Thursday, December 05, 2019

Javid in fantasy land on trade deal negotiations


Responding to Sajid Javid's claim on Radio 4 that he is “confident" of securing a trade deal with the EU by December 2020, Chuka Umunna, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary said:

"Who does Sajid Javid think he's kidding?

"He's either incompetent or dishonest to pretend that the Tories could achieve a Canadian style EU trade deal by December 2020. That deal took seven years to negotiate; only a fantasist would think it's possible to do it in less than a year.

"This is just another leave lie from a government that has already wasted three years failing to secure support in Parliament for step one: a Withdrawal Agreement. 

"We might start from a position of convergence, but the purpose of Brexit is to diverge. Let's not pretend it will be easy. The Tories are willing to risk crashing out of the EU with no deal at the end of December 2020, in full knowledge of the immeasurable harm this will do to our family of nations.

"Only the Liberal Democrats have a plan to stop the Brexit chaos and build a brighter future for the UK." 

Liberal Democrats launch Plan for Business including £17bn research fund


Liberal Democrat Shadow Business Secretary Sam Gyimah will today give a major speech to business leaders in London to launch the party's plan for businesses.

Brexit: Leak shows that Boris Johnson is misleading voters


Responding to leaked internal EU documents signalling more years of Brexit talks from the day after the general election, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake, said:

“This document confirms that even if the Conservatives win a majority, Brexit would continue to drag on for years to come.  Yet again, Boris Johnson is misleading voters with his pledge to ‘get Brexit done.’

“There would also be a new no-deal ‘cliff edge’ date at the end of next year, and yesterday Dominic Raab confirmed that a Conservative Government would be prepared to step off of it. This would be disastrous for our businesses and public services. 

“The best deal is the one we currently have as members of the European Union. The more Lib Dem MPs elected into the next Parliament, the better our chances of securing a People’s Vote and stopping Brexit altogether.”

Lib Dems to create binding Student Mental Health Charter

Yesterday (4th December), the Liberal Democrats pledged their commitment to transform mental health services in the UK by creating a binding Student Mental Health Charter. This will require all universities to guarantee access to high quality mental health services for their students.

This is part of the Liberal Democrats' plan to prioritise everyone’s mental health, including the commitment to invest £11 billion in transforming mental health services, more than either Labour or the Tories.

A recent freedom of information revealed that many universities do not record fundamental data, such as their budgets or waiting times.

The Mental Health Charter would put in law a guarantee for universities to ensure a good level of mental health provision, including the commitment for universities to publish data on their university waiting times, as well as a maximum wait for access to counselling and support.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care, Luciana Berger said: 

"Mental illness can blight the lives and futures of our young people. Too many are struggling with their mental health and aren't receiving the support they need.

"It is incumbent on our universities to fulfil their duty of care to their students. For many young people going to university, this will be the first time they are living away from home.

"This, coupled with the fact that many universities do not record vital information such as their spend on mental health support or waiting times, means that we are in the middle of a student mental health crisis.

"The Liberal Democrats believe universities should be bound by law to meet the mental health needs of their students. That is why would work with students, universities and mental health charities to ensure that we fix the fundamental failures of current mental health provision for people in higher education."

    Tory and Labour migration plans would deepen NHS staffing crisis

    New figures from the Nuffield Trust show that people born outside the UK account for almost a quarter of all staff working in hospitals and a fifth of all health and social care staff in the UK.


    The report criticises both the Conservative and Labour Party’s plans to end the free movement of people from the EU, warning this will worsen current staffing shortages in the NHS and social care.

    Commenting on these figures, Liberal Democrat spokesperson, Dr Sarah Wollaston said: 

    "Half of the health and social care workforce who have joined in the last 10 years were born outside the UK. That's over two hundred thousand additional people looking after our loved ones and keeping us healthy.

    "Both Labour and Conservatives are putting our NHS and the social care sector at risk through their commitment to Brexit.

    “By introducing a nurse tax on NHS staff from the EU, Tory plans would put anti-immigrant ideology ahead of the health and safety of patients and the well-being of the country.

