Tag Archives: tim farron

Lib Dems call for fuel duty to be cut in more rural areas

Liberal Democrats have urged the Government to reduce fuel duty in rural areas, after analysis found that households in more remote areas paid £114 in transport costs each week in the year to March 2020, almost £40 more than those in urban areas.

The Lib Dems want an expansion of the rural fuel duty relief scheme, which is currently offered in a handful of remote areas of the UK, including Scotland islands and other areas, Scilly, and Hawes.

The proposal is to extend the relief to places where “public transport options are limited and drivers are being disproportionately hit by rising fuel prices”. This would include Devon, Cornwall, Cumbria, Shropshire and rural parts of Wales. The Lib Dems also want the relief to be doubled to 10p a litre.

Reported by the Telegraph and the i, rural affairs spokesman Tim Farron said:

The Government must act now to help rural families on the brink, by expanding the fuel duty relief scheme.

Ministers need to also crack down on the petrol profiteers who are cashing in on people’s misery at the pump.

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Farron: Farmers at sharp end of cost of living crisis need support

Writing in The House yesterday, Tim Farron said:

British farming communities are a crucial cog in the cost of living fighting machine. But farming families themselves are facing an even more acute cost of living emergency.

He said input costs are spiralling making crops and livestock more expensive to produce. In 12 months, the price of animal feed has shot up by 60 per cent. In some cases, fertiliser prices have quadrupled because production uses gas. Twelve months ago, a tonne of ammonium nitrate fertiliser cost £280 – it now costs £1,000.

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Reactions to the Sue Gray report

Ed Davey spoke in the Commons following the Prime Minister’s statement on the Sue Gray report.

As you might expect, other Lib Dem MPs also expressed their anger.

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Farron: Planning changes needed for second homes

Second homes are a growing issue in many rural areas of the country. Although visitors with second homes bring economic benefits, they also reduce local housing stock and drive up house prices by making offers that most locals can’t match. The squeeze on housing availability drives up rents as well as prices.

Yet when second home owners arrive for the weekend, for the week or for a holiday, they rely on local people for their services in shops, pubs and bars. But many people can’t afford to live in a settlement where second homes are popular.

In 2018/19, an estimated 772,000 households reported having second homes.

Speaking during questions on Levelling Up in the Commons yesterday, Tim Farron said:

It is… vital that houses that are given planning permission are then used for the purposes agreed on when the permission was granted. I am talking about second home ownership. Homes that are built for local families become second homes, and that leads to communities being hollowed out. Will the Minister look again at bringing in new change of use rules through the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill, so that second homes and holiday lets fall under a separate category of planning use, and homes in Cumbria can remain for local families, and do not become part of ghost towns?

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Farron: Sewerage bill moves to second reading

Last night, Tim Farron presented a Lib Dem bill on controlling sewerage charges. MPs agreed to allow the bill to progress and its second reading will be on 6 May after Farron said:

Our lakes and rivers are our natural treasures, yet water company bosses are degrading those natural treasures to keep a hold of their own treasure. Last year, the water companies made profits of £2.7 billion and paid out £27 million in bonuses. Their chief executives earn seven-figure sums, yet they are free by law to preside over enormous numbers of dangerous discharges that damage our environment and our wildlife, and are a threat to human life, too.

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Farron: Nationality and Borders Bill worst legislation I’ve seen in 17 years

In a passionate speech in the House of Commons yesterday, Tim Farron condemned the Nationality and Borders Bill saying it is based on a bogus premise, that we are swamped by asylum seekers. He slammed the “utterly bogus, completely contrived and arbitrary notion” that asylum seekers should be treated if they got here by illegal routes.

