Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Lib Dems back move to defeat 'craven' government over FOBT delay

The Liberal Democrats have today announced they will back a cross-party amendment to the Finance Bill to ensure the maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals are introduced within six months.
Speaking ahead of the vote next week, Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable said:
“A few months ago I was approached by a mother who was distraught after her son had committed suicide as a result of distress caused by debts that had accrued from compulsive gambling. 

“There is now a network of grieving relatives who have been brought together by the same dreadful experience. Like them, I want the NHS to recognise gambling addiction as a serious mental health condition. Preventive action is also needed including urgent steps to curb some of the more exploitative practices like high stake fixed-odds betting terminals.

“I and the Liberal Democrats will therefore work with others to stop these abusive practices and introduce a crackdown as promised.  The Government has been utterly craven in giving in to lobbying from the industry and must now back the cross-party amendment or face defeat.”
Liberal Democrat Culture, Media & Sport Spokesperson in the House of Commons, Christine Jardine, added:  
“Further delays are causing more and more vulnerable people to face financial stress, mental health problems and worse.
“It doesn’t need to be this way. Liberal Democrats demand better, which is why we have been calling for the maximum stake to be reduced to £2 for nearly a decade.

“The Tories have already taken too long to act, now they are kicking it into the long grass. It simply isn’t good enough.”

Tory cuts make our borders less secure

After an inspection report revealed Border Force staff shortages at British seaports, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has called on the Government to recruit more officers to secure our borders.
The report by David Bolt, the Government’s Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, details concerns among Border Force officers that the agency is “resourced to fail” and that, due to staff shortages, “the border is not secured by any stretch of the imagination”.
Home Office accounts show that funding for the Border Force has been cut by 8% in real terms since 2015 and the number of officers has been reduced by 7%, from 8,332 to 7,734.
Responding to the report, Ed Davey said:
“The Border Force doesn’t have the officers it needs to cope with the pressures it faces now, let alone the extra pressures it will face if we leave the EU.
“Despite all their tough talk on immigration, Tory cuts have left our borders less secure, allowing organised criminals to traffic people, weapons and illegal drugs into the UK.
“The Liberal Democrats demand better. We will recruit more officers to an accountable, intelligence-led Border Force. That will help to secure our borders, rebuild trust in the immigration system and make our communities safer.”

Brake: If your passport is blue, get in the queue

Responding to documents published by the European Commission which show that British visitors to EU countries will require visas if their stay exceeds 90 days in a 180 day period, Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

"Now we are beginning to realise why the Brexiters wanted everyone to get new, blue passports; to collect all the visa stamps they will need to travel as freely as they do now. 

"This will come as a real shock to those who spend their winter months in Spain or Portugal and will now see additional costs and potential queues providing extra baggage. 

"Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn need to start listening to the people up and down the country, the majority now want a People's Vote, and the chance to walk away from this terrible Tory mess." 

Both Tories and Labour must be transparent about Brexit mess

Following the passing of a motion in the House of Commons yesterday calling on the Conservative Government to publish the legal advice it has received on Brexit, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:
“Tory Ministers must now be honest and upfront with the public and make available the final legal advice they have received on Brexit and the Northern Ireland backstop.
“But frankly, Labour too have a problem with legal advice. Does their legal advice confirm whether Brexit is stoppable or whether their six tests are legally compatible? The public are entitled to know.
“Both parties need to be transparent with the public on what Brexit will actually mean. It will be up to backbench MPs as to whether they blindly follow their shambolic leaderships or support a People’s Vote, including the option to remain in the EU.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Hostile environment must be completely scrapped

Responding to the news that NHS Digital has withdrawn from its immigration data-sharing arrangement with the Home Office, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:
“The Home Office should never have been forcing NHS staff to supply patients’ data in the first place. Doctors and nurses’ time should be spent providing healthcare to those who need it, not acting as border guards in Theresa May’s hostile environment.
“The Liberal Democrats demand better. We will completely scrap the Tories’ hostile environment and instead invest in an accountable, intelligence-led Border Force to prevent people entering the country illegally and quickly identify those who overstay their visas.
“That way we can secure our borders and rebuild trust in the immigration system, while leaving NHS workers to focus on their jobs.”

