Tag Archives: munira wilson

How many people will miss the vaccine because they don’t have a GP?

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I am looking forward to having the Covid-19 vaccine. Well, not the actual act of having a jab in my arm (twice), but because it will open up my life. Apart from a short window in the summer, we have not had any social visits in our home since March and we still only leave the house for walks or for medical reasons.

We can both be confident that we will be called in for the vaccine at some point in the New Year. But it appears that an unknown number of eligible people may be missed. Thousands of people in the UK are not registered with a GP. We can only speculate on the reasons why anyone may not be registered – it could be down to something simple like moving house, or it could be something more complex around immigration irregularities, even because someone is the victim of trafficking.

To be effective, as many people as possible should be vaccinated, whatever their immigration status. So surely the NHS needs to know how many people in the country are not registered, so they can be traced and contacted?

Munira Wilson asked Health Minister Jo Churchill how many people are not registered in England, and was told “No such estimate has been made.” In other words, they don’t know.

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Munira Wilson leads parliamentary debate on Excluded

It’s a year today since Munira Wilson was elected as MP for Twickenham. Since then, she has held one of the most stressful roles, as Health Spokesperson, holding the Government to account for its often reckless and chaotic handling of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Like all other MPs, though, she will have a lot of casework from people who have had the financial rug pulled from under them – owners of small businesses whose activities have been curtailed or stopped altogether during the pandemic. People who run events companies, creative industry freelancers such as make-up artists are just some examples of those who simply have had no income and no support since March. Then they were struggling. Now they are desperate.

Lib Dems have led the fight for support for this group. Jamie Stone set up an all-Party Parliamentary Group and our MPs have repeatedly pressed the Government  to do more.

This week, Munira led a parliamentary debate to highlight the plight of those 3 million people who have been excluded from the Government’s support schemes:

You can read the whole debate here.

In her opening speech, Munira highlighted the impact the Government’s failure to provide support has had:

There has, at times, been a suggestion that some of the excluded are highly paid and dodging tax in some way, especially those paid via dividends. My constituent, Fraser Wilkin, who runs a travel company in Twickenham, pays himself by dividends because of the huge fluctuation in annual income due to events outside his control, such as the coronavirus. If he had drawn a regular salary through the year, he would have been unable to fulfil his statutory and contractual obligations to his clients, in terms of prompt refunds when their holidays were cancelled due to the pandemic.

Universal credit is cited as the fall-back. A survey of more than 3,000 individuals found that almost three quarters were unable to access universal credit. Let us face it: we all know that universal credit is not meaningful support. Otherwise, the Government would not have felt the need to create the furlough scheme or the self-employed income support scheme.

We know that the mental health impacts on many of those excluded from support have been stark. There have already been eight reported suicides, and one respondent to the House of Commons digital engagement team said that she almost took her life several times, and one week spent every day in contact with the Samaritans.

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29 October 2020 – today’s press releases

  • PM must implement an immediate national circuit breaker
  • Liberal Democrats: Government must fix failing test and trace system

PM must implement an immediate national circuit breaker

The Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey has today called for an immediate national circuit breaker to “correct the failing test, trace and isolate system” and keep people safe.

The call follows annoucements in both France and Germany of new nationwide lockdowns. The Liberal Democrats have also called for a united approach to keeping family gatherings safe during the festive season, now backed by Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

The Government has been badly prepared and slow to act at every stage throughout this health and jobs crisis. That can’t happen again, especially in the run up to Christmas.

That is why the Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to start an immediate national circuit breaker across the UK. This is the only chance we now have to get the virus under control and save Christmas for millions of families across the UK.

The Government must use this national circuit breaker as a time to correct the failing test, trace and isolate system which is crucial to keeping people safe, minimising hospital admissions and restarting the UK economy.

Liberal Democrats are also calling on all the governments of the four nations to work together to create common guidelines across the UK so families can get as much clarity as possible as we head into the festive period.

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22 October 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Economic support plans made “on the hoof” are failing millions
  • Tracing failures shows Hancock needs to overhaul test and trace

Economic support plans made “on the hoof” are failing millions

The Liberal Democrats have accused the Chancellor of “making up plans on the hoof” when it comes to financial support for businesses and workers impacted by COVID-19. Responding to the Chancellor’s statement in the House of Commons today, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

Yet again the Chancellor is taken by surprise by events unfolding exactly as predicted months ago. He has utterly failed to address the gravity of the economic crisis, with people and businesses facing devastating pressure across the country.

