Cllr Ryk Downes

Liberal Democrat Councillor working all year round for Otley & Yeadon Learn more

Ramadan Kareem

by Ed Davey - Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Mon, 12 Apr 2021

I want to send my best wishes to Muslims in the UK and across the world as we welcome the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is a time of reflection, renewal and generosity. These are much needed in our communities, our politics and all our lives.

A second year observing Ramadan with restrictions on meeting together will be difficult.  Holding an iftar will be different, loved ones will be missed and celebrations will be muted. 

We must all continue to do our part to control and suppress the virus. As we do, we look forward in hope and faith to when we can see loved ones again.

I wish all those observing this holy month a blessed and peaceful Ramadan. 

Ramadan Kareem.


 

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

In Memory of Shirley Williams

by Liberal Democrats on Mon, 12 Apr 2021

On behalf of her family, it is with great sadness that we announce that Shirley Williams, Baroness Williams of Crosby, died peacefully in the early hours of Monday April 12th.


Read this article on www.libdems.org →

His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

by Liberal Democrats on Fri, 09 Apr 2021

“Prince Philip dedicated his life to our country. We will always be grateful for his amazing service, not least the powerful legacy he leaves to millions of young people who have taken part in his unique Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

“His quiet and steadfast counsel and support of The Queen, is perhaps his greatest if unquantifiable contribution to our nation’s history.

“At this sad time for millions, we should never forget Prince Philip was a much-loved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. So our thoughts must be with the whole Royal Family, but in particular with The Queen at this difficult time.”

 

Ed Davey
Leader of the Liberal Democrats


 

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

May 6th - Local election event of the decade

by Liberal Democrats on Thu, 08 Apr 2021

No such thing as Superheroes? Meet our Councillors and Activists!

This May the Liberal Democrats have one mission - make Britain a fairer, greener, more caring country. And we’ve been doing an amazing job!

Watch our new video to find out more about the achievements of our superhero Lib Dem Councillors and activists!

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

3 reasons why we need more Liberal Democrat Councillors this May

by Liberal Democrats on Tue, 06 Apr 2021

Today the Liberal Democrats have launched our campaign for the local elections in England on 6 May.

Vote Liberal Democrat on 6 May and you’ll get a local champion who will get things done in your community. You’ll get a cleaner, greener neighbourhood where recovery comes first and local people are listened to.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Racial injustice is real – and we will keep fighting it

by Wera Hobhouse on Sat, 03 Apr 2021

As the Black Lives Matter protests highlighted so powerfully, too many people’s lives both in the UK and across the world are blighted by discrimination, inequality and injustice. It is unacceptable.

There is still so much to do to tackle racial injustice in our country.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Autism Acceptance Month

by Katharine Macy on Thu, 01 Apr 2021

This motion called not just for support, but for acceptance for autistic people.

This Autism Acceptance Month comes soon after a Young Liberals motion, Autism Support, was passed at Liberal Democrat conference.

This motion called not just for support, but for acceptance for autistic people.

Autistic people are more likely than the general population to have other learning difficulties, mental health illnesses and even physical disabilities.

These create a large amount of barriers for our community.

We also face huge problems in other areas of life.

Only 16% of diagnosed autistic individuals are in full time employment, and 32% in part time employment.

Only 16% of diagnosed autistic individuals are in full time employment, and 32% in part time employment. Yet 77% of unemployed autistic people want to work. We need real action, now.

Only 8% of autistic people feel that their lives have improved in the decade since the 2009 “Autism Act” was passed into law - it doesn’t go far enough.

I’m so pleased that Young Liberals’ Autism Support policy being passed means that the Liberal Democrats will be calling for changes that autistic people have been fighting for for too long.

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to provide better guidance on supporting autistic people in the workplace; to cut waiting lists for autism diagnosis by providing more funding; and increase training for teachers about autism.

The motion also calls for a wide range of changes across society. You can find the full motion as passed at conference here.

This Autism Acceptance Month, I’m excited for the road ahead. The road to autism acceptance is long, but it is liberal.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Deliver more leaflets

by Lisa Smart on Tue, 30 Mar 2021

FCEC met last week, immediately after conference and for the final time before the run-in to May elections.

In short, from now to Thursday 8th April, the nominations of thousands of Liberal Democrat candidates are being collected and submitted to local councils across the UK in the biggest round of elections in recent years.

FCEC wishes good fortune to every one of you who is standing and ensuring that everyone in England, Scotland and Wales has at least one opportunity to vote Liberal Democrat this May.

