Yesterday’s Press Releases in review: 1 May 2017

It may have been a Bank Holiday, but the Press Team never rest. Here are some of the releases they sent out yesterday that aren’t covered elsewhere in our pages;

Farron: FAZ report on May’s Juncker dinner show this Govt has no clue on Brexit

According to damning reports in the German press on Theresa May’s dinner with Juncker last week, EU sources believe there is now more than 50% chance of a disorderly Brexit, while May has made clear to the European Commission she fully expects to be re-elected as Prime Minister.

Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron commented:

These reports blow a massive hole in Conservative party’s arguments. Theresa May chose a divisive hard Brexit, with Labour’s help, and now has no idea what to do next. This government has no plan and no clue and this shows it starkly. This election offer us a chance to change the direction of our country and prevent a disastrous hard Brexit.

Farron: May on Juncker shows “dangerous complacency”

Responding to Theresa May’s comments that damning reports in the FAZ on her meeting with Juncker were “Brussels gossip,” Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said:

Theresa May’s lack of denial suggests these damning revelations about her approach to Brexit were largely accurate. This government is showing dangerous levels of complacency over an issue that will define our country for generations. Britain desperately needs a strong opposition to stop a catastrophic hard Brexit and hold this government to account. The only way to stop a hard Brexit and ensure a decent, strong opposition is to elect more Liberal Democrat MPs on 8th June.

Lamb: Health Committee report shows Govt is shortchanging children on mental health

A joint report by the Health and Education Committees published today (Tuesday 2nd May) has found schools and colleges are having to cut back on mental health services.

Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary and a leading mental health campaigner, said:

This report exposes the shocking gap between this Conservative government’s rhetoric on mental health and the reality for families up and down the country. It is scandalous that much of the additional funding for children’s mental health secured by the Liberal Democrats in 2015 is not getting through. Vulnerable children and teenagers are being short-changed of the money needed to improve mental health services. Sadly, mental health is often the first area which loses out when budgets are tight. Until the government commits to providing more long-term funding for health and social care, this mental health crisis will not be tackled.

Report on Brexit and nuclear industry, Cable responds

Former Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Sir Vince Cable has responded to a report by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee which warns that the government has left the UK nuclear industry at risk, and must act urgently to ensure its continued operation post the government’s planned Brexit.

Sir Vince Cable said:

It is madness to pull out of Euratom, a monumental waste of time and money. The report makes clear that leaving will threaten power supplies. It shows the dogma of the Conservative Brexit ultras that they are prepared to risk power supplies, trade and research just for misguided ideological reasons.

The report also warns of the danger of the UK becoming a post-Brexit dumping ground for energy inefficient products, which shows that the Conservative hard Brexit poses a clear threat to climate change.

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  • Bill le Breton 2nd May '17 - 8:35am

    Our election strategy has been to place all our eggs in the one basket: hard Brexit.

    This means that everything we say is predicated on there being a hard Brexit – we are coming across as if we are willing one – hence our apparent glee at Junkers leak.

    Even though, on the 27th, Cecilia Malmstrom, the EU Commissioner for Trade, said the 27 will reach a free trade agreement with the UK after its divorce from Brussels.

    Are we sure we are not coming across to those we need to appeal to as too ready to be subversive?

  • Richard Underhill 2nd May '17 - 8:51am

    Nick Clegg was on BBC TV Breakfast making all the key points including the fall in the pound and the effect on rising food and other prices and consequent squeeze on people’s standard of living.
    He said he does not want a coalition with either Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn, as Tim Farron has said. He was followed by Labour’s shadow home secretary who said that Labour is campaigning to win outright and does not want a coalition with any partner.
    Neither was asked to comment on the appointment of an election artist, a sculptor.

  • I am waiting for a Libdem manifesto. At least they should give a deadline range. But a little late release could help us to do better evaluation of our opponents’ policies.