    "Only the Liberal Democrats are fighting to stop Brexit, which will cause untold damage to our NHS.  We will introduce an NHS recruitment strategy to tackle workforce shortages and invest £7 billion a year investment in health and social care." 
    The Tory and Labour proposals would affect health services in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and the devolved administrations would be powerless to prevent them

    Tuesday, December 03, 2019

    Labour's old fashioned approach would destroy jobs


    Responding to the publication of Labour's work manifesto, Liberal Democrat Shadow Business Secretary, Sam Gyimah said:

    “If you’re willing to work hard and play by the rules, you should have a secure job with proper rights and fair pay. But employment rights and protections haven’t kept up with new technology and economic changes.

    “Labour and the Conservatives are too backward-looking to grapple with these issues. The Tories have not done enough to support workers as they are sucked into insecure, poorly paid jobs. Labour’s ideological and old-fashioned approach to work would destroy the flexible jobs that people value and harm the economy. 

    “Across Europe countries are making changes to their laws to meet the needs of the new economy, but both Labour and the Conservatives are too obsessed with Brexit to give time to these issues. Stopping Brexit will mean the UK can focus on reforming our own labour laws to meet these new challenges.

    “Only the Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit and build a brighter future, where both workers’ rights are protected and innovative businesses are able to flourish and create new jobs. We are the party of responsible business.”

    Raab admits no-deal Brexit is still on the table


    When asked on the Today Programme this morning whether the government is still prepared to crash out of the EU with no deal in 2020, the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said "yes absolutely." 

    Responding, Shadow Liberal Democrat Brexit Secretary Tom Brake said:

    "Dominic Raab has been forced to admit the Tories' dirty secret: a no-deal Brexit is still on the table. 

    "Boris Johnson's extreme Brexit plan would lead to us crashing out of the EU by the end of 2020, egged on by Donald Trump who wants to exploit a weakened UK.

    "People deserve better. It's not too late to stop the damage to our economy, NHS and public finances from a Johnson Trump Brexit.

    "This election is a chance to stop Boris, stop Brexit, and build a brighter future."

    Trump NHS comments should be taken with a "lorry load of salt"


    Responding to comments by President Donald Trump this morning denying the NHS will be on the table in future trade talks, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary Chuka Umunna said:

    "Like Boris Johnson, Donald Trump is hardly known for his honesty. Voters will rightly take these comments with a lorry load of salt.

    "Trump has repeatedly made clear in the past that everything including the NHS will be on the table in future negotiations.

    "If Boris Johnson wins a majority he'll be so desperate for a trade deal with Donald Trump that he'll become his poodle. Johnson can't be trusted with our health service, our medicines or our food standards, all of which would be at risk after Brexit. 

    "Only the Liberal Democrats are fighting for the UK to remain in the EU so we can stand up to Trump, protect the NHS and build a brighter future."

    Monday, December 02, 2019

    Disability pay gap just another inequality ignored by Tories

     

    Responding to data released from an ONS report revealing that disabled employees are paid 12.2% less than their non-disabled peersLiberal Democrat President Baroness Sal Brinton, said:
     
    "It is shameful that this pay gap exists in 2019. All employers must do more to ensure that they are inclusive.
     
    "The Conservatives have utterly failed to put equality at the heart of government and as such have failed to address this injustice.
     
    "Liberal Democrats are proud to have rolled out gender pay gap reporting in government, but we still have so far to go in the fight for equality.
     
    "That is why Liberal Democrats will extend the Equality Act to all large companies, requiring them to monitor and publish data on gender, BAME, disability, and LGBT+ employment levels and pay gaps."





    Swinson: Nigel Farage is going to discover that I am not always perfectly pleasant


    Image result for Swinson boxing imageResponding to Nigel Farage's comment at a Brexit Party rally today that "I don't want that Swinson girl anywhere near power, perfectly pleasant though she is", Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson said:

    ”Nigel Farage is going to discover that I am not always perfectly pleasant.

    “Farage has stood for Parliament seven times and every single time, the voters have rejected his toxic brand of chauvinistic, far-right nationalism. He knows he is not going to get anywhere nearer to power this election and is so scared that he hasn’t even bothered standing. He is lashing out at the real threat to his Tory-Brexit Party electoral pact: the girly swot leading the UK’s strongest remain party.