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Government failing to meet promises made after Grenfell

Responding to the reports that more than 400 high-rise residential buildings still have the same type of external cladding blamed for the Grenfell Tower fire, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Housing Wera Hobhouse said:

Grenfell should never have happened. The fact that thousands of families are still living in unsafe high-rise buildings is a disgrace.

“The Government is failing to meet the promises it made after the fire. The Secretary of State committed to fully fund the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding by councils and housing associations, but there are still over 150 publicly owned buildings that are unsafe.

“Furthermore, those in private residential buildings cannot be ignored. The Government must not only meet its basic promises, but must go further and fund the same for the private sector. Money can be recovered at a later date but when it is about people's homes, safety must come first.”

Detention should be a last resort

Responding as the Government announces that it will close Campsfield House immigration detention centre, Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

“Locking vulnerable people up – often for months on end – without giving them any idea when they’ll be released is clearly inhumane. It’s also expensive and unnecessary.

“It’s good to see that the Government is slowly recognising the need to detain fewer vulnerable people, but closing down one detention centre while keeping thousands of people locked up isn’t nearly enough.

“Liberal Democrats demand better. We are calling on the Government to close eight detention centres rather than just one, and make much greater use community-based alternatives to detention. That would save around £100 million that could be re-invested in an accountable Border Force and fixing the broken immigration system.”

Thursday, November 08, 2018

High Court rules that government must reverse cuts to modern slavery victims

Responding to today’s High Court ruling that the Government acted unlawfully when it cut payments to modern slavery victims, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

 “Theresa May once rightly called modern slavery the great human rights issue of our time, but her Government cut support for victims by 40%, leaving them vulnerable to further exploitation.
“Now that the court has ruled those cuts unlawful, the Government must reverse them and ensure that victims receive the help they need to escape the terrible bonds of slavery.
“You can’t fight the great human rights issue of our time on the cheap. Liberal Democrats demand better.”

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Pharma leaders call for urgent action to protect medicine supply

A group including representatives of major pharmaceutical companies have written a joint letter to the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, to state that if urgent action is not taken the UK will not have a medicine supply that will suffice in a no deal Brexit. 
A letter has been sent to the Health Secretary from organisations including the ABPI, the Brexit Health Alliance, and the ABHI urging the Government to raising the warning level to ‘red’ in regards a widespread shortages of medicines and device supply in no deal Brexit.
In the joint letter titled “Request for Urgent Roundtable on Medicine and Device Supply in No Deal Brexit”, the organisations note David Lidington’s report to Cabinet that ‘the normal Dover-Calais route could be at 12% capacity for six months’.
The group of organisations representing medical professionals and pharmaceutical companies do not believe the border and transport infrastructure can be ready for March 2019 and that time is very tight to address the problem.
Commenting on the letter that has been sent to Matt Hancock, and the uncertainty that is building around the possibility of a No Deal Brexit, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said: 
"This letter makes it clear that we are dangerously close to not having a secure supply of the critical imported drugs or medical devices our health service depends on in a No Deal Brexit. When an incredibly broad group of medical organisations and bodies are telling the Government we are at warning level ‘red’, it shows the preparations Government has made are both shockingly inadequate and woefully behind.
“They simply cannot guarantee that there won't be shortages of medicines, whether in a No Deal or a Chequers Deal scenario.

"Liberal Democrats demand better. Nobody voted for this chaotic Brexit, people are entitled to a final say on Brexit in a People's Vote and put a stop to this unnecessary, draining mess.”

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Government should be encouraging more Commonwealth soldiers to serve - without discrimination

Responding to the announcement that more Commonwealth soldiers will be able to join the Armed Forces without living in the UK first, Defence Spokesperson Menzies Campbell said:
 “Soldiers from around the Commonwealth have played a crucial role in our military history, particularly during the two world wars. We should celebrate their service and encourage more to follow their example. But the Government must ensure that those who serve our country aren’t prevented from staying in the UK or bringing their families to join them – for example by prohibitive visa fees and other hostile policies.”

