Monday, January 18, 2021

Universal Credit must be extended to carers

 

The Liberal Democrats are calling for the increase in Universal Credit to be extended to anyone caring for a friend, family member or neighbour who cannot cope without their support. 

Parliament is due to vote today on a motion to scrap the planned £1000 cut in Universal Credit.  Liberal Democrat Work and Pensions Spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain MP is pushing for an amendment which would see unpaid carers as well as others who rely on ‘legacy’ benefits to be awarded the increase too. 

Over 900,000 people across the country rely on carers allowance of less than £70 a week, the lowest paid benefit of its kind.  Many struggle to make ends meet, often relying on foodbanks for themselves as well as those they care for.  Liberal Democrats have led the campaign to support the country’s unpaid carers many of whom are facing extreme financial hardship during the pandemic.

She said:

“On Monday, MPs have the chance to right a huge wrong in our society.  Not only can we vote to scrap the planned £1000 cut in Universal Credit but we can also do more to support the country’s carers.  Just calling for this cut to be cancelled is not enough, carers need help now.

“If Conservative MPs choose to blindly back the Government line then they will have to explain to the country why they can find hundreds of thousands of pounds for their mates and party donors but can’t find an extra £20 a week for our nation’s army of carers.”


Fishing anger should be no surprise - Carmichael

 
Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland, Alistair Carmichael, has said there should be “no surprise” that seafood exporters have taken to the streets to protest against the disruption they are facing.
 
Dozens of HGVs have been reported around Whitehall in London demonstrating against the blockages they are facing in trade with the EU. Some reports suggest that protestors intend to dump unsailable seafood cargo in the streets.
 
Commenting on the protests, Alistair Carmichael said:
 
“I suspect that it will be a pleasant change for these lorry drivers to be able to drive instead of sitting waiting in a depot or at a port somewhere. It should be no surprise to anyone in Whitehall that our seafood exporters are angry.  That anger will only rise in the coming days if these issues are not resolved.
 
“Talk of 'teething problems' looks more and more ludicrous with every hour that passes.  Fishermen feel betrayed by those who used and abused their support – they deserve better. The Government has a duty to make good the harms caused by their complacency and incompetence.”

Friday, January 15, 2021

Supreme Court ruling is a lifeline for small businesses

Responding to the news that a Supreme Court ruling is set to force insurers to pay out on disputed coronavirus claims Sarah Olney, Liberal Democrats Spokesperson for Business, said:

"This is an excellent result and will provide a lifeline for many small businesses who have been plagued with worry and financial hardship throughout this pandemic.

"Businesses across the UK paid out thousands of pounds in premiums only to be let down by insurance companies when they needed to claim. 
 
"Now they will finally be able to get the money they deserve and are entitled to."

 

Police database blunder is a fiasco

 

 
Reacting to the news that 150,000 records were accidentally deleted from the Police National Computer, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Home Affairs Alistair Carmichael, said:
 
“People will rightly be alarmed that a blunder on this scale is even possible. The Home Secretary must take responsibility and come forward to explain exactly what went wrong, how it went wrong, and what she is doing to make sure it never happens again.
 
“It’s already the case that far too many crimes go unsolved and too many criminals are never identified. This fiasco risks making our communities less safe and the police’s job even harder, at a time when they are already under enormous pressure.
 
“Instead of spending her time coming up with ever crueller and more impractical asylum policies, Priti Patel should focus on getting the basics right and keeping people safe.”
 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Tories kill bid to guarantee NHS heroes the right to live in the UK

Lib Dems have vowed to fight for healthcare workers’ rights after a Bill to give them the indefinite leave to remain was effectively axed by the Tory government.

Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine tabled the Immigration (Health and Social Care Staff) Bill 2019-21, which was due for its second reading on Friday.

But the Government have decided to axe all sitting Fridays until the end of March, meaning dozens of Private Members Bills will effectively be killed off.

Ms Jardine’s Bill proposed that all health and social care staff from outside the EU would be granted indefinite leave to remain, giving the peace of mind about their immigration status and granting them rights enjoyed by British citizens.

Christine Jardine said:

“Like the rest of our wonderful NHS and care staff, hundreds of thousands of people from other countries are on the frontlines of the Covid pandemic, putting themselves in harm’s way to make sure we get the care we need.

