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Hospitals Face Closure

19 hospitals facing closure as NHS is "downgraded behind closed doors"

Nineteen hospitals are facing closure, including five acute hospitals, according to an analysis of Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) by the i newspaper.

Other findings of the investigation include the planned closure of 2,000 beds in acute and community hospitals and the loss of nearly 3,000 NHS jobs.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb commented:

"Hospital closures and reduced access to care are an inevitable consequence of this government's chronic underfunding of the NHS.

"We are seeing the gradual downgrading of our health service taking place behind closed doors.

"There needs to be an honest debate that fully involves the public. Many people now agree that to secure the long-term future of the NHS and care, we may all have to pay a little more in tax.

"It's time for a national convention on the NHS and care that brings the public and political parties together to come up with bold solutions to this crisis."


“Home Secretary can and must do more for unaccompanied child refugees” says Carmichael

“Home Secretary can and must do more for unaccompanied child refugees” says Carmichael

Alistair Carmichael, Shadow First Secretary, today demanded further action from the Home Secretary to ensure Britain takes unaccompanied child refugees where they have families in the UK. Speaking about the Dublin regulations, a set of EU rules which determine the member state responsible for an asylum application process, Mr. Carmichael asked the Home Secretary to use the discretionary sections to ensure that any refugees with families in the UK could be reunited.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr. Carmichael said:

“This is an issue where she has the opportunity to demonstrate that our global vision is about more than just trade deals. Limiting our ambitions to less than 1% of the desperate children who need to be helped is not worthy of that vision. Will the Home Secretary look at the way in which she uses the Dublin regulations; there are discretionary clauses there which could be used more effectively to identify children with family links already in the UK to ensure that they were helped.”

The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd responded:

“The Hon. Gentleman has raised an important point about the Dublin arrangements, the fact is that until we had an accelerated process and really leant in to identify children that qualify under the Dublin arrangements into Calais, it wasn’t really working. The number of children being transferred under Dublin previously were very small. We managed to transfer nearly 600 under Dublin last year. I now feel that the Home Office and other associated organisations who help us deliver on Dublin have learnt how to ensure that it operates better in the future, and I am confident that those numbers will improve going forward.”

Commenting after the exchange, Mr. Carmichael said:

"Last Year the government, faced with massive public pressure, agreed to an amendment with cross-party support setting up a process to allow vulnerable children to come to the UK.  Yesterday, with some of the pressure off them and when Parliament was busy dealing with the Brexit bill, they slipped out a written announcement that they would be closing the scheme. At a time when Britain's standing is already diminished by our Prime Minister's rush to cosy up to President Trump, this is a further blow to our standing on the world stage."


Stephen Williams for Metro Mayor


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Stephen Williams has been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Metro Mayor in the West of England, following a vote of the local party members. The election is to be held on Thursday 4th of May this year. Williams, who is a former Local Government Minister and MP for Bristol West, secured the Liberal Democrat nomination following a series of hustings.


Bath park and ride Cabinet decision day

key_Millar.jpgThe B&NES Conservative Cabinet will decide today (25 January 2017) whether to build an East of Bath park and ride on the Bathampton water meadows. 

Lib Dem opposition Councillors are attending the crunch Cabinet meeting to speak out against the plans:

  • Councillor Alison Millar (representing Bathavon North ward, Alison is the only non-Conservative Councillor in the ward in which the park and ride would be built).
  • Councillor Dine Romero (representing Southdown ward, Dine is the Leader of the Lib Dems on B&NES Council).
  • Councillor Neil Butters (representing Bathavon South, Neil the Lib Dem Council Group’s transport spokesperson).

The proceedings of the Cabinet meeting can be viewed online: webcast; and the Cabinet decision papers can be seen on the Council's website: papers. The Lib Dem Councillors' speeches can be viewed below.


Lib Dems: Plans to roll out monthly bin collections are "bonkers"

Lib Dems: Plans to roll out monthly bin collections are "bonkers"

Families are being forced to burn trash to avoid it rotting outside homes, it was reported today, as a council in North Wales cuts bin collections to once every four weeks.