Government is sleepwalking into another Windrush-type scandal

Following a disastrous appearance at the Home Affairs Select Committee last week, Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes was brought before the House of Commons today, but was still unable to answer what immigration checks EU citizens will be subject to after Brexit, or how these will apply to those who are already here and are therefore entitled to "settled status".
The Home Office is currently trialing the scheme for applying for settled status, but it isn’t due to be fully open until March 2019. Nokes boasted that the Home Office has now granted settled status to 1,000 EU citizens, less than 0.03% of the 3.6 million EU citizens currently living in the UK.
Following the debate, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:
“Millions of EU citizens in the UK have been living under a cloud of uncertainty for more than two years. After being quizzed by MPs on two separate occasions, the Immigration Minister has utterly failed to offer them any clarity.
"The one thing the Minister did admit is that the Conservatives will not be able to implement their much-vaunted immigration red lines for years to come.

“The Conservatives are sleepwalking into another Windrush scandal, where hostile environment checks destroy the lives of people who have every right to be in the UK. The Government’s chaotic approach to Brexit risks subjecting EU citizens to those same injustices.
"Conservative Ministers must end this uncertainty and offer a way out of this mess entirely by giving the people a final say on the Brexit deal, with the option to remain in the EU.”

Sunday, November 04, 2018

HS2: another line chalked on Grayling’s CV of failure

Responding to today’s Telegraph story carrying Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s admission that the second phase (Birmingham to Leeds) of HS2 may never be built, Liberal Democrat Transport spokesperson Baroness Randerson said:

“This is another line chalked up on Grayling’s CV of failure.

“If HS2 turns out to be just a way of making Birmingham a suburb of London because it can be reached in 30 minutes, it will have fundamentally distorted the purpose of the project.

“This Conservative Government are dragging prosperity from the north rather than increasing it and the Liberal Democrats demand better.”

Best deal for UK is what we already have

Responding to reports in today’s Sunday Times that Theresa May has negotiated a deal with the EU that would see the UK remain in the Customs Union, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said: 

“The deal the PM seems to have secured will leave us as rule takers not rule makers.

“It is time she conceded that the best deal we will get is the one we already have: in the customs union, in the single market and in the EU.

“The PM must accept the growing calls around the country to put this to a People's Vote and provide an option to remain on the ballot paper.”

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Lib Dems demand more police to tackle violence epidemic

Responding to the claims from a senior police officer that children as young as nine are being caught carrying knives, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:
“It is heart-breaking that the epidemic of violent crime is claiming the lives of so many children.

“We urgently need more police officers on our streets to restore the community policing that helps to prevent violent crime. That’s why the Liberal Democrats are demanding an extra £300 million a year for the police.

“But we also need to tackle the root causes of this epidemic to stop it spreading in our communities. That requires a public health approach involving not only the police, but also health professionals, social workers and teachers.”

Friday, November 02, 2018

Government must take action on organised crime

Responding to reports from the National Crime Agency that show the extent of organised crime in the UK, Liberal Democrats Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:
“The true cost of organised crime extends well beyond the financial impact. It includes the children exploited by gangs, the vulnerable people held in modern slavery and the lives taken by trafficked weapons.
“That’s why the Liberal Democrats are demanding an extra £300 million a year for the police, to rebuild the community policing that helps to prevent gangs from operating, and greater investment in the Border Force to stop the trafficking of people, weapons and illegal drugs.
“But the biggest threat to the fight against organised crime is Brexit, which risks robbing us of crucial cross-border tools like the European Arrest Warrant and information-sharing systems. That’s why we are fighting to keep those tools, by giving the people the final say on the Brexit deal, with the option to remain.”

PM must end betting terminals delay

Responding to the announcement that DCMS Minister, Tracey Crouch, has resigned from the Government over their handling of fixed-odds betting terminals, Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said:
“When the Minister responsible for a policy steps down, you know the Government is moving in the wrong direction.

"These machines are a blight on our society and undeniably damaging to vulnerable people.

"Tracey Crouch knows this, so why doesn’t the Prime Minister? Theresa May should come to the floor of the House and explain why this will not be implemented for another year.”