Delivering the right message, at the right time, to the right person

For our part we are learning the lessons of 2019 and, following a significant piece of work looking at how people respond to our messaging, we are developing campaigns promoting those of our policies that will attract more voters to our cause, whilst continuing to champion the causes for which we are already known.

This does not mean that we stop saying what we believe, it just means that we say more about the things we believe that will encourage more people to vote for us.

Equipping you with the best tools

The problems we have faced with IT Systems were discussed and whilst things will not be perfect for May, there have been significant improvements. 

Discussion around how we support local teams with suitable systems is ongoing and consultations with party members and bodies are under way.

Tiering of local parties

The tiering of local parties will be reviewed following the local elections and any changes will be agreed by July. 

The tiering of seats is a qualitative assessment of the electoral success of local parties. It will be reviewed each year after the local elections and is the foundation on which our local, regional and federal development plans are built.

We discussed and agreed that, if a seat is being moved into or out of Tier 1 there will be consultation with the Regional Party and clear communications with the local team.

Campaigning 

This close to polling day, what really matters is more campaigning.

I have been particularly pleased, with restrictions easing near me (always check your local advice) to be able to get back out knocking on doors. Meeting the public really works. 

The doorsteps await!

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Party finances and a new HQ

by Anthony Harris on Mon, 29 Mar 2021

New members of the team

Our most recent meeting saw two new members join the committee. Shelley Snelson takes up a new position as Deputy to the Registered Party Treasurer.

In this role Shelley will provide support to the Chair in committee work in particular managing communication to sub-committees, special projects, and communications with the Parliamentary Office of the Liberal Democrats (POLD).

Following the loss of Paul Fox who needed to step down for personal reasons, Dave Hodgson was returned to the committee in a by-election. Don't forget, you can find opportunities to run for committee posts, volunteer elsewhere, and apply for paid positions, on the website here

We welcome both Shelley and Dave to their roles and look forward to working with them.

Lib Dem HQ in Westminster

Many will be aware that the landlord was unwilling to extend our tenancy in Great George Street and hence we needed to seek an alternative location. There has been a lot of debate over the type of accommodation needed following changes to working practices forced on us by Covid-19.

We have been supporting the staff in understanding the financial and contractual elements of the move and are optimistic that, subject to continuing negotiations, we know that we will be able to secure something suitable for the staff and delivering a significant reduction in our fixed cost base.

Annual accounts

Operations updates continue to highlight the pressures on the Compliance team. This year’s financial account for Local Parties, without a requirement for audit, should all now be with Compliance. The focus now is on supporting those who need to submit audited accounts to the Electoral Commission.

Compliance have rolled out significant levels of support to local party officers through their ’28-day Challenge’ in February. There is much work still to be done in managing finances and Compliance through the elections across Great Britain in May.

We remain, as always, grateful for the efforts of local party officers in maintaining compliance and avoiding sanctions.

Financial report

The situation with Covid-19 remains challenging and we are still spending significant effort on understanding the impacts on membership and donations.

We realise that during this election period members will be receiving many requests for support, but if we are to succeed in May then every contribution matters. 

Fundraising

At the last meeting we gave our thanks to Mike German who leaves his role as Party Treasurer after some five and a half years!

The next meeting will see us welcoming Tilly McAuliffe to the committee as the new holder of that position – taking over as we continue to go through challenging times.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Chag Sameach!

by Ed Davey - Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Sat, 27 Mar 2021

At sundown tonight, Jewish communities in the UK and around the world will mark the beginning of Passover, the eight-day festival commemorating the liberation of the Israelites after 400 years of slavery in ancient Egypt.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

The killing of Sarah Everard shocked the nation. She was described by family and friends as “bright and beautiful”, “kind and thoughtful” and “caring and dependable”. My thoughts have been with Sarah’s family ever since we heard she was missing, and my heart still goes out to them.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

A green recovery with a Sovereign Green Wealth Fund

by Liberal Democrats on Mon, 22 Mar 2021

When Liberal Democrats say put recovery first, we mean creating a fairer, greener, more caring society, and at the heart of this plan is ensuring the recovery is green.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

We must win in May to build a more caring country

by Liberal Democrats on Mon, 22 Mar 2021

The economic recovery starts with small business

by Liberal Democrats on Mon, 22 Mar 2021

Standing up for refugee children

by Alistair Carmichael on Sun, 21 Mar 2021

The UK has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need, but this Conservative Government has turned its back on refugees - hitting vulnerable children the hardest.

Today Liberal Democrats members have passed a motion calling for the resettlement of refugee children and families in the UK.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Watch Ed Davey's speech here

by Bansri Buddhdev on Sun, 21 Mar 2021

Good afternoon Conference.

