Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Osborne must go back to the drawing-board, says Farron

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim farron said after last night's votes in the House of Lords

The Government has been forced into an embarrassing climb down. George Osborne must now go back to the drawing board and come back with plans to balance the books that don’t simply attack working families who are already struggling to get by.

We have sent a clear signal to the Tories that the British people will not accept this scale of attack on the vital support they need.

Tonight’s vote gives people hope, but the threat still looms large.

It is utterly depressing that Labour did not join with the Liberal Democrats to kill off the cuts to Tax Credits completely.

We support the delay in the proposals and the demand for transitional protection, but this alone won’t stop the Conservative’s attack on working families who rely on Tax Credits, or ensure that it really does pay more to be in work than remain on benefits.

The Liberal Democrats will continue to do all we can stop tax credit changes that disproportionately hurt low-earning families, and urge others to do the same.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Welsh NHS performance "not good enough"

Walesonline reports the worst performance in the NHS in five months - nearly 2,000 patients spent more than 12 hours in Welsh A&E departments during September, though figures also showed there was an improvement in the proportion of patients spending less than four hours in emergency units.

Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said the latest figures were not good enough .
She said: “The Welsh Labour Government’s own target is that only 5% of patients should spend more than four hours in all emergency care facilities from arrival until admission, transfer or discharge, yet in Abertawe Bro Morgannwg over 22% of people waited longer.”

“It is also very worrying indeed that there has been a huge jump in the number of people waiting over 12 hours in A&E. Being in the accident and emergency department is an incredibly stressful time for a person and these extremely long waits will only add to that stress.”

Friday, October 16, 2015

The EU is about opportunity

The Vote Leave and Leave EU campaigns are "male, pale and stale," writes Catherine Bearder MEP. The board of the Stronger In campaign "represents all sections of society – students, the arts, business and trade unions – and almost half its members are women".

She goes on: "Young people in particular are historically the least likely to vote, but the latest polls show 83% of them want to stay in the EU. [We should emphasise] that the EU is all about opportunity. Whether it is a ski season in Austria or a summer working in a bar in Spain, being in the EU has made it easier than ever before to start a new life almost anywhere in Europe. Since 2007, 100,000 British students have received Erasmus grants to study abroad, giving them a chance to expand their horizons and make friends from all over the continent. Thousands of young people currently live and work around Europe, from Barcelona to Berlin. Many of us now take it for granted, but one central achievement of the EU is that opportunity no longer ends at our national borders. As EU citizens we have easy access to opportunities in 28 different countries.

"This includes the chance to come out and work in Brussels (which unfortunately young Brits don’t often take advantage of!). There are paid traineeship schemes at the various EU institutions [...] which provide an excellent way to get your foot in the door and gain some international experience."

Erasmus also offers a chance to avoid the student loans scheme.

Read more of Catherine's article here.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Welsh LibDem leader outraged by advice session snooping charter

Liberal Democrat politicians have reacted with alarm to yesterday’s ruling on the Wilson Doctrine The Investigatory Powers Tribunal basically shrugged off Harold Wilson’s declaration in 1966 that MPs’ phones would not be intercepted without him knowing, saying that it had no basis in law.
This comes on top of two Police forces abusing their powers to try to find journalists’ sources. If an MP, or a lawyer, or a journalist is investigating the Government for doing something it shouldn’t, the idea that the Government could snoop on that investigation is alarming.
This is why Liberal Democrats from across the UK have been quick to demand appropriate protections.
Kirsty Williams, the Welsh Lib Dem leader said it was outrageous that it was considered acceptable to spy on members of devolved parliaments:
It’s a huge concern that there is no legal basis for the convention limiting intelligence services from tapping the phones of MPs and Peers. However, it would seem that convention doesn’t even apply to parliamentarians outside of Westminster.
People need to trust that when they contact their Assembly Member they can do so securely. Day in, day out, we deal with private and confidential issues on behalf of our constituencies. That trust must never be jeopardised.
It is completely outrageous that it is considered acceptable to spy on elected politicians in devolved legislatures.
The UK Government must ensure the Wilson Doctrine applies for legislatures across the UK.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Liberals and Democrats in Europe success

Although only the fourth largest grouping in the European Parliament, ALDE was the most successful in winning votes in the plenary session just ended. The UK's Liberal Democrat representative, Catherine Bearder, is a member of this group.


