Tag Archives: cathy bakewell

26 February – 1 March 2024 – this week in the Lords

Welcome to another preview of the week’s events in the Upper House, one in which a space will become apparent following the loss of Conservative Peer, Patrick Cormack, who passed away over the weekend.

But on to business in what is another long week for the denizens of the red benches. Monday starts with a Liberal Democrat Oral Question – Lorely Burt will be asking the Government what is being done to encourage businesses to employ people with criminal convictions.

The Victims and Prisoners Bill reaches Day 6 of its Committee Stage but the …

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10 May 2023 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • PMQs: Sunak refuses to ban water company bonuses amid sewage dumping scandal
  • Retained EU Law: Govt have dug themselves into a hole
  • Victory as Lib Dems force Govt u-turn on sewage regulation bonfire

PMQs: Sunak refuses to ban water company bonuses amid sewage dumping scandal

During Prime Minister’s Questions today, Rishi Sunak refused to back the Liberal Democrat demand to ban water company executive bonuses.

The Leader of the Liberal Democrats raised the multi-million pound bonuses paid to water company executives, despite their firms destroying rivers and coatlines with sewage discharges.

Conservative MPs were heard to be laughing at the issue of sewage discharges.

In the House of Commons, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey asked:

Mr Speaker,

Last week, many lifelong Conservative voters turned to the Liberal Democrats to be their strong local champions.

They delivered their verdict on the Government’s failure to hold water companies to account for dumping raw sewage into our rivers and onto our beaches.

Water company bosses were paid fifteen million pounds in bonuses last year – rewarded for destroying our precious natural environment.

Three of those executives have now turned down their bonuses, but they should never have been entitled to them in the first place.

So will the Government now ban these sewage bonuses until the dumping stops?

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28 February 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Fuel poverty figures reveal over 7 million household struggling with energy bills
  • Sewage: Govt Minister refuses to protect clean water regulations

Fuel poverty figures reveal over 7 million household struggling with energy bills

New fuel poverty statistics have revealed millions of households are struggling to afford their energy bills.

The government’s annual Fuel Poverty Report showed there were an estimated 3.26 million households (13.4%) in fuel poverty in England in 2022, which is expected to rise to 3.5 million in 2023. A staggering 7.39 million (30.3%) of households in England had to spend more than 10% of income on energy costs in 2022, up from 4.93 million (20.5%) in 2021.

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the government to scrap its plans to increase average energy bills by £500 in April, and instead cut bills funded through a proper windfall tax.

Responding to the news, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

These stark figures show milions of families and pensioners are struggling to afford sky-high energy bills.

It beggars belief that the Conservatives are plannng to worsen this cost of living catastrophe by hiking people’s energy bills by another £500 in April.

People in fuel poverty need support without delay. We need to cut energy bills and expand support for the most vulnerable, funded through a proper windfall tax on oil and gas giants making record profits.

Sewage: Govt Minister refuses to protect clean water regulations

Today, the Liberal Democrats held up proceedings in the Committee Stage of the Retained EU Law Bill to save regulations that protect both swimmers and wildlife from sewage and other water pollution.

The Bathing Water Regulations and Water Framework Directive are both at risk of being scrapped under the Government’s new Retained EU Law Bill, which aims to remove hundreds of pieces of legislation from UK law.

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13 February 2023 – yesterday’s press releases

A technology glitch means that I’m a little further behind than expected. Normal service will resume shortly…

  • Revealed: 12-hour A&E waits quadrupled in most areas of England last year
  • Sewage: Lib Dems bid to block bill which removes clean water regulation
  • Revealed: GP postcode lottery as number of registered patients soars

Revealed: 12-hour A&E waits quadrupled in most areas of England last year

Four in five areas in England saw the number of 12-hour waits at A&E quadruple last year, shocking new analysis by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The figures reveal a devastating rise in long delays to be admitted to hospital from A&E right across the country.

In the worst-hit areas, almost one in four patients waited 12 hours or more to be admitted to hospital from A&E.

Previous research has highlighted how long waits to be admitted to hospital at A&E can have devastating consequences including the risks of a patient dying or becoming seriously unwell.

A shocking 91 of 113 NHS hospital trusts in England saw the number of patients waiting over 12 hours more than quadruple in 2022 compared to the previous year. Only four of the trusts saw the number of 12-hour waits fall. The figures are based on data on A&E waiting times from NHS England, which were compiled by the House of Commons Library.

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Trust was the worst in the country with over 24% of patients waiting at least 12 hours at A&E to be admitted to hospital in 2022. This was followed by North Middlesex where 23% faced waits of 12 hours or more, up ninefold on the previous year. Other hospital trusts with the highest number of patients waiting 12 hours or more include Royal Cornwall (21%), East Cheshire (21%) and Croydon (21%).

Overall, 36 trusts saw at least 10% of patients waiting over 12 hours to be admitted to hospital from A&E in 2022. This compares to not a single trust seeing more than 10% of patients waiting that long the previous year.

The Lib Dems have slammed the government for allowing the “devastating delays”, and called for an urgent plan to tackle staff shortages. The party is calling for a ‘Carer’s Minimum Wage,’ £2 above the minimum wage, to tackle shortages in the social care sector that are contributing to overcrowded hospitals and record delays at A&E.

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PODCAST: Climate change conference fringe event

Lib Dem Voice hosted a fringe in Bournemouth at the party’s annual conference to discuss the impact of climate change (see photo above).