Lib Dems lead rebellion against Tory tax cuts for higher earners

Commenting as 21 Labour MPs voted with the Liberal Democrats against raising the higher rate tax threshold, Lib Dem Leader, Vince Cable said:

“Despite the best efforts of their whips, 21 Labour MPs put principle above party and voted with the Liberal Democrats against the Government’s indefensible tax cuts for higher earners. 

“It is beyond belief that a party which claims to stand 'for the many, not the few', decided not to oppose the Government on this. Using the money to fund Universal Credit or end the benefits freeze would have been a far more progressive way of using the money. 

“On Brexit, Universal Credit and now the Budget, the Liberal Democrats have shown that we are the real opposition.”

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Grayling's complacency on airline route access is breathtaking


Responding to reports that the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has admitted to members of the Airport Operators Association that no talks on route access have been undertaken in preparation for Brexit, Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Baroness Randerson said:

“Grayling’s complacency is breathtaking and is not shared by the aviation industry, who are at the sharp end of the uncertainty Brexit has created.

"Only last week the NAO reported on the lack of preparation at our ports and airports and the huge economic and security impact that is likely to have. Instead, the Tory Government is happy to muddle on leaving passengers with huge uncertainty. Liberal Democrats demand better.
“This Government have been saying that everything will be fine for over two years, but they have never attempted to grapple with the complex detail Brexit. This is why the Liberal Democrats are demanding a final say on Brexit with an option to remain in the EU.”

Chancellor ignores rising violence and worsening prison crisis

Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget today, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:
“Given the sharp rise of serious violence on our streets and the worsening crisis in our prisons, it’s almost unbelievable that the Chancellor’s Budget contained not a single penny to tackle these problems. Merely promising to ‘review police spending power’ isn’t nearly good enough.
“Liberal Democrats demand better. We are calling for an extra £300 million a year to boost community policing and urgent investment to recruit more prison officers.”

Fiscal Phil's sticking plaster Budget

Responding to the Chancellor's Budget, Liberal Democrat Leader and former Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“This was all very modest stuff, with more in it for potholes than schools and the police. A standstill non-event. 

“With growth remaining stubbornly low and Brexit weighing down our economy, it is clear the big problems are still to be tackled. It was a sticking plaster Budget, when major surgery lies ahead.

“If we are to see an end to austerity, then we need a proper injection of cash - at least £19bn according to the IFS - in our public services. The Chancellor said he could end austerity without raising taxes, but that is highly unlikely in practice.

“The Chancellor dined out on the borrowing improvements the OBR has given him, but these are overshadowed by the damaging impact Brexit will have on the UK's public finances. These costs, which could reach £80bn a year in the event of 'no deal', risk turning today's Budget into a sideshow."

Conservative government throws in the towel on halting climate change

Responding to Chancellor Hammond's Budget, former Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey said: 

“This budget is grossly disappointing for those, like me, who care about fighting climate change and protecting the environment. The Chancellor has simply thrown in the towel.

"The Tories have frozen fuel duty, slashed electric car subsides, committed £30bn to new road building and promise to continue at the same level subsidies to the oil and gas industry, while offering a measly £60 million to planting new trees, as if that will negate the damage they’re doing.

"Liberal Democrats demand better. We would deliver a green budget, which promises more investment in renewable energy, not fossil fuels, borrowing to invest in infrastructure like rail, buses and electric vehicle charging points.”

Another year of the crack cocaine of fixed-odds betting terminals

Responding to the Chancellor's announcement today that the £2 maximum stake for Fixed-Odds-Betting-Terminals will not be implemented until October 2019, former Liberal Democrat Communities Minister Lord Foster said:

"We know with absolute certainty that this delay will see yet more lives ruined by these highly addictive machines. 

"Communities up and down the country see the damage that can be done when hundreds of pounds can be lost in minutes, if not seconds, day after day.  

"Families will be despairing tonight that a problem gambler that they care about faces another full year of living captive to these machines until the Government steps in and does the right thing."