    “The Liberal Democrats want to stop Brexit and build a brighter future, where everybody’s rights are respected and society is fair and diverse.”
    [thanks to bestwnews.com for the image]

    Tory border plans would mean more red tape and bureaucracy


    Responding to Johnson's proposals to introduce an American-style visa waiver scheme after Brexit, Liberal Democrat Shadow Brexit Secretary Tom Brake said:

    "Johnson's lies to the public continue at pace. Far from making us safer, Brexit will mean the loss of access to vital databases that we use to track criminals who attempt to enter the UK and to extradite serious offenders.

    "These plans will mean more bureaucracy, more red tape and - because the EU will implement a mirrored system for the British public - fees for anyone travelling to the EU for their holiday. 

    "The Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit and build a brighter future, by protecting free movement and vital police cooperation with our European neighbours."

    11,000 academics quit UK in three years in “Brexit brain drain”


    • Almost 11,000 EU academics quit UK in three years since Brexit
    • Over 4,000 EU academics have left in 2018/19, up 31% compared to 2015/16
    • Lib Dems warn of “Brexit brain drain”
    Almost 11,000 EU academics have quit the UK in the three years since the Brexit vote, research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

    The analysis, based on Freedom of Information responses from 81 universities, shows that 4,014 EU academics have left UK universities in 2018/19. This is a 31% increase on the 3,051 EU academics who quit in 2015/16, the academic year before the Brexit vote.

    Some of the universities with the largest number of EU academics leaving since the Brexit vote include Oxford (1,515), Edinburgh (1,271) and Cambridge (1,292).

    The Liberal Democrats said the figures reveal that uncertainty over freedom of movement and international research funding is leading to a “Brexit brain drain.”

    Academics face uncertainty over both their immigration status and their funding following Brexit, meaning the UK risks becoming less competitive in attracting global talent. Previous analysis by the Royal Society has shown that the UK’s share of total EU research funding has already fallen from 15.8 per cent (€1.49bn) in 2015 to 11.3 per cent (€1.06bn) in 2018

    The findings are also consistent with recent research by the higher education industry body Universities UK which reported that 60% of universities surveyed believed they had lost existing or potential staff members to overseas institutions because of Brexit.

    Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary Layla Moran said:

    “It is a deeply concerning that Brexit has already driven so many talented academics to abandon the UK.

    “Our universities are being threatened by a Brexit brain drain, exacerbated by Boris Johnson’s reckless promise to crash us out of the EU by 2020 no matter the cost.

    “This is sadly not surprising given the Tory party has adopted the xenophobic rhetoric of Nigel Farage, making our colleagues, friends and family from the EU feel unwelcome.

    “It’s not too late to turn the tide and prevent Boris Johnson imposing his divisive Brexit plans on the country. The Liberal Democrats can still stop Boris, stop Brexit, and protect our 
    world-leading higher education sector.”

    Saturday, November 30, 2019

    Chuka Umunna: Boris Johnson continues to let down Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe


    Commenting on the letter written by Richard Ratcliffe to Boris Johnson regarding the ongoing detention of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary Chuka Umunna said:
    “I encourage every voter to read the heart-breaking letter by Richard Ratcliffe. It is clear that Boris Johnson is totally unfit to be Prime Minister. 
     
    “Johnson has still failed to correct his untrue and inaccurate comments in Hansard regarding Nazanin’s case. He must learn that his words have consequences. 
     
    “He has let Nazanin down at every turn. It is time that he steps up and does all he can to ensure that Nazanin is brought home to the UK and reunited with her husband and their young daughter, Gabriella, who is just starting school.  
     
    “Johnson promised Nazanin’s family that he would leave no stone left unturned in his efforts to secure her release. So far it seems he is happy to break that promise and undermine the trust that this family have placed in him. The situation is absolutely unacceptable.”  

    Friday, November 29, 2019

    10 lies from Boris Johnson's LBC interview


    The Liberal Democrats have described Boris Johnson as a "lying charlatan", after his LBC interview today in which he once again misled voters and failed to come clean over key issues facing the country.