Beyond tinkering around the edges of the Job Support Scheme and correcting some of its blatant errors, he has offered nothing for those slipping into poverty. 67% of salary is just not enough for people to get by on. The Chancellor is making up plans on the hoof and is failing millions of people.

We need real leadership from Government, not a patchwork of ever-changing measures. It’s clearer than ever that the Government should have kept the furlough scheme in place as the Liberal Democrats called for, yet they are too proud to do the right thing and U-turn.

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Munira Wilson gets another PMQ – and calls for removal of “draconian” Coronavirus law

Some MPs never get to ask the Prime Minister a question at the most hotly contested parliamentary event of any week.

Munira Wilson has been an MP for just 9 months, and has had two opportunities in the path month to ask a question at PMQs.

This week she asked him to work cross-party to get a consensus on the laws and powers around Coronavirus, calling the current measures “draconian.”

His response was as dismissive as you would expect:

We are making sure that everybody in our society gets all the protections they need. I am aware of the easements in the Care Act 2014 that the hon. Lady refers to. It was necessary to put them in temporarily, and we now need to make sure we give everybody the protection that they need. That is what this Government will do.

And here’s a reminder of Munira’s debut at PMQs last month when she took Boris Johnson to task over his government legislating to break international law.

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2 October 2020 – today’s press release

New stats demand wellbeing be addressed at heart of Government

The Liberal Democrats have called for the appointment of a Minister for Wellbeing and new wellbeing assessments to make sure laws “empower people to live healthier lives.”

The call comes in response to new statistics which reveal increasing anxiety and depression among young women aged 16 to 24 years while only half of young people said they were satisfied with their health.

Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

The impact of poor and overcrowded housing, insecure employment and our broken welfare system on the mental health and wellbeing of young people is

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26 September 2020 – conference day 2 press releases

  • Liberal Democrats condemn health inequalities “exposed in technicolour” by Covid crisis
  • Liberal Democrats demand Raab steps up sanctions against China over treatment of Uyghurs
  • Liberal Democrats call on Government to tackle ‘Long Covid’

Liberal Democrats condemn health inequalities “exposed in technicolour” by Covid crisis

In her first keynote address as Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson Munira Wilson will condemn the health inequalities “exposed in technicolour” through the COVID-19 crisis, and call for a Minister for Wellbeing to ensure that Government decisions are “fundamentally in keeping with health and wellbeing.” She is expected to say:

The coronavirus has not just laid bare the fundamental problems facing our NHS and care sectors, it has exposed in technicolour the health inequalities facing the UK, and shown us why we need to rethink the way we see healthcare as a whole.

We have seen the impact of poor and overcrowded housing, insecure employment and our broken welfare system on not just our physical health, but also our mental health and wellbeing.

We have seen those health inequalities play out in real time, most shockingly in the disproportionate impact of COVID on people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, on people with disabilities, and on the poorest.

When we think about the future, it’s clear that going “back to normal” is not an option. It is time to re-boot and re-think the way we live our lives, and the Government’s role in helping us to do so in a more sustainable, healthier way.

That starts with making someone at the Cabinet table responsible: a Minister for Wellbeing who will scrutinise the Government’s actions and ensure they are fundamentally in keeping with health and wellbeing.

As well as this, in the same way that Equality Impact Assessments pushed equality up the agenda, we need to introduce wellbeing assessments to make sure new laws empower people to live healthier lives.

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25 September 2020 – conference day 1 press releases

  • Ed Davey opens Liberal Democrat conference
  • Failure on test and trace is putting public health at risk
  • Liberal Democrats back proposals for “world class” mental health support for health and care staff
  • Liberal Democrats urge Government to tackle spread of fake news
  • Time to campaign for Universal Basic Income has come, Liberal Democrats declare

Ed Davey opens Liberal Democrat conference

Speaking on the opening of the Liberal Democrats’ first digital conference today , Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey has warned the coronavirus crisis is taking an “enormous toll on people’s lives and livelihoods” and urged his Party to listen, challenge Boris Johnson’s Conservatives and …

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21 September 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Ministers must put energy into fixing test and trace to “get a grip” on virus
  • PM must fix the test and trace system

Ministers must put energy into fixing test and trace to “get a grip” on virus

Following today’s briefing from Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty, warning of “significant rates of transmission” of coronavirus in parts of the UK, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

People right across the country will be alarmed to hear that, despite the heartbreaking sacrifices of these past six months, we are now facing a second wave of this dreadful virus. It’s clear that there will be difficult times ahead.

