Thursday, August 16, 2018

Football leaders show Brexit the red card

Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake has responded to comments from Peter Coates, Chair of Stoke City FC, and Mike Garlick, Chair of Burnley FC, that Brexit could be "hugely damaging" to English football.

Brake said:
"Fans want to see the best footballers at their clubs, competing in the best leagues in the world. The Premier League, and sport across the UK, has flourished in recent years. However, all that could come to an end with the economic calamity that is Brexit. I am glad that leaders from high profile clubs have spoken out against a policy that could badly damage the beautiful game.
“Brexit will relegate football across the UK. I hope fans will join the Liberal Democrats in backing a final say on the deal, which will deliver an opportunity to Exit from Brexit."

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

FTSE companies still getting away with outrageous pay awards

The pay of FTSE 100 chief executives has soared by 11% in the past year, according to analysis by CIPD/High Pay Centre

This is partly inflated by a £47.1m payout for Jeff Fairburn, the chief executive at Persimmon. The housebuilding group has benefited greatly from the Government’s Help to Buy scheme, which helped trigger the enormous payout. 

Responding, Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said: 

“Despite so many efforts, including my own legislation, to ensure there is moderation in executive pay, some companies are still getting away with unjustifiable awards. What is particularly galling and outrageous is the Persimmon payout, because the firm is profiting as a result of a government subsidy, not the performance of the company.” 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Half of prisoners are abandoned on release

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey MP has today revealed that more than 100,000 prisoners across England and Wales left prison for “unsettled” or “unknown” accommodation in the last three years, almost half of the 220,411 prisoners released in that period.

The Liberal Democrat MP said the new figures (spreadsheet here) proved “the criminal justice system is fundamentally failing when people are reoffending just to get a meal or a place to sleep.”
The Ministry of Justice figures show that 36,945 people (16.8%) were released to “unsettled accommodation” – mostly rough sleeping and other forms of homelessness – between April 2015 and March 2018. This group is much more likely to reoffend than those who have stable housing upon release.
A further 67,577 (30.7%) were released to unknown accommodation, making it much harder for them to continue to receive services to support rehabilitation.
Figures acquired by the Liberal Democrats through freedom of information reveal that HMP Norwich released 72% of its prisoners to unsettled or unknown accommodation in two-year period from April 2015 to March 2017, the highest proportion of any prison. The figures show that a total of 45 prisons released the majority of their prisoners to such accommodation in that period.
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey MP said:
“To prevent reoffending, prisons should be places of rehabilitation and recovery, and that work must continue when offenders leave the prison gates.
“The thousands of people who have nowhere to go upon release are less likely to be able to get a job or have access to education or healthcare. It’s hardly surprising that some turn to stealing or even choose to go back to prison for the sake of a warm, dry bed.
“The criminal justice system is fundamentally failing when people are reoffending just to get a meal or a place to sleep.
“The Liberal Democrats have consistently argued that the Government must ensure arrangements are in place for housing, healthcare and benefits when people leave prison.”

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Case for People's Vote on Brexit strengthens

More than 100 Westminster constituencies that voted for Brexit two years ago now support staying in the EU, The Observer has reported. 

The story is based on analysis commissioned by Best for Britain and Hope Not Hate. 
Responding, Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable said: 

“Whether someone voted to leave or stay in the EU in 2016, nearly everyone is disillusioned by the mess the Conservatives have made of Brexit. 

“This research is yet more compelling evidence that the British people must be given the final say on any - or no - Brexit deal. The shallow argument against giving the people their say diminishes towards nothingness with every passing day.” 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Fall in the pound reflects Brexit risks

Responding to the pound falling to its lowest level against the dollar and the euro this year as worries increase that the UK will leave the EU without a trade deal, Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said: 

“This does not reflect the underlying value of the currency. What this does show is the weakening of confidence in the UK, as well as the grave risks to the UK caused by the spectre of Brexit. 