Our speakers were Baroness Cathy Bakewell, Lib Dem Lords Spokesperson for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Luke Murphy, Head of IPPR’s Environmental Justice Commission; Lib Dem Deputy Leader Ed Davey MP; Mark Campanale of the Carbon Tracker Initiative; and Paul Sheeky from Extinction Rebellion; The panel was chaired by LDV’s own Dr Kirsten Johnson.

Use this link to download podcasts automatically in your podcast app and see our previous podcasts and media content here.

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Lib Dem Lords aim to kill new Tory restrictions on disability benefits

The Liberal Democrats have tabled a motion to kill Government attempts to severely restrict disability benefits.

The move follows an announcement by the Government that they will be tightening the criteria for claimants of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) which could see diabetics and those with mental illnesses stuck without support. The Government has introduced these restrictions after losing two cases at tribunals.  From the Minister’s statement:

The first judgement held that needing support to take medication and monitor a health condition should be scored in the same way as needing support to manage therapy, like dialysis, undertaken at home. Until this ruling, the assessment made a distinction between these two groups, on the basis that people who need support to manage therapy of this kind are likely to have a higher level of need, and therefore face higher costs.

The second held that someone who cannot make a journey without assistance due to psychological distress should be scored in the same way as a person who needs assistance because they have difficulties navigating. By way of example, the first group might include some people with isolated social phobia or anxiety, whereas the second group might include some people who are blind. Until this ruling, the assessment made a distinction between these two groups, on the basis that people who cannot navigate, due to a visual or cognitive impairment, are likely to have a higher level of need, and therefore face higher costs.

Responding to the announcement Baroness Cathy Bakewell, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said:

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Lib Dems table motion on benefit cap

The original benefits cap limited the total benefits payable to any one household to £26,000. The argument was that the average household income is £26,000 that people should not be better off on benefits than if they were in work. The aim was to ‘encourage’ more people back into work, as the cap could be avoided if one of the members worked for at least 16 hours a week.

Damian Green, the Work and Pensions minister, has claimed that this strategy was a “real success” – a rather callous comment given the hardship it has imposed on a large number of families. In fact, of the 79,000 people who have already been subjected to a benefits cap, only 23,000 (30%) have managed to find the level of work that would allow them to retain their benefits.

From today the cap will be lowered even more, to £23,000. This will affect a further 88,000 people, with the average household losing £2000 each year. Single parents will be worse hit, as many anecdotes demonstrate.

The party has tabled a motion in the Lords, to be debated on Tuesday, which proposes that there should be increased support for getting people back to work. This is, of course, only a part of the solution to deal with a very messy situation.

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Cathy Bakewell: the Government must replace the fit for work test entirely


Cathy Bakewell, our new Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has not been slow in writing about her brief.

The Government is planning to review the Work Capability Assessment, and she agrees that a review is a ‘step in the right direction. But, and there always is a ‘but’ with this Government: 

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LIbLink: Cathy Bakewell: In the last days of the Housing Bill, peers will fight for equality

Liberal Democrat peer Cathy Bakewell has written an article for Politics Home in which she outlines the work that Lib Dem peers are doing to try to make the Government’s Housing Bill less bad.

Lib Dems have been leading the charge on many aspects of the fight, and three of the five remaining obstacles to the legislation passing are Lib Dem amendments. These are measures to make new homes more flood resilient and low carbon, and to give communities a Neighbourhood Right of Appeal when a council deviates from their local plan.

These things have become sticking points for us, because as we know from our local activism it’s not just the quantity of housing that desperately needs attention, but also the quality.

It’s no good ploughing ahead and building thousands of homes which make future homeowners liable to flooding and responsible for higher energy bills, when simple and cost effective changes could be made at the building stage to protect them. We need more homes, but they must be sustainable.

As well as the impact on individuals, it’s the impact on the environment that matters. If we are serious about making the Paris Agreement a reality and tackling climate change, then we absolutely have to reduce the carbon emissions from homes, which are huge contributors.

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Baroness Cathy Bakewell’s maiden speech

It is a tradition for LDV to bring its readers copies of our new MPs’ and Peers’ first words in Parliament, so that we can read what is being said and respond. You can find all of the speeches in this category with this link. Last Thursday, Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville made her maiden speech in the House of Lords during a debate on housing. Her words are reproduced below.

My Lords, it is a privilege to be able to address your Lordships’ House on a subject so dear to my heart, and I thank the noble Baroness, …

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So, who are these new Liberal Democrat peers, then?

Earlier today, we told you about the ten new Liberal Democrat peers. We thought you might like to know a little more about them.

Cathy Bakewell

Cathy was first elected to Somerset County Council in 1993 and has since gained expertise in a number of fields: fire and rescue, policing, equalities, safeguarding children and further education. Her appointment bolsters our local government experience in the Lords. She also served on Ruth Kelly’s 2007 commission which looked at the barriers to people becoming councillors. She may have similar ideas about addressing our under-representation of women in other areas.

Olly Grender

Olly Grender’s career has …

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New Lib Dem peers announced

The new Liberal Democrat Peers, announced today, are:

  • Catherine (Cathy) Mary Bakewell MBE – former leader of Somerset County Council
  • Rosalind (Olly) Grender MBE – former Director of Communications for Shelter and former Director of Communications for the Liberal Democrats
  • Christine Mary Humphreys – President of the Welsh Liberal Democrats and former Member of the National Assembly for Wales
  • Zahida Manzoor CBE – Former Legal Services Ombudsman and Deputy Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality
  • Brian Paddick – Former Deputy Assistant Commissioner in the Metropolitan Police Service
  • James Palumbo – Co-founder and chairman of Ministry of Sound Group, the

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