“The UK should say, loudly and unequivocally, that those who have put their lives at risk for our country are welcome to live in it. That’s what my Bill would do, and I am deeply disappointed that the Government is not even letting it be debated in Parliament.

“I am not giving up. I will urge Ministers again to make Government time available to pass this urgent legislation, which has cross-party support.

“The idea that anyone who has worked so hard to save lives during this emergency might one day be forced to leave should be unthinkable.”


Small businesses need postal subsidy to help them take on Covid

 



The Government should introduce subsidised postage for small businesses to help them cope with the cost of trading online, according to the Lib Dems. 

Christine Jardine, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Treasury, will call for it to be included in a government support package for businesses in an adjournment debate she has secured in Parliament tomorrow (Wednesday).

Christine will also call for the Government to come up with a long term strategy to help businesses cope with the enormous burden of debt that many will now face.

Previously, Christine met Minister Paul Scully and wrote to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak about the postage issue, and has called for an extension to the furlough scheme until at least the summer and support for the millions who are still excluded from Government packages.

Following Mr Sunak’s lacklustre statement in the Commons on Monday, she said:

“It's time we had more than this patchwork approach which does not provide the long term strategy businesses, particularly the retail sector and creative industries, are crying out for.

“I want to see independent shops and companies getting the same sort of financial lifeline that hospitality received, by helping them meet the costs of online and postal services so they are on a level playing field with their giant web-based competitors.

“This government has left millions behind and almost a year into the pandemic, is still deaf to the appeals for action which are now coming from their own backbenches.

“This debate is a chance to air these arguments and demand answers from the Government.”


Sunday, January 10, 2021

Lib Dems: Government must back visa-free tours for musicians

 
Responding to the news that the UK rejected the offer of visa-free tours for musicians in the EU, Liberal Democrat Culture spokesperson Jamie Stone said:
 
“The government must provide urgent clarification on what was offered by the EU to enable visa-free touring by UK artists and their crew. Once Covid restrictions are lifted, British artists need to be able to work across the EU with the same ability that has been negotiated for other sectors.
 
"The Government’s rampage to end free movement will damage our economy, our creativity and our standing in the world. This trade deal is the first trade deal in history to put up barriers to trade instead of tearing them down.
 
"These new restrictions are a blow to the music industry, which has already suffered so much during the pandemic, and will disadvantage young aspiring musicians the most and may make touring financially impossible for some.
 
"Live music transcends cultural boundaries and brings people together. Making it more expensive adding overheads further damages an already devastated arts and culture sector which contributes £10.8 billion to the UK economy and is respected throughout the world.”

Lib Dem peers fight to fix Govt’s crimes bill

 

The House of Lords will vote tomorrow [Monday 11th January] on Liberal Democrat amendments to add crucial safeguards to the Government’s Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill.

The Bill puts into law for the first time powers for various public bodies – including the police and MI5, but also the Environment Agency, the Food Standards Agency and three Government Departments – to authorise undercover informants to commit crimes.

As it currently stands, informants would be given complete immunity for crimes authorised under the Bill, rather than it being for prosecutors to decide that prosecution is not in the public interest. A cross-party amendment co-sponsored by Liberal Democrat peer Brian Paddick [Amdt 1] would remove immunity from the Bill, preserving the status quo.

A separate Liberal Democrat amendment [Amdt 32] would ensure that victims of crimes authorised under the Bill can seek redress through the Investigatory Powers Tribunal. It is backed by the former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation Lord Anderson QC, as well as former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd.

The Lords is also expected to vote on another Liberal Democrat amendment [Amdt 6] to raise the threshold for a public body to authorise criminal conduct, from “believing” to “reasonably believing” that it is necessary and proportionate to do so.

Ahead of the debate, Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson for Home Affairs Brian Paddick said:

“It is undesirable but necessary that police rely on informants and, on occasion, those informants need to be tasked to commit crime. If all this Bill did was to provide the legal authority for that and preserve the status quo, the Liberal Democrats would have no argument with it.

“But the Government’s Bill goes much further than that – unacceptably far. It would allow police officers to give informants total legal immunity to commit any type of crime, with no prior independent authority or oversight, to combat even minor offences.