Chancellor's Universal Credit spending barely recovers half the cuts of his predecessor

Responding to the Chancellor's Universal Credit plans from the Budget, Liberal Democrat DWP spokesperson Stephen Lloyd said:

“After stubbornly resisting for far too long, the Government has finally responded to pressure from the Liberal Democrats and put back some of the money into the Universal Credit Work Allowance, which they stupidly cut the moment we were no longer around to stop them. 
“However, the £1.7 billion per year the Chancellor committed to still does not make up for the £3 billion pa his predecessor George Osborne slashed from the benefit in 2015. We also heard nothing on ending the gratuitous benefits freeze early, or on making UC fairer for the self-employed. 
“UC’s serious design flaws were also not addressed, from long waiting times that are pushing people into indebtedness, to problems in how landlords are paid housing benefit. The pain caused by the roll-out of UC is not over yet.”

Brexit risks a repeat of the Windrush scandal for EU citizens

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has warned Brexit “risks a repeat of the Windrush scandal for EU citizens” following the appearance of Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes before the Home Affairs Select Committee this afternoon.

 Under questioning, the Immigration Minister was unable to answer how employers would be able to tell the difference between EU citizens who have been living in the UK for five years or more – and are therefore entitled to settled status – and those who haven’t, and would therefore be subject to new controls.
The Home Office is currently trialling the scheme for applying for settled status, but it isn’t due to be fully open until March 2019. The Government has said that EU citizens have until 30th June 2021 to apply. However, the Minister said today that, in the event of ‘no deal’, new immigration controls – including employer checks of immigration status – will apply to EU citizens as of next year.
Following the exchanges, Ed Davey said:
“Millions of EU citizens in the UK have been living under a cloud of uncertainty for more than two years. Far from clearing up that uncertainty today, the Immigration Minister made it worse.
“We’ve already seen in the Windrush scandal how the Conservatives’ hostile environment checks can destroy the lives of people who have every right to be in the UK. The Government’s chaotic approach to Brexit risks a repeat of that scandal for EU citizens.
“Liberal Democrats demand better. Conservative Ministers must end this uncertainty and offer a way out of this mess entirely by giving the people a final say on the Brexit deal, with the option to remain in the EU.”

CPS guidelines must be reformed to tackle ‘sex for rent’

Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Housing, today met the Ministry of Justice to call for the guidelines on prostitution to be updated to include digital platforms to help tackle ‘sex for rent’ crimes.

Following the meeting, Wera Hobhouse said: 
“The housing crisis is leaving many vulnerable individuals unable to afford their rent and at risk of exploitation. ‘Sex for rent’ crimes are not only vile, but completely illegal and the Government must do more to ensure those committing this crime are being brought to justice.
“The current Crown Prosecution Service guidelines for prostitution cover advertising in telephone boxes and newspapers, but not digital platforms. It is vital these guidelines are fit for purpose and police are given the tools they need to stamp out this crime.
“Updating these guidelines is long overdue and further inaction will leave some of the most vulnerable in our society with a choice of homelessness or exploitation.”

Monday, October 29, 2018

Government infrastructure plans lack future proofing

Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Jenny Randerson has urged the Government to invest in "rail, low emission buses and electric charging points" as reports indicate the Government is set to announce new investment for roads in the Budget. 

Jenny Randerson said:

"While it is welcome news that the Government will finally set aside much needed investment for our roads, their infrastructure plan lacks any future proofing.

"With climate change an ever greater threat, Liberal Democrats demand better. Ministers should be focusing on a model shift away from car use to public transport. That means investment in rail, low emission buses and electric charging points."

Chancellor should work with EU on taxing tech giants

Responding to reports that the Chancellor is considering a tax on tech giants, Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable said:
“Tech giants have got away without paying their fair share for too long. That is why I have urged the Chancellor on numerous occasions to introduce a new tax, and he has accepted the argument.
“The Chancellor will know the EU has already indicated a new EU-wide agreement is doable. Instead of working in isolation, the Chancellor should be willing to work with our European allies and others around the world. Now is the time to deliver.”

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Cable: Broken business rates system should be abolished

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable has warned that the Chancellor's business rates relief is nothing more than "hand-to-mouth support" and has called for the broken business rates system to be abolished. 

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said: 

"The UK high street is suffering the worst year on record, with in-store sales falling and hundreds of thousands of jobs lost. 

"While I welcome any relief, hand-to-mouth support for businesses simply isn't sustainable. Liberal Democrats demand better. There needs to be a fundamental change to the system. 