Farron asked why are we not granting asylum seekers the right to work? He said if MPs vote for this Bill, “they are voting for deaths in the channel”. People come here not because of the pull factor, but because of the push factor and …

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22 March 2022 – today’s press releases

  • HMICFRS report: Met police needs new leadership not stitch up by Johnson and Patel
  • Oligarch ditches UK mansions after government sanctions delay
  • Nationality and Borders Bill: A traffickers’ charter that will cause deaths in the Channel
  • Patel must stop her assault on British rights and freedoms

HMICFRS report: Met police needs new leadership not stitch up by Johnson and Patel

Responding to the report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) into corruption in the Met Police and the case of Daniel Morgan, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

This shocking report lays bare the ingrained culture of corruption and cover-up at the top of the Met. Police officers put themselves at risk every day to keep us safe, but they are being let down by poor leadership.

The Met urgently needs strong new leadership. Choosing the new Commissioner is too important to be a stitch up between Priti Patel and Boris Johnson – especially when Johnson is under criminal investigation by the Met himself.

The next Commissioner must be someone who will shake things up and stand up to government ministers – and that’s someone Johnson and Patel will never choose.

That’s why Liberal Democrats are calling for a cross-party confirmation vote by both Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee and London’s Police and Crime Committee, to stop the Government stitching up this crucial appointment.

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Farron & Morgan: We’re the party that backs British farmers

The Lib Dems are gearing up to win over farmers in the May elections when eyes will be on the blue walls of rural heartlands in places like Somerset, Herefordshire and Westmorland – key Lib Dem, Conservative battlegrounds in May.

The Liberal Democrats have put the Conservatives’ former rural heartlands on notice at their conference this weekend. It comes as the party has passed sweeping reform aimed at targeting the farming community that is “fed up with being taken for granted by the Government”.

The push to win the farming community comes after the North Shropshire by-election which caused a political earthquake in true blue Shropshire.

Alongside the “Back British Farmers” party policy reform the Liberal Democrats have also launched specialised farmers campaigning packs for local Lib Dems to gain support from farmers and paint true blue rural heartlands in orange diamonds.

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Wikipedia quoted at length in the Levelling Up White Paper

For most of us, our go-to source when doing a bit of background research is Wikipedia. Sometimes when we are looking for simple facts (like the election results in a particular year) the online crowd-sourced encyclopaedia is all we need. Sometimes it provides the starting point for more in-depth research, especially if we need to verify the sources.

Some years ago I was intrigued by an animation which showed the same Wikipedia page as it evolved over time. The number and frequency of changes was astonishing, which underlined the dynamic nature of knowledge, but also suggested that it should be used with some caution.

However it seems Wikipedia was enough for Government advisers who drew up the Levelling Up White Paper.

Tim Farron has been questioning Michael Gove (Minister for, among other things, Levelling Up) about the White Paper, mainly about the issues for people living in rural communities. But in the process he noticed that whole chunks of the White Paper were copied in full from the relevant Wikipedia entry.

According to The Independent

The white paper includes large sections of padding, with three pages devoted to the history of Jericho, Rome, and renaissance Europe.

But bits of this section appear to have been lifted directly from the popular internet encyclopaedia.

One off-beat part of the report reads: “Constantinople was the capital of the Roman/Byzantine Empire (330-1204 and 1261-1453), the Latin Empire (1204-1261) and the Ottoman Empire (1453-1922)”.

The text is identical to the first line of the Wikipedia page for Constantinople, right down to formatting and punctuation.

Another section of the report includes a full-page timeline of the largest cities in the world since 7,000 BC which is identical to a table on Wikipedia’s “List of largest cities throughout history” page.

Tim said:

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Farron: Nationality and Borders Bill impact on LGBTQ+ refugees

While the main attention in parliament yesterday was on tributes to Jack Dromey and Michael Gove’s statement on Levelling Up, an important debate also took place in Westminster Hall. Olivia Blake, Labour MP for Sheffield Hallam had secured a debate on the impact of the Nationality and Borders Bill on LGBTQ+ asylum seekers l. Tim Farron made a major and passionate contribution to the debate. It is notable that no Conservative MPs spoke during the debate.

Farron described the Nationality and Borders Bill as a peculiarly awful piece of legislation that is designed to solve problems that do not exist and to ignore problems that do. It is playing to the gallery rather than seeking to make a difference. The negative impact the Bill will have on LGBTQ+ asylum seekers is a prime example of what is wrong with it.

