Tuesday, March 30, 2021

UK failing in its duty to Hong Kong

Responding to China imposing sweeping electoral changes in Hong Kong, Liberal Democrats Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Layla Moran MP said:
“This amending of the Basic Law by China’s rubber-stamp legislature is a clear breach of the Joint Declaration. The Government must respond with firm action, as it has done elsewhere - words of condemnation have done nothing to protect Hong Kong’s democracy.
“The UK is failing in its duty under the Joint Declaration and international law to preserve Hong Kong’s institutions and human rights. Any red line has been crossed. If Dominic Raab won’t stand up now and act, when?
“The Liberal Democrats will stand, as we always have, with the people of Hong Kong. The Government can make no more excuses - it is time for the UK to step up, lead and take action. That must include Magnitsky sanctions and taking China to the International Court of Justice. And gaps in the BNO visa scheme must be plugged to give all Hong Kongers a lifeboat if they need it.”


Lib Dems fight to stop gutting of fuel poverty scheme


Seventy-one Liberal Democrats MPs, Peers and Council Group Leaders have written to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to oppose the Government's plans to gut a critical scheme allowing energy inefficient homes to access grants. 


The Government is poised to remove social housing and rented accommodation from eligibility for the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme and impose prescriptive measures on how improvements must be carried out. This means that even fewer homes are likely to be upgraded, particularly given the failure of the Green Homes Grant.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for the cancellation of these changes to ensure that those most in need of help do not lose the opportunity to access these grants.

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Sarah Olney MP said: 


“This is yet another move by the Tories to make it impossible to cut emissions from our homes and help to reduce energy bills – despite the most vulnerable in our society being the people who can benefit most.

"With 30% of the UK's CO2 emissions coming from our homes and energy bills continuing to rocket, Liberal Democrats are calling for a ten-year programme to upgrade our homes, prioritising those in fuel poverty. 


"As we gear up to host the monumental climate conference, COP26, at the end of the year, we need more than words from the Conservative Government. We need action.”

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Jane Dodds: Mental health support at the heart of our plan to Put Recovery First

Lockdown has deeply affected all of us. 

People have lost loved ones, families have been separated and loneliness and isolation have become the new normal for so many. 

Mental health support must be at the heart of our plan to Put Recovery First. That’s why we have a four-point plan to make sure no one is left without the support they deserve:

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⏰ We need a 24/7 Mental Health care crisis system so that people can get care whenever they need it - round the clock support and services to look after our people as we recover. 

⌛️ We need to cut waiting times so that nobody has to suffer without help. That means investing in frontline services and training new specialists so that we have a nation where anyone can access support when it is needed. 

📍 We need to improve access to local support, so nobody is sent far away from friends and family. We would set targets to end the need for Out of Area placements that see children sent far from home, their family, and friends.

💼 We need the government to take responsibility for Mental Health, by working across the government to create community-embedded programmes which work for local people who need the support the most. 

Liberal Democrats believe in a fairer, more caring society, one that puts recovery first and helps residents as we slowly move out of isolation, one that ensures no one is left behind when in need of support. 

If you agree, please share our plan today.

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Together we can Put Recovery First for our mental health services.

Jane Dodds

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

The federal party launches a review to plot paths to closer relationship with EU

Liberal Democrats voted to launch an internal review that will set out roadmaps to rejoining EU agencies such as the Customs Union and Single Market, with a view to membership of the European Union in future.

It comes in the wake of the devastating impact of Boris Johnson’s trade deal, which has left millions of British businesses and workers worse off. 

The Liberal Democrats notably stood as the only major, UK-wide party who opposed the deal at every stage it was presented to Parliament. With today’s policy motion they pledged to continue to hold the Government accountable for its inadequacies.

The motion, passed at our Spring Conference last weekend, also sets out a desire for closer cooperation with the EU on areas such as climate change, health, science and security, in aid of a stronger relationship with our European neighbours.