There is no excuse for the fact that our test and trace system has been barely functional for weeks. Rather than talking up their “moonshot” plans for future testing, Ministers should be putting all their energy into getting the system sorted right now to get a grip on the virus.

Equally, given the rapid changes in regulations, Ministers must also ensure crystal clear communication about new lockdown restrictions. This is about making sure people know the best ways to protect themselves and their loved ones, and that our hospitals, care homes and schools have all the equipment and resources they need to reduce the risk of transmission.

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18 September 2020 – today’s press releases

  • “Overpromising but underdelivering” on testing will damage public trust in Government
  • Davey: PM must protect lives and livelihoods ahead of second wave

“Overpromising but underdelivering” on testing will damage public trust in Government

Responding to reports that the R rate has risen to between 1.1 and 1.4 in the UK, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson MP said:

Figures showing the rapid spread of COVID will cause untold worry to families across the UK. Many will be disheartened to see the return of necessary restrictions on their daily lives.

We were promised a “world-beating” test and trace system to prevent a second wave.

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11-13 September 2020 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Long-term furlough extension essential to protect jobs
  • Economic contribution of UK-Japan trade deal will be “drop in the ocean”
  • COVID-19 testing falling dangerously short of expectations
  • New Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader commits to building “winning campaign machine”
  • Accepting rule of law appears optional for Ministers under Boris Johnson

Long-term furlough extension essential to protect jobs

Responding to ONS figures showing that UK GDP grew by 6.6% in July 2020, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

We mustn’t let these figures disguise the fact that the economic crisis caused by coronavirus is far from over. As we approach winter, countless people are worrying about their jobs and livelihoods.

The current increase in COVID-19 cases means the danger of more restrictions and job losses is very real. The Government must announce a long-term extension to the furlough scheme into 2021 to protect jobs and begin to rebuild our economy.

And to be breaking international law and indulging in brinkmanship with the EU in the current economic climate is irresponsible and shows a recklessness with all our futures. The Prime Minister must immediately row back on plans to breach international law and work for the best possible deal for UK workers and businesses.

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WATCH: Munira Wilson’s short, sharp debut at Prime Minister’s Questions

In case you missed  it, Twickenham’s Lib Dem MP made her debut at Prime Minister’s Questions this week. She was first up and her question was simple and effective:

And she was noticed:

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9 September 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats call out PM’s “brazen hypocrisy” on rule of law
  • Liberal Democrats call on Govt to extend furlough to boost economic recovery
  • Government must make Covid test available to all that need one

Liberal Democrats call out PM’s “brazen hypocrisy” on rule of law

The Liberal Democrats have demanded the Prime Minister explain his “brazen hypocrisy” given his Government’s readiness to break international law with the Internal Market Bill, while expecting “everybody in this country to obey the law.”

The accusation follows an exchange at Prime Minister’s Questions today where Liberal Democrat MP Munira Wilson asked “If Ministers think it is acceptable for this Government to not obey the law, how on earth can the Prime Minister expect the public at home to do so?”

Despite confirmation yesterday from the Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis that the proposed Northern Ireland customs legislation “does break international law”, the Prime Minister told the House of Commons that he expects “everybody in this country to obey the law.”

The Liberal Democrat MP for Twickenham has called on the Prime Minister to make a statement clarifying his Government’s “precise position” when it comes to upholding the rule of law.

Following the exchange, Liberal Democrat MP Munira Wilson said:

Testing one’s eyesight, natural justice, and only breaking the law in a limited and specific way. All excuses used by this Government for their disregard for the rule of law.

It seems it’s one rule for them and another for the rest of us. At a time when the coronavirus crisis is taking an enormous toll, following guidelines is saving lives. Instead of showing leadership, this Government is setting all the wrong examples and in doing so risking lives.

This brazen hypocrisy has to stop. The Prime Minister must come forward and clarify his precise position when it comes to upholding the rule of law, here in the UK and internationally.

