes have been cast. It is simply an election year gimmick.

After eight years of mismanagement, the Mayor has repeatedly cancelled investments like the Sutton tram – only now to find money down the back of the sofa for an election campaign sweetener.

Khan can’t be trusted to run Transport for London.

Welsh Lib Dems push for Senedd reform

The Senedd Reform Bill Committee today published its report ahead of the introduction of the Senedd Cymru (Members and Elections) Bill.

Jane Dodds MS sits as a member of the committee and has played a fundamental role in the scrutiny of the electoral method proposed by the Welsh Government.

Ahead of the upcoming Senedd reforms, the party have set out their position to see the Senedd expanded in terms of its members whilst also pushing for the fairest electoral system possible with the introduction of the Single Transferable Vote system.

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11 January 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems call for Ofcom investigation on GB News “bias and misleading” reporting of Post Office scandal
  • Double by-election: Conservative majority being whittled away
  • NHS waiting lists soar by 400,000 since Sunak made pledge to cut them

Lib Dems call for Ofcom investigation on GB News “bias and misleading” reporting of Post Office scandal

  • Deputy Leader slams Farage and Conservative MP presenters for “bias, misleading and at times, frankly absurd news reporting”
  • Conservative politicians lining up to host TV shows in election year whilst refusing to criticise their own party

The Liberal Democrats have written to Ofcom to demand an investigation into the reporting of the Post Office Horizon scandal by Nigel Farage, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Lee Anderson.

The party has noted that the Reform Party Chairman Farage and Conservative MP Rees-Mogg both failed to report on the scandal impartially, after they attacked opposition parties without including the Conservative government’s role.

In a letter to the Chief Executive of Ofcom, Daisy Cooper MP also noted that Lee Anderson cannot be trusted to report without bias on the matter, after non-stop attacks on the Leader of the Liberal Democrats on social media and in the House of Commons.

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10 January 2024 – today’s Welsh press releases

  • “Urgent action needed to beat the clock in climate fight”- Welsh Lib Dems
  • Jane Dodds MS calls for more mental health support for rural Wales
  • “Now’s the time to capitalise on Green energy”- Welsh Lib Dems
  • “It’s time to call an end to child poverty”- Welsh Lib Dems

“Urgent action needed to beat the clock in climate fight”- Welsh Lib Dems

Today, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on both the Welsh Labour Government and the UK Conservative government to get serious on tackling the climate crisis.

According to BBC analysis, the year 2023 has been confirmed as the hottest year on record. And last week, the Met Office reported that the UK experienced its second warmest year on record in 2023.

Commenting, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds said:

I was deeply concerned to hear that this past calendar year has been confirmed to be the hottest on record.

If the past few years of extreme weather and soaring temperatures have not been a wake-up call, then this one should surely send alarm bells ringing both in Cardiff Bay and Westminster.

We desperately need urgent action to help us beat the clock in this fight against climate change.

Make no mistake, there is no do over. We can either make peace with our failures or fight not just for our future, but for our children’s and their children’s futures.

So, I ask governments across the globe, not just here in the UK, what will it be?

How will you want to be remembered for what you did during the greatest crisis humanity has ever encountered?

Jane Dodds MS calls for more mental health support for rural Wales

Today in the Senedd, Jane Dodds MS has called on the Welsh Government to improve access to mental health support and substance support for people living in rural areas.

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9 January 2024 – today’s Welsh press releases

  • “No more tinkering, we need bravery”- Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds sets out her priorities for new FM
  • Welsh Lib Dems urge for clarity over future of Bwndel Babi scheme
  • Welsh Lib Dems criticise Welsh Labour government over “lack of vision” with budget
  • “Communities must feel that they are being listened to when it comes to their safety”- Welsh Lib Dems urge Welsh Government

“No more tinkering, we need bravery”- Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds sets out her priorities for new FM

Today, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds has urged both Welsh Labour leadership candidates to set out a new vision for Wales.

Current Health minister Vaughan Gething and Education minister Jeremy Miles are both in the race to become the new FM following the resignation of Mark Drakeford.

Commenting, leader of the Welsh Lib Dems Jane Dodds said:

The start of a new year brings with it a chance for renewed optimism. And with a new First Minister set to take charge this coming spring, a chance for a fresh approach to how Wales is being run should in theory be just around the corner.