Speaking after the motion passed, Liberal Democrats Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, Layla Moran MP, said:

“This Tory Government’s ‘free’ trade deal with Europe has been bad for business, bad for jobs and bad for our place on the world stage. Our country has been left poorer and all the more isolated. 

“I am proud that the Liberal Democrats unequivocally remain the most pro-EU party in the UK. Today we reaffirmed our commitment to reconnect politically, strategically and operationally with our biggest trading partner and closest neighbours.

"We shouldn’t be burning bridges with the EU, we should be building them and forging a relationship that is in everyone’s best interests. From farmers to fishermen, from small businesses to students - we are better when we work closer together. Global problems require global solutions, not isolationism and bluff.

“Now is the right time for the Liberal Democrats to properly work out the path between where we are, and the relationship we want to get to. That starts today with this review, but rest assured we won’t be waiting on its findings to call out the damage that this Government’s threadbare deal is doing every day to our country.”

We must get serious on Russia for the sake of our democracy



The Liberal Democrats passed a motion at our federal Spring Conference last weekend calling for immediate action to be taken on the Russia Report. This includes:

  • An investigation into Russian interference into our electoral process

  • Making protection of our democratic security a national priority with clear ministerial responsibility

  • Take big money out of politics by reforming party funding. 

Following the debate, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Layla Moran MP said: 

"It is time for the Government to take our national security seriously and stop ducking this because it’s politically inconvenient. Our democratic defences are weak and we must listen to the urgent warning signs – their own Integrated Review should remind them of that.

"Last year's Russia Report has been swept under the carpet by the Conservatives. The security surrounding our elections should not be a party-political issue and yet Boris Johnson continues to get away with leaving our democracy vulnerable to a clear and present threat. 


"Liberal Democrats are calling for protection of our democratic process to become a national priority with clear ministerial responsibility. We need a real investigation into potential interference in our elections, and action to stop big money from figures close to the Kremlin influencing our politics.


"Putin’s assault on democracy around the world is clear for all to see, from interference in US politics to poisoning and imprisoning the opposition leader in his own country. Britain is 'clearly a target' for disinformation campaigns, according to the Russia Report, and now more than ever we should be focused on safeguarding our democracy at all levels."

Tory plans for the defence of the realm worry us all

Commenting on the Defence Command Paper published yesterday, Jamie Stone MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Defence, said:
“The Government's plans for the defence of the realm should worry us all.
"Everything we have heard so far has reeked of financial mismanagement and broken promises.
“Drastic cuts to our armed forces to plug the defence budget blackhole whilst wasting millions on a Hollywood-style situation room tells you everything you need to know about this vanity obsessed Government.  
"Our Army is the smallest it has been in hundreds of years and our reserves are dwindling in numbers. Yet the Prime Minister is more concerned about his own image. This is not how a responsible Government chooses to defend our country.
“The Government’s appalling cuts to foreign aid makes no sense at all.  Not only will it impact the most vulnerable people in the world, but it will diminish Britain’s clout overseas. This comes at a time when they choose to increase the UK's nuclear stockpile in direct breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which does nothing to address the imminent risks our country faces.
"These moves lack logic and coherence, and speak volumes of the Government's moral failure."

Patel must drop proposals to restrict right to protest

             In an emergency motion passed at the party's Spring Conference last weekend,

Liberal Democrats called on the Home Secretary to drop proposals to restrict the right to protest. 

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP commented:

"The Conservative Government's attempts to crack down on peaceful protests are dangers and draconian. 

"The right to protest is a fundamental human right. From the slave trade to women's suffrage, workers' rights to the Iraq war, protesting has always been a crucial part of our democratic society. 

"Liberal Democrats fiercely oppose the Government's anti-democratic attempts to silence any opposition to its policies by restricting the right to protest, and we urge the Home Secretary to drop these proposals."

We call for “deadly” aid cuts to be reversed


The Liberal Democrats have called on the UK Government to reverse “unprincipled, unjustified and downright deadly” cuts to international aid.

The motion passed at its Spring Conference last weekend reaffirmed the Party’s commitment to the UK contributing 0.7% of GNI on Official Development Assistance and slammed the merging of the Department for International Development with the Foreign Office.

