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  • Article: Feb 14, 2018
    By Tom Brake

    If this speech was supposed to offer an olive branch to Remainers, Boris must have picked up the other version.

    A clear majority of Remain and Leave voters oppose the damaging hard Brexit Boris so vigorously advocates.

    They do not want job cuts triggered by tougher trading conditions with our largest export market or life-threatening uncertainty at the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

    Boris's antipathy towards the common rules and standards which apply within the EU, and to trade within the EU, is in stark contrast to Brexiters head-long rush to adopt common standards with the US which would require the UK to accept chlorine-washed chicken, hormone-fed beef, GMO products and potentially open up the NHS to US private health companies.

    If Boris is seeking to establish himself as the standard bearer of liberalism, he should dump plans to come out of the Single Market and Customs Union and campaign to stay in the world's largest free trade area.

  • An ambulance By Graham Richardson from Plymouth, England (South Western Ambulance VX09FYP) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
    Article: Feb 14, 2018

    1. Saving lives
    The NHS provides some of the best emergency care in the world. Although the NHS winter crisis has placed unprecedented pressure on our health service, the NHS has, historically, maintained an impressive standard of emergency care. Last year an astounding 23.65 million of us attended A&E. This number increases each year. Over the last five years A&E departments have seen a 7.2% rise in attendance. Yet despite this enormous pressure, A&E staff display tireless dedication during gruelling 12-hour shifts and regularly go above-and-beyond the call of duty.

  • Theresa May.
    Article: Feb 9, 2018
    By Tom Brake

    Theresa May is insisting that the UK will leave the Customs Union after Brexit.

    The idea that UK will not be in the, or any, Customs Union, confirms that the extreme Brexiters are now in control of the Government.

    The Tories' increasing obsession with putting two fingers up to all things European will only ensure maximum damage is done to our country in the long term.

  • Surgeons operating in theatre.
    Article: Feb 9, 2018

    NHS A&E waiting times have hit the worst levels on record.

    This is yet more evidence of the growing crisis in our health and social care services, where staff are being put under great pressure and quality of care for patients is suffering.

    When will the Government wake up to the fact that they urgently need to commit additional funding?

  • Housing
    Article: Jan 4, 2018

    Over 11,000 homes across the country have been sitting empty for ten years or more.

    At a time when the homelessness crisis is worsening and more and more people are sleeping out in the cold on our streets, it is a national scandal that thousands of homes across the country are sitting empty.

    The figures, uncovered through Freedom of Information responses from 276 local councils, show that there are over 216,000 homes across the country that have been empty for six months or more.

    Of these, 60,000 had been empty for two years or more, 23,000 for five years or more, and over 11,000 have stood empty for at least ten years.

    The research also shows that just one in thirteen councils are making use of Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMO), powers used by local authorities to take over properties that have been empty for at least six months.

    Only 19 of the 247 councils in England and Wales that responded (the powers do not apply in Scotland) had used an EDMO in the past five years.

    Of these only six had used one in the past year.

    In total, councils returned around 23,000 empty homes back into use, including through direct action and the work of empty home teams.

    These homes could be turned into affordable places to live for some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

    The Government needs to urgently review the current system which is clearly not working.

    Councils need to be given the powers and resources to bring empty homes back into use.

    This must form part of a wider package to tackle the housing crisis, including building more homes on unused public sector land and clamping down on land-banking.

  • NHS Logo
    Article: Jan 4, 2018

    The NHS crisis is worsening.

    The latest figures show that hospitals are facing the highest pressures so far this winter.

    16,900 patients faced waits of half-an-hour or more in ambulances outside A&E in the week to 31st December, 4,700 of them delays of over 60 minutes. These are the worst figures for ambulance delays for a single week so far this winter.

    There were 39 A&E diverts in the week to 31 December, the highest number so far this winter.

    Thousands of patients being stuck in ambulances outside A&Es and many hospitals suffering from a severe lack of beds.

    There were 480,400 calls to the NHS 111 service in the week to 31 December - the highest number of calls in a single week to NHS 111 since the service was created.

    Liberal Democrat analysis showed that in the week from 25th to 31st December, 12 of 137 NHS trusts were 100% full on at least one day, while 57 were at least 99% full on at least one day.

    In total 71,000 patients have faced delays of a half-an hour or more this winter, over 12,000 of them for an hour or more.

    These figures show the NHS crisis is worsening, with thousands of patients being stuck in ambulances outside A&Es and many hospitals suffering from a severe lack of beds.

    Every day seems to bring yet more bad news about the state of the health service. The blame lies firmly at the government's door.

    Ministers refused to provide the funding top NHS officials said was necessary and now patients are paying the price.

    It's time to give the NHS and care the extra cash they desperately need, by putting a penny on income tax to raise an extra £6bn a year.

  • Article: Dec 14, 2017
    By Liberal Democrats

    "Last night, Parliament took back control.

    "MPs insisted on a meaningful vote and dismissed Ministers' eleventh hour attempts to buy off the rebels.

    "This is a momentous day for Parliament and a humiliating defeat for Theresa May.

    "Now that MPs are to have a meaningful vote on the deal, the British people should get one too.

  • Article: Dec 7, 2017
    By Tim Farron MP

    The government has carried out impact assessments on policies ranging from songs from ice cream trucks to drain standards to the use of parody in comedy yet still hasn't produced any on Brexit, Liberal Democrat research has revealed.

    This is quite literally beyond parody.

    These revelations come after David Davis yesterday admitted that the 58 Brexit impact assessments he claimed his department was working never existed.

  • Chris Botten
    Article: Dec 1, 2017

    Commenting on the letter published by OFSTED today, Councillor Chris Botten, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Children & Families, said:

    "These are very serious criticisms of Surrey County Council, 3 years after the County Council's Children's Services were inspected by OFSTED and subsequently rated as "inadequate". There is a long list of failings that have been identified: the poor quality of social work, weaknesses in managerial oversight, children not receiving the right help at the right time and, in some cases, children being at risk of harm.

  • Angela Goodwin & Chris Botten
    Article: Dec 1, 2017

    Liberal Democrats have called upon Surrey County Council to improve and expand its provision of services to children with Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND). The County Council spends a total of £237 million on SEND services for children and young people, educates 822 SEND students outside of the county, and spends nearly £27 million on travel costs for SEND students. Liberal Democrat county councillors have tabled a motion, to be discussed at Council next week, calling for the Conservative-administration to invest in more SEND provision within Surrey, in order to reduce the number of placements outside of the county, as well as reducing travel costs and times for children and parents alike.

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