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3 September 2020 – today’s press release

3 in 10 still not being contacted to isolate

Responding to the Government missing its 80% target for a tenth consecutive week, with more than 3 in 10 close contacts of people testing positive for COVID-19 not being contacted, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

With children going back to school, the priority has to be keeping people safe. Instead, Ministers have failed to deliver a comprehensive strategy to test, trace and isolate every case of coronavirus.

It is utterly unacceptable. The public deserves to know what is going wrong. That’s why the Liberal Democrats are calling for an independent inquiry

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2 September 2020 – the overnight press release

Liberal Democrats join health organisations in warning about PHE shake-up

Responding to a joint statement by 70 health organisations and alliances expressing concerns about the reorganisation of public health now underway, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

By scrapping the body at the core of our public health response to this global pandemic shows the Government has simply got its priorities all wrong.

There are no two ways about it, Ministers are attempting to deflect responsibility from their own mistakes with a top-down reorganisation.

Now is not the time to rearrange the deckchairs. Now is the time to listen to the experts who

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22-28 August 2020 – the week’s press releases

It’s summertime, not much happening at Westminster, and most attention on the Liberal Democrats was focussed on the leadership contest. Time to catch up with what you might have missed…

  • Cost of tackling food crime soars more than 1000% due to Brexit, Liberal Democrats reveal
  • Boris Johnson put saving his advisor above the national interest
  • Williamson allowing someone else to take the blame for exam fiasco
  • Liberal Democrats: Missed test and trace targets show need for inquiry

Cost of tackling food crime soars more than 1000% due to Brexit, Liberal Democrats reveal

The Liberal Democrats have revealed the cost of the National Food Crime Unit, vital in making sure food sold in the UK is safe, has seen costs soar by more than 1000% in the past five years as a direct result of Brexit.

Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron warned the cost of Brexit is “increasingly clear” and urged Ministers to uphold high food safety standards and prevent the UK being “flooded with cheap imports that put our health at risk.”

Figures uncovered by a Liberal Democrat freedom of information request have revealed the NFCU budget has gone from a budget of just £420,739 since it’s creation in 2015 to more than £5.7m in 2020/21.

The extra funding comes via the expanded Food Standards Agency budget, in order to facilitate NFCU readiness for “any risks or opportunities presented by the UK’s exit from the EU.”

Liberal Democrat Food and Rural Affairs Spokesperson Tim Farron:

We all want to know what’s in every product we consume, and have faith that it’s correctly labelled.

While it is right the Government provides essential funding to tackle food crime, we cannot ignore the fact that the costs have gone up more than 1000% as a result of Brexit.

The true cost of falling out of the EU is increasingly clear. As Ministers struggle to cut trade deals, we are set to lose access to many protections that will cost millions to replicate here in the UK.

To end the uncertainty and prevent soaring costs, the Government must commit to upholding our high food safety standards, supporting British producers and ensuring our markets are not flooded with cheap imports that put our health at risk in the future.

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13 August 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Millions of EU citizens living with uncertainty must be given right to stay
  • Appeals process critical to ensure grade awards do not “derail” students’ futures
  • Record NHS waiting lists point to another health crisis, Liberal Democrats warn

Millions of EU citizens living with uncertainty must be given right to stay

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to grant EU citizens the automatic right to stay in the UK, with the physical proof they need, as new Home Office figures reveal thousands are being refused and millions are still awaiting a final decision.

The latest EU Settlement Scheme statistics, published this morning, reveal 4,600 people have been refused Settled Status, while 1,475,500 have only been granted temporary ‘Pre-Settled Status’ and 212,400 are still waiting for a decision.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

For far too long, millions of EU citizens in the UK have been living under a cloud of uncertainty. Boris Johnson cannot be allowed to continue to break his promise to them.

With so many people being refused Settled Status, granted only temporary ‘Pre-Settled Status’ or still waiting for a decision, it’s clear that this Conservative Government’s scheme is anything but automatic.

And without physical proof of their rights, EU citizens will be at the mercy of the Conservatives’ Hostile Environment. They must not become the victims of a new Windrush-style scandal.

That is why Liberal Democrats have called for EU citizens to be given the automatic right to stay in the UK, with the physical proof they need.

