Sunday, December 26, 2021

Britain's £100 million Christmas energy bill bombshell

Households in the UK will pay a whopping £100 million more than they did last year for their energy - and that’s only during the seven days between Christmas and New Year.

New analysis by the Liberal Democrats shows that due to the increase in the energy price cap UK households face dramatically higher bills this Christmas with more rises to follow next year.

Worse, if you add the extra £3.75 a week for the whole year, families will be paying an extra £195 a year. Yet there’s even worse to come as energy bills are to increase again this Spring, when the price cap is revised up again by at least a further £400 a year.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for the Warm Homes Discount to be doubled and expanded to support vulnerable households with their energy bills throughout the winter months.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said:

“The Christmas period is already set to be tough but this is the worst possible gift from the Government. Once again ministers are leaving hard-working families out in the cold.  For many the choice between eating and heating will become a stark one this winter - in sharp contrast to the Number 10 parties and Boris Johnson’s posh wallpaper.

“The spike in gas prices is seeing energy bills rise to unprecedented levels. Next year energy bills are projected to rise by at least another £400, possibly an inflation-busting £500 a year. Meanwhile, we’ve seen suppliers collapse, and a reduction in competitive prices.

“The Conservatives have totally failed to tackle the problem. They’ve scrapped insulation programmes that would have reduced people’s bills, cut support for the most vulnerable whilst increasing the UK’s dependence on imported gas, making our country more vulnerable too.

“Liberal Democrats are calling for a new long-term home insulation programme to cut bills permanently, end fuel poverty and reduce emissions. As this is an emergency, we also need action now so the government must double and extend the Warm Home Discount to help the most vulnerable households with their heating bills.”

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Article 16: Truss repeating mistakes of Frost


Responding to the readout of Liz Truss’ first call with Maros Sefcovic, which claimed that 'the UK position has not changed' and reiterated threats to trigger Article 16, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Layla Moran MP commented:
“When this brief was given to the Foreign Secretary, we hoped it was time for a more diplomatic approach. Instead, it’s like Lord Frost never left. Triggering Article 16 will only lead to a ruinous trade war - harming British businesses just at the moment when they need support. 
“The reality is that Truss cares more about her reputation with the Tory party faithful than she does about what’s in Britain’s interest. The Conservative leadership contest psychodrama is only just beginning.”

Australia trade deal to cause £94m blow to British farmers and fishermen

The Liberal Democrats have warned that farmers are being “sold down the river” by the Conservatives, after it emerged the government's own impact assessment found the Australia deal will cause a £94m hit to the farming and fishing industries.

 

The Department for International Trade’s impact assessment of the agreement, published alongside the final text of the trade deal on 17 December 2021, refers to “a reallocation of resources away from agriculture, forestry and fishing” of £94 million. There is also an expected £225 million hit to the semi-processed food sector, such as tinned foods. The report also warns of “adjustment costs for affected sectors, businesses and employees” as well as the loss of jobs. [The full impact assessment is in a pdf here.]

The impact assessment refers to Australia as a “large, competitive producer of agricultural products”, making clear the “potential for the deal to result in lower output for some agricultural sectors [in the UK] as a result”. It goes on to warn that the sector is “expected…to contract”, compared to if the deal had not been struck. 

 

The Liberal Democrats are demanding that MPs are given a vote on the Australia deal so they can stand up for the interests of British farmers. It comes following the party's stunning by-election win in North Shropshire where concerns over the government's new trade deals on local farmers were a major issue.

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Environment and Rural Affairs, Tim Farron MP, commented:

“This impact assessment proves what so many feared. Buried in the small print is a £100 million hit to our farming and fishing sectors that will hit rural communities hardest.

“Boris Johnson has sold farmers down the river to make a quick buck in a misguided trade deal with Australia.

“Now the reality of what’s on the table is clear, it’s vital that Parliament is given a vote on the deal.

“Last week’s political earthquake in North Shropshire shows that Boris Johnson’s Conservatives can’t afford to take farmers for granted any longer."

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Frost resignation: The rats are fleeing Boris Johnson's sinking ship

Responding to reports Lord Frost has resigned from the government, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

“This shock resignation is a sign of the chaos and confusion at the heart of this Conservative government.

"The rats are fleeing Boris Johnson's sinking ship as he lurches from crisis to crisis.

