Tag Archives: Wales

Ending profit making from the care of vulnerable children in Wales

Before my election to the Senedd I was a child protection social worker. I worked with some of the most vulnerable children and young people in society and those staff dedicated to giving them every chance to thrive.

That is why I jumped at the chance to table a debate on legislative proposal in the Senedd on Wednesday, just weeks into the first term. I used the opportunity to shine a light on the work that we must do here in Wales to create a genuine care system based on the needs, hopes, and aspirations of children and young people.

I used my voice in our national parliament, to speak up for the children, young people, and staff who are waiting for the Welsh Labour Government to act.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

Jane Dodds questions First Minister on preventing violence against women

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds used her first question as a Member of the Senedd to the First Minister to demand action on ending violence against women and girls.

This comes at a time when Operation Encompass, an initiative set up to notify schools if domestic abuse has taken place in pupils’ homes, report that there has been a huge rise in Public Protection Notices to do with domestic abuse to 2254 from September 2020 to March 2021 compared to 1043 during the same period in the previous year. The impact of Covid-19 appears to be severe.

What actions, Jane asked,  will the Welsh Government take to end violence against women and girls, particularly within black, Asian and minority ethnic communities?

After Mark Drakeford talked about an increase in funding that the Government had put in place, she followed up with:

Can I just follow that through with a focus on what’s been happening in this COVID time? We all know that there’s been a significant increase in the need for refuge places, in the need for services, and better, more focused responses to those women and children who are coming forward after these lockdown periods. I’m particularly interested to hear what issues and services will be targeted into rural areas, where we know that there are particular shortages of those effective responses and services.

You can watch the exchange here at about  32 minutes in.

Afterwards, Jane said:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Welsh Lib Dems pledge to make every town in Wales a “Tree Town”

Welsh Liberal Democrats have announced plans to make every town in Wales a Tree Town. This would see every council preparing a long term Tree and Woodland Strategy to deliver and sustain a minimum of 20% tree cover in urban areas and 30% tree cover for all new developments.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

Welsh Liberal Democrat Manifesto puts recovery first

This afternoon, Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds launched the party’s Welsh Manifesto ahead of the Senedd elections on 6 May. Writing in the foreword to Put Recovery First, Jane said:

“The Covid-19 pandemic has been tough on all of us, and we have much to do. We understand how you feel: frustration, exhaustion, loss, disappointment, anxiety, relief, hope.

Like you, we want to focus on the things that are most important to you and your family after a tough year. To do that, we first have to get Wales back on its feet…

“The Welsh Liberal Democrats will put recovery first.”

Posted in News and Wales | Also tagged , and | Leave a comment

How we lie to ourselves about debt

When I started my first job, I met with our finance officer. She was looking quite stressed, so I asked what was going on. She explained she was working out how much of our ‘bad debt’ to write off as an organisation. I was confused, naively.

Turns out, this is probably what most people know, but every year companies and organisations write off debt. They decide that even if someone owes them £50, they are likely never to get that money back –  in short, it costs them more to chase the debt, than they’d ever make getting it back.

But then, some enterprising people worked out that there was a market there. Now, companies can get some of that back. So rather than writing it off completely, and getting nothing back, they can sell that debt to a debt market, for around £5 (on average, 10% of the debt value).

Posted in Op-eds and Wales | Also tagged | 7 Comments

Jane Dodds: Welsh Lib Dems will create a Wales where everyone is equal and nobody is enslaved by poverty

Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds gave her keynote speech to Federal Conference yesterday. She talked about the need to tackle poverty and isolation in Wales and for action to save the planet from climate change. Here is her speech in full.

 

These have been hard times for us all.

Covid has dominated our lives over the past year; Personally, professionally, politically.

We have all needed to find extra resilience, additional emotional resources, extra bandwidth in our efforts to get through these times. A year when we lost people. When people lost jobs and livelihoods. When loneliness became an even bigger killer and when Welsh small businesses were brought to their knees.

But Wales is aa resilient nation. Welshness through the centuries has been more than just a political or legal identity. It has been a way of life, a state of mind. Our community spirit has inspired the greatest social reformers who have transformed Britain.

