Tag Archives: ed davey

Let’s embrace being the party of the NHS

Following another year’s Federal Autumn Conference, it is important to reflect on the position of the party. This is especially the case given that we may be only 12 months away from a general election campaign. We may finally have an opportunity to help to get rid of this dreadful Conservative government, and in the process, get many new Liberal Democrat MPs elected.

Britain cannot withstand five more years of the Conservatives. Nowhere is this clearer than with our National Health Service. The NHS is in turmoil. Years of Tory mismanagement and underfunding have led to our precious NHS struggling to cope. The morale of doctors, nurses and other NHS staff is at a severe low. While the number of vacancies in the NHS is at a “staggering” high. This is a time when the NHS funding gap continues to be wide and NHS dentistry has become dysfunctional, with people having to pull out their own teeth.

The NHS is of immense importance to us Liberal Democrats, not just because it is a vital public service in helping to advance individual freedom and social justice, but because we had a hand in its creation. The great Liberal social reformer, William Beveridge invented the idea of the NHS in his report into social services in 1942. The Beveridge Report became the blueprint for the post-war welfare state. A blueprint that was largely enacted by the post-war Labour government of Clement Attlee. While it was a socialist, Labour’s radical Health Secretary Aneurin Bevan who introduced an established the NHS in 1948, the original idea was that of a Liberal.

The NHS, health and social care have become of central importance for Liberal Democrats once again. It was incredibly moving to listen to Ed Davey, during his leader’s speech on Tuesday, talk about how he had to care for his mother while she was dying of cancer. Health and social care have become a hallmark of Ed Davey’s leadership, inspired by his personal experience of being a carer himself. Earlier in the Conference, our Deputy Leader and Health and Social Care Spokesperson, Daisy Cooper spoke passionately about the need to address the crisis in mental health provision.

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WATCH: Ed Davey’s speech to Conference

The video of Ed’s keynote speech to Conference starts at around one hour, 32 minutes. Enjoy.

The text is below:

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Ed Davey speech: Time to tear down the Blue Wall and end the Conservative soap opera

Ed Davey will today (Tuesday 26 September) give his first Autumn Conference speech since becoming Liberal Democrat leader, firing the starting gun for the party’s campaign at the next General Election.

Ed Davey will put health and care at the heart of his speech, highlighting how the Liberal Democrats have led the way in proposing solutions to tackle the crises facing the NHS, on GPs, ambulances and dentists. He will accuse the Conservatives of breaking promise after promise on the NHS, from their failure to recruit more GPs to their pledge to build 40 new hospitals, adding that there should be a warning on the ballot paper that “voting Conservative is bad for your health.”

He will emphasise that getting the millions of people stuck on waiting lists or suffering from mental health illness is key to getting the economy back on track, adding that “the Conservatives broke our economy with their carelessness, Liberal Democrats will fix our economy with care.”

Ed Davey will then criticise the Conservatives for being “more like a bad soap opera than a functioning government,” pointing to “the corruption of Boris Johnson, the chaos of Liz Truss and the carelessness of Rishi Sunak.”

Finally, the Liberal Democrat Leader will issue a rallying cry to his party to bring the Blue Wall “tumbling down” at the next election. He will point to the Liberal Democrats’ record as the “strongest campaigning force in British politics,” concluding that “the British people are desperate to see the back of this appalling, out-of-touch Conservative Government, and we are the ones who can make it happen.”

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Waiting list for diagnostic tests reaches 1.6 million – up 50% since 2019

  • The waiting list for diagnostic tests has risen by 525,000 since June 2019 to 1.6 million
  • NHS target: less than 1% of people should be waiting more than 6 weeks for these tests – currently 1 in 4 wait 6 weeks or longer
  • Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey calls for an expansion of community diagnostic centres and the legal right to see your GP in seven days as his party makes fixing the NHS a pillar of their conference

NHS waiting lists for basic diagnostic tests have grown by 50% since June 2019, up to 1.6 million. The research from the House of Commons Library, commissioned by the Liberal Democrats, also shows that over 25% of people are waiting more than 6 weeks for one of these tests, the NHS target is less than 1%.

The 15 types of tests that make up the list provided by the Commons Library include MRIs, CT scans, Echocardiography, and DEXA scans. For MRIs the waiting list has spiked by a third up to 280,000 thousand. For CT scans, it has shot up by 40,000 to 180,000.

A separate FOI from the Liberal Democrats to NHS Trusts has revealed the longest wait time for certain standard diagnostic scans.

In Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trusts response, they said that the longest wait for an MRI which took place in the past 12 months was 914 days. At the same Trust, someone waited 367 days for a CT scan, 665 days for a non-urgent x-ray, and 693 days for an Ultrasound.

For an Echocardiogram, someone at Wye Valley Trust waited 49 weeks. For an Angiography, at Milton Keynes Trust the longest wait was 475 days.

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25,000 operations cancelled twice or more in 2022 as backlog soars

  • Some patients have the same operation cancelled 13 times as backlog soars
  • Worst offending trusts have thousands of operations cancelled twice
  • Liberal Democrats demand urgent action to get the scandal of cancelled operations under control

The number of hospital operations cancelled twice or more surged to over 25,000 in 2022, an investigation by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

That is up 18% from the 21,477 operations cancelled twice or more the previous year.

The figures were obtained by the Liberal Democrats through Freedom of Information requests, with data provided by 78 of the 124 hospital trusts in England.

Some of the worst hit trusts include Mid and South Essex, which cancelled over 4,000 operations twice or more in 2022, and Portsmouth with over 2,500. In total, a staggering 112,000 operations have been cancelled twice or more in the past five years.

The figures also reveal that some patients have seen the same operation cancelled up to 13 times over the past five years. Portsmouth is also at the top of the cancellation list for individual cases with one patient suffering the indignity of having their operation cancelled 13 times in 2019. This was followed by Mid and South Essex with one patient whose operation was cancelled 11 times, and North Midlands with one patient having 10 cancellations for a single operation. In total, 20 trusts had one individual patient who had faced five or more cancellations since 2018.

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Revealed: Long GP waits in rural areas three times worse than urban ones

  • New research reveals four week waits for GPs three times higher in rural areas than urban ones
  • Lib Dems to adopt pre-manifesto with right to see a GP within a week at its heart
  • Ed Davey calls for strategy to close urban rural divide in access to GPs

The proportion of people waiting four weeks or more for a GP appointment is three times higher in rural parts of England than in London, stark new figures published by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

It comes as Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey calls on the government to launch a new strategy to improve access to GPs in rural areas. The Liberal Democrats are also set to put their proposals to give everyone the right to see a GP within a week at the heart of their pre-manifesto being adopted today.

The House of Commons Library research, commissioned by the Liberal Democrats, shows that on average people in rural areas are facing significantly longer waits for GP appointments than those in urban ones.

One in five (20.6%) patients living in rural areas waited two weeks or more for a GP appointment between April and June of this year, compared to 16.9% of those in urban areas.

The divide for waits of four weeks or more for a GP appointment was even more stark. 6% of patients in rural areas faced waits of 28 days or more for a GP appointment, around a third higher than the 4.6% of those facing four-week waits in urban ones.

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Community involvement in housing is a great future for policy

In the interests of transparency,  I am not impartial (is anybody?). I am a volunteer director of a community land trust (not named as I am writing for the community housing cause in general). Also I am no longer a party member largely down to becoming exasperated with national party housing policies and the focus on being electable locally thus encouraging nimbyism. This policy could go further but is comprehensive and well thought out.

We cannot have arbitrary targets that are nationally set without paying the price. This cost was felt deeply during the COVID-19 pandemic with those in flats with no gardens, overcrowded with children and parents attempting schooling and working in 2/3 rooms. Local to me there was also a suggestion in my local area the unit targets be artificially met by implying micro pads could fill the gap in targets in affordable housing. This was of great concern as micro studios are worse than what many families are forced to endure in emergency accommodation. Most of our housing list is families; we don’t need commuter studios we need family homes.

However, today a leader I believed was part of the problem surprised me.  Ed Davey has suggested exactly what is needed in the heart of many local authorities: A community-led approach to housing. This policy could have gone further and spoken more of the role of community land trusts and the role they could possess e.g. access to Community Infrastructure Levy and Section 106 Funds. These are usually incorporated local not-for-profits accredited by the FCA, so why not? They also are also by and large are committed to co-designing affordable housing at the most local level.

However, the reaction of many seems to be to ridicule and attempt to call this out for something it really isn’t. The disposal of current targets that count the numbers and bottom line rather than the quality is something to celebrate not scorn. Social housing is sorely needed and the private rental market is broken.