It also demanded the UK Government play a ‘proactive role in debt forgiveness and relief initiatives’ for developing countries struggling with the economic and health impact of Coronavirus.

Speaking after the motion was approved, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and International Development Layla Moran said:

“The UK's global reputation is disappearing fast. The decision to cut aid to the world’s poorest is not only wrong but short-sighted and strategically incompetent. The Conservatives are putting nukes before prosperity.

“In a global pandemic, you need global solutions. UK aid and development has helped millions and stands as testament to the best of British values. It benefits us here at home, as well as saving lives and building a safer world. Instead the Government is making cuts that are unprincipled, unjustified and downright deadly. This is not my Britain.

“The Liberal Democrats understand that we must take action to support developing countries struggling with the impact of Coronavirus, including through debt relief. We have a vision for a truly Liberal Britain that stands tall on the world stage, and strengthens our alliances and multilateral institutions instead of risking it all for short-term political gain."

Welcome Tory U-turn on restriction of care rights


Responding to the Government’s announcement that it will remove part of the Coronavirus Act that reduces people’s rights to care, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

"Watering down the rights to care for elderly, disabled and vulnerable people was unlawful and unnecessary. Far too many families have seen the hardships of lockdown compounded by having the lifeline of care cut off completely.

“Liberal Democrats opposed the Government reducing people’s care rights from the very start of the pandemic, and voted against this law in September. So I am glad Ministers have finally accepted that care rights must be fully restored.

"However, far too many people are still missing out on the care they need because of the Conservative Government’s failure to give local councils the funding they need. It puts extra strain on unpaid carers and on our NHS, which is already facing enormous challenges.

“That’s why I’m continuing to call on Boris Johnson to convene the cross-party talks he has promised for so long, so we can finally agree a long-term, sustainable future for social care.”

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Integrated Review: Moran says that Johnson and the Tories are putting economic ties before human rights

Responding to the Government's Integrated Review, published yesterday, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Layla Moran MP commented:

“This Integrated Review slashes support to the world’s poorest and puts economic ties before human rights in China, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

“The UK’s development spending represents the best of British values. During a global pandemic, none of us are safe until everyone is. Reneging on the commitment to retain 0.7% of GNI is a short-sighted mistake that will hit the world’s poorest the hardest – promising it will be ‘temporary’ are weasel words. We need a cast-iron guarantee and roadmap that will see this unlawful cut restored next year and if it won’t, for the Government to bring the permanent cut to vote.

“The UK should be showing leadership. Instead, the Government is putting short-term gain and political posturing before our values as a country. The Prime Minister must rescue our global reputation by sticking to our commitments on aid and always putting human rights first no matter where they are under threat.”

Trident increase: There should be no return to the nuclear arms race

Responding to the Government's Integrated Review, released yesterday, Liberal Democrat Defence Spokesperson Jamie Stone MP said:

“The Government’s Integrated Review is not strategic, not integrated, and not a proper review. Rather, it is full of retreat and broken promises.

"Our Armed forces are being cut back and the Defence budget is in a mess.

“Proposals to increase the number of Trident warheads should not be taken forward. Such a policy would be a breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Increasing our nuclear arsenal now will not strengthen our defence. The world faces many threats to peace and stability. We should not add to those threats by encouraging a return to the nuclear arms race.”


Government has treated asylum seekers appallingly

Responding to the Home Office decision to close Penally camp, a former military camp near Tenby used as accommodation for asylum seekers, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Home Affairs Alistair Carmichael MP said:

“The Government have had to be shamed into acting when anyone with an ounce of compassion would have done this weeks ago. They have looked the other way for too long as asylum seekers are forced to stay in inhumane accommodation.

“The Conservative Government has treated these asylum seekers appallingly. True to their form during this pandemic, they have cut corners and ignored public health advice. Innocent asylum seekers have now been left to suffer.

"Closing Penally Camp should just be the start. There can be no more delay on closing Napier Barracks.