That Welsh community spirit extends an unqualified thank you to our delivery drivers, our shop workers, our pharmacists, refuse collectors, teachers, and social workers who have worked on through the pandemic.

That spirit is what drives us to action as Welsh Liberal Democrats. It also inspires us to set out a progressive and inspiring vision for the Wales we want to see.

That spirit is what drives us to action as Welsh Liberal Democrats.

That is why the Welsh Liberal Democrats will be putting Wales’ Recovery First. At the heart of our recovery will be:
🧠Mental Health;
💷The economy;
🌿 The environment;
👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 and your family.

We will create a Wales where everyone is equal, where no one is enslaved by poverty, ill health or circumstance. We will not tolerate poverty and we will push hard for positive change in all we do – particularly when it comes to saving our planet.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic education report welcomed by Welsh Minister

The Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, has accepted all the recommendations of a report on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the new school Curriculum.

The Minister has also confirmed £500,000 will be provided to support the implementation of the report’s recommendations, as part of the delivery of the new Curriculum for Wales.

Posted in News and Wales | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Scotland beat Wales in thrilling Maraphone clash

As I write, Scotland are playing Wales in the Six Nations at Murrayfield. As I write, Scotland are ahead by 17-3. I don’t know much about rugby but this seems unusual to me. Let’s hope we can hold on to that lead for however long a rugby match lasts.

However, an earlier clash between the two countries brought an assured victory for the Scots. The Welsh and the Scottish Liberal Democrats have spent the day tussling on the phone lines before kick off in a battle to see who could make the most phone calls to voters.

It’s all been great fun. Both leaders pumped up the rivalry, visiting each others’ phone banks Willie Rennie announced to the Zoom Room that the Welsh dragon behind him reminded him of me. I’ve never been so proud.

Jane Dodds almost got away with starting to sing a 14 verse traditional Welsh song to distract us from our work.

And Ed Davey showed up too! For an equal amount of time to both teams so as not to show any favouritism. He seemed to enjoy himself.

There really has never been a better time to make phone calls for the party. People seem genuinely happy to hear from us and are happy to share their concerns. We’ve noticed this both where we have elected representatives and where we haven’t.

Canvassing in a Zoom room is great because it spurs you on to do more, you can have a bit of a laugh with it. If you’re at home sitting there with Connect open, you can feel very alone. It is nice to have others to share your canvassing anecdotes with.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 1 Comment

Privatised Covid Food Aid and Other Examples of Politics in Theory and Practice?

For children in low income families, who normally receive means-tested free school meals, support is provided via cash payments, supermarket vouchers or food parcels, the last being the  preferred choice of the Department for Education.

H. M. G spends millions on food parcel contracts to private companies. Two such, worth £208 million, awarded without tendering, resulted in parcels which did not meet minimum nutritional standards and had a 69% mark up on what could have have been provided by supermarkets. Welsh Local Authority parcels have been excellent and have included recipes. English children have received paltry amounts of poor food, shabilly packaged, sometimes in bank coin bags. 

The Welsh Government is a Labour/Lib-Dem/Independent coalition. It might be labelled “Left-Centre”.

The over-priced, low quality food parcels provided by large companies, often without tender contracts, are preferred by the “English” Government. Such seems to be a pattern, as is indicated by without-tender Personal Protection Equipment contracts, some of which resulted in dangerous equipment. “Track and Trace” contracts were the same.

The U. K./”English” government is single party. It is well to the right of the political spectrum.

