Frank Little, Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate for Neath, writes:
Yesterday, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron laid down 15 questions for prime minister Theresa May to answer on the big issues of national security, schools, health and social care, welfare and their manifesto. He has attacked the Conservatives for "hiding their real agenda from the public." About the questions, Tim said:
“The Tories seem to think – if we ignore any difficult question – we don’t have to tell the public the truth. If they cannot tell us even the most basic things why should we trust them at all.
“Theresa May seems to be hiding their real agenda from the public.
“The Tories cannot tell us anything about their plans and they are doing it on purpose. They hope to secure a colossal majority and then to take the country for a ride. We cannot let this happen – our schools, hospitals and social care are at risk
“After the debacle on the Dementia Tax, the only policy they gave us detail on, it is no wonder they are trying to hide things from us. They need to come clean and tell us the truth.”
The questions for the Conservatives relating to schools and social care do not apply directly to Wales, but of course Treasury decisions about overall funding for education, health and social care have implications for the Welsh budget settlement. These are the questions which Tim says Mrs May can not or will not answer:
1. Why are the Conservatives insisting on a Brexit negotiation strategy that will automatically prevent access to the vital EU Schengen Information System - used 16 times a second by UK police forces to track terrorists and criminals?
2. Why has only one individual out of hundreds who have travelled to fight for ISIS in Syria been subject to the Temporary Exclusion Order powers introduced by the Coalition?
3. How will the Conservatives "ban encryption" without weakening internet banking security for millions of British citizens?
4. How many children will lose their free school lunches?
5. How much money will the Conservatives spend on providing free school breakfasts instead of lunches?
6. Exactly how much money will the Conservatives give to schools to plug the the hole in their budgets, and why is their pledge unfunded?
Health and social care
7. How many people risk losing their house as a result of their social care policy?
8. At what level will losses be capped for people with long-term degenerative conditions like dementia?
9. How will the NHS cope with the loss of 26,000 EU staff who are planning to leave because of Brexit? (NB - this is a Westminster decision which affects public services in Wales - FHL)
10. How many people will lose their winter fuel payments?
11. How many lives will be lost as a result?
12. Will the coldest areas of England and Wales be exempted, as Scotland has been?
How will they pay for their manifesto policies?
13. Why should anyone vote for a manifesto without costings? (My emphasis - FHL)
14. How many billions will be lost to the public finances as a result of the Conservatives’ plan to reduce net immigration to the tens of thousands?
15. How much will they raise taxes and national insurance by in order to pay for their pledges?