"Even the prime minister's once loyal supporters are now abandoning him, just as lifelong Conservative voters are switching in their droves to the Liberal Democrats.

“At a time we need strong leadership to get us through the pandemic, we instead have a weak prime minister who has lost the support of his allies and the trust of the British people.”


Friday, December 17, 2021

Davey on North Shropshire by-election: "Party is over for Boris Johnson"

The Liberal Democrats have declared ‘the party is over’ for Boris Johnson after their sensational by-election win in North Shropshire tonight.

North Shropshire was the 58th safest Conservative seat in the country, with former Conservative MP Owen Paterson having a majority of almost 23,000 votes in 2019. This represents the second biggest majority overcome in a modern by-election, after Christchurch in 1993.

Liberal Democrat candidate Helen Morgan received 17,957 votes, representing a swing of 34% from the Conservatives and giving her a majority of 5,925. 

The stunning Liberal Democrat win follows their success in Chesham and Amersham in June, when a Conservative majority of 16,000 was overturned with another huge swing resulting in Sarah Green MP being elected with a majority of over 8,000.

Commenting on the result, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said:

“This result is a watershed moment in our politics and offers hope to people around the country that a brighter future is possible. Millions of people are fed up with Boris Johnson and his failure to provide leadership throughout the pandemic and last night the voters of North Shropshire spoke for all of them.

“This is the second stunning by-election victory this year for the Liberal Democrats - both in formerly safe Conservative seats. From Buckinghamshire to Shropshire, lifelong Conservatives have turned to the Liberal Democrats in their droves and sent a clear message to the Prime Minister that the party is over.

“The Liberal Democrats believe people deserve a fair deal where everyone plays by the same rules – including those in Downing Street. We will fight for that fair deal with good schools, safe streets and high-quality healthcare.”

Australia Trade Deal: Conservatives sell out British farmers

Responding to the new UK-Australia trade deal, Liberal Democrat Rural Affairs Spokesperson Tim Farron MP said:
"This trade deal fails to protect our farmers in the long-term. 
"The Conservatives make promises of transitions, but all that means is delaying the inevitable - our farming communities being undermined by imported food that is produced to lower standards of animal welfare and environmental protection.
"Liberal Democrats back British farmers, we're calling on the government to back my bill forcing them to publish the impact assessments of this deal on our farming communities and to give Parliament the final say."

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Inflation: Perfect storm facing families and businesses

Responding to new figures which show that inflation has hit 5.1% - its highest level in a decade - Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP said:

"Families and businesses are facing the perfect storm this winter as inflation soars and Covid surges.

"Boris Johnson cannot stand idly by while the cost of living crisis forces people to choose between eating and heating. 
"The Conservatives must offer hope to families this Christmas, starting by scrapping their unfair and manifesto-breaking tax rise coming in next year. 
"We also need an urgent package of support for caf├ęs, pubs and restaurants on the brink before more livelihoods are lost."

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

PM press conference: Inquiry must look into all Downing Street parties

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has called for the Cabinet Office inquiry to be extended into all parties that took place in Number 10 last year, along with any that took place in other government departments.

It comes after Boris Johnson confirmed at a press conference today that he has only asked Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to look into the party that took place on December 18 last year, not an earlier gathering that the prime minister allegedly attended on November 27.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said:

“Boris Johnson has already done huge damage to public trust. Now he’s making things even worse by dodging scrutiny about claims he attended other parties at Downing Street.

“The official inquiry must be widened to look into all the parties held in Downing Street last year and in any other government departments, including those that the prime minister allegedly attended.

“The public are rightly furious that Boris Johnson thinks the rules don’t apply to him. They deserve answers, not a Whitehall whitewash that lets the prime minister off the hook.”

Covid pass app crashes days before vaccine passports introduced

Responding to reports the NHS Covid pass app has already crashed following the announcement the government will introduce Covid passports from next week, Liberal Democrat Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:

“The government’s Covid ID cards plans have already descended into a shambles on the same day they were announced.

“This chaos is leaving people unable to access the Covid pass app, just days before they will need to start using it to attend events. Ministers must fix this mess now before people are shut out of events simply because the government’s app doesn’t work.

“It shows that Covid passports are not only illiberal but unworkable. The Conservatives may be able to organise a party in Number 10, but they can’t roll out Covid ID cards without them crashing.”