“This is one of the reasons why we need to be clear that Brexit is not inevitable. The British people must have a final say on any deal - or, even worse, no-deal - with the option of staying in the EU.” 

Conservatives’ arbitrary net migration target is damaging

Responding to the CBI’s call for the Government to drop its net migration target, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey MP said:
“The CBI is right. The Conservatives’ arbitrary net migration target is damaging our economy.
“The NHS and other employers can’t recruit the workers they need. Meanwhile, the Government’s pursuit of an unachievable target has shattered the public’s confidence in our immigration system.
“Liberal Democrats demand better. The Government must drop its absurd target and replace it with an intelligent approach that maximises the cultural and economic benefits of migration.”

Cable warns of crisis on our high streets

Responding to the news that House of Fraser went into administration before being bought out by Sports Direct, Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said: 

“This is yet another example of the crisis in our high streets. There are many factors that appear to have contributed to this administration, some of which we can do little about. 

“But one factor is online competition - and we must create a level playing field between the high street and the big tech retailers. This means scrapping business rates - a motion that will be put to the Liberal Democrat conference next month - and making sure big tech starts paying its fair share in taxation.” 

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Conservatives are dragging us into a cost of living crisis

Commenting as the pound hits its lowest value in eleven months, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

"We have always known that some of the most crucial evidence of the problems caused by Brexit would be the fall in the value of the pound, which leads to price rises and higher cost of living.

"The Government is sleep-walking into a disastrous no-deal Brexit, which is causing the pound to drop even further.

"The Conservatives are edging closer and closer to creating a cost of living crisis through Brexit. This is why the people must have a Final Say on the Brexit deal, with an option to remain in the EU."

Sunday, August 05, 2018

A hard break with mainland Europe looms

Responding to Liam Fox's comments that a no-deal Brexit is 'odds on', Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said: 

"The Conservative government are making a mess of Brexit and the fact Liam Fox now sees a no deal Brexit as likely is testament to Theresa May's failure to protect British interests. After two years the fact that her team - including Liam Fox - have delivered nothing more than senseless soundbites is damning. 

"The public must be given the final say on Brexit with a vote on the final deal - this government simply can't be trusted"

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Home Office report highlights the appalling extent of slavery in the UK

Commenting on a Home Office report into "the economic and social costs of modern slavery" Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

“Monday’s Home Office report lays bare the huge costs of modern slavery to both our society and our economy.
“The extent of slavery in the UK today rightly appals us. Theresa May once called it ‘the great human rights issue of our time’, but many of her own policies are now undermining efforts to tackle it.
“The Conservatives’ ‘hostile environment’ policies, cuts to the police and the Border Force, and their insistence on a destructive hard Brexit, all make it more difficult to protect victims and put traffickers behind bars.
“Liberal Democrats demand better in the fight against modern slavery. I call on Theresa May to abandon these harmful policies so we can end slavery in the UK once and for all.”

Friday, July 27, 2018

Government completely neglecting the future of research

Commenting on figures which reveal the extent to which top UK universities rely on Horizon 2020 funding Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

"As these figures show, UK universities have benefited from Horizon 2020 funding to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds - helping to keep them at the forefront of innovation and research, and rated among the best in the world. 
"Yet, the Conservative Government have completely neglected the future of research in their negotiations with Brussels and have not been able to offer our universities any clarity about whether this funding will continue.  It is no wonder thousands of academics have resigned from UK universities in the last year. 

"If we want our universities to remain world-leading, then we must guarantee this vital source of funding. We must give the people the final say on the deal and the opportunity to Exit from Brexit."

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Cable: Government must focus on damaging takeovers from US data companies

Commenting on a white paper into foreign takeovers, Liberal Democrat Leader and former Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“The Government is rightly concerned about the security impact of overseas takeovers. But they should be focusing on the damaging takeovers made by big US data companies that harm Britain’s long-term capabilities in AI and related fields.

“The European Commission is demonstrating serious awareness of this problem and is taking action. It is not at all clear how the Conservatives would deal with these big tech companies in the event of their chaotic plans for Brexit going through.