Our country is hurting right now.

125,000 have been taken by this cruel virus.

125,000 mums and dads. Brothers and sisters. Sons and daughters.

125,000 empty chairs at kitchen tables.

So many families, mourning the loss of a loved one.

Even those who have been spared the agony of bereavement… even they are suffering enormous hardships.

Families kept apart by lockdown.

Parents who haven’t seen their children for over a year.

Grandparents who’ve missed out on the joy of holding the new baby.

Businesses closed. Jobs lost. Savings destroyed.

A whole year of isolation. Fear. Grief.

GOVERNMENT FAILURES

All compounded tragically by the failures of this Conservative Government.

Poorly prepared. Slow to act. Ignoring expert advice.

Boris Johnson’s indecision and incompetence has failed our nation.

Leaving the most vulnerable – elderly people, disabled people – to be attacked by the virus in their care homes, where they should have been safe.

Leaving our country with a shockingly high death rate – one of the worst in the world.

This Government must be held to account. Britain’s bereaved families deserve answers.

So Liberal Democrats will continue to lead that charge.

Boris Johnson must set up now the independent inquiry he promised me in the House of Commons last June.

No more excuses. No more delays.

SARAH EVERARD AND PROTESTS

And after all the pain inflicted by Covid, last week we were forced to confront another national anguish.

The shocking, tragic killing of Sarah Everard. 

And the violence perpetrated by far too many men against far too many women. 

The abuse, the harassment and the fear women face every day, just walking down their own streets.

And then those awful scenes from Clapham Common.

Women, wrestled to the ground by police officers.

Handcuffed and dragged away, simply for holding a peaceful vigil in Sarah’s memory.

Simply for saying enough is enough.

We have to do better as a country.

We must do better at tackling violence against women.

Believing survivors. Making clear that misogyny in any form is unacceptable.

And as men, we have to do better.

Listening to women. Calling out other men. Never turning a blind eye.

Just as with the Black Lives Matter protests last summer, this pandemic makes these issues more urgent – not less.

And this Government – these Conservatives, who talk so much about their freedoms and their free speech – must stop their assault on everyone else’s freedoms.

Our fundamental rights to peaceful assembly and protest.

Rights that have always been so crucial to our democratic society.

Rights crucial to the struggle over decades to advance equality and end discrimination.

THE RECOVERY WE NEED

After so much hurt, we need hope.

And that is what our wonderful NHS staff and volunteers are injecting into our lives as they work tirelessly delivering vaccines.

Hope, so we can finally look forward.

And as we do, we must put recovery first.

The recovery of our health, our freedoms and our communities.

The recovery of business, the economy and jobs.

A recovery that is fair.

Fair for the doctors and nurses, care workers, teachers, and countless more on the frontline who have gone to work every day – putting themselves at risk to keep the rest of us safe.

Fair for the people who have stepped up heroically to look after their loved ones.

The unpaid carers so often forgotten.

The parents who have somehow juggled home-working with home-schooling.

Fair for the small businesses who have adapted and innovated and sweated their way through this crisis.

All of you – together – have pulled our country through.

Thank you.

So we need a recovery that does justice to the sacrifices you have made.

A FAIRER, GREENER, MORE CARING COUNTRY

A recovery that delivers on our vision of a fairer, greener, more caring country.

Fairer...

Where everyone can have a good job and real opportunity, no matter where they were born or what school they went to.

Where small businesses and the self-employed can thrive, creating secure jobs with good pay.

Where every person’s rights and dignity are respected.

And fairer: where women no longer have to fear harassment, abuse and violence from men.

Greener…

Where we invest in exciting new technologies and insulate every home – to create secure, well-paid, green jobs in every part of the UK.

Where we work together with other nations to tackle the global climate emergency.

Where we clean our air and protect green spaces, and so improve people’s mental and physical health.

And more caring…

Where we look after one another, and finally recognise the true value of care.

Where we stand up for carers and give them the support they deserve.

Where people with mental ill health get quality care, quickly – not least children and young people.

And where we pay our nurses and care workers properly.

How dare Boris Johnson say all he can afford is a one per cent pay rise for nurses and other NHS staff?

How can he find billions for contracts for his Tory cronies, but not for the amazing people who have put their lives on the line for us?

How dare he boast about the vaccine rollout they are delivering so brilliantly, while he treats them so disgracefully?

Prime Minister: pay NHS and care staff properly. Do it now.

PUT RECOVERY FIRST

Friends, that’s the recovery our nation needs.

That’s the fairer, greener, more caring country that lies ahead of us.

I know the British people can get there. But it will take the Liberal Democrats to lead the way.