    The party has highlighted ten lies and mistruths from Johnson's LBC interview:
    1. 50,000 new nurses: Johnson continues to peddle the Tory fantasy that they will recruit 50,000 new nurses. He clearly can’t do basic maths when 19,000 of this figure is comprised by nurses who already work in the NHS. On top of this, figures earlier this week revealed that 1,116 EU nurses have left the NHS so far this year and EU staff at Johnson's local hospital are feeling anxiety over their future here because of Brexit.
       
    2. 40 new hospitals: The Tories are not going to build 40 new hospitals. Johnson admitted today that re-building an old hospital will be classified as a new one. The pledge is simply false.
       
    3. Trade deals: Johnson claimed that there are up to a dozen trade deals ready to go after Brexit. Given the Conservatives have abjectly failed to rollover the trade deals it said it would over the past three years, he just cannot be trusted. Liam Fox promised 40 trade deals, instead the Tories have only delivered 18.
       
    4. Social care: Johnson claimed the £1 billion of funding the Tories have announced for social care will stop people having to sell their home to pay for care. But this money is simply a sticking plaster for the day-to-day operation of our social care system which is at breaking point. He has no plan for a long-term solution.
       
    5. Comments on single mothers: Johnson claimed that the quotations used of his insulting and offensive comments on single mothers were distorted, even though he has a history of misogynistic and sexist comments. He plays fast and loose with his words and it has real damaging consequences.
       
    6. Free press: The day after the Tories petulantly threatened to review Channel 4’s licence, Johnson claimed he wants to protect a free press. The Tories have also refused to allow a Mirror reporter onto their campaign bus. Trying to intimidate the media like this is straight out of Donald Trump’s playbook and has no place in an open and inclusive democracy.
       
    7. Cutting business rates: Johnson said that the Tories will cut business rates in the next Budget. But his manifesto promises a review. Which is it? Liberal Democrats have promised to scrap business rates and replace them with a commercial landowner levy.
       
    8. Working class people: Boris Johnson said he doesn’t care that Dominic Cummings thinks the Tories have a problem with working class people. It comes after a Spectator column from Johnson surfaced in which he called working class men "drunk, criminal and feckless."
       
    9. Police cuts: Johnson denied that the police cuts in London were the fault of the Conservative Government. But the Tories have drastically cut police numbers, leading the Home Office to admit that the cuts had “likely contributed” to the rise in serious violent crime.
       
    10. Greggs: Boris Johnson previously said he was ‘made of Greggs’. But given he couldn't name the price of a sausage roll, it would appear he's never set a foot in one.   
    Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Ed Davey commented:

    “This interview has exposed yet again how Boris Johnson can’t be trusted and is simply not fit for the office of Prime Minister. 

     "Whether it was on nurses, hospitals or Brexit, Johnson spent an hour lying through his teeth. 

    “Given this performance it’s little wonder he chickened out of last night’s Channel 4 debate and is now trying to duck out of an interview with Andrew Neil.

    “Voters do not have to vote for this lying charlatan, there is another choice. The Liberal Democrats are the only party that can stop Boris, stop Brexit and build a brighter future."

    The Liberal Democrats have described Boris Johnson as a "lying charlatan", after his LBC interview today in which he once again misled voters and failed to come clean over key issues facing the country.

    The party has highlighted ten lies and mistruths from Johnson's LBC interview:
    1. 50,000 new nurses: Johnson continues to peddle the Tory fantasy that they will recruit 50,000 new nurses. He clearly can’t do basic maths when 19,000 of this figure is comprised by nurses who already work in the NHS. On top of this, figures earlier this week revealed that 1,116 EU nurses have left the NHS so far this year and EU staff at Johnson's local hospital are feeling anxiety over their future here because of Brexit.
       
    2. 40 new hospitals: The Tories are not going to build 40 new hospitals. Johnson admitted today that re-building an old hospital will be classified as a new one. The pledge is simply false.
       
    3. Trade deals: Johnson claimed that there are up to a dozen trade deals ready to go after Brexit. Given the Conservatives have abjectly failed to rollover the trade deals it said it would over the past three years, he just cannot be trusted. Liam Fox promised 40 trade deals, instead the Tories have only delivered 18.
       