"We must create a level playing field between the high street and online retailers. That means scrapping the broken business rates system and replacing it with a tax on land values that would boost investment and cut taxes for businesses in nine out of ten English local authorities."

Government dragging its feet on helping Chagos islanders

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine MP has today demanded the Government address the immigration struggles of Chagos islanders, after the British Indian Ocean Territory (Citizenship) Bill was blocked from advancing for the second time. 

The Bill, which has cross party support, was objected to at its initial Stage 2 reading on Friday 16th March 2018 and has now been blocked in the House of Commons for a second time.

The Home Affairs Committee report on the Windrush generation recommends that the Government support the British Indian Ocean Territory (Citizenship) Bill and “allow anyone who can prove that they are descended from a person born on the Chagos Islands to register as a British overseas territories citizen and thereby have a right to remain in the UK”.

Christine Jardine said:

“The Government cannot kick the can down the road on Chagossians’ futures forever in the hope it won’t be noticed. We will not let them repeat the mistreatments of Windrush. 

“The Home Secretary has promised to consider this appeal for months now. He must immediately confirm whether the government will support the BIOT Bill and quash the worries of the descendants of those evicted from Chagos, who can’t return home and can’t meet the steep costs of citizenship.

“This is is the Windrush scandal all over again. This Conservative Government has neither learned nor changed.”

Government wasting hundreds of millions on short term sentences

Responding to new statistics on the number of people going to prison on short-term sentences, Liberal Democrat spokesperson Ed Davey said:

“The Justice Secretary has admitted that short-term sentences don’t work, and yet we are still spending hundreds of millions of pounds to lock people up for a matter of months.
“Even worse, the Government is now trying to create new mandatory short-term sentences, which will tie judges’ hands and worsen prison overcrowding while failing to actually prevent crime.
“The Liberal Democrats demand better. We are opposing the Government’s new mandatory sentences, and calling for a presumption against short prison sentences and greater use of tough community sentences, which have been shown to be more effective at reducing reoffending.”

Friday, October 26, 2018

Minister must answer for ‘secret’ fracking meeting

Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Tim Farron has today called for the Climate Change Minister, Claire Perry, to make a statement to Parliament to explain why she held an unrecorded meeting with fracking companies.

The Liberal Democrat MP also wants the Climate Change Minister to explain her proposed plan to relax rules designed to halt fracking operations given Cuadrilla has been forced to suspend fracking at their Lancashire site after a 0.8 magnitude earthquake was recorded.

Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron said: 

“The public will expect questions to be asked about the Climate Change Minister and her ‘secret’ meeting with fracking companies. We need to know who Minsters are being lobbied by and what they discussed, otherwise there can be no confidence in the Government. 

“Given the Climate Change Minister has also proposed a plan to relax rules designed to halt fracking, the public have a right to know why. Lib Dems put those measures in place to safeguard communities, as has been the case in Lancashire. 

“The Liberal Democrats demand better. The Climate Change Minister must give a statement to Parliament and be held to account by MPs.”

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Chancellor must use budget to boost community policing

Responding to a report from the Home Affairs Select Committee called 'Policing for the future', Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

“Unnecessary Conservative police cuts have already made our streets less safe. The Home Office’s own analysis shows that police cuts have likely contributed to the rise in serious violent crime, yet the Conservatives continue to squeeze forces’ budgets.
“The Liberal Democrats demand better. We’re calling on the Chancellor to use his Budget to give police forces an extra £300 million a year to recruit more officers and boost community policing.”
“If the Chancellor refuses to give police the funding they need, he should make sure that some of his extra money for the NHS is used to improve health services for people in mental health crisis, to stop the burden falling on police officers.”