    I think that Libdem policies should be closer to the thoughts and influences of Keynes, Beveridge, well, and Henry George, rather than market liberal view, which could lead to some overlaps with Tory policies.

  • Another morning, again Labour all over the media, are we actually in this election?. Where are our policies, where are our announcements? I thought we were so well prepared for this election that everything would simply fall into place.

    WE have the locals coming up, my assessment of our result:-
    any losses

  • Local election assessment for ourselves:-
    any losses poor
    gains 1 – 15 disappointing
    ” 16-30 satisfactory
    ” 31-50 good
    ” 51-75 very good
    ” 76-99 excellent
    ” 100+ brilliant ( the headline catcher)

  • The reports coming from Germany say Juncker was on the phone to Merkel just moments after leaving his dinner with May. Juncker clearly knows who his “real” boss is.

  • Allan Brame 2nd May '17 - 9:39am

    Labour being all over the media will do them few favours – have you listened to Diane Abbott on Nick Ferrari? She seemed to be impersonating Natalie Bennett. Excruciating.
    Nick Clegg was concise and compelling on BBC by contrast

  • theakes

    Just a couple of weeks ago I thought it would be at least 100 gains in the locals. With Labour in such a mess it was hard to see any other result. However, the Lib Dems have made a poor start to the general election campaign and it’s beginning to look like 50 gains will be an achievement.

  • Does this leak not make it look like May wants a ‘soft’ Brexit (ie, remaining in some areas, leaving in others), but Juncker is the one pushing for a ‘hard’ Brexit?

  • A weakness of May and Co is that while screaming for sovereignty, it was them who allowed national assets to be sold one by one: ARM Holdings, Green Investment Bank… May promised to toughened foreign takeover laws and then U-turned by selling of GIB ot Macquarie Bank. It seems that Labour does not really aim to attack this gap yet, and now Libdem must.

  • What business is of it of the government’s to whom the shareholders of ARM decided to sell the company they owned?

  • Well, the US did block many Chinese takeover bids outright, I said, outright. Firms like ARM in France, e.g. Alstom, would also receive special treatment (oh, the classic Danone case in France). Canada also blocked the takeover of Potash. Every country in the world act like that except for Britain.

    Remember the Kraft case. Kraft promised to retain the Cadbury plant but then closed it down.

  • ‘Everybody else does it’ doesn’t make it right.

    Again: what business is if of the government who the shareholders of ARM sell the company that they own to?

    What business is it of the government to tell anybody who they can sell their own property to?

  • Well, if the government does not see it as a net benefit for the country, especially national security. Oh, if UK remains in EU, you should know that Macron also proposed plans for protection of European key industries from foreign takeovers.

  • I also believe that it is essential to prevent foreign multinational giants from acquiring young British start-ups.

  • I’m missing how ARM is vital for national security, let along Cadbury; perhaps someone could explain?

    Again: if I own something, whether it be a house, a car, an aspidistra or a share in ARM, and I want to sell it, what business is it of the government’s who I sell my own property to?

  • (Also: isn’t the reason most people start start-ups in order to make billions by selling them to multinationals? That — the possibility of striking it lucky when you sell out — is the compensation for the risk, long hours with deferred pay, and general unpleasantness involved in the start-up life.

    If the government were to overreach itself by preventing that from happening, all it would do is stop people from having any incentive to create start-ups, as if you no longer have the possibility of selling it to a multinational and becoming insanely rich, why would you bother creating a start-up? You may as well just work for somebody else and expose yourself to much less risk.)

  • Paul Murray 2nd May '17 - 2:56pm

    @theakes – Steve Fisher has just tweeted a prediction of -30 for the Lib Dems (i.e. a net loss of 30 seats).