“The Government has been unable to provide any evidence that such a monumental change in the law is necessary. Parliament should reject it, and that’s exactly what the Liberal Democrats will be voting to do.”

 

Thursday, January 07, 2021

Lib Dems back high standards for British food and farmers

 

Liberal Democrat Lords helped defeat the Government by backing a cross-party amendment to the Trade Bill ensuring that future trade agreements meet the UK’s high standards of animal welfare and the environment.

The Conservatives have consistently failed to support such a measure, risking that future trade deals could permit the import of food that fails to meet the UK’s high standards. This puts significant pressure on British farmers.

Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Farming said:

“Farmers across the country are worried about their future - they’re worried that the UK will be flooded with poor quality food that undercuts the food they produce to high environmental and animal welfare standards. 

“The Conservatives have continually failed to protect our farmers from these risks. This amendment will ensure that our farmers are protected and can continue to produce high quality food for our tables. That’s why Liberal Democrats in the Lords supported this amendment. 

“Liberal Democrats back British farmers and will continue to fight to protect our food standards and their livelihoods. British farmers have a vital role to play in helping us tackle climate change and protect our natural environment, driving them out of business will be damaging for everyone. 


Lib Dems slam exaggerated Tory boasts on South Wales police funding as ‘smoke and mirrors’

 

Local Liberal Democrats have attacked local Conservative boasts about police funding as “smoke and mirrors” that dress up a potential Council Tax rise as if it were extra funding from the Government.

Local Conservatives have claimed that South Wales Police are set to receive an additional £18 million in their funding, thanks to the Conservative Government’s increase to police budgets. However, detailed Home Office figures reveal that the Government is only giving South Wales Police an extra £9.4 million for the financial year 2021-22.

The Conservative figures assume that the local Police and Crime Commissioner will raise the extra £8.4 million through an increase in the Council Tax precept.

Aberavon and Neath Liberal Democrats say:

 “Too many people feel unsafe in their own homes and walking down their own streets. Our police are overstretched, and most parts of Neath and Port Talbot see no visible policing.

“The Conservatives are desperate to seem tough on crime, but are failing to do enough to actually prevent crime. Their unnecessary cuts to police numbers and youth services contributed to the rise in violent crime.

“And now the Tories are exaggerating the funding they are providing. People in Neath Port Talbot deserve better.” 

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

“The Tories’ boasts about police funding are nothing but smoke and mirrors.

“At a time when our police are under enormous pressure, Priti Patel has abrogated her responsibility and passed the buck to local police chiefs.

“It’s just not good enough. The Government must give forces the funding they need to restore proper community policing and make us all safer.”



Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Lib Dems attempt to put Parliament “in the driving seat” on future relationship

 

 

The Liberal Democrats have tabled a series of amendments to the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill that demand the Government protect British businesses, the rights of UK nationals and ensure Parliament has proper scrutiny over the future relationship agreement.

 

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey, who has said his Party will vote against the deal, warned the Government has committed an “affront to our democracy” by allowing Parliament just a few hours to debate the trade deal.

 

The amendments to give Parliament additional scrutiny over the trade deal, which are to be considered by the Speaker, include:

 

  • A clause to give Parliament the power to appoint and vote on the UK’s representatives to the committees responsible for overseeing the Agreement.

  • Clauses to require the Government to publish regular independent reports on the impact of the future relationship agreement and prevent Ministers from using secondary legislation to amend primary legislation in order to implement the future relationship agreement.

 

The Liberal Democrats have also requested the Government agree to preserve the right of UK nationals living in the EEA and Switzerland who return to live in the UK in future to be joined by non-British family members on the same terms as they do at present.

 

Other amendments lodged by the Liberal Democrats also included demands on Ministers to  fund a package to mitigate the impact of the deal on UK businesses and introduce an adjustment period of three months. 

 

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

 

“It is clear that this is a bad deal that will make people’s lives poorer, so the Liberal Democrats will vote against it.

 

“For the Government to limit scrutiny and debate on this trade deal to just a few hours is an affront to our democracy. Given the risk to business and rights of UK nationals, Parliament must be in the driving seat. 

 

“The only way forward is to agree an adjustment period to ease the pain for businesses and quickly get to repairing the UK’s damaged relationships with our most important international partners.”