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Hostile environment hinders fight against modern slavery

Responding to the Government's modern slavery report, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said: 

“Theresa May once rightly called modern slavery ‘the great human rights issue of our time’, yet her own policies are playing into the hands of slavers.
“Her hostile environment makes it harder for victims to come forward, cuts to the police and the Border Force have left fewer officers on the frontline, and now Brexit threatens the cross-border co-operation that puts traffickers behind bars.
“Liberal Democrats demand better for the victims of modern slavery. We will end the hostile environment, invest in the police and the Border Force, and fight to protect our cross-border crime-fighting tools.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Lamb: PM should follow Trudeau and legalise cannabis

Responding to the news that Canada has legalised the recreational use of cannabis, former Health Minister Norman Lamb said:

“Theresa May should follow Justin Trudeau’s lead in this liberal and sensible approach to legalising cannabis. As the former Home Secretary, she should know full well that the Government has lost control of drug-related crime in this country; and that the criminal market is causing violence in many communities.  
“An independent expert panel, which I set up in 2015, estimated that by legalising cannabis in the UK we could raise up to £1 billion annually in taxes, money that could be invested in policing, health and education.
“The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to legalise cannabis and take the market out of the hands of criminals, so that we can properly protect young people from the risks of buying cannabis on the streets.”

Tories must not be allowed to run out the Brexit clock

Responding to Michael Gove’s comments that there might not be a Brexit deal until December, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said: 

“The Conservatives are making a mess out of Brexit.

“Theresa May is trying to run out the clock and push Parliament into a bad deal, or no deal at all. The future of this country must not come down to diplomatic filibustering.

“MPs must not allow this form of legislative blackmail. Instead they must give the people the final say on Brexit and an option to remain in the EU.” 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Swinson and Cable call on Hammond to work with EU on taxing tech giants

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Jo Swinson MP has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer calling on him to throw his weight behind a new EU tax on tech giants. 

Leader Vince Cable has co-signed the letter, which urges Philip Hammond to use the Budget to set out how he will incorporate the EU's initiative into any Treasury initiative to tax big internet firms. 

Following reports that a new European tax on internet companies could be agreed by the end of the year, Jo said:

“I urge the Chancellor to focus his energy on making this EU-wide tax happen. This is a golden opportunity that we cannot afford to miss.

“Tech giants are getting away with not paying their fair share of tax because we make it easy for them.

"The time to act is now if we want to create a level playing field for businesses in the UK and give our struggling high streets a much needed boost.

“Britain is always at its best when it brings countries together in a common cause. If we want to tax tech giants we must work together with our European allies and others around the globe.”

Monday, October 15, 2018

Action on climate change must replace yet more chat

Responding to news today that the Government will ask the Climate Change Committee for guidance on reaching net zero carbon, Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson and former Leader Tim Farron said: 

“We’re well past the time for talking. Driven by ideological compulsion rather than facts, the Conservatives have lurched drastically away from supporting green technologies. 

“This has created the uncertainty that has caused businesses to put their money elsewhere. Investment in solar, wind and other renewables in the UK slumped by 56% - billions of pounds - last year, while the rest of the world’s spending grew. 

“No more chat, no more prevarication. The Conservatives must get on with the job and provide necessary support to green technologies, as the Liberal Democrats did in government.” 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

No-deal Brexit means UK walking away from global trade deals

Responding to the release of the 'no-deal Brexit' papers Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

“The Government have parted company with reality: they are seriously proposing that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, they will at that point start running around, trying to replicate all the deals they would have just walked away from. They are completely silent on how they would deliver this from such a weak position, what businesses are meant to do before bilateral deals are signed and the scale of the damage such an approach would inflict.
“Since triggering Article 50 without a plan, Theresa May has made a mess out of Brexit. The attempts at every stage to placate the right-wing Conservative Brexiters, by putting their interests ahead of the country’s is a national disgrace.
“It is time for the public to be given the final say with a People’s Vote on what happens next, with the right to exit from Brexit.”

Davey: Government gamble on electricity is deeply disturbing


Responding to reports that a no-deal Brexit could damage access to electricity in Northern Ireland, former Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary Ed Davey said:

“As Secretary of State I saw the electricity market in Ireland working extremely successfully, guaranteeing power to Northern Ireland and having a positive impact on energy prices.

“The fact that the Prime Minister is willing to gamble with the electricity which powers thousands of homes in Northern Ireland is deeply disturbing.

"The people of Northern Ireland should not have to wait and see if the lights turn on in April 2019. That is why the government must give the people the final say on Brexit with an option to remain.”