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20 September 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Latest inflation figures will be “of cold comfort”
  • Liberal Democrats call for increase to apprenticeship pay as dropout rates soar
  • Davey: Sunak is trashing the economy of the future
  • Over 1,000 sewage leaks in armed forces’ accommodation
  • Davey: This is not leadership from Rishi Sunak, this is putting the UK at the back of the queue

Latest inflation figures will be “of cold comfort”

The latest inflation figures show that inflation has fallen slightly to 6.7% from 6.8% in August. Responding to the news Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson, Sarah Olney MP said:

This news will be of cold comfort for families across the country still struggling with sky high prices and mortgages because the Conservatives have crashed the economy.

Ministers still simply haven’t got a clue how to protect hardworking people’s wallets during the cost of living crisis.

Rishi Sunak should not pat himself on the back whilst this crisis carries on, the Government must do more.

Liberal Democrats call for increase to apprenticeship pay as dropout rates soar

Apprenticeships in shortage occupations have fallen by up to 73%, research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats reveal, while in some sectors three in four apprentices are dropping out before completing their course.

It comes as the party is set to adopt proposals to increase pay for apprenticeships to at least the minimum wage, as part of a new industrial strategy being unveiled at its Autumn Conference this weekend.

A collapse in new apprenticeships is contributing to the crippling skills shortages affecting British businesses, making it even harder for them to fill vacancies. House of Commons Library research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats shows that sectors listed in the Government’s official “shortage occupation list” have seen particularly stark falls in apprenticeships.

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15 September 2023 – today’s press release

Ed Davey to make fifth visit to Mid-Bedfordshire

Tomorrow (Saturday 16th September), Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey makes his fifth visit to Mid-Bedfordshire, where he will speak to voters in rural villages.

The Liberal Democrats have become the challenger to the Conservative party in this rural Blue Wall constituency which consists of almost 50 villages. The Liberal Democrats opened their second office in the constituency this week.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

It is time for change and lifelong Conservative voters are turning to the Liberal Democrats to send this government a message. Rural communities in Bedfordshire are fed up with

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13 September 2023 – today’s press releases

  • GDP stats: Sunak has failed to get a grip on the economy
  • Nutrient Neutrality: Lib Dems to vote against removing water pollution rules
  • PMQs: Davey raises Sunak’s failure on cancer as 22,000 people wait more than 4 months for treatment
  • Watchdog failing to audit water companies – Lib Dems call for inquiry
  • Levelling Up Bill: Government overruled for nutrient neutrality laws

GDP stats: Sunak has failed to get a grip on the economy

Responding to latest GDP stats which show the UK economy shrank by 0.5% in July 2023, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

The Conservative government’s mismanagement of the economy is a burden on any chance of growth.

Rishi Sunak has utterly failed to get a grip on the cost of living crisis as mortgage costs continue to spiral and the price of a weekly shop goes through the roof.

Mortgage arrears are now at their highest since 2016 and families are wondering if they will once again be forced to choose between heating and eating this winter.

This out of touch Conservative government has completely failed on the economy.

Nutrient Neutrality: Lib Dems to vote against removing water pollution rules

Today in the House of Lords, the Liberal Democrats are voting against the Secretary of Housing Michael Gove’s plan to remove EU anti-water pollution laws- so called ‘nutrient neutrality’ rules in order to build more houses. This in turn could lead to more pollution in our already filthy rivers.

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12 September 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Wage Figures: Sunak must commit to triple lock now
  • NHS staff cannot be left to suffer in silence
  • Government may have broken law over sewage: “Environmental vandalism on an industrial scale”
  • Liberal Democrats welcome TfL’s new road safety charter

Wage Figures: Sunak must commit to triple lock now

Responding to today’s wage figures which would be used to uprate pensions, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

Rishi Sunak must commit now to the triple lock to ensure the state pension rises in line with the cost of living.

His failure to commit to the triple lock earlier this week will have left a cloud of uncertainty hanging over struggling pensioners. We also need a guarantee that welfare payments won’t be slashed in real terms.

Families and pensioners should not be made to pay the price for years of economic mismanagement under the Conservatives.

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Nadine Dorries should do something

Our party’s calls for Nadine Dorries to do something – anything – have been getting more strident.

To recap, on Friday 9th June she said she was resigning from Parliament, with immediate effect, mainly in a huff because her promised peerage in Johnson’s Resignation Honours had been blocked. But then she didn’t – resign, that is. Instead she said that she was waiting for an explanation of why her appointment was blocked.

In the meantime there are claims that she has been absent both from the House and from her constituency of Mid Bedfordshire. Dorries herself claimed yesterday that she is ‘working daily’, but the use of quote marks in the media suggest otherwise.