    4. Social care: Johnson claimed the £1 billion of funding the Tories have announced for social care will stop people having to sell their home to pay for care. But this money is simply a sticking plaster for the day-to-day operation of our social care system which is at breaking point. He has no plan for a long-term solution.
       
    5. Comments on single mothers: Johnson claimed that the quotations used of his insulting and offensive comments on single mothers were distorted, even though he has a history of misogynistic and sexist comments. He plays fast and loose with his words and it has real damaging consequences.
       
    6. Free press: The day after the Tories petulantly threatened to review Channel 4’s licence, Johnson claimed he wants to protect a free press. The Tories have also refused to allow a Mirror reporter onto their campaign bus. Trying to intimidate the media like this is straight out of Donald Trump’s playbook and has no place in an open and inclusive democracy.
       
    7. Cutting business rates: Johnson said that the Tories will cut business rates in the next Budget. But his manifesto promises a review. Which is it? Liberal Democrats have promised to scrap business rates and replace them with a commercial landowner levy.
       
    8. Working class people: Boris Johnson said he doesn’t care that Dominic Cummings thinks the Tories have a problem with working class people. It comes after a Spectator column from Johnson surfaced in which he called working class men "drunk, criminal and feckless."
       
    9. Police cuts: Johnson denied that the police cuts in London were the fault of the Conservative Government. But the Tories have drastically cut police numbers, leading the Home Office to admit that the cuts had “likely contributed” to the rise in serious violent crime.
       
    10. Greggs: Boris Johnson previously said he was ‘made of Greggs’. But given he couldn't name the price of a sausage roll, it would appear he's never set a foot in one.   
    Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Ed Davey commented:

    “This interview has exposed yet again how Boris Johnson can’t be trusted and is simply not fit for the office of Prime Minister. 

     "Whether it was on nurses, hospitals or Brexit, Johnson spent an hour lying through his teeth. 

    “Given this performance it’s little wonder he chickened out of last night’s Channel 4 debate and is now trying to duck out of an interview with Andrew Neil.

    “Voters do not have to vote for this lying charlatan, there is another choice. The Liberal Democrats are the only party that can stop Boris, stop Brexit and build a brighter future."

    Johnson's comments show he is no champion of women's rights

    Responding to Boris Johnson’s comments on single mothers, Liberal Democrat Equalities Spokesperson Christine Jardine, said:
    "So many of us in this country know the reality of the sacrifice and effort made by single parents. But yet again these comments show Boris Johnson is not fit to be Prime Minister and is no champion of women’s or children’s’ rights.

    “My father died suddenly at 44 leaving my mum with three daughters, none of whom grew up ignorant or aggressive. I am offended that my mother’s parenting of three successful daughters should be characterised

    “The Liberal Democrats are committed to women’s rights and supporting all families. A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to offer free high-quality childcare from nine months to all working parents and to build a brighter future."

    Lib Dems to fund eighty-four more police officers across Neath Port Talbot



    The Liberal Democrats have announced plans to fund at least 52 police officers across Neath and 32 across Aberavon as part of an extra £1bn nationwide investment into community policing.

    This commitment amounts to 20,000 more police officers across England
    and Wales, enough for an extra two officers per ward. The Liberal Democrats will also fund an immediate 2% pay-rise for serving police officers.

    Liberal Democrat plans stand in stark contrast to Labour and the Conservatives, who have made big promises on police numbers, but have failed to commit the funding needed to deliver them. 

    At the same time, Liberal Democrats are warning that Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans risk letting hundreds of criminals to escape justice in South Wales, after analysis revealed the extent to which UK police rely on vital EU crime-fighting measures. 

              
    Local Welsh Liberal Democrats secretary Frank Little  said:

    “Too many people feel unsafe in their own homes and walking down their own streets. With entire communities feeling exposed and vulnerable, both the Tories and Labour are claiming to offer solutions but the sums just don’t add up.

    “Meanwhile, Boris Johnson's reckless Brexit threatens to cut the UK off from vital crime-fighting tools that the police use every day to keep us safe. His plans mean that hundreds of criminals in the Swansea Bay area could remain at large, threatening the safety of our community. 