This government was elected with the support of many Labour voters who believed that they, and their children, would be better off with a party which offered them benefits, aka “levelling up” and freedom from foreign interference.The actual Brexit agreement, as so far revealed, indicates that you cannot live and function without contact and involvement with other individuals, groups and nations. It demonstrates that the promises of Brexit have not been kept.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

Kirsty Williams breaks ranks with Welsh Government to oppose Brexit trade deal

We’ve brought you reports from the Commons, the Lords and Holyrood debates on the Brexit trade deal today already.
In Wales, Lib Dem Education Minister Kirsty Williams broke ranks with her Labour colleagues to support an amendment to the government’s own motion which reaffirms the longstanding Liberal Democrat policy to vote against the deal. The amendment which Kirsty specifically voted for stated that she:
Does not support the UK Government’s deal and calls on Wales’ representatives in the UK Parliament to vote accordingly.
Labour dodged making a decision on this and abstained. But Wales’ sole Liberal Democrat voice stood up for her convictions,

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Third extension for Welsh Pacer trains is a ‘disgrace’ say Welsh Lib Dems

These trains are on display in the National Rail Museum and Iran has ditched them, yet Welsh passengers will continue to use them daily.

Following the announcement today from the Department for Transport that Class 142 trains have been given their third dispensation in just over a year to continue in service, Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on Transport for Wales and Ken Skates to apologise to travellers across South Wales.

Pacer trains were built by British Rail in the early 1980s with a planned lifespan of 15-20 years. Following decades of under-investment in rolling stock, they were given extension after extension but were finally due to be disposed of last year as they did not meet disability regulations that came into force on 1 January 2020. Yet passengers in South Wales face many more months of travel on these unsuitable trains.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 10 Comments

15 December 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Government’s failure to secure land at Holyhead for border checks is a shocking show of unpreparedness say Welsh Lib Dems
  • Labour’s failure to stand up for Wales and devolution in key amendment during Internal Market Bill is shocking say Welsh Lib Dems

Government’s failure to secure land at Holyhead for border checks is a shocking show of unpreparedness say Welsh Lib Dems

With just 16 days until the end of the transition period the UK Government has admitted it has failed to secure land at Holyhead to carry out the extra checks on vehicles entering the country leading to fears of gridlock in the area.

In answer to a question from Lib Dem Peer Roger Roberts the UK Government admitted that “No land has yet been purchased two potential sites have been identified in partnership with the Welsh Government and commercial discussions are under way.”

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged , , , , and | 4 Comments

Alison Alexander selected as Welsh Liberal Democrat Senedd candidate for Montgomeryshire

Montgomeryshire Liberal Democrats have selected local councillor Alison Alexander as their candidate to contest the Montgomeryshire seat at next year’s Senedd Election.

Alison lives in rural northern Montgomeryshire with husband Alastair where she is a Llanfyllin Town Councillor.

Alison has degrees in botanical horticulture from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and in Mandarin Chinese, French and Spanish from the University of Durham and is currently completing a Masters degree in Ecology. She paused her career in horticulture and community education to raise their son, who now attends the nearby village school.

Alison is co-founder of Repair Café Oswestry and Borders, a board member of the inclusive environmental group BRACE and a parent governor at her local school.

Posted in Selection news | Also tagged , and | Leave a comment

Welsh Liberal Democrats come together virtually

Over 120 Welsh Lib Dem members joined our first ever virtual conference this weekend.

We welcomed Ed Davey virtually to Wales for his first Welsh conference where he spoke to us about the challenges facing the party and his burning desire that we as a nation must come out of this pandemic stronger than ever before.

This linked us nicely to our first policy motion: “Wales after COVID” which paid tribute to lives lost and calls for the dial on inequality in Wales to be reset with measures such as social care funding, universal free childcare, debt bonfires, green jobs and investment in housing.

We were then joined by Party President Mark Pack who spoke of how we need to campaign in the years to come, the changes the party is making both federally and in Wales and the exciting future we have in Wales with 16 and 17 year olds now able vote in Senedd elections from 2021 and in local government elections from 2022.

Posted in Conference and Wales | Also tagged , , , and | 1 Comment

Kirsty Williams leads the way

I have been very heartened by the news from Wales, and not just because a bit of my heart always lives there. Unlike her English counterparts Kirsty Williams, the Lib Dem Education Minister for Wales, hasn’t had to be challenged by celebrity footballers to remember those children whose needs are greater than others – she had already worked up schemes to support them.

In the very early days of lockdown, Wales was the first country in the UK to announce that children eligible for free school meals would continue to get them through the Easter and summer school holidays, supported by substantial funding.