 

Saturday, December 26, 2020

“Threadbare" deal risks livelihoods, Davey warns

 

The Liberal Democrats have declared that the Conservatives’ deal is "threadbare" and "bad for jobs, business, security, and our environment” and warned it is the only ‘free’ trade deal in history to "put up barriers to trade".

 

The Party has also said people are "desperate to move forward" and to see the country "united again" but Boris Johnson’s deal makes that more difficult with potential trade disputes for decades to come.

 

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

 

Boris Johnson promised to make people better off, but his deal will make us all poorer.

 
“This deal is threadbare, bad for jobs, business, security, and our environment. It is the only ‘free’ trade deal in history to put up barriers to trade and leaves the services sector in limbo.
 
“This botched deal confirms that the UK’s trade with Europe will now be wrapped in red tape – bringing long delays and higher costs. With so many businesses teetering on the brink of closing due to Covid, Johnson’s deal will push many over the edge.
 
“We all are desperate to move forward, to see our country united again, to restore our economy and our communities after a terrible year, but Boris Johnson’s deal just makes that more difficult.”

 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Record borrowing must not be excuse for cutting public services

 

The Liberal Democrats have warned that the Chancellor must not use the excuse of higher debt to start cutting public services and called for a Green Recovery Plan.

The intervention comes as ONS (Office for National Statistics) statistics published yesterday reveal Government borrowing has hit a record high.

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

“In the face of a pandemic, it is no wonder that borrowing is so high. It is yet another reminder to Ministers that they must do all they can to limit the chaos of Brexit or risk peoples' livelihoods.

“The Chancellor must now make clear that he will not use the excuse of higher debt to start cutting public services or reducing investment for our crumbling infrastructure – especially in the parts of the UK that need it most.

“Liberal Democrats stand firm that we must grow our way out of this crisis with a Green Recovery Plan that will invest billions to transform our economy, fight climate change and create millions of good-quality jobs.”

Friday, December 18, 2020

Covid surge in prisons highlights Govt failure

 

The Liberal Democrats are urging the Government to “take real action now” to prevent the spread of coronavirus in prisons, as new figures show that the number of Covid cases has surged more than five-fold in the last two months.

The figures, released today by the Ministry of Justice, show that, as of the end of November, 3,429 prisoners have now tested positive for Covid-19 – up 1,807 (111%) from 1,622 at the end of October and more than five times the 636 cases at the end of September.

There were 15 Covid-related deaths in prisons in November, the largest one-month total since April.

Figures released in September showed that a total of just 316 people were released under the Government's Covid early release schemes since the start of the pandemic – far short of the “up to 4,000" announced by Government in April.

Responding to the figures, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

“With more than 3,000 prisoners testing positive for coronavirus, but only 316 being released early, it is clear the Conservative Government hasn't done nearly enough to protect prison staff, prisoners and our communities from the spread of the virus.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Liberal Democrats have been calling on the Government to release all low-risk prisoners serving short sentences and suspend any new short sentences to alleviate the severe overcrowding, so that prisoners and staff can practice proper social distancing.

“The Government must finally listen to prison governors, public health experts and the Liberal Democrats, and take real action now to end overcrowding in prisons and combat the spread of this cruel virus.”


Court of Appeal ruling exposes Johnson's broken promise to EU citizens

Responding to the Court of Appeal’s ruling that the Government has unlawfully discriminated against EU citizens with Pre-Settled Status by excluding them from Universal Credit, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

“Denying people the financial support they desperately need during this pandemic is an appalling way to treat the EU citizens who are our families and friends, our colleagues and carers.

“Boris Johnson and the Conservatives promised to guarantee EU citizens living in the UK the automatic right to stay, but they have broken that promise. Not only that, but they have unlawfully discriminated against them as well.

“The Government’s ‘Settled Status’ scheme is anything but automatic. 1.8 million people have been given only temporary ‘Pre-Settled Status’, and until now they have been excluded from access to benefits.

“Liberal Democrats will keep fighting for all EU citizens to be given the automatic right to stay in the UK, as they were promised.”