On Monday Daisy Cooper said:

Nadine Dorries’s actions are a gross insult to the people of Mid-Bedfordshire. Why on earth should their taxpayers’ money fund an MP who hasn’t worked in months? If Nadine Dorries had a shred of integrity left, she would stand down now and give local people a chance to elect a new MP who will actually do the job.

It is disgraceful that she continues to have the Conservative Party whip. Clearly Rishi Sunak thinks Nadine Dorries’s actions are still worthy of being a Conservative MP.

Local people are fed up with being taken for granted by this out of touch Conservative party.

The rhetoric was ramped up yesterday, when Ed Davey visited Flitwick, in the constituency and he referred to her as a “dosser”.

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LISTEN: Ed Davey on For the Many Live at Edinburgh

Ed Davey’s appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe is now available online.

He talked to Iain Dale and Jacqui Smith for their For the Many podcast.

Ed was in cracking form, very funny, bright and relaxed.

He came on stage while Iain and Jacqui were having a bit of a barney about women’s football. I had tweeted Jacqui after Iain told Harriet Harman that one thing that men could do better than women was play football. She got a lot of mileage out of that over the various shows. Anyway,  Ed was full of support for the Lionesses.

Jacqui then challenged Ed to come up with an act of heroism after Keir Starmer helped find a dog while he was on holiday in the Lake District. She might not have been expecting him to come up with an actual example, but he did rescue a woman from the path of an oncoming train.

Jacqui challenged him to get Iain Dale, who has said multiple times that he’s not sure who to vote for at the next General Election, to commit to voting Lib Dem. Ed is smarter than to fall for that trap, and, while he outlined lots of good reasons to vote Lib Dem, he recognised we might not gain Iain’s support.

Iain challenged him on why our national polling isn’t reflecting our by-election success. He pointed to local election success and the fact that we were talking to people about the issues they cared about.

His top task, he said, is to get the Conservatives out of Government.

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Ed Davey calls for action to help those struggling with rising bills

As inflation falls to 6.8%, Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey appeared on Sky News this morning to give our party’s reaction:

While it was positive news that prices aren’t using quite so fast, he said, but they are rising fast,  faster than they are in many other countries and faster than they have for many, many years.

Families and pensioners when they go and do their shopping, when they get their energy bill, when they pay their mortgage, their rents, they are still seeing them go up by huge amounts. And what is worrying Liberal Democrats today is that this month’s inflation figures will be used to calculate rail fares for next year and we are calling for a freeze as some way of helping people who are really really struggling.

Challenged that the Government has to balance the books, Ed said that we always do balance the books and go to the country with a fully costed manifesto, compared to the Conservatives who have been reckless with Government money and that’s why the country is in such a mess.

I listen to Conservative ministers and they seem so out of touch with the realities that most families and pensioners are facing. When we talk about these sorts of figures they seem quite complacent and give themselves a pat on the back when families are really struggling out there. I just want a Government that seems to care a bit more and this lot just don’t.

Let’s just pause a minute there. This “families and pensioners” phrase irks me a bit. It isn’t quite as bad as the awful “hard working families”, but it completely ignores a huge swathe of people who are struggling just as much as the soft Tory voters in the blue wall seats we are going after. They like the “families and pensioners” language because it has a comforting ring of deserving poor about it but that’s no excuse.

We need to make sure that the young people struggling to get by on low incomes, earning less and getting less in benefits despite living costs being just as high feel included, or the growing number of single person households with only themselves to rely on.

What’s wrong with just using people? Our mission as Liberal Democrats is to build a fair, free and open society where NO-ONE is enslaved by poverty, ignorance and conformity and our language should reflect that universality. We have so many good ideas that would help all people who are struggling so it seems a shame to limit our language.

Rant over and back to the interview. Ed was challenged that our plans to help people were not realistic. He said:

The real world is that the economy is struggling and we need to get people back to work. If you took up Liberal Democrat ideas to boost the economy, you would get more people using public transport which is more important for our economy, for the environment and so you have many benefits.

I just think the Government is so out of touch. They don’t seem to get how the combination of  price rises, mortgages, rents, energy bells railway fares, is hitting people.  We’ve calculated that a commuter family is going to be clobbered by an extra bill of £300 every month due to the combination of mortgage, food and rail fares. This is a huge amount and when I hear government ministers saying they can’t do anything. They could do something but they don’t. The fact that they don’t backs up my argument that they are out of touch and don’t care.