Kirsty has now taken a further ambitious step by announcing an £11million fund to provide free school meals during term-time and holidays right up to Easter 2021. Special arrangements are in place for children who are quarantining or shielding at home.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 5 Comments

Welsh Liberal Democrats response to Plaid Cymru’s Independence Commission report

Responding to Plaid Cymru’s Independence Commission report which has been published on 25 September, Welsh Liberal Democrats described the report as a mix of fanatical politics and pie in the sky economics.

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds said:

Politics isn’t working for Wales or the UK as well as it could right now, I understand why independence looks attractive, but it isn’t the answer.

There are far too many uncertainties, too many unknowns and too many risks with independence. We don’t know nor are Plaid proposing solutions to questions such as: What currency we would use? Would we still have

Posted in News and Wales | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

Lib Dems pass motion calling for constitutional reform and a Federal UK

On Lib Dem Voice: Reportage | Contribute
On the official party website: Conference home


The UK is in danger, said Wendy Chamberlain in her proposing speech for today’s motion calling for a federal UK. We’ve already seen one union disintegrate on the basis of divisive nationalism, she said, and we need a liberal offer to fix the union and give power back not just to state governments but to communities. The motion was about building a collaborative, constructive and consultative relationships between the nations of the UK and we will end the current structural inequalities of the Union.

Federalism has been a key part of our constitutional reform plans for as long as I have been involved in the party, but we haven’t been very good at showing how this would work in practice.

One of the biggest issues has been about how England would fit into a federal structure. The motion before Conference didn’t address this and it led to calls for it to be referred back for that to be resolved. They certainly do need to be resolved and the people who raised concerns were justified in doing so. The issue is that time is not on our side. WIth elections in Scotland and Wales less than 8 months away, we have to have something to counter the pro-independence argument.

In the end, Conference chose to pass the motion today by an overwhelming majority of 681-96 on the understanding that the Federal Policy Committee does the work on sorting out how this would work for England.

It was a very good debate, but only two women were called. Session Chair Geoff Payne said that reflected the balance of the cards submitted. So what is it about constitutional issues that causes that sort of imbalance and how do we talk about them in a more inclusive way?

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 17 Comments

WATCH: Jane Dodds on why the Welsh Lib Dems have the answers to help Welsh people

On Lib Dem Voice: Reportage | Contribute
On the official party website: Conference home

Last night was the first time I’ve been able to see Welsh Lib Dem Leader Jane Dodds’ Conference slot live. Before I’ve always had to be elsewhere, much to my annoyance.

The interview format suited her really well. She is such an asset. Her warmth and compassion shines through and she shows that she understands the struggles that people are facing and has the answers to help. Her commitment to tackling poverty and isolation has been a hallmark of her leadership.

Watch her interview in full here:

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | Leave a comment

Kirsty Williams, the one competent education secretary in the UK

It’s been a hell of a couple of weeks for exam students. Highers and A level results play a huge role in determining the course of your life. If you don’t get the grades you need to fulfil your aspirations, you have to rethink your whole life. And you will carry those grades around for your whole life.

The question of whether we should have a system that puts so much stress on our young people is up for debate, but that’s for another day.

We know, though, that there are clear differences between the nations of the UK. In Scotland and England, the whole thing has been a disaster. However, in Wales, our Kirsty Williams has presided over a system that she argues has credibility because it guarantees that AS level results from last year will be the minimum grade for this year. That is a system that was scrapped by one Michael Gove in England.

Watch her statement about the way the results have been calculated:

Watch this interview she gave ahead of the announcement of the grades:

Listen to Kirsty talk to Andrew Castle on LBC here. 

Because we have maintained a system whereby AS-levels forms a significant proportion of a final A-level grade, we were able to us that in the moderation process and able to put in a safety net for students so they could not drop below their previous AS Level grade.

“The ability to do that has been very helpful, because those were exams which were set, taken in the same conditions and were externally assessed.

“That can give students, universities and employers real confidence in them”.

She also cast doubt on the validity of giving grades based on mock exams,

“Some schools don’t do mock examinations,” Ms Williams explained.