    “Only the Liberal Democrats have a bold and credible plan to increase the number of police across our county borough. The Liberal Democrats are committing £1 billion nationwide investment per year to fund this – that’s £250 million more than Labour or the Tories.  

    “The Liberal Democrats are the only party willing to back our bobbies with money, not just words. We are the only party that can stop Brexit, make our communities safe and build a brighter future.”


    Lib Dems won't let your future melt away


    Following last night's Climate Change Leader's debate, Ed Davey, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor and Deputy Leader said: 

    "Tonight Jo Swinson showed what it means to lead on tackling the climate emergency. 

    "Boris Johnson's failure to even turn up shows his arrogant disregard for the climate crisis facing our planet. 

    "Like Boris Johnson's ice sculpture, the Tories are happy to watch your future melt away, thanks to their disastrous Brexit which will leave us with less influence and less to invest in tackling the climate emergency. 

    "Only the Liberal Democrats have a clear, realistic but radical plan to achieve net-zero by 2045, delivering the change our planet needs. A Liberal Democrat government will generate 80% of our electricity from renewables by 2030, plant 60 million trees a year and invest £100 billion to build a brighter future for our planet."

    Tory threat to Channel 4 is attempt to cover up Johnson's cowardice

     

    Responding to reports that the Conservatives are threatening to review Channel 4’s broadcasting remit if they win the general election, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary Chuka Umunna said:

    "It is appalling that the Tories are threatening Channel 4 in this way. This is a pathetic attempt to cover up for Boris Johnson’s own cowardice. 

    “Trying to intimidate the media like this is straight out of Donald Trump’s playbook and has no place in an open and inclusive democracy.

    “Time and again Johnson has tried to duck scrutiny for his repeated lies and damaging Brexit plans. This election is a chance to deny Boris Johnson the majority he is taking for granted, by voting Liberal Democrat so we can take seats off the Tories across the country."

    Thursday, November 28, 2019

    Johnson's Brexit plans would let thousands of criminals off the hook


    • Estimated 6,000 criminals could evade justice if Johnson’s Brexit goes ahead
    • UK police to be locked out of EU crime database used 1.6 million times a day
    • Brexit would undermine UK’s ability to tackle terrorism and organised crime
    The Liberal Democrats have warned that Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans risk enabling thousands of criminals to escape justice, after analysis revealed the extent to which UK police rely on vital EU crime-fighting measures.
     
    UK police forces and prosecutors have used the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) to bring over 6,600 criminal fugitives to justice over the past five years, the analysis reveals. This includes 140 for murder or manslaughter, 136 for child sex offences, 152 for rape and 12 for terrorism.

    The EAW allows the speedy extradition of wanted criminals, but senior police have warned that the UK risks losing access to the scheme because of Brexit. If current trends were to continue, that would mean more than 6,000 criminal suspects could avoid extradition over the next five years.
     
    The research also shows that UK police accessed a crucial EU-wide crime database 603 million times in 2018, equivalent to 1.6 million times a day and an increase of 12% of the previous year. This makes the UK the fourth largest user of the scheme after France, Italy and Spain.
     
    The Schengen Information System (SIS II) gives police real-time access to records on wanted criminals, missing persons and lost or stolen items including firearms and passports. In 2018 law enforcement in the UK used the database to issue alerts on 2,967 firearms, 209,506 vehicles and over 2.6 million documents such as passports or driving licenses.

    The Liberal Democrats would preserve vital EU police cooperation measures by stopping Brexit and staying in the EU. The party also plans to invest an extra £1 billion a year to give police forces the funding to recruit 20,000 more police officers - an extra two officers per ward. 
     
    Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary Christine Jardine said:
     
    "Boris Johnson’s reckless Brexit plans threaten to cut the UK off from vital crime-fighting tools that the police use every day to keep us safe.

    "Thousands of dangerous criminals could escape justice and the UK’s ability to tackle terrorism and organised crime would be seriously undermined.
      
    "The only way to ensure vital police cooperation with Europe is kept is by stopping Brexit and staying in the EU.
     
    "Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to stop Brexit, build a brighter future and keep our communities safe.”

