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  1. Munira has written to the Prime Minister, urging him to put the environment at the centre of his economic plans to recover from the pandemic

    The post Munira urges PM to put environment at heart of Covid-19 recovery appeared first on Munira.org.uk.

  2. This morning, Acting Leader Ed Davey addressed the Local Government Association’s online conference. He spoke about the crucial role of local government – not just in keeping our communities safe during this coronavirus pandemic, but also in building a fairer, greener, more prosperous country as we emerge from this crisis.

    Here are the highlights from his speech…

    On the work of local authorities during the pandemic:

    Local authorities are the key institutions that enable our communities to come together and deliver the vital services people need.

    Even as coronavirus has caused unbearable heartbreak and hardship, it has been truly uplifting to see the great work councils right across the country are doing to support local people…

    This pandemic has highlighted something the Liberal Democrats have always understood: local authorities are the key institutions that enable our communities to come together and deliver the vital services people need. That’s true in “normal” times, and it’s even more important in a crisis like this.

    Yet, sadly, this Conservative Government still doesn’t seem to get it. The truth is, local leaders should have been part of the Government’s decision-making since the very beginning of this crisis – as the Liberal Democrats have been calling for all along.

    It’s just so damaging – especially in a crisis like this – to have a Government that thinks of local authorities as at best an irrelevance and at worst an impediment.

     

    £45 billion for councils to spearhead a green recovery:

    With these powers and funding, councils would all be able to take a real lead in the fight against climate change.

    The recovery must not undermine the fight against climate change: it must strengthen it.

    If we truly integrate economic policy with climate policy, we could make the rapid progress we need for our planet. And we could rebuild our economy and get people back to work.

    But it requires nothing less than a Green Revolution.

    That’s why I have called on the Government to invest £150 billion – 150, not the paltry 5 billion Johnson promised last week – over the next three years on a Green Recovery Plan. On insulating homes. On green transport. On renewable energy. On restoring lost biodiversity.

    Much of this would best be delivered by local government.

    That’s why today I’m calling on the Government to provide £45 billion of green recovery investment over the next three years directly to local authorities, to fund: home insulation programmes; new bus and cycle routes; light rail and tram lines; tree planting and nature restoration; community energy projects; electric vehicle charging infrastructure; and other projects to cut emissions and create green jobs in your community.

    And the Government must match that funding with the extra powers local authorities need.

    With the new powers I’m proposing and £45 billion of new green funding, councils would all be able to take a real lead in the fight against climate change.

    A Devolution Revolution to drive the Green Revolution.

     

    On the pressures local authorities are facing – especially social care:

    The Government must work with all parties – and with local government – to build a sustainable future for social care services across the country.

    On a whole range of issues, this Government expects more and more from local authorities while giving them less and less. Handing councils responsibility for some of the toughest challenges, without also handing over the power or funding they need to tackle them.

    Nowhere – nowhere – is this attitude more evident than in social care. Caring for the elderly, the disabled and the vulnerable is a fundamental duty of government. It speaks directly to who we are as a country and the caring society we want to build.

    I know the frustration so many councillors have – that they can’t provide the level of care they know is needed because of how drastically the Government is underfunding social care.

    The immediate gap in social care funding must be plugged, now.  And Government must work with all parties – and with local government – to build a sustainable future for social care services across the country.

     

    Our fight to empower local authorities:

    Fixing the crisis in social care. Tackling the climate emergency. Addressing deep-seated inequalities in our society. Rebuilding our economy after the coronavirus pandemic. These are enormous challenges. They will take ambition, determination and innovation.

    They cannot be solved by a new announcement from the Government, a new piece of legislation in Parliament, or a new set of guidelines from Whitehall – important though they might be.

    They can only be solved if local authorities are empowered – through devolution of funding and devolution of control – to make the decisions and implement the changes that our communities need.

    That’s something the Liberal Democrats have been fighting for throughout our history. It’s part of our DNA. And we will not give up that fight.

  3. The landmark Domestic Abuse Bill is due to be passed by the House of Commons today.

    Survivors desperately need the new legal protections and support that this Domestic Abuse Bill will bring.

    More than two million people experience domestic abuse every year. Survivors desperately need the new legal protections and support that this Domestic Abuse Bill will bring.

    The Conservative Government has been far too slow bringing this legislation forward since they first promised it more than three years ago.

    I’m relieved that our cross-party pressure has paid off and the House of Commons will finally have the chance to pass this long-awaited and landmark legislation today.

    I’m also delighted that we have succeeded in ensuring that the Bill properly recognises children as victims of domestic abuse.

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

    Liberal Democrats’ will continue to try and improve the Bill further.

    Among the amendments we will be tabling are two which protect migrant women who experience domestic abuse.

    One to grant them leave to remain in the UK and the other to prevent their personal data being shared with the Home Office for immigration enforcement.

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

  4. This year marks the 72nd birthday of the NHS. 

    The idea, conceived by a liberal - William Beveridge - transformed healthcare in this country. And as a nation, we have been rightly proud of the NHS for 72 years. 