  • Peter Watson 2nd May '17 - 3:13pm

    @Dav & @Thomas
    Given the site that is hosting this discussion, what is the official position of the Lib Dems on this?
    The party declares itself as “liberal” and “internationalist”, so ought to be less inclined to prevent foreign ownership of UK companies and assets than other more protectionist political parties. In coalition government, did Lib Dems ensure that important businesses (Royal Mail, Eurostar,…?) remain in British ownership?
    This also raises a number of issues and questions: is ownership by governments or companies in the EU considered “foreign” in the same way as Chinese or US interests might be, how do we determine the basis for decisions on whether or not foreign ownership should be prohibited or restricted, etc. Keeping things British might be a great headline, but the devil, as always, would be in the detail.

  • What business is of it of the government’s to whom the shareholders of ARM decided to sell the company they owned?
    UK jobs and tax revenues?

    ARM was a UK HQ’d company and hence ultimately it’s revenues were subject to UK taxation. ARM is now owned by the Japanese IT company SoftBank Group Corp. which means the revenues don’t automatically accrue in the UK and greater usage can be made of off-shore financial schemes to reduce UK revenues. Effectively ARM (UK) will change from being a profit centre to being a cost centre.

    Much depends upon your viewpoint, at one level what is important are the UK jobs and creation of local (UK-based) feeder industries, at another is maximising total tax take ie. vat, corporation and dividend tax receipts.

    I think there is a case for the government to take an interest in such sales, to determine if the national interest is being best served, just as we do currently with respect to major takeovers eg. Fox Corp’s takeover of Sky, Three’s proposed takeover of O2 etc.

    As to how such an interest is determined is uncertain because whilst ARM are important in their industry sector, it is not clear how their importance to the UK economy could be objectively assessed and thus give a basis for referring the proposed deal to the relevant authorities.

    With respect to ARM I do believe we need to tread cautiously as we do want to both encourage foreign investment in UK-based R&D facilities (eg. Google and self-driving cars) and yet we would also want to benefit from the ‘royalties’/licencing revenues arising from the fruits of such R&D. So blocking the sale might hinder future foreign investment…

  • I think there is a case for the government to take an interest in such sales, to determine if the national interest is being best served, just as we do currently with respect to major takeovers eg. Fox Corp’s takeover of Sky, Three’s proposed takeover of O2 etc.

    Those are about preventing monopolies, because monopolies harm customers. That’s a complete tangent tot the question of foreign takeovers (you could have an entirely domestic monopoly; conversely, as with ARM, a foreign takeover could have no monopolising effects).

    I can see why the government might want to intervene as as to not lose tax revenues. But just because it might lose tax revenues in no way makes it the government’s business how a private person disposes of their own personal property, be it land, housing, vegetable or shares.

  • Libdem can also pledge to support child mental healthcare, which is increasingly a big issue.

  • @Dav we aren’t a libertarian party.

  • “a foreign takeover could have no monopolising effects”
    So if Intel or Apple had taken over ARM, there would have been no monopolising effect?

    It is clear Dav, you didn’t understand my point: if it is permissible for the government to intervene in the market then the only question is where to draw the line, additionally, as I pointed out as we already have mechanisms by which the government intervenes/regulates the market, which can be enhanced to support intervenes for different reasons.

    Remember the much vaulted trade deals, that Brexiteers say we will be able to sign are another form of government intervention in the market: Sorry China, we wish to have a local solar panel manufacturing capability, so we won’t permit the import/dumping of your highly subsidised solar panels…

  • Agree Roland – and a trade deal with China that Brexiteers are dreaming would have more negative impacts than positive ones.

    Dav – ARM is the only sizable IT manufacturing firm in the UK. And technology firms as a whole can be used for national security purposes, not just defense firms. For example, one non-military tech firm might develop a technology that can be used by the military. Not to mention jobs and tax revenues, as well as technological secrets.

    Libdems should never be libertarians. The ARM Holdings takeover is a classic case of short-termism (it was takeover following a pound drop after Brexit) that Libdem did pledge to avoid.

  • Note that a decade ago Alstom had to be bailed out by French government, but now it became a national success for France.

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