He was asked whether the energy price cap should be rethought as it harmed competition:

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24 July 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems demand GP rescue plan as one in six left waiting two weeks for appointment
  • Rhodes Fires: Call to protect holidaymakers by adding to no travel list

Lib Dems demand GP rescue plan as one in six left waiting two weeks for appointment

  • One in six (16.5%) GP appointments had waits of two weeks or more over past year
  • The South West was the worst-affected region with one in five (20%)
  • Liberal Democrats call for GP rescue plan over summer including campaign to urge retired GPs to return back to work

One in six GP appointments over the past year involved waits of two weeks or more, House of Commons Library commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The figures show the length of time between when a GP appointment was booked and when it took place, with data covering the year to May 2023.

The data shows the South West was the worst-affected region with one in five GP appointments taking place two weeks after being booked over the year. Gloucestershire (24.6%) and Dorset (23.6%) were the top two worst areas for two-week waits in the country. This was more than double the 9.2% of two-week waits in Liverpool.

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Health Secretary Steve Barclay to launch a GP rescue plan over the summer, including a campaign to urge retired GPs back to the workforce.

It comes after the party’s successful by-election campaign iin Somerton and Frome. The newly elected Lib Dem MP Sarah Dyke campaigned hard on the issue of access to GP appointments in Somerset.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a new right for patients to see a GP within a week, or within 24 hours if in urgent need. This would be achieved by increasing the number of GPs by 8,000.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey commented:

The Conservative government’s neglect of our local health services is having real consequences for so many. People unable to get a GP appointment are being left waiting in pain, anxious about when they will get the care they deserve.

This week the people of Somerton and Frome spoke for the whole country. They are fed up with this failing government and fed up with ministers who just don’t get it or don’t care.

Conservative ministers must listen for once and come up with a plan to tackle the GP crisis before Parliament returns. That should include a recruitment campaign over the summer to encourage retired GPs back to work.

Ministers should also back the Liberal Democrat plan to guarantee everyone a GP appointment within seven days for a first appointment, or 24 hours if it’s urgent. Anything less would be failing patients up and down the country.

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Kicking off the weekend

Welcome to the first proper weekend of the Summer holidays,  in England at least. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, we’re about half way through.

Powys Lib Dems help low-income families during Summer holidays

For many of us, it’s a chance to relax and unwind with our families. For others, it can be an incredibly stressful time. For parents on low incomes, the Summer holidays can be a nightmare. In Powys, Liberal Democrats have helped a bit with that, as we reported earlier in the week, by finding the money to continue the vouchers for families entitled to free school meals in their area. It was shocking that the Welsh Government scrapped the scheme introduced by our Kirsty Williams when she was Education Minister.

Labour is doing its best to kick struggling low income families in the teeth with Keir Starmer’s announcement that Labour would not get rid of the two child limit on benefit claims. He’s got himself in hot water with his own party. I have to say that if I had been a single mother with 3 kids in Uxbridge,  struggling to pay the bills, I’d not have been inclined to go out and vote Labour on Thursday. They can blame ULEZ all they like for their narrow defeat, but could they have won if they had had anything hopeful to say to people living in poverty?

Somerton and Frome shout-outs

Of course, it’s always great to wake up on the Saturday after a glorious by-election win. The heroes of the campaign have, I hope, managed to get some sleep. A huge shout out to Paul Trollope, whose arrival in Somerset within 24 hours of the by-election being a reality got the short campaign off to a flying start. Ruth Younger, match fit from 3 by-elections already helped deliver Sarah Dyke’s victory yesterday.

I suspect all of the staff involved had plans for the Summer which probably involved getting some r and r before the build up to a General Election year. For the fourth time in two years, they mobilised and delivered a cracking campaign so well done to all of them.

And to everyone who travelled there, including the fair few who went from Scotland, a massive thank you.

One group of people who don’t often get thanked are the volunteers who host the Maraphones. Richard Huzzey, Jacquie Gammon, Stephanie Ouzman and Hannah Perkin have been running these events at least 4 days a week since June. On polling day, they were joined by Federal Conference Committee Chair Nick Da Costa who just popped in to make calls but ended up pulling a 12 hour shift as a host to help with the many people who joined in the event. Thousands of calls were made during the maraphones, to voters and to members to encourage them to go, which is crucial in the early days of the campaign to build momentum.

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Get these clowns out of No 10!

Liberal Democrats teased us with this cryptic graphic earlier this morning.

