21 February 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

Apologies to all for last night’s failure to file. It didn’t mean that there weren’t any, more that I was engaged in a bout of constitution wrangling and lost track of time. So, without further ado…

Cable: Govt must level the playing field between the high street and online

Responding to the report by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee calling on the Government to consider the options of an online sales tax and reforms to business rates, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

While our high streets are going through an extremely difficult time, with the right action from government, councils, businesses and local communities, they can prosper once again.

Instead of trying to recreate the high streets of the past, our towns and cities need to tailor their offer to local tastes and focus on experiences at a time of growing demand for online shopping.

There must be a level playing field between brick and mortar businesses and online companies. Business rates should be replaced with a land value tax that encourages businesses to invest. Local authorities must also be given more power to run their own affairs and support local businesses, as pioneering Liberal Democrat councils are currently demonstrating.

Urgent rehabilitation reforms needed to tackle serial re-offending

Today, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse has called for “urgent reforms to break the cycle of re-offending” in response to new figures showing that serial criminals now account for almost 40% of all offenders

The latest Criminal Justice Statistics, published today by the Ministry of Justice, show that 37.3% people convicted in the 12 months to September 2018 had at least 15 previous convictions or cautions – the highest on record and up from 27% a decade ago.

The proportion of offenders with more than 25 previous convictions or cautions has doubled since 2008, from 11% to 22%. And the proportion with 60 or more is up from 0.8% to 3.4%.

Wera Hobhouse said:

The criminal justice system is failing in its central purpose: to stop offenders committing more crimes.

Our prisons are overcrowded, with too many people on pointless short-term sentences. And probation services are understaffed, under-resourced and unable to deliver the services offenders need to go straight.

The Liberal Democrats demand better. We demand urgent reforms to break the cycle of re-offending, including an end to short-term sentences and proper funding for rehabilitation services.

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