“Some use mock examinations as a way to boost confidence and deliver them in a way that perhaps they are there to encourage people.

“Other schools use them as a tool of encouragement in the other way, they will mark them really hard so that people don’t get complacent.

“Each school has a different approach which we believe is right for them.”

The Welsh Lib Dems had some clear messaging about results:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 33 Comments

12 August 2020 – today’s press releases

  • GDP figures show need for more radical action from Government
  • Using mock exams won’t resolve grade award crisis
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats launch campaign calling for Rishi Sunak not to tax carers COVID bonus

GDP figures show need for more radical action from Government

Responding to the news that the economy is facing the worst recession in UK history, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

Ministers must take immediate action to save jobs and livelihoods as the true economic impact of Covid-19 comes to light.

The Treasury must explain how it is going to stop mass redundancies when the furlough scheme wraps up. It

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged , , , , and | 4 Comments

28 July 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Davey calls for PM to put Martin Forde QC in charge of a Coronavirus Inquiry
  • Davey: PM must take second wave risk seriously
  • Government gaps in support for freelancers leaving employers to pick up the tab
  • Government must apply same human rights standards to US when it comes to exports
  • Dodds: ‘Swansea Tidal Lagoon is a vital part of our post-Covid recovery’
  • Davey calls for PM to put Martin Forde QC in charge of a Coronavirus Inquiry

    Today Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey has written to the Prime Minister with a plan for an immediate inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic.

    Ed has called on the Prime Minister to appoint Martin Forde QC as the chair of an independent coronavirus inquiry and to start work immediately. Martin Forde was the independent adviser on the design of the Government’s Windrush Compensation Scheme and is chair of the independent inquiry into Labour’s report on the party’s handling of antisemitism complaints.

    Ed also released proposed Terms of Reference for the independent inquiry agreed to by the Covid19 Bereaved Families for Justice.

    A spokesperson for the Covid19 Bereaved Families for Justice said:

    Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice are relieved that Ed Davey has seen the urgent need for a rapid inquiry.

    The Government’s own ‘Preparing for a challenging winter 20/21’ report (The Academy of Medical Sciences) predicts over 119,000 excess deaths this winter if urgent action is not taken now.

    That action has to be informed by this transparent inquiry. It’s time the Prime Minister put the well-being of the nation above politics.

    Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

    The Prime Minister confirmed to me weeks ago that there would be an independent inquiry, but we have seen no action from the Government since. Bereaved families I speak to are so disappointed that the Government is yet to begin an inquiry. They just don’t want any more families to go through what they have.

    The coronavirus threat remains very real. Were a second wave to happen during the winter, it could be even more deadly and damaging than the first. The Government must immediately start an inquiry so that we can learn from mistakes and properly plan for a second wave.

    This plan has been agreed by the Covid19 Bereaved Families for Justice. I hope Boris Johnson takes it seriously and sees it as an opportunity to get an inquiry going as soon as possible.

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 1 Comment

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.

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged , , , , , and | 3 Comments

Jane Dodds writes: Status quo or independence aren’t the only options for Wales – a federal UK is possible

The Coronavirus pandemic has thrown down some fundamental challenges to politicians about the future of our society, our economy, our healthcare system, and the nature of work.

Among those challenges, the pandemic has shown that we need fundamental political reform. The sight of MPs queueing around the Palace of Westminster to vote, when every other democratic Parliament – including our own here in Wales – functions remotely, has brought home the archaic nature of the Westminster system.

To face the challenges of the post-coronavirus world, we have to do so much better.

For us in Wales, managing coronavirus has posed some important questions about the functioning of devolution. Health is devolved, and we have our own lockdown rules, with the Government clear decisions about the future of those rules will be taken in Wales. However, the key funding decisions are largely taken in London.

There have been mixed messages from London, where the UK Government at times appears to have barely acknowledged that Wales (or Scotland and Northern Ireland for that matter) have their own administrations and rules.

Despite the best efforts of the Welsh Government to deliver a clear message, many people in Wales get their news from the London-based media. As a result, many people in Wales, and in England, have sometimes been confused about the fact that the rules are different here.