What did it mean? (Hint: We’re going to need a bigger tractor)

Well, now we know what the two queries stand for:

A circus cannon and “Get these clowns out of No 10!”


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The reactions and the speech

Last night’s result in Somerton and Frome was astonishing, wasn’t it?  Ed Davey released a comment soon after the result was announced.

This stunning victory shows the Liberal Democrats are firmly back in the West Country.

Sarah Dyke will be an incredible local champion for the people of Somerset who have been neglected for far too long. She will fight for stronger local health services, better access to GPs and a fair deal for rural communities during this cost of living crisis.

The people of Somerton and Frome have spoken for the rest of the country who are fed up with Rishi Sunak’s out-of-touch Conservative government.

Then Twitter got pretty busy.

And here is the moment when the result was announced.

Here is Sarah Dyke’s victory speech:

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5 July 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Ed Davey warns social care “avalanche” threatens to bury NHS as figures reveal hospitals hardest hit by delayed discharges
  • Ofwat chief exec admits water bills will go up: Time for a proper regulator with teeth
  • Sunak has “thrown in the towel” one year on after resigning from Johnson government

Ed Davey warns social care “avalanche” threatens to bury NHS as figures reveal hospitals hardest hit by delayed discharges

  • Ed Davey gives speech to LGA Conference warning of impending catastrophe for NHS unless government fixes social care crisis
  • New analysis reveals hospitals lost 128,000 bed days in May to delayed discharges, up 40% compared to last year
  • NHS trusts hardest hit by delayed discharges include Liverpool, Leeds, East Sussex and Surrey
  • Lib Dem Leader calls for a Carer’s Minimum Wage to fix social care staffing crisis

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey will tomorrow warn that a social care “avalanche” is “threatening to bury the NHS”, in a speech to the Local Government Association’s annual conference.

It comes as new research has revealed the hospitals hardest hit by delayed discharges, with thousands of bed days being lost because medically fit patients are stuck in hospital waiting for care.

The House of Commons Library analysis commissioned by the Liberal Democrats reveals the NHS lost over 128,800 bed days to delayed discharges from hospital in May, up 32% on the same period last year. The vast majority (82%) of bed days lost involved patients who been stuck in hospital for three weeks or more.

The NHS trusts with the highest number of bed days lost to delayed discharges were Liverpool University Hospitals (8,146), East Sussex (4,505), Leeds Teaching Hospitals (4,370), University Hospitals Sussex (4,450) and Frimley in Surrey (3,748).

Delayed discharges take place when medically fit patients are unable to leave hospital, often due to a lack of social care.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for the introduction of a Carer’s Minimum Wage, £2 above the minimum wage, to tackle huge shortages in the social care sector. This would help address the staggering 165,000 vacancies in social care, which are leaving far too many patients stranded in hospitals waiting for the care they need.

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Liberal Democrats celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the NHS

Today is the 75th birthday of our much beloved, but beleaguered, NHS.

Ed Davey said:

With parents who passed away when I was young, looking after my Gran, now caring for my disabled son, throughout my life the NHS has been there. Often through really tough times and the more joyful birth of my children.

I am fiercely proud that it remains one of the most iconic services we have in the UK free to everyone.

The best birthday gift of all would be to put the NHS back on a stable footing, by increasing the number of available GP appointments, ending the long waits for ambulances, and closing the growing divide between those that can access dental care and those who can’t.

Daisy Cooper is our spokesperson for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care and she has written a longer post here. In it she says:

High-quality healthcare, free at the point of use, is essential for individual freedom and good health gives people the freedom to live the lives they choose. And that’s why as Liberals we have always championed the NHS.

We were there at its founding, and helped forge this national institution on the proposals set out in the Beveridge report in 1942.

And we’re here now still fighting for those values across the country.

The next election will give us a real chance to show the country what the Conservative’s dereliction of duty means for their health, and what our plans are to do something about it.

The Liberal Democrats are proud to be champions of the NHS and we will always fight to ensure that the care everyone receives is based on their need, not their ability to pay.

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Come and see Ed Davey and Vince Cable at the Edinburgh Festival

Vince Cable and Ed Davey  are appearing at the Edinburgh Festival next month.

On Wednesday 9th August at 1pm, Vince will be taking part in Iain Dale’s All Talk and you can buy tickets here.  I went to a few of Iain’s shows back in 2019 and they were very entertaining and aimed at getting past message discipline and exposing the human being. This will be pretty easy with Vince. I say with great affection that message discipline was not always his biggest priority which is probably why he was so well liked. Rumours that the press team will be watching his performance from under a desk are exaggerated. Probably.