    This year we haven’t just felt proud however – we have also felt profoundly grateful. Our NHS staff have been incredible. 

    As a nation we are proud of the NHS

    They have made sacrifices for our safety and wellbeing. They have had to deal with circumstances we couldn’t imagine – losing friends and colleagues, endured serious illness, or faced significant trauma through this crisis.

    This is on top of the difficulties NHS staff have faced for the last few years. For years the NHS has been underfunded – new money from Government has barely been enough to keep things going with little to none left for making improvements, investing in staff, or fixing crumbling hospitals and buildings. 

    With rising demand for care from our aging population, and a shortage of doctors and nurses, things haven’t been easy.

    We know we must do more for our NHS

    This weekend we will show our support with a moment of remembrance on Saturday and on Sunday at 5pm we will come together again to applaud NHS staff and all they have done.

    We hope that NHS staff will see this support as a deeply genuine and heartfelt thank you. But we know we must also do more.

    NHS and care staff across the UK are putting their lives on the line to look after us. That’s why the Liberal Democrats set out a plan to give frontline workers the support they need and recognition they deserve.

    Our Frontline Support Package includes ensuring all NHS and care staff have access to the Personal Protective Equipment they need, an additional service payment for each day on the frontline, and 24/7 world class mental health support.

  5. \Almost 20,000 care home residents have died with coronavirus, the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed.

  6. Welcome to the Weekly Whip. Your one-stop shop for Lib Dem Parliamentary updates, covering the week that was and the week to come. 

    For up to date information from the Lib Dem Whips Office, follow us on Twitter: @LibDemWhips 

    Weekly Whip w/c 29th June

    Monday 29th June

    It was a darker start to the week, as the city of Glasgow came together after a man stabbed six people at a hotel that was housing asylum seekers. Three asylum-seekers, two members of staff, and one police officer were injured whilst the assailant, who was also seeking asylum, was shot dead by the police.

    After joining Members across the House in expressing her sympathies with those affected by the incident, Christine Jardine went on to press the Minister to commit to a full public inquiry, highlighting the poor living conditions endured by asylum-seekers.

    Monday’s second UQ concerned the human rights situation in Xinjang and the treatment of the Uyghurs. Alistair Carmichael led the Liberal Democrats in demanding action from the Government and stated how the continued subjugation and abuse in the area, from organ harvesting to “re-education camps”, had to be dealt with immediately. Alistair led a Westminster Hall debate on this issue last year, calling for the Government to take this matter to the Security Council.

    The main business of the day involved the legislation that sought to re-open parts of our country on July 4th: the Business and Planning Bill. Though the Party welcomes the appropriate easing of restrictions in some areas of our society, Tim Farron and Sarah Olney made it abundantly clear that we must be cautious with our approach for the sake of public health and well-being; a sentiment echoed across the Opposition benches. Not only is health an important consideration, but Tim also pointed out that the Government must recognise that industries will continue to suffer hardships and job losses, such as the hospitality sector in Cumbria.

    Tim and Sarah both had opportunities later in the week to push their concerns further. 

    Finally, after much delay into the night, the Secretary of State gave his statement on the Coronavirus. Munira Wilson, our ever-present Health Spokesperson, continued to challenge him where the Government have been lacking. This time, she grilled him on the use of data and cooperation between local authorities and central government.

    Tuesday 30th June

    After the Government’s announcement regarding Civil Service changes and the appointment of David Frost as National Security Advisor, Wendy Chamberlain joined others on both sides of the House in confronting Michael Gove on the possibility of the Civil Service losing independence.

    Following this, the Speaker accepted a UQ from David Lammy which sought to ask the Government why it has not implemented his various recommendations from the Lammy Review, an independent review of the treatment of, and outcomes for, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals in the Criminal Justice System. Christine took this opportunity to demand the Government to end suspicionless stop and search practices which disproportionately affect BAME individuals.

    Later in the day, as the Immigration Bill went to Report Stage, Christine remained on the green benches to defend the rights of immigrants and eliminate the hostile environment. She led the Lib Dems amendments which included, amongst other things, repealing the Right to Rent Scheme and lifting the ban on asylum-seekers working. Unfortunately, all cross-party opposition attempts to amend the Bill were defeated.

    Wednesday 1st July

    July started off with Scotland questions and a heated PMQs. Christine, a busy MP this week, had a question for the Prime Minister concerning the most financial vulnerable who are being hit hardest by the pandemic and whether he would look at Universal Basic Income as a possible, modern solution.

    China was on the agenda again in the Commons for all the wrong reasons. After the news out of Hong Kong that the Chinese Government would be breaking the Sino-British Joint Declaration by implementing new security laws, an Urgent Question was brought before the House. Alistair Carmichael has led the Lib Dem campaigns on Hong Kong, following the great work of former leader Paddy Ashdown. He was joined by Jamie Stone, Christine Jardine, and Tim Farron in standing up for the rights of the people of Hong Kong and ensuring that the British keep our promises and commitments in the area.