-

 

Cummings pay rise shows yet again that it's one rule for Tories in government

 

Responding to the publication of the Annual Report on Special Advisers 2020, which shows that prior to his departure from Number 10 Dominic Cummings’ salary was £140,000-£144,999 – up from £95,000-£99,999 the year before – Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats Daisy Cooper said:
 
"Families across the country who are facing extraordinary financial hardship right now will be appalled that their taxes were being wasted to pay Dominic Cummings more than five times as much as a nurse.
 
"Not only did Boris Johnson undermine public trust by refusing to sack Cummings when he flagrantly broke lockdown with his trips to Durham and Barnard Castle, now we learn he gave him a huge pay rise.
 
"This is yet another outrage from a Conservative Government that thinks there’s one rule for them and another rule for everyone else."
 

Government must act urgently to address courts backlog

 

 
The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to take urgent action to tackle the growing backlog of court cases, as new official statistics reveal the scale of the problem.

The figures, published yesterday by the Ministry of Justice, show that the number of outstanding criminal cases in the Crown Court has risen from 33,248 at the end of 2018 to 50,918 at the end of September – a 53% increase in less than two years.

Separate Ministry of Justice statistics, also published yesterday, show that the average length of care proceedings in the Family courts has risen to over 40 weeks for the first time since 2013. In July to September this year, just 29% of these cases were disposed of within the 26-limit set by the Children and Families Act 2014 – down from 62% in 2016 and 49% in 2018.

Responding to the figures, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

“Justice delayed is justice denied. Too many victims of crime and their families are being left far too long without justice. And too many parents and children are left in limbo for months as cases drag on through the family courts

“Some of this is an inevitable consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t explain the huge backlogs that had already built up last year, before Covid hit.

“The Conservatives have underfunded the whole of our justice system for much too long, and have been far too slow to introduce Nightingale Courts to increase capacity during this pandemic. Ministers must not use Covid as an excuse for this backlog, or to undermine the fundamental right to trial by jury.

“The Government must take urgent action to tackle the backlog of court cases. More Nightingale Courts are welcome, but ultimately these delays can only be prevented with proper funding for our whole justice system – from Legal Aid right through to judges’ time.”


Friday, December 11, 2020

Welsh Liberal Democrats lead on candidate conduct compliance

Welsh Liberal Democrats is the first federal party to impose high qualification standards for inclusion on their list of approved candidates for the 2021 Welsh general election.

Members must sign up to the following code of conduct. Failing to follow this code of conduct will constitute prima facie grounds for removal from the list of approved candidates. In addition, if elected, failing to follow this code of conduct may result in the Whip being withdrawn.


1. You must treat others with respect, and must not bully or intimidate 

any Party member, member of Party staff, member of Parliamentary staff, 

Party volunteer or member of the public.


2. You must act in such a way as to promote the values of the Liberal 

Democrats and must not act in a way that is contrary to the interests or 

values of the Party. This includes your use of language, whether spoken 

or written, and content on digital or so-cial media platforms.


3. You must complete any declarations of private interest that the Party 

requires, and, if elected, must complete the Official Register of 

Interests or equivalent as supplied to Members and any declaration 

required by the Electoral Commission.


4. You must at all times comply with the current versions of the Political 

Parties, Elec-tions and Referendums Act 2000 and the Representation of the 

People Act 1983 and any other relevant legislation and must provide 

information regarding expenses or donations as required by the Party.


5. You must at all times comply with the Party’s data protection and data 

security policies when dealing with any data to which you may be given 

access by the Party.


6. You must give consent to and provide the details necessary for the 

Party to undertake (or to authorise an approved third party to undertake) 

an audit of your social media profile when requested.


7. You must abide by the Party’s internal selection and election rules, 

and by any other Code of Conduct that has been signed up to by the Party.


8. If asked by your state party, you must complete a post-election review 

after each general election, whether or not you stood as a candidate.


9. You must appoint an election agent who has been trained and certified 

by the Party, provided that a suitable person is available and willing to 

undertake the role.


10. If asked by your state party, you must agree a Candidate Compact with 

the local party (or parties) within three months of being selected as the 

prospective parliamentary candidate for a seat.


11. If elected, and if asked by your state party, you must make a 

reasonable contribution towards ongoing party activity, which will include 

a financial element, the exact level to be determined following the 

election by agreement with the relevant regional party and by reference 

to any relevant guidance then in force.


