Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tim Farron's response to the Autumn Statement

This was a deeply political budget from a deeply political Chancellor.  It looks good in the theatrics of the Commons, with Labour divided, weak and inept, but the budget will unravel.
It will unravel in schools next year when they see funding slashed; it will unravel when local councils have to cut services and increase taxes just to get by; and it will unravel when projects can’t be built because of the skills shortage caused by the attack on further education.
The brighter outlook has given Osborne room for manoeuvre, yet he continues an ideological crusade to slash spending and attack working families on welfare.
Today, was supposed to be a Long Term economic plan, but it was a short term economic scam.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Most popular Welsh Liberal Democrat autumn conference ever

The conference committee reported that more people had subscribed to the 2015 AGM and conference held in the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea yesterday than at any time in the Welsh Liberal Democrats' history.

There were lively debates on policies for next year's election on rented housing, agriculture, disability, mental health and economic policy, as well as inspiring speeches from federal president Sal Brinton, Westminster MP Mark Williams and Welsh party leader Kirsty Williams. Against a divided Labour party, a Conservative government which is revealing itself in its true colours and UKIP suffering a catastrophic loss of income there is a great opportunity to make progress, though all warned against complacency.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Welsh Liberal Democrats guarding the public purse

Eluned Parrott, Assembly Member for South Wales Central, writes:
Tomorrow I will be voting against the Assembly Commission's budget in protest at the proposed 20% pay hike for Assembly Members.

I cannot accept that, at a time while public services are being squeezed and public sector workers have had their wages held back, politicians should be treated differently.

Politicians from across the political spectrum have criticised this ridiculous increase - now is the time for them to put their money where their mouth is. I challenge the other parties to join us, and send the remuneration board back to think again.

Earlier, Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, had agreed that more AMs were needed to cope with the increase in powers resulting from the Wales Bill 2015, but added that there should be fewer Welsh MPs as a result, because: "There is no appetite to spend more money on politicians."

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Safe nurse staffing in Wales moves closer

As the Nursing Times reported yesterday, Welsh assembly members passed the motion on the financial resolution for the Safe Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill. It will now move on to the next part of the legislative process, which will see ministers consider amendments to the bill.

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Kirsty Williams, who put forward the Bill at the end of 2013, said that the decision was a signal that ministers would agree for the law to be introduced.

She said the bill was a “golden opportunity” to combat negative media headlines about the Welsh NHS. She added:

The premise of this bill is simple – making sure there are more nurses on our hospital wards means each nurse will have more time to care for each patients.

This will lead to better care outcomes for those patients, and a more manageable workload which might stem the flow of nurses leaving the profession. Nurses in Wales have to care for more patients per head than any other part of the UK. We simply can’t allow this situation to continue.

We must avoid another snooper's charter

Home Secretary Theresa May outlined her intentions regarding investigatory powers last Wednesday in her statement on a draft Bill.

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams responded:

“In 2012 the Tories brought forward plans to force internet service providers to keep a record of all your texts, emails and every website you visited. It was an enormous intrusion into our privacy, and a staggering attempt to grab our personal data on a scale we have never seen before.
“The Liberal Democrats were clear then, and are clear now, a snooper’s charter has no place in Britain, so we blocked it. Theresa May’s revised plans that have been published today should not try and sneak these provisions back in again.
“Make no mistake the Liberal Democrats will fight any attempt to bring back the so-called Snooper’s Charter under a different name.”

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Osborne must go back to the drawing-board, says Farron

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim farron said after last night's votes in the House of Lords

The Government has been forced into an embarrassing climb down. George Osborne must now go back to the drawing board and come back with plans to balance the books that don’t simply attack working families who are already struggling to get by.

We have sent a clear signal to the Tories that the British people will not accept this scale of attack on the vital support they need.

Tonight’s vote gives people hope, but the threat still looms large.

It is utterly depressing that Labour did not join with the Liberal Democrats to kill off the cuts to Tax Credits completely.

We support the delay in the proposals and the demand for transitional protection, but this alone won’t stop the Conservative’s attack on working families who rely on Tax Credits, or ensure that it really does pay more to be in work than remain on benefits.

The Liberal Democrats will continue to do all we can stop tax credit changes that disproportionately hurt low-earning families, and urge others to do the same.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Welsh NHS performance "not good enough"

Walesonline reports the worst performance in the NHS in five months - nearly 2,000 patients spent more than 12 hours in Welsh A&E departments during September, though figures also showed there was an improvement in the proportion of patients spending less than four hours in emergency units.

Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said the latest figures were not good enough .
She said: “The Welsh Labour Government’s own target is that only 5% of patients should spend more than four hours in all emergency care facilities from arrival until admission, transfer or discharge, yet in Abertawe Bro Morgannwg over 22% of people waited longer.”

“It is also very worrying indeed that there has been a huge jump in the number of people waiting over 12 hours in A&E. Being in the accident and emergency department is an incredibly stressful time for a person and these extremely long waits will only add to that stress.”