The scheme is now set to be rolled out across UK, in a sign of the crippling cuts being faced by local councils.

Commenting on the news, Liberal Democrat MP John Pugh said:

"This shows that life under the Tories is rubbish. How can families be expected to burn rotting food?

"In what world should this plan be rolled out nationally. It's bonkers.

"It's easy to blame local councils, but when local authority budgets are being slashed to the bone it's clear the fault lies squarely with this Conservative government.

"The Department for Communities and Local Government needs to step in, today, and ensure this scheme is not introduced in streets across the country."


Park and Ride decision papers published

Papers for next week’s Special Cabinet meeting, which will decide on the location of the East of Bath park and ride, have been published today (Tuesday, 17 January 2017).

The Cabinet is proposing to promote site 'B', on Bathampton Meadows, as the preferred site for the new park and ride, and if this is not deliverable, site 'F', which is also on the Meadows. You can read the full report here: Special Cabinet meeting agenda papers.


Lib Dems: CBI warning on disorderly Brexit should be wake-up call

Responding to a warning from CBI Director General Carolyn Fairbairn on the risks of a "disorderly" Brexit, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary Tom Brake said:

"Bluster and bravado from the leading Brexiteers is not enough. They should admit that crashing out of the Single Market without any fall-back plan would have serious consequences for jobs, businesses and the public finances.

"It's about time this government listened to the advice of business leaders instead of recklessly pursuing a hard and destructive Brexit that would sink the economy.

"It would be a betrayal of British businesses if Theresa May went into these negotiations waving the white flag on membership of the Single Market

"Labour under Corbyn are failing to hold the government to account and are now cheering Brexit along from the sidelines.

"Only the Liberal Democrats are providing a real opposition to this Conservative Brexit government and fighting to keep Britain open, tolerant and united.”


Blue Monday

Blue Monday: data shows 11 million days lost due to depression - Lib Dems

Coinciding with Blue Monday, figures show that the total number of working days lost due to depression in 2015/16 was 11.7 million days. This equated to an average of 23.9 days lost per case. Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Norman Lamb said these startling figures should force the Government to sit up and take notice of the mental health crisis facing the UK workforce.

The total number of cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2015/16 was 488,000 cases, a prevalence rate of 1510 per 100,000 workers.

In 2015/16 stress accounted for 37% of all work related ill health cases and 45% of all working days lost due to ill health.

Stress is more prevalent in public service industries, such as education; health and social care; and public administration and defence.

The main work factors cited by respondents as causing work related stress, depression or anxiety were workload pressures including tight deadlines, too much responsibility, and a lack of managerial support.


Lib Dems: NAO report is damning verdict on HMRC

Commenting on the NAO report showing that HMRC dramatically over estimated the savings from plans to move to regional hubs, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, Susan Kramer, said:

“How can the public have confidence in our tax system when the organisation charged with bringing in money it so utterly reckless with how it spends it? HMRC refused to listen when people warned of the dangers of rushing to regional centres. 

“Their actions cost jobs in local HMRC centres and cut businesses and taxpayers off from advice and yet they are now saying the move will cost over £300m over the next decade.  These HMRC offices that have closed were the final part of government infrastructure that was in a lot of towns throughout the UK, with them gone, and the jobs, it means another nail in the coffin for many small and rural communities.


Lib Dems: Banks are fleeing May’s hard Brexit

Commenting on a survey of 200 financial institutions which found half have started to relocate staff six months on from the Brexit vote, with a third planning to move their entire European operations, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Susan Kramer said:

“Concerns over hard Brexit are already leading to an exodus of workers.

“Yet Theresa May continues to drop heavy hints that she is hell-bent on taking Britain out of the Single Market, ignoring the threat to passporting rights and the jobs dependent on trade with the world’s most lucrative market.

“The financial services sector is crucial to the UK's future prosperity.

"If Theresa May does pull Britain out of the Single Market, she will go down in history as the Prime Minister who crashed the economy.”