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7-9 August 2020 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Blocking pupil grade appeals could deny opportunities “for years to come”
  • Government should encourage universities to “exercise leniency” for 2020 admissions
  • Lack of test and trace leaving local authorities blind-folded with regional lockdowns
  • Government must provide practical and financial support ahead of schools opening fully

Blocking pupil grade appeals could deny opportunities “for years to come”

Responding to news that schools, but not individual pupils, will be able to challenge the GCSE and A Level grades awarded, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

This completely fails to get to grips with the issue. If individual pupils are not able to challenge grades which are an unfair reflection of their ability, it could seriously impact their education and employment opportunities for years to come.

It is absolutely unacceptable for any student to be unfairly penalised because of their family’s income or any other factor.

The Secretary of State needs to urgently put in place resources to ensure every child has the chance to appeal their grades and resit assessments when it is safe to do so.

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6 August 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Welsh Government must extend shielding support to avoid cliff edge
  • Liberal Democrats: Ministers are playing fast and loose with safety of NHS staff
  • Liberal Democrats: Jenrick’s planning reform won’t solve housing crisis

Welsh Government must extend shielding support to avoid cliff edge

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called for an urgent extension to the support for those currently shielding, warning people could become “cut off” when the support ends next Sunday.

Under Welsh Government plans, the support currently available to those shielding, including foodboxes, will end next Sunday when shielding is paused. Local Authorities will then assume responsibility for providing additional support upon request.

However, new figures published by Asthma UK & British Lung Foundation Wales have revealed that 88% of those shielding are concerned about a return to work, with 12% so concerned that they have said they will refuse to go back – even if they lose their job as a result.

This creates a risky situation where thousands could face severe hardship by being cut off from existent support before they feel able to return to work and before Local Authorities can establish a proper functioning support network.

In response, Welsh Liberal Democrats have urged the Welsh Government to extend the support currently provided until the end of September, to avoid people being left isolated and give local authorities time to establish their own support schemes.

Jane Dodds, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:

I am deeply concerned that when the support for shielding ends next Sunday we will see thousands being cut off from the support they desperately need. Although some shielders are ready to go back out into the world, many still feel it is too unsafe and plan to stay home for longer.

While some of those are lucky to have a good local support network, many sadly do not. We must make sure these people are not be forced decide between unsafely returning to work or going without basic essentials.

That’s why we’re calling for the Welsh Government to extend the support currently available to those who are shielding until the end of September. This will provide a transition period, stopping them being cut off while also allowing Local Authorities time to talk to shielders and establish their own tailored support schemes.

I am grateful to Asthma UK & British Lung Foundation Wales for raising this issue and hope the Welsh Government will act quickly on this. We must give shielders the reassurance they deserve.

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3 August 2020 – the overnight press release

Liberal Democrats: Public health ignored in Government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme

Commenting on the Treasury’s “Eat Out to Help Out” discount scheme for restaurants starting on Monday, Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

We all recognise the need to support the high street through the pandemic, but the Government should have been more discerning with this scheme.

Obesity is already an immense challenge for people and the NHS, but the latest research suggests it also contributes to the deadliness of coronavirus. With a number of fast-food chains signing up to the scheme, it seems clear that

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1-2 August 2020 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats: Government have deserted care homes entirely
  • Government’s planning reform shows they’re not serious about tackling housing crisis

Liberal Democrats: Government have deserted care homes entirely

Responding to the reports that the Government has abandoned their pledge to test all care home residents regularly throughout the summer, Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

The decision to drop the pledge to test all care home residents regularly would be a decision to desert care home residents entirely. The reports today, if true, are sadly just another example of a Government that is either woefully incompetent or one that simply

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31 July 2020 – the day’s press releases

  • Lockdown announcement shows Government still doesn’t have a grip on virus crisis
  • Davey: Johnson must do more to protect livelihoods in the north
  • Davey: Government must step up financial support in light of further lockdown
  • Government must legalise humanist marriages without further delay
  • Johnson and Cummings acting like despots with plans to restrict judicial review
  • PM’s decision to give his cronies peerages further bloats House of Lords

Lockdown announcement shows Government still doesn’t have a grip on virus crisis

Responding to the Government’s change in guidance stating that separate households will not be able to meet indoors from today in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

Throughout this crisis, the Government’s communications have been an utter disaster. To announce a regional lockdown of millions of people not only just hours before it’s enforced, but with no clarity on the new rules coming into place, is beyond comprehension.

Considering their ability to tackle this pandemic relies on the clarity of messaging coming from the Government, it is unsurprising that just yesterday it was announced that England has had the highest excess mortality across Europe. If the Government want the British public to follow the rules they are announcing, then they must be clear, ahead of time, and they must have forewarned local authorities.