Liberal Democrats believe the relationship between Wales and Westminster has to be reset.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 12 Comments

8 June 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Empty pharma stockpiles show govt must rethink transition extension
  • Covid-19 infection rate in Welsh prisons tops 20%
  • Derisory increase in asylum support is appalling
  • Testing announcement shows protective ring around care homes claim untrue
  • Rees-Mogg must follow through on promises to look at voting rights for carers

Empty pharma stockpiles show govt must rethink transition extension

Responding to reports that No Deal Brexit stockpiles “significantly reduced and/or used up entirely” by Covid pandemic, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

These reports show the recklessness of the government’s approach to Brexit negotiations and protecting our economy and NHS.

The stockpiles created to protect against the risk of a no deal Brexit have now been used up, and building them back up to safe levels by the end of the year is going to be very difficult.

So by pushing the UK into a no deal Brexit the Conservatives could be putting more lives and more jobs at risk.

The calls to extend the transition period have come from people who voted leave and remain a like. The government must put national interest ahead of Brexit ideology and extend the transition period.

Covid-19 infection rate in Welsh prisons tops 20%

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have reacted with shock at the situation of Covid-19 in Welsh Prisons, after new figures reveal an infection rate of more than 20% for inmates.

Figures published by the UK Department for Justice have shown that Wales has 165 recorded cases of Covid-19 within prisons. This represents 12.4% of cases across England & Wales, with 1,329 total cases being logged – 882 Staff, 447 Prisoners.

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , and | 1 Comment

Kirsty Williams on re-opening schools in Wales

It was good to see Welsh Education minister, Kirsty Williams, fronting a press conference yesterday on the re-opening of schools in Wales.

In contrast to Boris Johnson’s plans for England, which have generated widespread concern, Wales is taking a more cautious and devolved approach. All schools there will re-open on 29th June, staggering attendance to ensure that only a third of pupils will be on site at any one time. Schools and councils will decide how that is to be implemented locally, phasing in the scheme to suit local conditions.

Term dates will be adjusted, with a week’s extension to the summer term and a two week half term break in October.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

29 May 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Govt must fulfil duty to protect all Hong Kongers
  • Clarity needed about 5-mile rule
  • High coronavirus threat level raises questions about Govt’s priorities
  • Davey responds to furlough scheme details

Govt must fulfil duty to protect all Hong Kongers

Responding to reports that, if China imposes its new security law on Hong Kong, the Home Office appears ready to extend visa rights for all British Nationals (Overseas) in Hong Kong, whether or not they are current BNO passport holders, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

If confirmed, this is welcome news. This move is long overdue.

I introduced legislation to give the people of Hong Kong the right to live in the UK back in February. I am glad the government is finally listening.

Beijing has repeatedly shown contempt for the Sino-British Declaration. Under that Declaration, the UK has a duty to the people of Hong Kong.

The government must now ensure all Hong Kongers are protected. Relatively few people have BNO status as the offer was closed years ago.

My cross-party Hong Kong Bill would reopen the passport offer to also give young Hong Kongers the right to live in the UK, regardless of whether they are a dependent of a BNO status holder. I am urging the government to do this immediately.

Clarity needed about 5-mile rule

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have today called on the Welsh Government to give urgent clarity around the new 5-mile rule and how it effects different areas of Wales.

In the Welsh Government announcement today First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that two individuals would be allowed to meet, so long as they maintained social distancing.

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 1 Comment

Kirsty Williams outshines Williamson with her guidance on Wales school re-opening.

Education spokesperson Layla Moran has often expressed her frustration with the Government for the mess it is making over re-opening schools.

If only there was a sensible Lib Dem Education Secretary.

But wait. There is. In Wales.

Our Kirsty Williams has been giving Gavin Williamson a masterclass in how to set out a comprehensive, detailed plan which keeps people on side and gives them enough time to do what is necessary. It’s the perfect example of competence, clarity and calm.

She said:

As Education Minister, I will make the decisions on how and when more pupils in Wales will return to school. Today I am sharing further information on how those decisions will be reached.

