Saturday, May 28, 2022

Sunak treating unpaid carers with “disdain” amid £193m cut to support

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has accused Rishi Sunak of treating family carers with “disdain,” after they were left out of the government’s cost of living package.

The Carer’s Allowance was excluded from the list of benefits qualifying for additional support under the plans set out by the Chancellor.

It comes as new analysis by the Liberal Democrats shows unpaid carers are facing a cut to the Carer’s Allowance of £207 each this year once soaring inflation is factored in. It means the country’s one million unpaid carers receiving the Carer's Allowance are facing a combined hit of £193 million this year.

The Government is increasing Carer’s Allowance by 3.1% from £67.60 a week to £69.70, or an increase of just 30p a day, despite inflation rocketing to 9% in April.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for the Carer’s Allowance to be increased by £1,000 a year.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

“Rishi Sunak is treating family carers with utter disdain by refusing to offer them extra support.

“Family carers are facing huge pressures right now as petrol prices, energy bills and food prices all go through the roof. They are playing a vital role caring for loved ones, but their only reward from this Conservative government is to see the Carer’s Allowance slashed by over £200 this year.

“It is typical of the Conservatives who time and again have ignored the plight of family carers and treated them like dirt.

“The Chancellor needs to make one more U-turn and give unpaid carers the extra support they deserve.

“Unlike this out of touch government, the Liberal Democrats will stand for carers with our calls to increase the Carers’ Allowance by £1,000 a year.”


Lord Geidt powers: PM rigging the rules to get himself off the hook

Responding to Lord Geidt's powers being published which show that the ministerial code has been watered down, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

"This is an appalling attempt by Boris Johnson to rig the rules to get himself off the hook.

"It seems the Conservatives have learnt nothing from the Owen Paterson scandal.

"The Prime Minister shouldn't be allowed to decide on his own punishment - with zero accountability. This is making him judge and jury in his own case.

"If the privileges committee finds Boris Johnson lied to Parliament, surely Conservative MPs will have no choice but to sack him."

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

PM must hand minutes of Sue Gray meeting over to Privileges Committee


The Liberal Democrats have called on Boris Johnson to hand over the minutes of his meeting with Sue Gray to the Privileges Committee, which will be investigating whether Boris Johnson misled Parliament. 

The party is also calling for the records of contact between Downing Street and Sue Gray on her inquiry to be released to the Committee and made public, including emails, letters and messages.

It comes following reports that the Prime Minister ‘pressured’ Sue Gray to drop her report in a recent meeting. 

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP commented: 

“The suggestion that Boris Johnson pressured Sue Gray to drop her full report is a new low.

“The Privileges Committee must be given access to the minutes of this meeting as well as any other contact between the Prime Minister and Sue Gray. It’s finally time to uncover the truth after months of Johnson’s lies and cover ups.

“These latest reports serve as a timely warning of the sort of tactics Johnson will resort to in order to save his own skin and exert pressure on those looking into his lies and illegal behaviour.

"If Johnson did really try to block publication of the report, the public deserves to know. Any hint of a stitch up would do even more damage to public trust.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Partygate pictures: Boris Johnson has taken the British people for fools

Responding to images being released of Boris Johnson drinking at a party in Downing Street during Covid restrictions, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper MP said:

“People will rightly be furious to see pictures of Johnson drinking at what is an obvious party, when he repeatedly told us that the rules were followed at all times.“These photos show Boris Johnson has taken the British people for fools. While the public made huge sacrifices, he partied in Number 10.“It’s becoming clearer than ever that Boris Johnson lied to the British people and to Parliament. Conservative MPs must do their duty and sack this law-breaking Prime Minister. Every day he remains in office will do more damage to public trust and to our democracy."


Monday, May 23, 2022

Coalition administration for Neath Port Talbot

 Plaid Cymru and the majority of independent councillors have agreed to form a coalition to run the council following the loss of overall control by Labour. The council leader will be the independents' Steve Hunt and his deputy Alun Llewelyn, leader of Plaid Cymru on the council.

Liberal Democrat and Green councillors have decided not to join the coalition but will support it where necessary to ensure smooth running of the county borough. Cllr. Helen Ceri Clarke, Leader of the Coedffranc Liberal and Green Group group commented: “Public opinion is fundamental to democracy and people in Neath Port Talbot have obviously voted for change. By entering into a confidence and supply agreement, we can help facilitate this change, whilst retaining our independent voice on the council and representing the best interests of residents.”

The full announcement is at https://www.npt.gov.uk/1410?pr_id=7031

Lib Dems table motion to publish minutes of Johnson and Sue Gray meeting

The Liberal Democrats will today table a motion in Parliament to force the Government to release the minutes of Boris Johnson’s meeting with Sue Gray. 