“Priti Patel must immediately find alternative accommodation for these people where social distancing is possible, with access to legal aid and medical assistance.”


Police Bill is dangerous and draconian

Reacting to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill passing its Commons Second Reading last night, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said: 
“These new Conservative laws to crackdown on protests are dangerous and draconian.
“The right to peaceful assembly and protest is a fundamental human right. It has always been a crucial part of our democratic society.
“The weekend’s appalling events at the Clapham Vigil show why this Bill must be stopped in its tracks. They should force Priti Patel to think again.
“These new laws are part of the Conservative Government’s anti-democratic attempts to silence any opposition to its policies. Liberal Democrats, will fiercely fight them at every step of the way.”


Monday, March 15, 2021

Domestic Abuse Bill must protect migrant women


The Liberal Democrats are fighting today to amend the landmark Domestic Abuse Bill to ensure migrant survivors are protected.

The party is backing three cross-party amendments, due to be debated in the Lords this afternoon, that would offer protection for some of the most vulnerable survivors of abuse, for whom protections under the current law are woefully inadequate.

The Lords will vote on a law to block the Home Office from using data gathered when survivors of domestic abuse seek support or assistance for immigration purposes.

Another amendment would give migrant survivors of abuse temporary leave to remain and access to public funds, so they are not excluded from crucial support services. A third would ensure that all survivors of domestic abuse are protected regardless of their immigration status, as required under the Istanbul Convention.


Ahead of the debate in the House of Lords, Liberal Democrat Lords Home Affairs Spokesperson Brian Paddick said:


“The long-overdue Domestic Abuse Bill will provide survivors of domestic abuse with vital new legal protections and support.

“A number of improvements have been made to the bill in the Lords, but the Conservative Government is refusing to ensure that adequate protections are given to migrant survivors of abuse.

“Liberal Democrats secured cross-party support for our amendments to protect migrant survivors when they were debated in the Commons, and we are determined to pass them today.

“We must ensure that the Domestic Abuse Bill protects all survivors of domestic abuse, no matter where they were born.”


Carmichael: No shock or surprise at EU legal action against UK

Responding to the news that the European Union have launched legal action against the UK for an alleged breach of the Northern Ireland Protocol trade agreement, Liberal Democrats Spokesperson for Northern Ireland, Alistair Carmichael MP, said:

"Given the Government’s track record on negotiating with the EU, this comes as no shock or surprise. 

"Boris Johnson and his Government have made a pig’s ear of all of this. They have let down everyone – from farmers and fishermen, to businesses needing certainty for the months ahead. 
“I’ve always been keen to stress that there were other, more collaborative ways, to go about an extension of the grace period which would work in everyone’s best interests. 
“Instead, this Government was all too quick to take unilateral action. Reneging on an agreement you entered into willingly was never going to go down well, and the result is a legal process that will detract from what’s important here - working together with our European neighbours for the good of the people of Northern Ireland.”

Davey: Minister should not wait for Commissioner report

Responding to Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins’ comments on the Marr show on Sunday, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

“People want Ministers to act decisively, not play for time waiting for reports. It’s already crystal clear that what happened last night was a complete tactical and moral failure by the Met police.

“Cressida Dick has lost the confidence of women in London and she must now resign.

“The horrific murder of Sarah Everard has left millions of women angry and in grief.

“They deserved the opportunity to collectively grieve in a peaceful open air vigil.

“Yet from start to finish the Met Police got this wrong. They refused to cooperate with organisers trying to put on a Covid-safe event. Then used inappropriate and disproportionate force against women standing peacefully in a park.

“The Home Secretary must act now.”

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Time to make misogyny a hate crime and pass the Domestic Abuse Bill

Liberal Democrat MP Wendy Chamberlain has called on the Government to pass the Domestic Abuse Bill and make misogyny a hate crime in a powerful International Women's Day speech to the House of Commons.