It remains unclear at what point Boris Johnson’s Government will finally manage to get a grip on the coronavirus crisis. Yet more mistakes reveal how necessary it is for an inquiry to be launched now – so that Ministers can learn the lessons ahead of a potential second wave.

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Last minute Northern lockdown is “beyond comprehension”

Responding to the Government’s change in guidance stating that separate households will not be able to meet indoors from today in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

Throughout this crisis, the Government’s communications have been an utter disaster. To announce a regional lockdown of millions of people not only just hours before it’s enforced, but with no clarity on the new rules coming into place, is beyond comprehension.

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30 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Highest levels of excess deaths demands Government learn lessons
  • Liberal Democrats call for review into school exclusions
  • Liberal Democrats: Government are failing survivors of sexual violence
  • Government must step in with Green incentives to save the car industry
  • Liberal Democrats: Record high of self harm in prisons shows extent of crisis
  • Leaked letter shows thousands of care home residents being exposed to virus

Highest levels of excess deaths demands Government learn lessons

Responding to ONS statistics that reveal England has had the highest excess mortality across Europe in the first half of 2020, Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

The unforgiving consequences of the pandemic have left too many families mourning loved ones. It didn’t need to be like this.

It is clear the Government has made mistakes. With a possible second wave occurring in countries across Europe at the moment, the Prime Minister must launch an independent inquiry immediately.

This is not a time for protecting political interests. This is a time to learn from mistakes and protect the country from more heartache.

Liberal Democrats call for review into school exclusions

Responding to new figures for permanent and fixed-period school exclusions in England for 2018/19, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

These figures make appalling reading. Every year thousands of children – often the most vulnerable – are being written off by our education system. Children eligible for free school meals are more than four times as likely to be permanently excluded – that says it all.

This Government should be ashamed that they have presided over continually high rates of permanent exclusion. Cutbacks to school budgets undoubtedly play a part in this. So too does the culture which prizes exam results and league table rankings over care and support.

We need see action to address the disproportionate number of exclusions among pupils on free school meals, as well as Black Caribbean, Gypsy and Roma, and Traveller pupils. That’s why we need to see a review into disparities in school exclusions.

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20 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Test and trace privacy fiasco yet another blunder by Ministers
  • Government’s school funding plan shows no understanding of challenges facing schools
  • Government must set up lifeboat system to ensure safe passage for Hong Kongers
  • Government silencing those who get in the way of their own political interests
  • Tories’ plan to “take back control” proves to be empty words when it comes to trade

Test and trace privacy fiasco yet another blunder by Ministers

Responding to reports that privacy campaigners have accused the Government’s test and trace programme of breaking data protection laws, Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

The fact that the Government have potentially broken the law is just another example of Ministers’ disastrous handling of test and trace. For the Department of Health to admit there was no consideration on the impact this would have on our privacy shows that this Government is simply walking into blunder after blunder, failing to get a grip on this crisis.

Of course mass testing, contact tracing and isolation at the community level for those who test positive, is the only safe way out of lockdown, but protecting individuals’ privacy remains of the utmost importance.

The Liberal Democrats have been clear that as long as there is absolute transparency when it comes to what information is collected, how long it is stored for, and who has access to this data, the Government can mitigate the concerns people have.

Ministers must get a grip of test and trace system if they are to keep people safe from coronavirus. They must do everything they can to not only protect people’s data and keep the public’s trust, but ensure we get an effective app up and running as soon as possible.

Government’s school funding plan shows no understanding of challenges facing schools

Responding to the publication of the Government’s funding allocations for schools in 2021-22, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

The Conservatives’ spending plans show no understanding of the challenges facing schools in September. They have asked schools to open as normal when our Test and Trace system is faulty. Teachers must try to reverse the harm to children’s learning, development and mental health, when many disadvantaged children have disappeared off schools’ radars entirely during lockdown.

In the face of this crisis, spending plans announced last year are utterly unfit for purpose. All the Government has added is a catch-up premium worth just £80 per pupil per year, and a tutoring fund. It’s simply not enough to pay for the small group teaching that Ministers say our children need.

The pandemic requires us to invest in education at all levels on an unprecedented scale. That’s why Liberal Democrats have launched a five-point plan to re-open schools safely, provide laptops to those who need them and close the disadvantage gap, so that we can give every child a great start in life.