Under Vince’s leadership, the Liberal Democrats had some stunning results, winning 16 MEPs and gaining 700 councillors in 2019. We benefitted from a clear message, mission and purpose. And it was all the more remarkable that he led us with so much energy when facing his own health challenges, including having a mini-stroke in the Summer of 2018. However it was his economic credibility, his prediction of the 2008 economic collapse and telling Gordon Brown that he had gone from being Stalin to Mr Bean that he is perhaps best remembered for. He has had a fascinating life, from starting out as a Labour Councillor in Glasgow and the 70s, to marrying his first wife Olympia against his family’s wishes. And of course there was Strictly.

Ed will be appearing on Saturday 12 August, the Glorious Twelfth itself, at 4pm on Iain’s For the Many show with former Labour Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. You can buy tickets here. When his appearance was first announced, I wrote:

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Rishi Sunak is as tin-eared as Thatcher

I am absolutely livid this morning. I watched in disbelief as Rishi Sunak, without so much as the tiniest bit of empathy, said we all have to “hold our nerve” as interest rates rise higher than they have been in decades.

That is not going to go down well with the millions of homeowners who face having to find an average of £2900 more a year if they are unfortunate enough to have to remortgage in he next year as their fixed terms come to an end. This is on top of the double whammy of high inflation and energy prices.

A Prime Minister who does not have to worry about money telling people that he’s going to make unpopular decisions for their own good is never going to go down well, but he could at least have tried to do something to show that he was on their side.

I don’t think I have ever heard anything so tin-eared from a Prime Minister since Thatcher refused to listen to reason over the poll tax back in the early 90s and that did not end well for her.

Let’s be clear, people are at risk of losing their homes if they can’t keep up their mortgage payments, whether they are forced to sell or whether their home is repossessed. I lived through that in the 90s where every day I saw people having their homes repossessed. And sometimes it was the tenants, finding out at the last minute that bailiffs were coming to evict them, who would turn up in shock, seeking support and a way out of this horrible situation.

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Emma Holland-Lindsay selected to fight the Mid Bedfordshire by-election

After a three-cornered contest, Emma Holland-Lindsay has been selected to be the Liberal Democrat candidate in the (presumed) upcoming Parliamentary by-election in Mid Bedfordshire. Emma was elected to Central Bedfordshire Council last month, coming top of the poll in Leighton Linslade South ward. Professionally, she is a member of the senior leadership team at a nationwide women’s charity and has previously worked for national disability charities.

Following the result of the contest to select our candidate, Emma Holland-Lindsay said:

It is an honour to have been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for my local area, and I am determined to be

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16 June 2023 – yesterday’s press releases

  • Parliament mustn’t waste time debating Johnson report when families facing mortgage crisis
  • Hosepipe ban: Water bills should be discounted

Parliament mustn’t waste time debating Johnson report when families facing mortgage crisis

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government not to waste parliamentary time on Monday with a long debate on the Privileges Committee report on Boris Johnson, but to pass emergency support for families struggling with soaring mortgage rates.

Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt has announced that the motion on Johnson will be debated on Monday for up to six and a half hours. However, the Liberal Democrats argue that the report …

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10-11 June 2023 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Sunak must reverse Johnson’s “happy hour honours”
  • Ed Davey to launch Liberal Democrat bid to win Mid-Bedfordshire with sewage visit

Sunak must reverse Johnson’s “happy hour honours”

The Liberal Democrats have called on Rishi Sunak to step in and reverse Boris Johnson’s “happy hour honours” list, and ban him from standing again for the Conservatives.

It comes after Boris Johnson stood down yesterday with an attack on the Privileges Committee.

Ministers are able to cancel an honour after it has been awarded, to preserve the integrity of the honours system.

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said:

Boris Johnson handed out honours to his partygate accomplices before quitting with a Trumpian attack on our Parliament. He is dragging our entire honours system and democracy through the mud.

Rishi Sunak has shown himself to be completely spineless in letting Johnson wreak havoc like this yet again. The least he could do is step in and ensure these happy hour honours are consigned to history along with Johnson himself.

Ed Davey to launch Liberal Democrat bid to win Mid-Bedfordshire with sewage visit

  • Lib Dem Leader makes first full campaign visit to inspect Bedfordshire river at risk from sewage discharges
  • New analysis finds water companies dumped sewage into Bedfordshire rivers for 3,500 hours last year

Today (Monday 12th June) Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey will start the firing gun on his party’s bid to win the Mid-Bedfordshire constituency.