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When it comes to Ukraine let’s not forget the geopolitics before we rush in

A while ago I read a book by British journalist, Tim Marshall, entitled ‘Prisoners of Geography’, where he argues that where you live colours to a great extent your perception of the world around you. That Mr Marshall is an believer, if that’s the right word, in ‘geopolitics’ is very clear. He’s now followed this up with ‘The Power of Geography’, which I have yet to read; but I assume this takes the idea further.

Geopolitics states that politics, especially international relations, is influenced by geography. That certainly makes sense to me and I would argue, for example, that, living on an island as they do, it is perhaps not surprising that so many English voters, many with an atavistic fear of ‘Johnny Foreigner’ and being prepared to believe some of the myths pedalled by Messrs Farage and Johnson etc, voted to leave the EU.

Interestingly, in the furthest extremities of our islands, namely Scotland and Northern Ireland, support for continued EU membership was higher. With the luxury of firm frontiers and never having been occupied by a foreign ‘power’ for a millennium it is clearly very hard for many to empathise with many European citizens whose parents and grandparents have witnessed occupation at first hand. Who can blame them if many still see in closer economic and political cooperation with their neighbours a way of avoiding such disruption in the future?

There are many places where geography, or possibly our interpretation of it, have, since WW2 alone, come back to bite us, for example in Korea, the Congo, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Whether it is the arbitrary drawing and redrawing of boundaries, linguistic, cultural or religious boundaries, trying to impose ‘solutions’ based on our own, largely western  perception of what is best is often a recipe for strife and unnecessary bloodshed. I would urge our leaders in the West to be careful not to overreact to what is going on today on the border between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

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Tim Farron on Cumbria’s rural housing crisis

Tourism is the lifeblood of many of our most spectacular rural communities. Nut there is a downside for the people who live there all year round. Second homes and holiday lets mean that it can be difficult for local people to find somewhere to live.

Tim Farron raised this in a debate in Parliament this week. Here is is opening speech.

It is a huge privilege to serve our communities in Cumbria—our towns, villages lakes and dales, among the rugged beauty of England’s finest landscapes—yet the people who live in our communities are even more precious than the places themselves. We welcome those who see Cumbria as a holiday destination: a place for leisure and relaxation, and a place of peaceful serenity and exhilarating extremes. It is our collective privilege to be the stewards of such a spectacular environment for the country, yet our full-time local communities face an existential threat unlike any other in the UK. I am immensely grateful to have secured this debate, because the housing crisis that has faced our communities in Cumbria and elsewhere in rural Britain for decades has rapidly become a catastrophe during the two years of the pandemic.

For the last few decades, we have seen an erosion in the number of properties in Cumbria that are available and affordable for local people to buy or rent. What little I know of geology tells me that although erosion usually takes place over huge passages of time, sometimes a whole rockface may collapse or a whole piece of a cliff might drop into the sea in a single instant. That is what has happened to our housing stock during the pandemic. In the space of less than two years, a bad situation has become utterly disastrous.

I have been calling for the Government to take action from the very beginning, so I confess to being frustrated and angry that Ministers have yet to do anything meaningful to tackle the problem. As a result, many of us living in rural communities feel ignored, abandoned and taken for granted by the Government, and we stand together today as rural communities to declare that we will not be taken for granted one moment longer.

In South Lakeland, the average house price is 11 times greater than the average household income. Families on low or middle incomes, and even those on reasonably good incomes, are completely excluded from the possibility of buying a home. Although the local council in South Lakeland has enabled the building of more than 1,000 new social rented properties, there are still more than 3,000 families languishing on the housing waiting list. Even before the pandemic, at least one in seven houses in my constituency was a second home—a bolthole or an investment for people whose main home is somewhere else.

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Trade deal with Australia will hit our farmers

Tim Farron has warned that farmers are being “sold down the river” by the Conservatives, after it emerged the government’s own impact assessment found the Australia deal will cause a £94m hit to the farming, forestry and fishing industries. There is also an expected £225 million hit to the semi-processed food sector, such as tinned foods.