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain will lay a Humble Address motion in Parliament, calling on the Government to publish the details of the meeting, including who was responsible for arranging it. 

The motion will also call for the publication of all contact between Johnson and Gray during the course of the inquiry into breaches of coronavirus regulations in Downing Street. 

This step comes following speculation over the origin and contents of the meeting between Boris Johnson and Sue Gray. 

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP commented: 

“The public would be rightly angry if it turns out Boris Johnson put pressure on Sue Gray to water down her report into illegal Downing Street parties. A lack of transparency at this pivotal moment risks undermining the entire inquiry.

“Johnson repeatedly stood up in Parliament and said this report would be completely independent, and would provide answers about the rule-breaking parties in Number 10.

“We deserve to know whether this meeting really was an attempt to turn the report into a Downing Street stitch-up. 

“If the Government refuses to release the minutes of this meeting, then Liberal Democrats will use powers in Parliament to force them to.”

Friday, May 20, 2022

Lib Dems announce former Army Major as Tiverton and Honiton by-election candidate

  • Ed Davey declares by-election a two-horse race between "Boris Johnson’s Conservatives and hard-working Liberal Democrat local champion"
  • Lib Dem candidate will campaign on the need to slash taxes, cut GP waiting times and secure a fairer deal for Devon farmers

The Liberal Democrats have announced that Richard Foord will be their candidate for the upcoming Tiverton & Honiton by-election. 

Richard lives in Uffculme with his wife and family. He grew up in the West Country and served for ten years in the Army after Commissioning from Sandhurst, reaching the rank of Major and receiving three campaign medals for service in Iraq and the Balkans.

Living locally, Richard is active across the community. He volunteers at two scout groups in the area and has raised thousands of pounds for charities, including running the London Marathon for the Royal British Legion.

Richard has pledged to be a strong local voice for Devon if elected, by fighting for urgent action on the cost of living, cutting ambulance and GP waiting times, and getting a fairer deal for Devon farmers. 

In April, the Liberal Democrats won the Cullompton South by-election against the Conservatives. They have also been winning across the UK, gaining neighbouring Somerset Council at the local elections and winning two successful parliamentary by-elections against the Conservatives, including the rural constituency of North Shropshire.

Announcing his candidacy, Richard said:

“Boris Johnson’s Conservatives are taking rural communities in Devon for granted. Towns and villages across the constituency are being hit hard by unfair tax hikes and receiving no help with spiralling energy bills and rising prices at the fuel pump. 

“This Conservative Government has run our local health services into the ground. Ambulance waiting times across Devon are soaring, and thousands are left waiting for weeks in pain, for a GP or dentist appointment.

“I was proud to serve my country in the Armed Forces for ten years and now want to serve my community in Westminster. We need politicians who listen to the needs of local people and work tirelessly to deliver for our area.“This by-election is a chance to send a message that it's time for a change. Towns and villages in our areas have been ignored for far too long. If elected, I pledge to take no-one for granted and stand up for our local communities in Parliament.”

Commenting on the announcement Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

“Richard is an incredible candidate, whose dedication to others has shone not only through his career, but also in his voluntary roles in the community. 

“This by-election will be a two-horse race between Boris Johnson’s Conservatives and hard-working Liberal Democrat local champion, Richard Foord. This Conservative government has taken Devon for granted with local health services being neglected and botched and with trade deals undercutting farmers at every turn. 

“The Liberal Democrats are the clear challengers to the Conservatives in Tiverton & Honiton.  On 23rd June, you can elect a strong local champion who will stand up for our communities and help kick Boris Johnson out of Number 10.”

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Sunak CBI speech: Tax cuts for businesses, tax hikes for families

Responding Rishi Sunak's promises of tax cuts for businesses in his speech to a CBI dinner last night, while not offering additional help for families, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP said:

"Rishi Sunak is promising tax cuts for businesses, while hiking taxes for families. It shows he's completely out of touch with those struggling with soaring bills and fuel prices.

"Every day that goes without any extra support, more people are being plunged into debt and poverty. If the Chancellor was serious about helping people cope, he'd announce an emergency tax cut now."

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Inflation: Emergency VAT cut needed now to slash prices

Responding to inflation reaching 9%, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

"Families and pensioners on the brink need saving from soaring inflation but this Conservative government is nowhere to be found.

"We need an emergency VAT cut now to slash prices at the till and fuel pump today. The warning lights are all flashing red and Boris Johnson hasn't a second to lose."

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Wages fall confirms we are facing "cost of living nightmare"

Responding to the latest ONS figures showing regular pay fell by 1.2% in January to March 2022, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP said: 

"These figures confirm families are facing a cost of living nightmare, with wages failing to keep up with soaring energy bills and food prices.

"It is the worst possible time to be raising taxes on struggling families, yet still the Chancellor is ploughing ahead.

