Friday, August 31, 2018

Torture revelations show immigration detention is inhumane

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons has released a report revealing that victims of torture have been detained at Tinsley House immigration removal centre in Gatwick.

Commenting on the report, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey MP said:
“These revelations are shocking but sadly not surprising. We’ve already heard far too many cases of people being held in detention centres after fleeing torture abroad.
“Locking vulnerable people up – without giving them any idea of how long they’ll be detained – can cause or exacerbate mental health problems. We’ve heard harrowing, heart-breaking stories of detainees being traumatised to the point of self-harm and even attempting suicide.
“Indefinite detention on this scale is patently inhumane. It’s also expensive and often unnecessary.
“The Liberal Democrats demand better. Detention should only be used as an absolute last resort, and the Government must develop community-based alternatives that are both more humane and more cost-effective.”

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Tories are betraying our chance for cleaner, safer future

Today's letter from the Solar Trade Association, with hundreds of stakeholder signatories, calls on Energy Minister Claire Perry to confirm the continuation of the 'export tariff', which works alongside the Feed-In Tariff to ensure that small solar generators are remunerated fairly for the energy they feed into the grid. Ed Davey, former Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said:

“After the blistering heatwave this summer, even Conservative Ministers should have realised the urgency of rolling out more green energy, especially small scale solar power but once again they’re betraying our chance for a cleaner, safer future. 

“It’s now beyond doubt that the Conservatives have lost the plot when it comes to fighting climate change and backing the low carbon power we need.

“Solar support has already been cut drastically leading to a dramatic fall in investment. This latest Conservative assault on renewable power could be the nail in the coffin and makes no economic or environmental sense at all.

“I’m proud Liberal Democrats helped developed huge amounts of solar and wind power, and outraged that the Conservatives seem to want to kill off renewables in favour of fracked gas and nuclear.”

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Africa trip reveals government's incoherent trade policy

Responding to the Prime Minister's visit to drum up trade in Africa, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

“The Government are clearly losing the plot, when in the same breath they both talk up trade with Africa and claim that a 'No-Deal Brexit' with our largest trading partner, the EU, would not be a catastrophe.

“The truth is that the UK within the EU could trade much more extensively than it does currently with countries around the world; Germany and France do so very successfully.

“The Government’s incoherent trade policy points to an ever more urgent need to give the people a final say on the deal and a chance to exit from Brexit."

Monday, August 27, 2018

WTO reveals true scale of no-deal crisis

Responding to warnings from the Director General of the World Trade Organisation that it is “not realistic” to believe the UK can start trading under WTO rules the day after Brexit in March, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said: 
“The damage for businesses and families unveiled in the Conservative Government’s no-deal Brexit papers are clear to see.
“But the Government’s assertions were based on falling back on WTO rules and now even the WTO have warned there is no certainty the UK can follow these immediately.
“Without WTO rules, just imagine the true scale of the crisis facing the country now because of Theresa May’s incompetent Government.
“No matter what the deal, Brexit will be a disaster. Now, more than ever, the people deserve a final say on the deal and an opportunity to remain in the EU.”

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

One person wrongly deported is one person too many

Commenting on the Home Office apology to the Windrush generation, Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said:

"The Government are right to repeat the apology to those whose lives were wrongly ruined by deportations and detention. Even if one person from the Windrush generation had their life ruined by these measures then that is one too many.

"Many thousands more beyond the Windrush generation have been arbitrarily subjected to the so-called 'hostile environment' which has created a deep, and in some cases, irreparable damage.
"Meanwhile, on the horizon we have the status of EU citizens at risk due to Brexit. Whilst I welcome Theresa May’s announcement that EU citizens will be able to stay even if there is no deal, it is very difficult to trust the processing system.

"As well as a simplified system for people to prove residency rights we need to change the whole psychology of the Home Office to prevent these injustices being repeated in the future."

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"