The Liberal Democrats have demanded that Boris Johnson immediately step in to halt the sale of the Vaccine Manufacturing Innovation Centre at Harwell near Oxford, describing the move as "short-sighted penny pinching."
It was reported this morning that the centre is being sold off to recoup some of the money invested by the Government.
On a visit to the centre last year, Boris Johnson claimed that the new vaccine centre “will be able to manufacture enough vaccine doses for the whole UK population... which would transform how we beat this virus and prepare for future pandemics."
Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:
“Boris Johnson must immediately step in and stop the sale of the Vaccine Manufacturing Innovation Centre, and reassure the public that the Government isn’t cutting back on our ability to manufacture the vaccines we need.
“The Prime Minister himself underlined how important this centre will be to protect against Covid and future pandemics.
“It is astonishing that the Government is even contemplating selling off this vital national asset, when the Omicron variant means we may soon need to manufacture new vaccines.
“This looks like short-sighted penny pinching, at a time when ministers should be doing everything they can to keep the country safe from this and future Covid variants."
Monday, November 29, 2021
Tuesday, November 16, 2021
Sunday, November 14, 2021
Wednesday, November 10, 2021
Responding to the government tabling a motion to scrap its proposed new standards committee, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain, who led Monday's emergency Commons debate on standards, said:
Monday, November 08, 2021
Sunday, November 07, 2021
Responding to Sir John Major's comments on the Today Programme this morning that Boris Johnson's government is "un-conservative" and "potentially politically corrupt", Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper MP said:
"John Major is simply saying what millions of lifelong Tory voters are thinking: Boris Johnson's Conservatives no longer represent them.
“This week’s scandal is just the latest in a long string of attempts to undermine our democratic traditions and shared values of decency, honesty and transparency.
"Right across former Conservative heartlands in the Blue Wall, people are sick of being taken for granted by a government mired in sleaze and corruption."
Friday, November 05, 2021
|New action demanded|
Responding to the new official crime figures, which show that there were 5 million fraud offences in the last year, a rise of 32%, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:
“The scourge of fraud and scams is spreading at an alarming rate, but the Government is still not giving it the focus it deserves.
“Fraud is an appalling crime that particularly preys on vulnerable people. Far too many criminals are getting away with it, and far too many victims are being left without justice or redress.
“We need real action to stop fraud from ruining people’s lives. That’s why the Liberal Democrats are calling for a properly-funded new Online Crime Agency to tackle it effectively, and for the Government to name and shame the banks who are doing the least to prevent fraud and reimburse victims.”
Following a Liberal Democrat debate in the House of Lords yesterday, the party has challenged the Government to do more to protect the UK’s vital cultural sector.
The Government claims it wants to ‘level up’ and ‘build back better’, but has failed to give the UK cultural sector the support it needs to do this.
Their failure to resolve disagreements over visas with the EU has left musicians and performers unable to tour, with Sir Elton John wading into the debate to call for action to resolve this.
The Liberal Democrats are calling for greater financial support for cultural institutions and freelancers, a halt to attempts to privatise Channel 4, and an agreement to secure visa-free travel for musical performers and artists across Europe.
Baroness Lynne Featherstone, who led the debate, said:
"Today’s debate highlighted the huge benefit the cultural industry brings to the UK. It is worth over £115bn to our economy and is one of the quickest growing sectors, growing five times faster than the rest of the economy before the pandemic hit.
"The extension of tax relief to cultural venues in the budget was a welcome move, but fails to meet the scale of the huge challenges facing this vital industry. The Government must do more to turbocharge this sector and ensure it can rebuild.
"The Conservatives have shown they don’t value or consider this industry important. If they did, they would have resolved the EU Visa issues which has left performers and musicians struggling with mountains of paperwork.
“Our children and young people must not be fodder in educational sausage factories where creative thinking cannot flourish. This is a moment of opportunity to build back better and genuinely level up our communities. The Government must grasp it."
Commenting after the debate, Liberal Democrat DCMS spokesperson Jamie Stone MP said:
"This Government has established an utter disregard for our nation's creative sector. It's clear that it has never been a priority from the very top of Government, as shown by there being 11 different Secretaries of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport over as many years.
"Culture is our secret weapon. Our soft power success. But because this Government has drawn a false distinction between art and science, this power has been time and time again underwritten and undermined.
"I fully endorse Baroness Featherstone's calls on the Government to respect, capitalise, and simply believe in the creative sector. This industry will not survive on handouts, like the Cultural Recovery Fund, that are dished out last minute. It is time - it has been for years - to prioritise British art and culture."
Wednesday, November 03, 2021
Last night, the Liberal Democrats joined with peers from across the political divide to defeat the Government’s decision to ditch the pension triple lock.
The Conservatives pledged to maintain the triple lock in their 2019 manifesto. The commitment ensures that the state pension will rise in line with inflation, wage growth, or a base 2.5% - whichever is higher.
However, they have since reneged on their promise - a move which will mean the average pensioner loses out on between £370 and £485 a year. This is in part due to inflation being expected to rise to between 4-5%.
The Liberal Democrats have opposed this cut and endorsed the amendment from Baroness Altmann, a Conservative peer, which passed in the House of Lords by 220 to x tonight.
The amendment also includes a provision which will allow the Secretary of State to vary the increase for this year, to reflect the artificial increase in wages caused by the pandemic.
Liberal Democrat Work & Pensions Spokesperson in the House of Lords, Baroness Barbara Janke, said:
“The decision to ditch the triple lock represents yet another broken promise from this Conservative Government. Once again they say one thing at election time, then do the exact opposite when they’re in power.
“Their decision to scrap the triple lock will leave pensioners, particularly women and those on lower incomes, out of pocket as we approach what is set to be another difficult winter. This decision is both callous and cruel.
“That is why the Liberal Democrats have been fighting to oppose this cut. By passing this amendment tonight, the House of Lords have sent a clear message to the Government and stood up for pensioners who will lose out because of Conservative negligence.”