The Liberal Democrats are demanding that MPs are given a vote on the Australia deal so they can stand up for the interests of British farmers. It comes following the party’s by-election win in North Shropshire during which concerns over the impacts of government’s trade deals on local farmers were a significant issue. The deal is likely to hit small farmers, especially hill farmers hardest.

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30 November 2021 – today’s press releases

  • Storm Arwen: Govt “abandoning” rural communities hit by power cuts
  • Zahawi breaks yet another promise as school absences soar by 80,000
  • Bring back work from home to help save Christmas

Storm Arwen: Govt “abandoning” rural communities hit by power cuts

The Liberal Democrats have demanded that the Government provide emergency support to rural communities who have been left without power for days after Storm Arwen.

In a letter to ministers from Liberal Democrat Communities Spokesperson Tim Farron MP, Welsh Party Leader Jane Dodds MS and local North Shropshire candidate Helen Morgan, the party warns that rural communities in areas like North Shropshire are being taken for granted and “abandoned by the Government in their time of need.”

Tim Farron also raised the issue in Parliament yesterday and criticised the Government for failing to make an official ministerial statement on the issue.

The letter calls for ministers to step in and provide food, emergency accommodation and other essential supplies to vulnerable people on the ground impacted by the storm. It also urges the armed forces to be brought in to provide emergency electricity generators to communities until power is restored, and for the Government to provide additional support to engineers working hard to bring back power as soon as possible.

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Sewage vote: Government ignores millions of people

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Liberal Democrat MPs last night voted against the Government’s weak proposal to tackling sewage in local rivers. Commenting after the vote Liberal Democrat Communities & Rural Affairs Spokesperson Tim Farron MP said:

Today, the government ignored millions of people who demanded action to save our treasured rivers and lakes. This is a slap in the face for what has been one of the boldest and more inspiring environmental campaigns in recent years.

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Tim Farron: Time to end pointless housing targets

Be honest. When did you last collect a campaign leaflet from the doormat, see a six-figure housing target, and scream, “this is the Party for me!”?

Probably never.

Why? First, because everybody knows housing targets are empty slogans. No Government has hit their magic number since 2007, but they’ve never been held accountable for missing it. Second, every Party picks the same number… or tries to out-do the other lot by 50,000.

On Saturday evening, Conference will debate and vote on Policy Motion F20: Building Communities. I’m supporting an Amendment to the Motion which increases local authorities’ compulsory purchase powers, ensures that 40% of new build houses are social homes, and erases the proposed national target of 380,000 new homes per year.

And if anybody suggests the removal of this target is in any way NIMBY, they are… well, let’s put it politely – they’re totally wrong.

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Tim Farron on the “historic betrayal” of British farmers by Australia trade deal

Tim Farron slates the proposed trade deal with Australia in an article in The House:

So often we see Conservative MPs and ministers take to social media to tell us how much they love British farming and how they think it’s the best in the world.

But their plans for a free trade deal with Australia show that when push comes to shove they seem to have no problem whatsoever with throwing British farmers under a bus.

As a liberal I am firm believer in free trade – but only as long as it’s fair trade.

Australian animal welfare standards are lower than the UK’s which makes for lower production costs and cheaper produce. Therefore, the only way that small British family farms could compete would be to lower their own standards – which nobody except the government wants them to do.

A trade deal on these terms would be a historic betrayal of British farming and will set a dangerous precedent. If Australian farmers are given the green light to undercut British farmers then surely it’s inevitable that the government will allow Canadian, New Zealand and American farmers to do the same.

And not only is the Government betraying farmers, but going against the public’s wishes too:

A survey from the consumer watchdog Which? found that 94% of people think it’s important to maintain existing food standards, while 81% were uncomfortable eating beef reared using growth hormones – a practice which is widespread in Australian farming.

So why is the Government doing this?

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Tim Farron on dog thefts

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Ever since we were able to leave the house at the end of the first lockdown I have been going out for walks with my husband, whenever the weather allows. Just a short drive from our home we have discovered many woods and even lakes that we didn’t know existed even though we have lived here for over 40 years.