The theme of this year's International Women's Day is "Choose to Challenge". Wendy Chamberlain, who was a police officer before she became an MP, said:

"The challenge to the Government is – Pass the Domestic Abuse Bill – it’s been in the offing for four years. Legislate to make misogyny a hate crime. Make sure that those occupying positions of trust are people we really can trust. 

"Men need to step up. They need to be active allies. International Women's Day is just as much about my 13-year-old son as my daughter.

"And the final challenge is to ourselves. Because we need to do much more to ensure that when we are talking about women, when we are talking about discrimination, and violence – that we are inclusive. 

"At the root of much of our debate around single sex spaces is the fear of sexual violence perpetrated by men. Changing men's behaviour changes that debate. And that, on this International Women's Day is a challenge which faces all of us."

Kremlin must clarify Navalny whereabouts immediately

Responding to the latest developments on Alexei Navalny, Liberal Democrats Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

"It is inexcusable that Alexei Navalny's whereabouts are currently unknown. The Kremlin must provide clarity on this immediately to his lawyers.

"This comes on top of the already inexcusable arrest and detention of Alexei Navalny, and the shutting down of dissent in Russia from politicians and protestors. The UK should not stand for such human rights abuses and take further action.

"The Liberal Democrats continue to call on the Government to investigate implementing fresh Magnitsky sanctions, as the US has done in recent weeks, and assure us that anyone, no matter their wealth or status, will be considered.

"Britain should not be a safe haven for anyone aiding Alexei Navalny's detention and mistreatment. The UK must show leadership, standing up for the rule of law and democracy, on the world stage."

Friday, March 12, 2021

Brexit trade & GDP: Livelihoods are being ruined

Responding to ONS figures showing UK goods exports to the European Union fell by 40.7% and the UK economy has shrunk by 2.9%, Treasury Spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, Christine Jardine MP, said:

“These figures are disastrous. Businesses, jobs and livelihoods are being ruined and this botched, unnecessary  Brexit deal just makes everything worse.

"The Chancellor needs to come up with the long-awaited long term strategy now.  We need the big and bold action to save our economy. The budget was a missed opportunity and time is fast running out to save our economy before its too late. The Government cannot continue to blame this on the pandemic. The blame lies solely at their door."
“It is small businesses, already on the brink after months of lockdown, which will be hurt the most. They have lost out from Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal through no fault of their own. For the thousands of small businesses excluded from covid support schemes, this is just another kick in the teeth."

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Small businesses need help, not more ways of taking on debt


Responding to the British Business Bank's report which shows gross bank lending (excluding overdrafts) to smaller businesses rose to £104bn, up 82% year-on-year, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Treasury, Christine Jardine MP, said:
"These latest figures illustrate just how desperately our small businesses need a lifeline, which the Chancellor failed to throw them in his budget.
"They need help not more ways of taking on debt to survive.
“Firms in sectors like travel, retail and tourism are finding that their owners who have already invested decades of their time are now spending their life savings and taking on debt.
"These are viable businesses, who have supported jobs in our communities and who followed the Government's guidelines, yet are paying the price.
“That is why I am calling for urgent compensation to businesses drowning in spiralling fixed costs. In particular, helping with rent costs, which small businesses are forced to pay despite being closed for months to come.
"We've seen this work to great success in Germany already, and it's time British small businesses also received this vital lifeline."

Air passenger duty: Odd one out at COP26

Responding to reports the Government plans to cut air passenger duty on UK domestic flights, Sarah Olney MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Business, Trade, and Transport, said:
“Britain will be laughed at on the world stage if we decide to hike rail fares then cut the cost of UK air travel in the same month. At a time when other countries are encouraging more people to take trains, Britain’s strategy will be the complete opposite. We will be the odd one out at our very own COP26 summit. 
“It speaks volumes about this Government’s green credentials, that it’s determined to find creative solutions to cut the costs of taking internal flights yet shows no desire to help rail passengers who get hit with annual price hikes. 
“Any help for aviation must be given to rail too, and any strategy must have tackling climate change at its heart.”

Hong Kong: Government must act to prevent end of democracy

Today, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Layla Moran, has challenged the Government to set out a clear plan to protect Hong Kong's democracy & Basic Law*.