“Nothing would make me happier than seeing our classrooms full again. But I want to be clear that this framework does not – and I will not – set an arbitrary date for when more pupils will return to school. Setting a date before we have more evidence, more confidence and more control over the virus would be the wrong thing to do.

“This will not be one decision but a series of decisions over time increasing, or if need be, decreasing operation. These changes will be complex, with many different considerations. I want the working document to be a stimulus for wider discussion and feedback.

“I am sharing this today to be as transparent as possible. I want everyone to know the extent of the issues related to the next phase.

“When we are ready to move into that next phase, I will ensure that there is enough time for preparation and for staff to carry out any necessary training.”

In drawing up her decision framework, she is consulting with a wide range of stakeholders including unions, teachers and education providers.

Kirsty is being open and transparent about her approach and sets out the basis on which she will make her decisions in the Decision Framework document. 

In its foreword she writes:

This will not be one decision but a series of decisions over time increasing, or if need be, decreasing the operations of schools or other providers.

For example, in allowing time to plan ahead, there are a series of connected decisions. We will work towards the next end-of-cycle review, but I can also guarantee that the ‘next phase’ won’t start midweek; there will be preparation and training time for teachers, and we will work with local authorities to ensure the necessary cleaning and hygiene operations and products are in place.

I can guarantee that an increase in operations will be a phased approach. I do not expect that schools or other education settings across Wales will be open for all learners, from all years, all week, anytime soon.

I am sharing this working document, and framework for decisions, to show the extent of the issues related to the next phase. I want it to be a stimulus for wider discussion and feedback from the education family, including parents and carers, children and young people.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 13 Comments

Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for Wales

With the establishment of the Welsh Parliament, we are sending a clear message to people across our nation that our politics is changing. Now is the time for us to learn the lessons of the past and changing the way we do things.

For too long we failed to convey a clear message of what the purpose of the Assembly was and what it had the power to do. Instead, we let it be portrayed as ineffective, a barrier to change that was little more than a glorified talking shop.

We need to cut …

Posted in Op-eds and Wales | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

After the virus: an economic future for Wales

Our economy in Wales was already facing difficulties. The Welsh economy’s long-term problems are well-documented; low productivity, a long-term lack of investment, a declining working-age population, significant public health issues. Add to that the likely effects of Brexit – especially a no-deal Brexit, which, on the basis of the OBR’s own figures, would be likely to deliver a severe productivity shock to the UK economy – and the effects of February’s floods, and even before the effects of lockdown are considered, it is clear that Wales was facing serious economic challenges. A recent report by the Centre for Towns and …

Posted in Op-eds and Wales | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Jane Dodds writes: No going back to business as usual

Covid-19 has caused the biggest economic shock of modern times. The Government has announced a range of measures to support businesses and the self-employed, in particular through putting in place strong incentives to keep staff on the payroll. Nearly a million people applied for Universal Credit in March – and the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called for the Government to scrap the five-week wait.  We need to get money into people’s pockets now. 

But we need to think beyond the emergency. Economic recovery could be slow and painful, and the most difficult time for families and businesses – especially the small businesses in the economic front line – may be when the lockdown is over and the short-term, time-limited measures announced by the Treasury fall away. Our family businesses are at the heart of our communities, and we need to ensure they bounce back stronger and more resilient than before. These shops and businesses will only recover if their customers have money to spend once the lockdown ends.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 32 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • Russell Simpson
    Libdems used to be in favour of increasing tax to fund public services! Just saying...
  • Peter Davies
    @Michael BG I get your reasoning. There will always be a trade off between helping those in greatest need and incentivising work but choosing a work allowance t...
  • Peter Martin
    @ Joe, It ( Butskellism) featured current budget surpluses in every year from 1947-48 to 1973-74 The Government had spent lots into the econom...
  • Peter Martin
    @ Joe @ Steve, "the impact of a low interest rate envioronment on wealth inequality has been exhaustively studied by the Dutch central bank" It...
  • Joe Bourke
    Both Conservative and Labour governments adopted similar economic policies in the post-war period - so called Butskellism. It featured current budget surpluses ...
Thu 28th Oct 2021
19:30