    Neither the Tories or Labour have a credible plan for the economy


    Responding to the Institute for Fiscal Studies' analysis of the three main parties' manifestos, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Ed Davey said:

    "This damning assessment shows that neither the Tories or Labour have a credible plan for the economy. Both are failing to come clean with the electorate and ignoring the Brexit black hole their plans would leave in the public finances. Everyone knows you can't have something for nothing, but both the Tories and Labour are pretending you can.

    "Only the Liberal Democrats are being frank about your money and how we'd spend it. We will stop Brexit and invest the £50 billion Remain bonus in tackling inequality, improving our vital public services and strengthening the economy. We are being up front with the British people that investing properly in our NHS and social care will mean all chipping in a little more, by putting a penny on income tax to raise £7 billion a year."
    Frank Little, secretary of the local Welsh Liberal Democrats added:
    "Voters should remember Gordon Brown's similar irresponsible spending and failure to plan for the day when cheap credit came to an end. There will be another 2008-style crash if either Johnson or Corbyn are allowed to pursue their economic policies."

    Lib Dems would halt 'Brexodus'


    Responding to the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) latest immigration statistics which show that the immigration of EU citizens have fallen to their lowest level since March 2013, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson, Christine Jardine said:
    “These latest ONS statistics are scandalous. They show that Brexit is undermining our economy and threatening jobs by driving EU citizens away in record numbers.
     
    “EU citizens are vital workers for businesses across the country. But these statistics today prove that Brexit is only going to deprive UK employers of access to workers, making business so much more difficult for entrepreneurs up and down the country.
     
    “The Liberal Democrats have a clear plan to halt this ‘Brexodus’. We will stop Brexit, preserve freedom of movement and build a brighter future.”

    Lib Dems respond to Health Foundation report on NHS staffing crisis

    Responding to a report by the Health Foundation on the severe shortage of nurses facing the NHS, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Health, Well-being and Social Care Luciana Berger said:

    “This report is clear –there are serious NHS staffing gaps. The NHS is under significant pressure and there are serious questions about the quality and safety of care that patients are receiving today. 
     
    “Without doctors and nurses from abroad coming to work in our hospitals, the NHS is sunk.  Yet Boris Johnson's plans for a Nurse Tax would mean EU nurses and other health professionals have to pay to work in the NHS.
     
    “Either a Conservative Brexit or a Labour Brexit would make the staffing crisis worse by driving away the EU health professionals we need.
     
    “Liberal Democrats would stop Brexit to support our NHS workforce, introduce an NHS recruitment strategy and invest £7 billion a year in health and social care.”

    Wednesday, November 27, 2019

    Leaked documents show US offered PR advice to UK over chlorinated chicken


    Leaked documents from the US-UK trade deal talks reveal that US negotiators offered PR advice to their UK counterparts on how to sell the controversial practice of chlorine-washing chickens to UK consumers and the British media.

    The document show that in November 2017 the US team agreed to share their "public lines" on chlorine-washed chicken to help "inform the media narrative".
    The leaked documents also show that US negotiators had ‘the most angst’ about EU limits to the use of chemicals in food production, trying to persuade the UK to change seek a clean break from EU rules that protect UK consumers by maintaining high standards in farms and the food industry across the UK.  

    Liberal Democrat Shadow Trade Secretary Chuka Umunna said:
    “The fact the US are offering PR tips on how to force chlorinated chicken down our throats tells you everything you need to know.

    “The Tories’ desperation for a trade deal with Donald Trump risks leading to lower standards for the food on our tables.  

    “We must stop Boris Johnson ramming through a damaging Trump trade deal that threatens British consumers and farmers.

    “The Liberal Democrats will stop Boris, stop Brexit and uphold our world-leading food standards.”

    Immigration detention must be absolute last resort


    The Liberal Democrats have criticised the Conservative government following today's Supreme Court judgment, which found that five asylum seekers had been unlawfully detained. The Liberal Democrats are committed to making immigration detention an absolute last resort.
     
    The judgment concerns five asylum seekers, each detained for more than a month in 2015. One was detained for 16 weeks, from 18 August to 8 December. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that they were wrongfully detained, and that they are entitled to compensation.
     