On our walks we have met a lot of very well behaved dogs. We don’t have a dog ourselves but have really enjoyed seeing so many beautiful and much loved pets out enjoying the countryside.

But we have also spotted notices warning about dog thefts. One ploy, it seems, is for people in fake uniform to approach a dog owner claiming to be from the RSPCA, with a van badged up so it appears official. Then they say they need to take the dog for a check-up and make off with it in the van.

Dog theft has rocketed recently, largely because pedigree dogs are not at all cheap. So it is good news that the Prime Minister is threatening tougher sentences for dog thieves as well as for those who abandon their pets. But it is not good news that it could be some time before this comes into legislation.

Tim Farron has been campaigning on this issue for some time:

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Why the Liberal Democrats campaigning to back British Farmers

Liberal Democrat agricultural spokesperson Tim Farron explains why his party is launching a campaign to Back British Farmers.

British farmers have been let down by the Conservatives. They’ve been promised that British standards will not be undermined, yet this hasn’t been guaranteed in law.

They’ve been promised that levels of funding will be maintained, yet the transition will see huge amounts of income lost.

And the Government is still expecting our farmers to be the stewards of our landscape, and work with us to cut emissions and help maintain and improve our natural environment – but if they’re not careful there won’t be any farmers left.

Family farmers are the backbone of our countryside, and that’s why the Liberal Democrats are launching a campaign to ‘Back British Farmers.’

Protect

Alongside launching this campaign, I am introducing a Ten Minute Rule Bill in Parliament to create a new environmental and agricultural regulator, to better protect our farmers and our natural environment.

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Ed and Tim angry at “callous” statement by PM

Both Ed Davey and Tim Farron have been quick to show their anger about the reported “Let the bodies pile high” remark by PM Johnson:

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Stakeboarding to win!   

The farmers and the affluent retirees of this part of Cumbria have returned a Tory MP as long as anyone can remember.  Indeed a Tory MP seems as much a part of the natural order here as Wordsworth, lambs, lakes and Beatrix Potter.

The crop of lurid orange Lib Dem signs in the farmer’s fields, however suggests that the political climate is changing. “Lib Dems winning here!” the posters declare.  (The Times 22 April 2005.)

And so we did and the stakeboarding campaign was a major element in that success.

In 2005 we had 644 sites and by 2010 when Tim Farron’s majority was at its highest it was 1296 excluding those farmer’s fields. The latter amounted to over 50 sites.  On each of these sites we would erect at least 5 boards.

That may well be a record for any party for any election in the UK. Though someone will tell me they did better. I do not think we will reach that figure again in Westmorland and Lonsdale.

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4 November 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Attempts to undermine US democratic process must be condemned by UK Government
  • Fixing test and trace must be priority for Government during national lockdown
  • Tories have betrayed their promise to protect British farmers

Attempts to undermine US democratic process must be condemned by UK Government

The Liberal Democrats have warned any attempts to undermine the democratic process in the US must be condemned by the UK Government.

The call comes in response to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab failing to condemn Donald Trump’s incorrect claims of victory in the US election.

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Layla Moran said:

We must not come to any premature conclusion about the election result, regardless of what the President or his campaign are saying.

Now is the time for peace and patience in the US, and for trust in the democratic process.

Any attempt to undermine that must be condemned by the UK Government and the international community in the strongest terms.

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27 September 2020 – Conference day 3 press releases

  • Liberal Democrats challenge Government’s “power grab” planning proposals
  • Liberal Democrats adopt transformative racial justice plan
  • BBC licence fee should be set by independent body, Liberal Democrats say
  • Stalled talks with EU threaten climate action, Liberal Democrats warn
  • Stopping no-deal must be the priority, Liberal Democrats say

Liberal Democrats challenge Government’s “power grab” planning proposals

In a policy motion adopted today at the Liberal Democrats’ Autumn Conference, the Party has warned that the Government’s planning proposals will “disempower” councils and allow developers to “run roughshod” over local communities’ wishes.