“We believe that the Competition & Markets Authority must be much less supine when it comes to takeovers. It is currently stuck with an old model that only seems to judge competition through rising prices rather than market dominance.”

Monday, July 23, 2018

Davey: Use of the death penalty - no matter the crimes involved - is wrong

Commenting on reports that the UK government will not block death the penalty in the case of Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said: 

“The crimes committed by these terrorists are amongst the most heinous imaginable. Clearly these two individuals present a serious danger to the public and the argument that they should spend the rest of their lives in prison is overwhelming. 
"However, the use of the death penalty - no matter the crimes involved - is wrong. By refusing to stand up to Donald Trump's administration on this issue, Sajid Javid has abdicated his responsibility to uphold fundamental human rights. He has undermined the UK's efforts to end the use of the death penalty around the world.
“We will only ever see an end to terrorism by sticking to our morals and principles. If the Conservative Government once again dances to the tune of a dangerous US President it will do nothing but fan the flames of terror.”

Amazon warnings are deeply worrying

Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake MP has warned that there is “no returns policy” when it comes to Brexit following reports Amazon’s UK Manager, Doug Gurr, has told the Tory Government that the UK would face “civil unrest” within weeks of a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Brake said: 

“Although Amazon were referring to an extremely unlikely scenario, warnings of this nature from leading business leaders are embarrassing for the Tories, and deeply worrying for the public when it comes to the state of our economy.

“The Tories are delivering an absolute mess of a Brexit. Time is running out to prevent this disaster, and when it comes to Brexit there is no returns policy. 

“The best way to avoid a crisis is to give the people the final say on the deal, and an opportunity to Exit from Brexit.”

Frank Little, candidate for Neath at the last general election, added:

"Dr Gurr has not spelled out publicly his scenario of how Amazon could be involved in the descent into unrest, but the implication is that several of the company's distribution centres, including the one in Neath Port Talbot would become unprofitable, resulting in hundreds of redundancies locally."

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Drug advisers right to recognise need for reform

Responding to calls from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to enable doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis, former Liberal Democrat Health Minister Norman Lamb MP said: 

“The recommendation from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs that doctors should be allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis is more than welcome. The Government now has a moral duty to accept this advice and change the law without any further delay. 

“People should never be left to suffer when medicinal cannabis can safely relieve them from pain. However, there is also a mountain of evidence backing the case for legalising and regulating cannabis for recreational use as well as medicinal use.

“That is why Liberal Democrats are the only party campaigning for a regulated cannabis market in UK, with robust and responsible licensing, as opposed to a market run by criminals who have absolutely no interest in people's welfare.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Gove would have said anything to secure leave vote

Responding to Michael Gove's comments acknowledging that he misled voters on Turkish immigration during the EU referendum campaign, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

“Gove’s acknowledgment of the fearmongering at the heart of the Leave campaign just goes to show that high profile leave campaigners, such as Gove and Johnson, were willing to say anything to secure a leave vote.
“Gove’s admission only strengthens the Liberal Democrats’ call for a final say on the Brexit deal and an opportunity to Exit from Brexit."

Friday, July 13, 2018

Government must safeguard our forces

Commenting on the Public Accounts Committee’s report into the Ministry of Defence’s contract with Annington Property Ltd ("Forces homes deal disastrous for taxpayers and worse could follow"), Liberal Democrat Armed Forces Spokesperson, Jamie Stone MP, said:

“The UK’s armed forces play a crucial role in the defence of the nation, and Liberal Democrats believe that it is the role of government to safeguard the interests of service personnel and veterans.

"Not only has this deal cost taxpayers billions, the lack of clarity around future negotiations adds to the uncertainty faced by many forces families who have for far too long endured poor standards of subsidised accommodation.

"The MoD needs to clarify its negotiating position and bring coherence to its strategy. The Department must treat the quality of housing it provides as a priority. The number of empty properties must be reduced and all armed forces families ought to be able to expect service family accommodation of a high quality.”