12. You must signify your agreement to this Code of Conduct to the 

Returning Officer at the start of any selection process in which you 

participate.


13. You must not bring, or risk bringing, the Party into disrepute.

It is expected that this or a similar Code of Conduct will be instituted for the party as a whole for Westminster elections.


Thursday, December 10, 2020

Poor GDP figures show PM must negotiate adjustment period for businesses

Responding to the GDP figures released this morning, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

"The lack of recovery we're seeing in the GDP figures today is yet another a reminder that the economic effects of the pandemic are far from over, and people right across the UK continue to face immense hardship.
 
"Ministers must not be complacent now we have a vaccine. Instead, they must step up to provide the support that's so desperately needed, particularly by the three million who are still excluded from any financial support from the Government.
 
"The Government must also avoid risking more damage being done at the end of the transition period. The Prime Minister should negotiate a six-month Adjustment Period urgently to give struggling businesses much needed breathing space, rather than the cliff-edge they're currently facing."

 

Government wasted more than £370 million on “pointless” mandatory prison sentences for knife possession

Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse has called on the Government to “do what works” to prevent knife crime and repeal mandatory prison sentences for knife possession, as the party reveals that the Government has wasted more than £370 million on the policy while knife crime has soared.

New figures from the Ministry of Justice show that nearly 14,000 people have now been sentenced to prison under a law passed in 2015 requiring mandatory prison sentences for those convicted of a second offence of carrying a knife. Both the Conservative and Labour parties backed the law, while the Liberal Democrats opposed it.

The Ministry of Justice’s own analysis shows that sentences of less than a year lead to higher rates of reoffending than community sentences, and the President of the Prison Governors Association has described them as “pointless”. The average length of sentence is 7.6 months.

Using government figures for the cost per prisoner, the Liberal Democrats have calculated that these mandatory sentences have cost the taxpayer £375 million since they come into effect in 2016.

Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

“Even before the Covid pandemic, the UK was in the grip of an epidemic of youth violence. The Government must invest in what works to prevent knife crime, not waste money on pointless short-term sentences.

“This law clearly hasn’t worked. The Conservatives said we needed to ‘send a message’ to stop people carrying knives, but five years on knife crime has soared.

“Young people are far more scared of being caught without a knife by a gang than being caught with a knife by the police. The threat of prison simply doesn’t work as a deterrent in this case.

“Even worse, the Conservatives have wasted more than £370 million on this policy, which should instead have gone to community policing and youth services – the things that actually prevent people carrying knives.”


Changes to the Immigration Rules another breach of international law

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael has slammed the Government’s latest changes to the Immigration Rules (available here) as “against everything the UK stands for” and “yet another breach of international law”.

The changes, published today, which will allow the Home Office to reject asylum applications if the person has passed through another “safe” country on their way to the UK.

Alistair Carmichael said:

“The UK has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need, but now the Conservative Government is turning its back on refugees.

“This latest nasty policy from Priti Patel goes against our commitments under the Refugee Convention and against everything the UK stands for. It’s yet another breach of international law by this irresponsible Tory Government.

“Everyone wants to stop people making dangerous attempts to cross the Channel, but the best way to do that is with safe and legal routes to sanctuary in the UK. Sadly, Priti Patel has closed down those routes.

“We must do all we can to protect people forced to flee their homes to escape war and persecution. The UK should welcome them with compassion and treat them with dignity.”


Boris Johnson’s promises to EU citizens are in tatters

 

Responding to the Commons vote yesterday evening on EU citizens rights, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Home Affairs Alistair Carmichael said:

“Boris Johnson’s promises to guarantee EU citizens’ rights automatically lie in tatters tonight.

“The Home Office’s Settled Status scheme is anything but automatic. Thousands of people will be left effectively undocumented and subject to the Tories’ Hostile Environment.

“Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for EU citizens to be given the automatic right to stay in the UK.

“Europeans who’ve made their lives here contribute enormously to our economy, our public services and our society. They must not become the victims of a new Windrush-style scandal.”


Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Davey: Child Trust Fund reforms do not go far enough


Responding to the Government's announcement that Child Trust Fund court fees will be waived for parents, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

“Thousands of young disabled people are finding themselves locked out of their own Child Trust Funds when they turn 18. It’s good that the Government has finally recognised this problem, but waiving the court fee falls far, far short of an acceptable solution.
 