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9 June 2023 – today’s press release

  • HMICFRS report shows need for return to community policing
  • Softened windfall tax shows Government doesn’t care
  • Government’s mental health plans leave children in 3 in 4 primary schools without NHS support
  • Johnson Honours: Sunak’s so called integrity has been broken
  • Boris Johnson: “Good riddance”

HMICFRS report shows need for return to community policing

Responding to HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) State of Policing report, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP:

Sadly, this report confirms what we already knew. The Conservatives have trashed our justice system, from decimating frontline policing to ignoring the courts backlog.

Too many people feel like justice is out of reach when they’re a victim of a crime. Public trust in our very institutions is at stake. The Home Secretary must commit to a return to community policing without delay.

Softened windfall tax shows Government doesn’t care

Responding to the news that Jeremy Hunt will soften the energy windfall, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said:

The families and businesses still suffering so much from high energy bills will not forget the failure of the Conservatives to tax the windfall profits of the oil and gas companies properly.

This out of touch Government has shown yet again that it doesn’t care about people struggling just to get by, or the small business clinging on.

This energy tax failure ranks as one of Rishi Sunak’s biggest personal failures as Chancellor and Prime Minister.

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One in six parents say they have gone hungry to feed their children as food prices soar

  • Shocking poll finds some parents of young children have stopped buying both fruit and meat over the past year
  • Parents far more likely than non-parents to have skipped meals and changed spending habits due to high food prices
  • Ahead of new inflation figures to be released, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey calls for expansion of free school meals and more support for farmers

A new poll commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed parents with children under the age of 18 have been hardest hit by rising food prices.

As a result of high food bills, a staggering one in six (17%) parents …

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23 May 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Debt Figures: Proof of more Govt economic mismanagement
  • Raab must stand down now and trigger by-election
  • Braverman: Sunak’s endless dither and delay must end now
  • Dentist Numbers: Sunak must correct the record

Debt Figures: Proof of more Govt economic mismanagement

Responding to the latest debt figures which show the UK borrowed more than expected last month, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

These figures continue to show the mess caused by the Conservative Government’s economic mismanagement. The British taxpayer is still feeling the hit from Liz Truss’ disastrous mini-budget.

It is frankly shocking that the Government has still not put people first by putting a proper windfall tax in place and reversing its unfair tax cuts for the big banks.

It is safe to say that the Conservatives can never be trusted to run our country’s economy ever again.

Raab must stand down now and trigger by-election

The Liberal Democrats have called on Dominic Raab to stand down now and trigger a by-election, warning that the people of Esher and Walton deserve better than a “bully MP who has thrown in the towel.”

It comes after the Liberal Democrats overtook the Conservatives to become the largest party on Raab’s local Elmbridge Council at the local elections on 5 May, gaining six councillors.

The Liberal Democrats topped the poll in the Esher and Walton constituency at the local elections, gaining 41% of the vote compared to 31% for the Conservative Party.

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Is sewage the new potholes? Ed Davey on the BBC Newscast

Following an excellent interview in the Guardian on Tuesday, Ed Davey has now made an impressive appearance on the BBC Newscast. It starts about 5minutes 30 seconds in.

He talks about the G7 summit and the local elections, but the main topic of discussion is sewage. He says that bill-payers should not be paying for the errors of the water companies, and that some of the practices were illegal anyway and they have not been meeting their legal obligations.

Ed is asked how the Lib Dems can turn the local election surge into success at the next General Election. He thought we might have gained 150 Council seats, but in the event we took over 400.  He is asked the inevitable question about a possible coalition with Labour, and he confirms that there will no deal ahead of the election. Instead Liberal Democrats will be concentrating on winning more seats.

They also chat about the stunts – knocking down the blue wall and the big blue clock. He claimed credit for inventing the Blue Wall concept and his brilliant team for turning it into memorable visual images.

Finally, obliquely referring to the Guardian interview, Ed is asked how he has coped now and in the past with family trauma and his caring responsibilities.  In reply he talks a bit about Emily and John, and about the need for mental health support for carers and for bereaved children.

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LibLink – Ed Davey: “We will not put the Conservatives back into government or do any deal with them. What. So. Ever.”

There’s an Ed Davey double page spread in the Guardian today. Zoe Williams narrates a visit to Ed’s home and a thorough and wide-ranging interview.

There’s this comment about serving in government with the Tories:

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