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16 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • We need a proper Green Recovery Plan to protect jobs
  • People deserve better than this Government’s NHS Test and Trace system
  • Government must not use commission as an excuse to stall on tackling racism
  • Government’s half-baked merger plan is threat to international aid

We need a proper Green Recovery Plan to protect jobs

Responding to ONS unemployment figures showing that the number of workers on payrolls has fallen by 649,000 between March and June, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

Every single person losing their job reminds us that coronavirus is a tragedy that cuts across every aspect of people’s lives. Managing this health and economic crisis demands the best possible leadership at the top of our country.

The Conservative Government’s shambolic handling of the pandemic has made the economic challenge we are facing far worse than it need have been. We need much better political leaders than Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings if we are going to help those losing their jobs.

With this sharp rise in job losses, the Chancellor must urgently look at additional support, otherwise there will be an unemployment tsunami in October.

And we need a real vision for creating new jobs and the jobs of the future. The Chancellor’s summer statement offered little more than a sticking plaster. The Liberal Democrats are instead calling for a major £150bn Green Recovery Plan that will create millions of good quality jobs, safeguarding the UK’s future.

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11-12 July 2020 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Lib Dems: Govt must improve testing and tracing or they risk a second wave
  • Wasting money on Britain’s borders just more incompetence from Johnson’s Govt

Lib Dems: Govt must improve testing and tracing or they risk a second wave

Responding to Michael Gove’s comments this morning on the public returning to work and whether wearing face coverings should be mandatory in shops, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

Face coverings should be worn in enclosed public spaces, and it is important that any government guidance on the issue is clear on exactly when and where they are recommending the public should wear them.

However,

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10 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Cross-party group urge BBC to save Politics Live
  • Homeless covid deaths should act as a wake up call
  • Government unwillingness to work with EU is unforgivable

Cross-party group urge BBC to save Politics Live

A cross-party group of MP​s have called on the BBC to adhere to its obligations as a public service broadcaster and make a “firm commitment” to the future of Politics Live amidst reports the show could be axed.

Liberal Democrat MP Daisy Cooper, who coordinated the cross-party group, warned the BBC that dropping the show would “seriously harm the ability of the BBC to scrutinise and explain the consequences of …

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9 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Settled Status figures show need for automatic right to stay
  • Publishing Russia report top of the list for intelligence committee
  • Lib Dems: Consequences of Chancellor ignoring our high streets already clear
  • Govt must foot the bill to keep TV licences free for over 75s
  • Ministers must act to ensure public can have confidence in NHS Test and Trace
  • As the country opens up Test and Trace is more important than ever

Settled Status figures show need for automatic right to stay

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to grant EU citizens the automatic right to stay in the UK, with the physical proof they need, as new Home Office figures reveal thousands are being refused and millions await a final decision.

The latest EU Settlement Scheme statistics, published this morning, reveal 2,300 people have been refused Settled Status, 1.4 million have only been granted temporary ‘Pre-Settled Status’ and 250,000 are still waiting for a decision.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

EU citizens in the UK have been living under a cloud of uncertainty for far too long. They are our families and friends, our colleagues and carers. They must have the right to stay.

Boris Johnson and the Conservatives promised to automatically guarantee the rights of EU citizens to stay, but they have broken that promise.

With so many people being refused Settled Status, granted only temporary ‘Pre-Settled Status’ or still waiting for a decision, it’s clear that the Government’s scheme is anything but automatic.”

And without physical proof of their rights, EU citizens will be at the mercy of the Conservatives’ Hostile Environment. They must not become the victims of a new Windrush-style scandal.

Liberal Democrats are fighting for EU citizens to be given the automatic right to stay in the UK, with the physical proof they need.

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8 July 2020 – yesterday’s press releases

  • Lib Dems: Yet more lies from PM as he tries to dodge blame for care homes crisis
  • Davey: We must match the scale of the crisis with the courage to invest

Lib Dems: Yet more lies from PM as he tries to dodge blame for care homes crisis

Responding to Boris Johnson’s comments during Prime Minister’s Questions that “no one knew early on in the pandemic that the virus was being passed on asymptomatically”, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

Yet again, we are seeing more lies from the Prime Minister. He and his Ministers knew about the asymptomatic transmission of this virus,

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