“It will do nothing to alleviate the stress, hassle and bureaucracy involved in the current process. Ministers are displaying an appalling lack of understanding or empathy for the enormous challenges the carers face every day.
 
“The Government must urgently implement a proper solution to this problem, that allows carers to access Child Trust Funds on behalf of disabled young people who lack the mental capacity to manage their own money, without having to go to court.”
 


Debenhams collapse means more jobs wiped away on Rishi's watch

 

Responding to the news that Debenhams stores are set to close affecting up to 12,000 jobs, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

"The news that Debenhams will be closing its stores is yet another blow to the UK economy. With the Arcadia Group entering administration last night, thousands more jobs have been potentially wiped away on Rishi Sunak's watch.
 
"During the pandemic when so many are already struggling to get by, unemployment will have a devastating impact. This Government's failure to get a grip on the virus has seen tens of thousands of livelihoods lost, and these extra job losses means thousands more families across the UK wondering how they're going to get by.
 
“Our high streets now need urgent government action to safeguard their future. A first step must be for Ministers to overhaul the business rates system, otherwise we will see yet more livelihoods lost in our retail sector."

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Aid cut makes a mockery of ‘Global Britain’ promise

 


Responding to the Chancellor's announcement that the foreign aid budget will be cut, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

“Today the promise of ‘Global Britain’ became hollow. Shirking away from our global responsibilities by cutting development spending during a worldwide pandemic is short-sighted and wrong.

“The Liberal Democrats enshrined the 0.7% in law precisely so it was flexible with the economic reality. By changing the law the Government is breaking its promise to the British people and to the world’s poorest.

“The Liberal Democrats will always stand up for the life-changing power of UK aid, and I will work cross-party to oppose this callous move.”


Chancellor has made some unforgivable political choices

 


Responding to the Chancellor's Spending Review, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

"With the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic, the Chancellor needed to ensure today that no one is left behind. That was the litmus test, and he has failed.

"Far from a radically new approach to the recovery that tackles deep-seated inequality and builds a new green economy, we have a Government that is failing to support carers, children living in poverty and everyone in need of mental health services.”

“The Chancellor has also made some unforgivable political choices today. He has chosen to continue to ignore people excluded from support and chosen to reject calls to properly extend furlough, leaving too many people facing unemployment. People deserve better.”

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Lib Dems urge PM to secure Adjustment Period with EU to give businesses breathing space


The Liberal Democrats are  calling on PM to negotiate an “Adjustment Period” as part of the deal with the EU, to ensure British businesses have enough time to prepare for the new trading relationship with Europe.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Liberal Democrats warn of a potentially "existential" threat to businesses if they are not given time to adjust and argue that - by phasing-in new rules, regulations and procedures - businesses would have the "breathing space" they need to prepare and adapt.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said: 

"Businesses cannot afford to be hit with the double whammy of Covid and disrupted trade with Europe, our biggest trading partner. With job losses already mounting, the danger is unemployment will rise still further in the new year, unless urgent action is taken.

"Despite months of negotiations, businesses are still in the dark about the details of their future trading relationship with Europe. With just weeks to go and our economy on its knees, this is inexcusable.

"The Prime Minister must urgently recognise what's in the best interests of British businesses, and secure a time-bound adjustment period to allow firms to adapt to new trade arrangements and save jobs.”

PM's refusal to sack Home Secretary shows one rule for them and another for everyone else

 

 
Responding to the resignation of the Government's independent adviser on standards following the Prime Minister's refusal to sack Priti Patel, despite it being found she has breached the Ministerial Code, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:
 
“Priti Patel has broken the Ministerial Code. Boris Johnson should have sacked her.
 
“The fact that the independent adviser on ministerial standards has felt the need to resign means that no one can have confidence in Boris Johnson’s handling of these bullying allegations.
 
“Bullying is a destructive force with devastating consequences. We must not tolerate it anywhere in our society – and certainly not at the highest levels of Government.
 
“The job of the Prime Minister is to set an example, but once again Boris Johnson has failed. He seems to believe there is one rule for him and his allies and another rule for everyone else. That is unacceptable.”