What we have heard from both candidates so far is that they will be taking the same “steady as she goes” approach. More tinkering, more managerialism, and not the vision for the future that people desperately need.

We don’t want to see any more conservatism from Welsh Labour, what we need is a First Minister who is willing to take a bold and brave new direction for our country.

We need a new vision for a thriving economy, a fresh start for our NHS, an innovative democracy, and creating a nation of second chances where everyone has the opportunity to get ahead. We need a fair deal for every corner and every person across our country.

For far too long now the Labour party have stood by and watched as our country, our government, and our parliament has been dragged into the mud by an indifferent UK Conservative government.

We need a Labour party, at both ends of the M4, willing to stand up and demand that Wales gets its fair share.

No more tinkering about and searching for excuses, now is the time for bravery.

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20 April 2022 -today’s press releases

  • 4.3 million anti-social behaviour reports go unattended by police in past five years
  • Lib Dems demand food summit in Downing Street to tackle “tsunami” of rising food prices
  • Welsh Health Statistics – Emergency Social Care Plan Needed
  • Raab Report: More dither and delay

4.3 million anti-social behaviour reports go unattended by police in past five years

  • Over 2,000 incidents of anti-social behaviour went unattended by police each day last year
  • Some police forces attending fewer than one in five (19%) incidents
  • Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey calls for “return to proper community policing” with more bobbies on the beat

A staggering 4.3 million reports of anti-social behaviour have …

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17 April 2023 – today’s press releases (fersiwn Cymraeg)

  • Lib Dems Welcome Bannau Brycheiniog Name Change
  • Any Plans for Cardiff Congestion Charge Should be Put to a Referendum

Lib Dems Welcome Bannau Brycheiniog Name Change

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have welcome the change of name for the Brecon Beacons Nation Park to its original Welsh name Bannau Brycheiniog stating that it is a positive move to use the history of the region to help build a successful future for the Park.

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and Mid & West Wales Senedd Member Jane Dodds said:

It’s great to see the re-introduction of the name Bannau Brycheiniog today. The message put forward by the

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4-5 April 2023 – catching up with the press releases…

  • Social care funding halved: Elderly and disabled people will be the victims
  • Post-Brexit customs checks will mean more red tape for businesses
  • South Wales Police – Facial Recognition Technology Restart ‘Wrong Move’
  • Sunak must strip Scott Benton of the Conservative Whip

Social care funding halved: Elderly and disabled people will be the victims

Responding to reports that the social care reform budget has been halved, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

Elderly and disabled people will be the victims of the Conservatives’ decision to slash funding for recruiting care workers at a time of chronic staff shortages.

By damaging social care again, Rishi Sunak is also damaging our NHS. Patients stuck in hospital will face more delays in discharge, leading to longer delays in A&E and for operations. Only the Conservatives could damage people’s care and the nation’s health at the same time.

Liberal Democrats want a new Carer’s Minimum Wage to attract workers back to the social care sector and ease pressure on family carers, GPs and hospitals. It’s shocking that the Government refuses to back our fair deal for carers.

Post-Brexit customs checks will mean more red tape for businesses

Responding to the government’s announcement on the introduction of post-Brexit customs checks, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

These new checks are only going to make trade between us and Europe harder. It’s staggering that the Conservatives looked at the chaos at Dover and said, ‘more of that please’.

The Government’s claims that these plans are going to ease trading chaos are downright dishonest. Let’s be clear: these proposals mean more checks and more red tape, not less – the last thing anyone wanted.

Businesses and the public have had enough of the Conservatives’ red tape and their botched deal with Europe. If you want to grow the economy, you have to fix our broken relationship with our closest neighbours.

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3 April 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Welsh rivers some of the most sewage filled in the UK
  • Water Plan: Taking the public for fools by re-announcing a policy from years ago

Welsh rivers some of the most sewage filled in the UK

An analysis of the sewage dumping statistics released by Welsh Water/Dŵr Cymru has revealed Wales’ rivers are some of the most sewage filled in the entire UK. The stats have sparked an angry response from the Welsh Liberal Democrats who have accused both Labour and the Conservatives of not doing enough to tackle the problem.

The latest figures show sewage was dumped in Welsh rivers 83,000 times …

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