"Rishi Sunak has cashed in billions of pounds in extra VAT receipts this year as prices go through the roof. He needs to put some of this money back into people's pockets through an emergency tax cut, instead of cashing in on their misery.

"Slashing VAT would cut prices, reduce inflation and boost spending, it should be a no brainer."

Petrol profiteers: Haul bosses into Downing Street

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has called on Boris Johnson to haul petrol firm bosses into Downing Street, after research by the RAC found they have failed to pass on nearly half of the fuel duty cut to consumers.

The Liberal Democrats are also calling for an emergency VAT cut that would save the average family £600 a year.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

“This Conservative government is sitting on its hands and allowing petrol firms to rake in eye-watering profits at the expense of hard-pressed families.

“This government’s failure to tackle soaring prices of petrol and diesel is hitting our rural communities hardest. They need help now, instead we have a government in chaos that is raising taxes again and again.

“It’s high time Boris Johnson hauled petrol retailers into Downing Street to grill them on why the fuel duty cut hasn’t been passed on. 

“Ministers need to act now to tackle this petrol profiteering and slash taxes to put money back into people’s pockets”.

The Liberal Democrats are the main challengers to the Conservatives in Tiverton and Honiton

Responding to the announcement that the Tiverton & Honiton by-election will take place on Thursday 23rd June, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey MP said:

"People in rural communities like Devon have had enough of being neglected by this Conservative government.

“The Conservatives' failure to tackle the cost of living crisis has left millions struggling to pay their bills, while people wait hours for an ambulance and weeks for a GP or dentist appointment.

“The Liberal Democrats are the main challengers to the Conservatives in Tiverton and Honiton. On the 23rd June voters can send Boris Johnson’s government a message they cannot ignore - and elect a strong local champion who will stand up for them.”

Northern Ireland Protocol: Changes risk starting a trade war with our largest trading partner

Responding to Liz Truss's statement on changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

“Any responsible Government would today be announcing an emergency VAT cut to combat soaring bills and food costs. Instead Boris Johnson’s Conservatives are putting forward plans that will make it even harder for the millions of families who are struggling to make ends meet. 

“If the Conservatives go ahead with these plans, they risk starting a trade war with our largest trading partner which will turn a cost of living crisis into a catastrophe. 

“At a time when we should be working with our allies in the face of Russian aggression, these measures, which breach international law, will ignite a diplomatic firestorm. This public posturing undermines our standing on the world stage and only makes matters worse. The implementation of the Protocol will only be solved by the UK and EU calmly working together pragmatically to find solutions, such as negotiating a veterinary agreement. ”

Monday, May 16, 2022

Conservatives trashing Britain's reputation as a development superpower

Responding to the release of the International Development Strategy, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said: 

“The Conservative Government is trying to run and hide from the devastating impact of their aid cuts. The callous decision to slash aid spending is so scarcely mentioned in the Strategy it’s like they’re pretending it doesn’t exist. 

“The Foreign Secretary won’t even appear before Parliament to announce this new Strategy - because she knows that she will face difficult questions on how this broken Conservative promise is harming the most vulnerable around the world.”

“The Conservatives’ true strategy on international development is demonstrated by their actions, not their words. Development has been relegated from the Cabinet table, the aid budget has been slashed, and the UK’s proud reputation as a development superpower has been comprehensively trashed. The Government’s misguided new focus on ‘aid for trade’ is yet another blow for the world’s poorest. The UK Government should restore the 0.7% of GNI target for international development spending immediately.”

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Windfall tax "flip flopping" is a sign of a government in chaos

Responding to Boris Johnson's latest comments on introducing a windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas companies, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

"The mixed signals from Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak over a windfall tax are a sign of a government in chaos that is failing to act on the cost of living emergency.

"People want to see decisive action now to help them with soaring energy bills. Instead we have day after day of contradictory statements, while energy companies rake in record profits and families can't afford to put food on the table.

"It is a clear sign that Boris Johnson is simply not fit to lead us through this time of national crisis. We need strong leadership, not endless flip flopping."

A ton of partygate fines shows "shocking scale" of law-breaking in Johnson's Number 10

Responding to the news that the Met Police have now issued 100 fines over partygate, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said: 

"Boris Johnson stood up in Parliament and said Covid rules were followed in Number 10 at all times.

"Now 100 fines have been issued by the police over partygate. It shows the shocking scale of the law-breaking in Johnson's Downing Street and the extent of his lies."

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Emergency budget: £38m tax bill for every day of inaction



  • Every day without an emergency budget costs the squeezed-middle £38 million extra in taxes

  • Households pay extra £1.6 million in tax for every hour Parliament debates Queen’s Speech

  • Lib Dem MP calls the debate “the most expensive waste of time by Parliament I have ever known”

Analysis by the Liberal Democrats has found the additional tax hikes introduced by this Conservative Government is costing households £38 million a day.  

