Tag Archives: defence spending

12 June 2024 – today’s press releases

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

GDP: Conservatives have utterly failed to deliver the growth promised

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Conservatives have just announced a big increase in defence spending – how should the Lib Dems respond?

Yesterday Rishi Sunak announced a plan to substantially increase UK defence spending, up to 2.5% of GDP by 2030. This announcement moves the Tory position from an aspiration to achieve this “when economic circumstances allow” to a firm plan with actual budget cash numbers from this year through to 2030.

The timing is interesting – it is less than two months since the Government passed its Spring Budget without any attempt to fund this aspiration, but since then two things have happened. One is that Keir Starmer moved Labour’s policy position to match the unfunded “aspiration”, and (perhaps more importantly) the Daily Mail ran a sustained campaign demanding a defence spending increase.

Beyond the spin and hyperbole of the speech and press release, the Government has also issued a supporting document with more detail, available here and the simultaneous release of this slick and glossy document indicates the Government has been working on this for a while.

In many respects, this is a sensible plan which actually aligns quite closely with the Lib Dem policy “Liberal Values in a Dangerous World” adopted at this year’s Spring Conference, including investing in people to tackle the recruitment and retention crisis within the Armed Forces and civilian MOD, providing a long term procurement pipeline to give industry confidence to invest in capacity and R&D, and reiterating the importance of alliances.

There are a couple of important things currently missing from the Government’s plans however. One is that the Government’s announcements so far do not commit to reverse the current cuts to the Armed Forces, for example in the size of the Army or the Typhoon fighter fleet. These are crucial issues, as the only way the UK could have more capacity available to fight a big war in the next 2-3 years is to reverse planned cuts now.

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The liberal case for increased defence spending

Autumn Conference made one thing very clear – the Liberal Democrats stand with Ukraine and welcome the support that the UK has provided in their fight against Russian aggression. But the fight for freedom doesn’t come cheap, nor we can assume it will always be fought far away. With an assertive China, and considerable uncertainty as to the future political direction of the USA, we are arguably facing the most dangerous period since the height of the Cold War.

The largest donor of military aid to Ukraine is the USA and the flow of American equipment and ammunition has been essential to enable Ukraine’s resistance to Russian aggression. Yet Republicans are succeeding in switching off the flow of aid to Ukraine, and threatening to cripple the war effort for a mix of ideological and political reasons.

Meanwhile efforts in Europe to coordinate a strategy to build industrial capacity to supply munitions and replenish stocks are well-intentioned but proceeding far too slowly, and Europe is currently in no position to fully replace any withdrawal of US aid.

While the West dithers, Putin has transitioned the Russian economy to a war footing, increasing spending and building capacity at pace. Looking forward, Putin will survey the situation in Ukraine and wavering support from her allies and believe he can win. That victory will be of a war of attrition, and come at great cost to the Russian people and economy as well as the Ukrainians. Yet as he empties his prisons to provide cannon-fodder for the frontline, his grip on power is such that he answers to no-one except his ego and dreams of past Soviet glory.

Posted in Op-eds | 29 Comments

29 June 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Fraud industry booming on the Conservatives’ watch
  • Independence Isn’t the Answer to Westminster Overreach
  • Defence spending facing £1.7 billion cut by 2025

Fraud industry booming on the Conservatives’ watch

Responding to UK Finance’s Annual Fraud Report, showing total fraud losses up 8% to £1.3bn in 2021, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:

On the Conservatives’ watch, the fraud industry is booming. Criminal gangs are lining their pockets at the expense of innocent, often vulnerable people.

People need far better protection from these vile fraudsters, but the Government is leaving them to fend for themselves. Boris Johnson and Priti Patel want to simply pretend

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Umunna: Defence budget would be £1bn higher under Lib Dems than Tories

  • If the UK leaves the EU under Johnson’s leadership we will become more reliant on Trump, and risk becoming a vassal state of the United States.
  • Johnson is part of a network of populist, right-wing, authoritarian nationalists
  • In order to stop Boris Johnson getting a majority, seats need to be taken from the Tories which the Lib Dems are best placed to do
  • Ahead of the NATO Summit the Liberal Democrats are committing to spend extra money on defence and aid.

Yesterday, Liberal Democrat Foreign Secretary Chuka Umunna delivered a speech in Watford ahead of the NATO leaders conference.

The Liberal Democrats’ Shadow Foreign …

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