Layla has called on new Magnitsky sanctions and bringing the case to the International Court of Justice.


Layla Moran secured an Urgent Question in Parliament about the proposed reforms to Hong Kong’s electoral system by the Chinese Government. Under the plans, people wishing to stand for election in Hong Kong will have to be approved as ‘patriots’ by a panel of Communist Party officials.


Layla said the Government had a “legal obligation” to act and that “bullies” like China "only understand words when they are followed by action.


Speaking after her Urgent Question to the Minister for Asia, Layla Moran said:

“I urge the Government to take immediate action to protect Hong Kong, its democracy and human rights, as it is obliged to do under international law. Enough is enough.


“With almost every prominent member of the democratic movement in jail, the BBC banned in China and our Ambassador rebuked just yesterday for standing up for a free press, the Foreign Secretary and the Government must take a stand. 


“Liberal Democrats will stand, as we always have, with the people of Hong Kong, whose democracy is under threat, and stand up to China’s attempts to erase free and fair elections. The Government can make no more excuses - it is time for the UK to step up on the world stage, lead and take action. That must include Magnitsky sanctions and taking China to the International Court of Justice. Any red line has surely been crossed.”


*Under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the UK and China are obliged to protect and maintain Hong Kong’s Basic Law and democratic system until 2047.

Friday, March 05, 2021

Leaked aid cuts make mockery of Global Britain


Responding to leaked plans that reveal the full extent of cuts to foreign aid, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and International Development Layla Moran said:

“For many vulnerable people around the world, the UK’s development spending has made the difference between life and death, and it stands as a testament to the best of British values. These shocking revelations are just a preview of what’s to come and tell us everything we need to know about the Government’s priorities.

“The Conservative Government’s short-sighted budget slashing not only breaks their promise to the British people and the world’s poorest, but makes a mockery of their global ambitions and our reputation on the world stage. How can we claim to be leaders when we’re cutting humanitarian aid so drastically to countries in conflict zones, undermining peace efforts and leaving people hungry?

“These are people and countries on the brink. The Liberal Democrats will stand up for our aid commitments, which we enshrined in law, and fight to stop the Government from enacting these unlawful and shameful cuts. We will work cross-party to restore the UK’s global reputation, and won’t let up in our efforts to hold the Government to account.”

Welsh Lib Dems call for re-think of controversial new water regulations


Liberal Democrats across Wales have expressed grave concerns that proposed blanket water pollution measures will cause serious damage to our local farming communities.

The Party has condemned the heavy-handed and uniform policy passed by a narrow majority in the Senedd today. If approved it will apply to all farms and farmers regardless of their size and the impact of their farming practices, which the Party says will hit small family farms the hardest.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are urging for a delay in the implementation of these measures while evidence is re-evaluated. The Party is also calling for funding to be increased to Natural Resources Wales immediately for an extensive monitoring programme of water quality throughout the country, including around all treatment works and sewage outlets.

William Powell, Agriculture Spokesperson and Senedd Candidate for Brecon and Radnorshire, said:

“River pollution in Wales and across the UK absolutely needs to be tackled.

“However, I share the frustration expressed by NFU Cymru and FUW leaders that the Minister has decided to launch such a fundamental initiative in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, when she promised 11 times not to do so.

“I also agree strongly with the view expressed by NFU Cymru President John Davies that this issue needs a partnership approach and one that extends beyond party divides.”

Mark Williams former Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Ceredigion and Rural Affairs spokesperson added:

“To embark on this initiative as we still grapple we a Covid-19 pandemic, and in the wake of the concerning implications of Brexit, is foolhardy at best.

“There is real concern and anger in the farming  community across Wales, and once again, a view that genuine concerns have been ignored. We fervently believe in the principle that the polluter should indeed pay, and the sector must have the resources to deal with this, but Labour's ‘cut and paste’ approach in these regulations is not the focused and nuanced approach that is required."


The Party's proposed eight-point plan to tackle water pollution is available here.