More about the make-up of the various groups at http://www.votewatch.eu/.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Hospital waiting list figures in Wales rise again

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-34475863 refers.
Welsh Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams said Labour had "lost control of our NHS".
Ms Williams accused Labour of "failure" on public services and a "poverty of ambition".
"NHS staff are working around the clock to offer the very best treatment they can," she said. "Sadly they are having to work in very trying circumstances which is making their job incredibly difficult."

Labour's e-cigarette myth evaporates

WalesOnline reports that a recent survey cannot find a single e-cigarette user who has not smoked before.

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said: “If Labour’s claims that e-cigarettes were a gateway to tobacco were correct, we should be seeing people who have never smoked a cigarette before using e-cigs now.
“In fact, the opposite is true: Labour’s survey couldn’t find a single e-cigarette user who’s never smoked a cigarette before.
“Welsh Labour Ministers must be pretty embarrassed that their own report is undermining their own argument for a vaping ban.
“It’s about time they listened to the evidence, and the thousands of people who have supported the Welsh Lib Dems’ campaign against their proposed ban, and scrapped these illiberal and illogical proposals.”

Thursday, October 08, 2015

We challenge Andrew RT Davies to disown Theresa May's Little Englandism

Federal party leader Tim Farron and Scottish and Welsh leaders Willie Rennie and Kirsty Williams were swift to challenge their Conservative counterparts to disown Theresa May’s “borderline xenophobic” comments in her conference speech earlier this week.

Kirsty said:

Andrew Davies must speak out against Theresa May’s outrageous speech or we must assume that he shares her views. He was right last month to call for extra help for refugees fleeing the crisis in Syria, but his position is at odds with the borderline xenophobia we heard from the Home Secretary.

Britain is socially, culturally and economically richer for our outward looking, tolerant approach. Yet this Conservative government is whipping up fear and mistrust.

The battle for a better Europe started in Bournemouth


Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Pause in local government reorganisation

The Local Government Bill was meant to have been voted through on Tuesday but has been pulled from the Assembly agenda
Welsh Lib Dem shadow local government minister Peter Black, LibDem AM for South Wales West,  added: “This is the sign of a Labour Government that’s running scared, afraid of being left red-faced by the loss of a vote. I can’t help but think that if Labour’s minister hadn’t acted so arrogantly on this from the beginning, he wouldn’t have been left with no-one willing to work with him.
“Welsh Liberal Democrats have laid our cards on the table right from the very start: we will not support this bill without fairer votes for local council elections. I sincerely hope that the other parties won’t back down for any less.”

Friday, October 02, 2015

Great Swansea Bay renewable power project under threat

South Wales West AM Peter Black said he is concerned that investors could take their money elsewhere following a green subsidy decision delay from the UK Government
He said: "“I am a big supporter of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, but it is quite clear that the failure of the UK Government to agree the price for the electricity it will generate within the original timetable has led to this delay.
"The danger now is that the project will lose momentum and that investors will take their money elsewhere.
“More seriously, the fact that the UK Government is dragging its heels over the feed-in tariff suggest that they may not be prepared to pay the price the company needs to make the project viable.
"I am concerned that the government’s lack of commitment to the lagoon and to renewable energy generally could kill it off completely.
“The Conservative Secretary of State for Energy needs to give some assurances that this will not be the case and accelerate the decision-making process so that Swansea, and those who want to invest in this project can have some certainty about the lagoon’s future.”