    The United Kingdom is speaking with one voice in support of Hong Kong today. We cannot abandon Hongkongers who are struggling for their freedom, many of whom did not have the chance to take a BNO passport during the Handover. Now is the time to live up to our values. pic.twitter.com/rZgyifxcch

    July 1, 2020

    The day ended with the first half of the Finance Bill debate, where Tim Farron put into perspective the realities of the Government’s interventions in the economy as a response to the pandemic. Shaming the “new deal” that has been boasted by the Prime Minister, Tim reminded the House that FDR’s economic plans were worth 40% of U.S. GDP, but the recent announcement represented a pathetic 0.2% of U.K. GDP.

    Sir Ed Davey also got the opportunity to champion his issue of scrapping loan charges, a campaign close to his heart. It went right to the wire and Ed’s amendment fell through after a dramatic evening of last-minute exchanges and Conservative whipping. Ed pledged not to give up on the issue and will be continuing his campaign.

    Thursday 2nd July

    After a busy week in Parliament, with Lib Dems being vocal in the Chamber on a variety of issues, Thursday was a little calmer as most MPs returned to their constituencies. Despite this, Layla Moran responded to a statement from the Secretary of State for Education on the re-opening of schools in the Autumn. She made her concerns known to the Secretary, underlining the fact that teachers deserve all the assistance available when it comes to creating online lessons, so that even the most disadvantaged children can continue to learn effectively during the pandemic. She also asked for assurances that every child who needs a laptop can get one. Disappointingly, the Secretary could not give these assurances.

    Sarah and Tim rounded off our week with brilliant speeches in the second half of the Finance Bill, picking up where Ed left off. Sarah’s passion was on full display as she spoke to her regrets of the Government response to Coronavirus. She concluded by noting her priorities going forward: our children, our young people, and our environment.

    Next week, Parliament will be discussing the Domestic Abuse Bill and we will be anticipating the Chancellor’s latest statement.

  7. 1. You’ll get to vote for our new leader

    If you join the Lib Dems by 9th July, you'll get a vote in our leadership election

    Until midnight on the 9th of July, if you join the Liberal Democrats you’ll qualify for a vote in our upcoming leadership election.

    This leadership election will decide our strategy, our messaging, and ultimately our chances of winning. The leader you choose will shape our movement for years to come.You won’t want to miss out.

    2. Have your say on policy

    Every single member of the Liberal Democrats gets a say on policy. Whether it’s developing policy on an issue that matters to you; voting on policies at conferences; or sitting on a committee to decide what goes into our election manifestos; our policy is made by members.

    3. We’re adapting quickly

    Everyone’s lives changed dramatically when the coronavirus lockdown started. Here at the Liberal Democrats, we’ve changed the way we work so everyone is still kept in the loop and can take part in what we’re up to.

    • Planning our first ever online conference for September 2020
    • Developed our very own policy website for members to propose and discuss ideas
    • Local parties hosting virtual coffee mornings, Pint & Politics nights, and loads of other socials
    • Our online leadership election is well underway, with a huge range of virtual hustings planned

    So while we’re living through uncertain times, you can still count on a warm welcome and engaging events from the Liberal Democrats.

    4. You could be on the ballot paper

    After this year’s local elections were postponed, next year we’re facing the biggest ever round of elections. From Holyrood seats, to local council positions, to Police and Crime Commissioners, we’re gearing up to win big in the coming year.

    We are the UK’s progressive, liberal, transformative party. And we’re needed now more than ever.

    Being a member of the Liberal Democrats means you can apply to stand for any of these positions, and even for a parliamentary seat at the next general election.

    Liberal Democrat candidates are known for working hard for their communities - if that sounds like you, join today.

    5. Be on the right side of history

    The Liberal Democrats have a long, proud history of fighting for what’s right.

    We abolished Section 28 and secured same sex marriage. We led the fight against the Iraq war and secured the 0.7% foreign aid budget. We battled Brexit every step of the way and have stood up for the rights of EU citizens from the get go.

    Today we’re pushing the government on Hong Konger’s rights and setting out our radical plan to build back better from this COVID crisis.

    Our constitution states that “The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.”

    We are the UK’s progressive, liberal, transformative party. And we’re needed now more than ever. We’ll always fight for what’s right, liberal and fair - if you will too, join us today.

  8. On the floor of the House of Commons this week, South Lakes MP Tim Farron urged the Government to support those people who are still missing out financial support during this crisis such as directors of small limited companies and people who have become recently self-employed in the last 12 months. Next week the Chancellor will unveil an emergency budget statement to tackle the threat of millions of job losses due to the coronavirus crisis.
  9. When the government's own figures show that one in four people with coronavirus are still being missed, at this point it feels like we are flying blind. Layla Moran MP has responded to the latest figures showing one in four people with coronavirus are still being missed under the Test and Trace system.

  10. On 1st July Wera have tabled a Parliamentary Motion, calling on the Government to reconstitute the Intelligence and Security Committee so that the report of alleged Russian interference in our democracy can be published.

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