The motion lays bare the risks of the Government’s proposals, which the Party argue amount to a Government “power grab” that will reduce investment in affordable housing, damage public scrutiny of planning decisions, and potentially undermine climate commitments.

By supporting the motion, the Liberal Democrat members reaffirmed their commitment to challenging the move through the Government’s consultation process and reject the “reduction of local control”.

Liberal Democrat Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesperson Tim Farron said:

Planning decisions have incredible power to shape the places we live for the better. Local people are clearly best placed to decide what “better” looks like in their area, and to know what their community really needs.

Yet the Conservatives’ planning power grab will disempower local people and local authorities alike, and lead to even fewer affordable homes being built. Instead of addressing the root cause of the housing crisis, the Tories’ proposals serve the interests of wealthy developers, giving them carte blanche to run roughshod over local communities’ wishes.

As this motion shows, the Liberal Democrats wholeheartedly object to these proposals. We’ll be doing everything in our power to ensure our voice is heard through the consultation process. We are also calling on the Government to act now to address the housing crisis, by matching the Liberal Democrats’ ambition to build 100,000 social homes for rent every year.

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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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5-6 September 2020 – the weekend’s press release

Government must support local councils instead of imposing top down reorganisation

Ahead of the Government’s motion on the Local Government Boundary Commission tomorrow, Liberal Democrat Local Government spokesperson Tim Farron said:

The Chair of the Local Government Boundary Commissions looks like they’re going to have a lot on their plate. Just last week the Tories proposed abolishing nearly every council and replacing them with larger, less accountable, ‘super-councils.’

At a time when local authorities and the government are struggling to tackle the pandemic, it is not the time for a reorganisation of deckchairs on the titanic.

Liberal Democrats believe change should come from the

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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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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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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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Liberals and the cancel culture

The sujet du jour; at least on Twitter, seems to be “cancel culture”.

I’m a newbie on Twitter and as I have scrolled through my feed and seen various threads; I’ve noticed a schism between Lib Dems, on this particular issue. On one side there are Lib Dems, advocating the necessity to protect the individual, human and civil rights of the oppressed and that freedom of speech doesn’t come with freedom from consequence. On the other side are those Lib Dems who see freedom of speech as a key tenet to liberalism. An article by Tim Farron (advocating the latter), exemplified this schism with Tim being supported and rounded on, in equal measure. However, this isn’t a divide about free speech – it is a divide in the discourse of what is morally absolute and what isn’t.

Within social justice, liberals will always seek a moral universalism when advocating human rights for the oppressed minorities. The danger is, this advocation can fall into absolutism and that those opposing the perceive moral truths by absolutists are not only wrong, they are immoral; leading to those opposing their worldview to be swiftly labelled “racists,” “bigots,” “Nazis,” etc. In a democratic society our cultural norms, ethics and morals, evolve over time through societal discourse. Absolutists, in shutting down what they perceive as immoral; shut down the debate. In effect, they break the social contract that allows for moral consensus to be agreed upon.

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24 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Drop in overseas visitors points to support need for tourism
  • Care sector is facing a new crisis as we emerge from lockdown – Davey
  • Scrap costly Police & Crime Commissioners
  • PM’s refusal to learn lessons shows why immediate inquiry is essential

Drop in overseas visitors points to support need for tourism

Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron has called for more support to help the tourism sector as ONS statistics published today revealing there were 1.4 million visits to the UK by overseas visitors in March 2020, 54% fewer than in March 2019.

The Party has previously pushed for a review into the impact of coronavirus on the sector, to take into account options such as an extension of the furlough, grants and loans schemes until 2021.

Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron said:

Countless businesses are facing serious financial hardship and many more are worried about job losses, particularly across the tourism sector.

With half the usual footfall from flights in March, which we know has been worse since, Ministers must see this as a reminder that the tourism industry must be given the tools it needs to recover.

That is why Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to extend furlough support until it is safe and create and enhance bespoke packages for sectors like hospitality, leisure and culture.

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