Tag Archives: test and trace

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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20 October 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Liberal Democrats secure Government commitment to publish test and trace agreement with police
  • Government face first defeat in the Lords over Internal Market Bill

Liberal Democrats secure Government commitment to publish test and trace agreement with police

Today, Liberal Democrat Peer Paul Scriven has secured a commitment from Health Minister Lord Bethell to publish the agreement between the Government and police chiefs over the decision to share test and trace data.

This follows the Health Secretary’s refusal to make the Memorandum of Understanding public when Liberal Democrat Health and Care Spokesperson Munira Wilson asked him to just yesterday.

Following the exchange, Liberal Democrat peer Lord Scriven said:

An effective test, trace and isolate system to keep people safe will only work if the public have faith in it and this means the Government must be open and honest about how it uses people’s data.

It is absolutely crucial that the Government publishes its Memorandum of Understanding with police chiefs on sharing of Test and Trace data in full, otherwise they risk further undermining public trust in the system and discouraging people from getting tested.

I’m glad to have secured this commitment from the Minister, but he must now make sure the document is published for public scrutiny as soon as possible. The Liberal Democrats are clear that transparency over the use of personal data is essential to build public confidence in Test and Trace.

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3-4 October 2020 – the weekend’s press release

Prime Minister full of bluster but offered little in the way of answers

Responding to the Prime Minister’s warning of a ‘tough’ Christmas and beyond on The Andrew Marr Show, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats Daisy Cooper said:

The Prime Minister’s admission will leave people rightly worried about their loved ones. Sadly, as has become all too common with this Prime Minister, there was a lot of bluster but little in the way of answers.

It is now all the more important for the Government to take responsibility for its failures and deliver a comprehensive strategy to test, trace and isolate every

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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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22 September 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Government must make more help available to pubs and restaurants
  • Liberal Democrats secure urgent question to challenge Government on eviction loophole
  • PM must take responsibility for failings in test and trace system

Government must make more help available to pubs and restaurants

Responding to reports that the PM will set a 10pm closing time and only allow table service in restaurants and pubs, leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

For millions of people this will feel like a step backwards. After months of disruption to our daily lives many will feel anxious and worried about this latest development.

The Government must immediately put forward a detailed plan to fix the track and trace system, which is the only way to avoid further measures being necessary.

The Prime Minister must also financially help pubs and restaurants who will inevitably lose business. After people have already been through so much hardship, we cannot allow thousands of jobs to disappear overnight.

Liberal Democrats secure urgent question to challenge Government on eviction loophole

Today, Liberal Democrat Housing Spokesperson Tim Farron has secured an Urgent Question in the House of Commons following a loophole in the Government’s legislation to end the eviction ban, which has left an estimated 55,000 households at risk of being evicted since Monday.

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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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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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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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4 August 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Government must act to strengthen NHS Test and Trace ahead of new school year
  • Liberal Democrats back calls for Magnitsky-style sanctions against Hong Kong human rights abusers

Government must act to strengthen NHS Test and Trace ahead of new school year

Responding to news that scientists have warned that current testing and contact tracing is inadequate to prevent a second wave of coronavirus when schools in the UK reopen, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

After months being cooped up at home, millions of children are looking forward to getting back to school in September, but safety must remain the top priority.

In the absence of a vaccine, a comprehensive test, trace and isolate system is the only way to keep people safe as we reopen schools. The Government must do everything in its power to strengthen that system if we are to have any hope of a safe start to the new school year.

Equally, the Government need to be honest about the very real risk that, if they do not get the NHS Test and Trace system in order, or in the event that we see a sharp rise in infections, children may have to go back to learning from home. Ministers must put in place safeguards now to ensure children are still able to get their education in this worst case scenario.

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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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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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4-5 July 2020 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Health Secretary failing to create comprehensive and trace system
  • Lib Dems secure cross-party support to protect migrant women in “historic” Domestic Abuse Bill

Health Secretary failing to create comprehensive test and trace system

Responding to Matt Hancock’s interview on The Andrew Marr Show, Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and care spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

The Health Secretary talks a lot about wanting to protect our NHS, but the best way to protect it is by actually creating a comprehensive Test and Trace system that allows local authorities to keep the virus under control. Ultimately if we want to avoid a second peak that will put

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