Tag Archives: housing crisis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Khan already failing on Met recruitment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in London, News, Press releases and Scotland | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 24 Comments

Is self-build an answer to the housing crisis?

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For some time, the government has often fallen short of its target of 300,000 new homes per year and we are now in a housing crisis where there are not enough homes to go around, thus driving prices up. So what can be done differently?

One of the advantages of being a university student is that I get to hear about some of the latest innovations being tossed around in different sectors. One such sector is architecture and some are asking what the future of housing may, or perhaps should, look like. An example of an innovation is the idea of self-building. This is where the person, family or community take control of the design, materials and labour of the houses they want and this can come in a variety of different ways. For instance, someone could order prefabricated panels or even rooms and have them transported to their site whilst someone else could follow the ‘Segal Method’ and build their home using panels of plywood you would buy from B&Q. But how does this different approach help in the current crisis?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 12 Comments

‘Crisis’ doesn’t cut it anymore: Britain’s housing is breaking us

The term ‘housing crisis’ has been in the political lexicon for a long while – it first entered Hansard, the record of speeches and debates in Parliament, in 1919. This gives us some sense of normality when we discuss it as a party and when we consider policy approaches to housing, even in the current crisis which is rooted in the 1980s.

Familiarity with the term ‘housing crisis’ is harmful to how we view the scale of the problem. Housing has been a ballooning problem for decades, arguably the label of a ‘crisis’ has been justified for much of this time. Though we are now reaching a cataclysmic level of housing stress which is severely damaging our living conditions, our economy and our politics. We all recognise the symptoms: a low growth, high-cost economy with stagnant real-terms wages and a perilous public purse.

For some time, Brits have endured some of the most cramped living conditions in Europe and North America. In England specifically, the average home is 71.9 square meters – Canadians typically live with double this space at 150 square meters. On mainland Europe homes are more modest but still considerably larger than the average English home – Italians see an average of 108 square meters. We can do better than this.

There’s an engine driving British homes ever smaller and it is one you will probably recognise from a leafleting round almost anywhere in the country. Properties which used to be a family home are now two or even three front doors or doorbells to the same building, often as flats or increasingly as HMOs. The rise of HMOs being a response to acute housing stress, often resisted by local authorities with a keen eye on the number of licenses they will grant. 

As our homes grow smaller, we see ever more stories from the rental market about families sharing desperately inadequate rooms, often impossible to heat and sometimes caked with mould. Yet constricting the supply of HMOs or subdivided homes is to constrict the market even further for young people desperate for a place to call home, it limits even the short-term pressure valve on the simple problem that there are just not enough places to live.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 17 Comments
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