27 March 2024 – today’s press releases (part 1)

  • NHS satisfaction survey: Govt can’t be trusted with NHS
  • Sewage spills rise: Ed Davey calls for national environmental emergency to be declared
  • Lib Dem comment on E.coli in Thames
  • Scotland’s sewage crisis 40% worse than previously thought
  • Bus journeys plummet by 31%

NHS satisfaction survey: Govt can’t be trusted with NHS

Responding to the British Social Attitudes survey on NHS satisfaction, Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

This is a damning assessment of the Government’s management of the NHS. Years and years of neglect and incompetence has run our NHS into the ground.

NHS staff work around the clock to see thousands and thousands of patients but the public are understandably frustrated that they’re often waiting too long to see a GP, or to get a hospital appointments for diagnosis and treatment.

The public know this Conservative Government cannot be trusted with our NHS, and they will want to deliver their verdict at the next general election.

Sewage spills rise: Ed Davey calls for national environmental emergency to be declared

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has called on the government to declare a national environmental emergency after the number of sewage spills in 2023 increased by 54% on the previous year, putting ecosystems already at breaking point on the brink of collapse.

As part of this national environmental emergency, the Liberal Democrats are calling for an urgent meeting of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) to review the impact of sewage spills on human health – for river and sea swimmers in particular. Campaign group Surfers Against Sewage released a report last year showing almost 2,000 people reported getting sick last year after swimming in the sea or rivers.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

The Liberal Democrats have been warning this Conservative government for years that the sewage scandal is ruining the country’s rivers and beaches and pushing ecosystems to the brink of collapse.

Rishi Sunak and the Conservative Party have failed to listen and as a result sewage spills are increasing, our precious countryside is being destroyed and swimmers are falling sick.

It is time for this Conservative government to finally deal with this disgraceful situation and declare a national environmental emergency. That must include convening an urgent SAGE meeting to look into the impact of sewage spills on people’s health.

Only by treating the sewage scandal with the urgency it demands can we save our rivers and beaches for future generations to enjoy.

Lib Dem comment on E.coli in Thames

Commenting on findings of high E.coli levels in the Thames by River Action today, Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Rob Blackie said:

This is the consequence of 72 billion litres of raw sewage pumped into the Thames in London since 2020.

It amounts to an environment catastrophe in the capital.

The Conservative government have let water companies get away with polluting for too long. It must crack down on Thames Water.

Instead of action, we have seen huge increases in sewage dumped into the river.

If elected I will work to stop sewage being dumped into our rivers and campaign to make water companies pay for the damage they’ve done.

Scotland’s sewage crisis 40% worse than previously thought

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today accused the Scottish Government of being “defenders of outdated sewage standards” as figures published by Scottish Water revealed that that there were an additional 5,668 sewage dumps in Scotland in 2022, on top of the initial 14,008 that were reported in March.

New figures from Scottish Water reveal that in addition to 14,008 sewage dumps reported to SEPA as a part of its annual report, 5,668 sewage dumps were recorded but not included in the annual report to SEPA. This means the number of sewage dumps in 2022 was 19,676, 40% higher than previously known.

SEPA licenses individual storm and emergency overflows to discharge to the water environment under the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) regulations. These licenses have varying reporting requirements, and these new figures cover overflows which were not required to be included in the annual report to SEPA, but were still monitored.

Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

People will be disgusted to learn that sewage is being dumped into our rivers and waterways more than 50 times a day.

Yet even this new figure is still likely to be a huge underestimate, as the vast majority of overflows are simply not monitored. Scotland is way behind England where 91% of sewage outlets are monitored. Last year figures from just 4% of outlets in Scotland were reported to the environmental regulator SEPA.

Both Scottish Water and SEPA have big questions to answer ahead of the publication of fresh statistics next month.

It is time for the SNP to stop being the defenders of outdated sewage standards. They need to get tough with the government-owned water company whose bosses pocket bumper bonuses while dumping sewage into our rivers.

To turn the tide on this scandal, Scottish Liberal Democrats have published plans for a Clean Water Act that would see vital updates to our sewage network and a clamp down on discharges.

Bus journeys plummet by 31%

Scottish Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson Daniel O’Malley has accused the SNP Government of “decimating Scotland’s bus network” as new figures published today reveal that bus journeys have plummeted by 31% since 2011.

New figures published by Transport Scotland show that whereas there were 436 million bus journeys in Scotland in 2011, there were just 301 million in 2022- a fall of 31%. The number of bus journeys is also down by 17% from pre-pandemic numbers in 2019, when there were 361 million journeys.

Earlier this month, Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie MSP questioned the SNP Government following revelations that it had spent less than 6% of their now-cancelled Bus Partnership fund to improve bus services.

Mr O’Malley said:

The SNP have decimated Scotland’s bus network.

They have slashed funding and support, leaving many operators in the lurch. Now, those operators are facing suppressed passenger demand, driver shortages, surging costs for fuel, spare parts and tyres.

If we want to convince people to make more journeys by bus, we need a system that is affordable, reliable and joined up.

That’s why Scottish Liberal Democrats would enhance support for the bus network and put communities in charge of where and when buses go by adopting the Transport for London model.

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This entry was posted in London, News, Press releases and Scotland.
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