The figures come as Michael Gove denied the Government would be introducing an Emergency Budget this week despite hints from the Prime Minister in Parliament yesterday. 

Today, Parliament will be debating the Queen’s Speech, yet hard-pressed families will be forking out an extra £1.6 million per hour in tax hikes. These tax increases include the hit from National Insurance Contributions increasing and the Government freezing the income tax thresholds, which impacts the squeezed-middle. 

The Liberal Democrats are calling for an Emergency Budget to slash VAT which would save the average family £600 a year. 

Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP said: 

"The squeezed-middle are drowning in tax hikes and spiralling energy bills yet Rishi Sunak is nowhere to be found.

“Imagine watching the news today and seeing MPs talk for hours on end about a bunch of new laws that will not save you a single penny. This is the most expensive waste of Parliament's time I have ever known. Every second that ticks by ratchets up the tax bills for hard-pressed families. 

"Now is the time for an emergency budget to slash taxes and save hard-pressed families on the brink. Dark clouds are looming over our economy and every day of inaction from this Chancellor will force more people to make the heartbreaking decision between heating and eating.”

ENDS

  • Every day without an emergency budget costs the squeezed-middle £38 million extra in taxes

  • Households pay extra £1.6 million in tax for every hour Parliament debates Queen’s Speech

  • Lib Dem MP calls the debate “the most expensive waste of time by Parliament I have ever known”

Analysis by the Liberal Democrats has found the additional tax hikes introduced by this Conservative Government is costing households £38 million a day.  

The figures come as Michael Gove denied the Government would be introducing an Emergency Budget this week despite hints from the Prime Minister in Parliament yesterday. 

Today, Parliament will be debating the Queen’s Speech, yet hard-pressed families will be forking out an extra £1.6 million per hour in tax hikes. These tax increases include the hit from National Insurance Contributions increasing and the Government freezing the income tax thresholds, which impacts the squeezed-middle. 

The Liberal Democrats are calling for an Emergency Budget to slash VAT which would save the average family £600 a year. 

Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP said: 

"The squeezed-middle are drowning in tax hikes and spiralling energy bills yet Rishi Sunak is nowhere to be found.

“Imagine watching the news today and seeing MPs talk for hours on end about a bunch of new laws that will not save you a single penny. This is the most expensive waste of Parliament's time I have ever known. Every second that ticks by ratchets up the tax bills for hard-pressed families. 

"Now is the time for an emergency budget to slash taxes and save hard-pressed families on the brink. Dark clouds are looming over our economy and every day of inaction from this Chancellor will force more people to make the heartbreaking decision between heating and eating.”


Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Neath Port Talbot council impasse

 Local Liberal Democrats are in discussions about the best way to make progress following the result of last Thursday's elections.


Ed Davey: Queen's Speech shows Conservatives are neglecting rural communities

Responding to the Queen’s Speech, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

“This Queen’s Speech does nothing to help the millions of families and pensioners facing soaring bills and eye watering inflation. The Conservatives have failed to deliver a cut to VAT that would have saved families an average of £600, failed to help pensioners and failed to help the most vulnerable in our society.

“The Conservatives are continuing to neglect rural communities. There was nothing in these plans to support farmers on the brink, to tackle soaring ambulance waiting times and GP shortages, or to stop the dumping of filthy sewage into our river and seas.

“It shows a Prime Minister refusing to listen to the clear message sent by voters at last week’s local elections who are fed up of being taken for granted by this Conservative Government.”

Public Order Bill: Johnson and Patel recycling discredited plans


Responding to the Government announcement that they will try to revive some proposals that were rejected from the Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill in a new 'Public Order Bill', Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP:
 
"These dangerous and draconian plans aren’t about stopping guerilla protestors - the police already have the powers to stop them. Instead, this is yet another desperate attempt to distract from a failing Government that is running out of steam."Last week, millions of people across the country sent a signal to the Conservatives that they were fed up with being taken for granted. Yet now we see they have nothing new to offer."So rather than wasting time recycling discredited plans, which have already been rejected by Parliament, Ministers should be taking real action to tackle the cost of living crisis which is hurting families across the country."

Friday, May 06, 2022

Two successes, one failure in county borough elections

 Congratulations to Helen Clarke for retaining - and increasing her majority over Labour - in Coedffranc West, and to Cen Phillips for joining her in the expanded council ward. He was also well clear of the nearest opposition. 

Frank Little was squeezed in a bitter battle between Labour and the Green Party in Coedffranc Central and finished bottom of the poll. The councillors for this expanded ward will be Angharad Aubrey for Welsh Labour and Nathan Goldup-John for the Greens. Frank will, however, serve as community councillor for the ward.

Full results will be on the council's website.