    The Liberal Democrat manifesto commits to making immigration detention an absolute last resort, introducing a 28-day time limit on detention and closing seven of the UK’s nine detention centres.
     
    More than 24,000 people are put into detention centres each year, at a cost to the taxpayer of £90 million a year. On top of this, the Home Office had to pay out £8 million last year in compensation for 312 cases of wrongful detention.
     
    Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary Christine Jardine said:
     
    “The Conservatives’ excessive use of immigration detention is inhumane, unnecessary and expensive – as this case demonstrates.
     
    “Not only did the Home Office cause misery and waste money unlawfully detaining these people in the first place, they then wasted even more taxpayer money fighting this case all the way up to the Supreme Court. And now they’ll have to pay compensation too.
     
    “The Liberal Democrats will put compassion and common sense at the heart of our immigration system by ending indefinite detention and making any detention an absolute last resort.
     
    “We will build a brighter future where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, and where taxpayers’ money is not wasted defending unlawful Home Office actions.”

    Tuesday, November 26, 2019

    Lib Dem policies would mean 600,000 fewer children in poverty

    report by the Resolution Foundation has found the Liberal Democrats' policies would mean 600,000 fewer children in poverty by 2023-24, making it the most progressive of the three main parties.

    The report also found child poverty risks reaching a record high under Conservative plans.

    Liberal Democrat Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Tim Farron commented:

    “This report is a damning indictment of the Tories’ heartless welfare policy, which is leading to soaring levels of child poverty across the country.

    “Only the Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit and invest billions of pounds from the Remain bonus in building a brighter future for those struggling in our society. We would scrap the cruel two-child limit, benefit cap and bedroom tax, and invest in free school meals and childcare for millions of families.

    “As the Resolution Foundation recognises, we have the most progressive policy of all the major parties, focused on ensuring everyone has the same opportunities regardless of where they come from.”

    Lib Dems to give gig workers 20% increase to minimum wage and greater protections


    A Liberal Democrats Government would increase the minimum wage by 20 per cent for zero-hour contract employees and introduce a raft of policies to create a working environment that protects employees.

    The new, higher minimum wage for those on zero-hours contracts will seek to compensate workers for the uncertainty of fluctuating incomes.
     
    As part of their plan for the future of work, the Liberal Democrats will also promise to establish a new ‘dependent contractor’ employment status for workers tied to one employer, which enshrines rights such as minimum earnings, sick pay and holiday entitlement.

    The party will also give workers the right to request a fixed-hours contract after 12 months, which could not be unreasonably refused.
     
    Sam Gyimah, Liberal Democrat Shadow Business Secretary, said:

    “The Tories are gambling with our economic future which would make workers in the gig economy vulnerable to the consequences of a damaging and destructive Brexit.

    "The Liberal Democrats, as the natural party of business, will improve pay and enshrine rights and protections for gig workers.

    "The Liberal Democrats will create a brighter future for those who do so much to support how we live our lives today, while making sure innovative business models can flourish in the modern economy."

    Lib Dems announce war on plastics

    Today the Liberal Democrats will set out a raft of policies as part of a radical plan to end the UK’s addiction to plastic.

    These policies include:
    • Requiring all retailers to reduce the amount of plastics and non-recyclable packaging they use
    • Implementing a deposit return scheme
    • Ending plastic exports abroad by 2030

    Following this announcement, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Energy and Climate Change, Wera Hobhouse said:

    "The UK produces 2.26 million tonnes of plastic packaging every year, but less than half of this is being recycled. The Conservatives have claimed they will cut plastic pollution but all they have done in reality is attempt to get headlines with piecemeal bans on straws and stirrers.

    "The Liberal Democrats demand better for our environment. We need a rapid plan to eliminate plastic pollution if our seas are to recover from the damage we’ve done.

    "That is why the Liberal Democrats are proposing a radical plan that will end the UK's addiction to plastic. By banning all non-essential non-recyclable single-use plastics within the first three years of a Liberal Democrat government we will stop huge amounts of plastic pollution.

    "Under the Liberal Democrats, no plastic put into a bin in the UK will end up in our oceans. 
    By declaring a war on plastic the Liberal Democrats will ensure a brighter future for our planet."