Just as Liberal Democrats have already led the way towards a fairer, greener, more caring country –

With the progress we have delivered in Parliaments and councils across the UK –

Wherever and whenever we win elections.

And we can do it again now. Because we will put recovery first.

If only the others would.

But the Conservatives won’t.

They have put Brexit ahead of the national interest, with their disastrous trade deal.

The Conservatives have put enriching their wealthy friends ahead of fair pay for nurses or support for small business.

And the Tories are putting their right-wing, shrink-the-state ideology ahead of working with industry, even junking the very idea of an industrial strategy. Just when we need a recovery.

And the Nationalists in Scotland certainly won’t put recovery first.

Because they put their obsession with independence ahead of everything else.

Even as Covid claims thousands of lives, devastates businesses and threatens jobs across Scotland –

The SNP want to plunge our economy into years of chaos and uncertainty.

They divide the Scottish people.

They are seeking to divide our United Kingdom.

Now, they’re even divided among themselves.

What Scotland needs is a leader who will bring people together: Willie Rennie.

And a party who will put recovery first: the Liberal Democrats.

THE PARTY OF SMALL BUSINESS

The UK’s economic recovery starts with small business.

Small businesses are at the heart of every local community, and every local economy.

They create the jobs people need.

In Government, Liberal Democrats championed small businesses and helped them create two million new jobs.

And during this pandemic, it’s been the Liberal Democrats pushing for more action to support small businesses and the self-employed, every step of the way.

We know how tough the past year has been, for almost every small business.

Many have seen their incomes evaporate. Many have had to stay closed all year.

And for so many, the support from the Treasury hasn’t been nearly enough.

A chaotic series of last-minute announcements, short-term sticking plasters and unpredictable U-turns.

Three million people – mostly the self-employed – excluded altogether.

The result?

Almost a million jobs lost.

Small businesses saddled with unmanageable debt.

Many worried they won’t make it much longer.

So here’s the mission now for Liberal Democrats at every level – in Cardiff and Holyrood, in London and all across England, at May’s elections and beyond:

Let’s work with local small businesses to help their recovery, and so help our communities recover too.

And let’s challenge the Chancellor to give small businesses a bold new tax cut to support thousands of new jobs.

Slash their National Insurance Contributions by – not doubling, not trebling – but quadrupling the annual Employment Allowance from £4,000 to £16,000.

So no small business pays a penny in National Insurance Contributions on their first five employees.

A Liberal Democrat tax cut to back small businesses, create jobs, and put recovery first.

TRADE AND THE BREXIT DAMAGE

And there’s another critical part of our plan to back British business and put recovery first.

And it’s trade.

Trade with our European neighbours is critical for so many businesses and jobs in every part of the UK.

But Boris Johnson’s trade deal with the EU –

The first trade deal in history to put up new barriers to trade –

Is hurting our businesses and seriously harming our recovery.

An act of economic vandalism at the worst possible time.

In January – the first month of Johnson’s deal – these new barriers cost Britain’s exporters more than £5 billion.

£5 billion in one month.

So I’m proud that the Liberal Democrats voted No.

I’m proud it’s Liberal Democrats leading the argument that the Government must get back round the table…

Talk with our European neighbours. Rebuild those relationships. 

And I’m proud that – as we have affirmed once again this weekend – Liberal Democrats remain a strongly pro-European party…

Making the argument for the closest possible relationship with the EU – so we can put recovery first.

THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY

And let’s be clear: when we say recovery, we mean a green recovery.

A recovery that faces up to the existential threat of climate change.

We’ve seen the warnings.

Floods devastating communities across the UK.

Fires burning the Amazon, burning Australia.

This is a global emergency.

The world must act. Before the fires burn out of control and the flood levels rise beyond measure.

And the UK must lead. At the crucial climate talks in Glasgow this year, and beyond.

Just as we did before, when the Liberal Democrats were in Government –

And I led the UK delegation for three UN climate summits –

Securing an ambitious EU climate agreement, critical for achieving the landmark Paris Climate Agreement.

Now Boris Johnson has recently started talking about climate change.

But talk is cheap. It’s actions that matter.

And just look at the Conservatives’ actions since 2015:

Our zero carbon homes law? Scrapped.

Our Green Investment Bank? Privatised.

Liberal Democrat initiatives on onshore wind, solar power, community energy? All binned by the Conservatives.

When Tory Ministers talk about the strong progress the UK has made on climate change, let’s be clear:

Those are Liberal Democrat achievements, delivered by Liberal Democrat Ministers in Government.

Because back when Boris Johnson was going round saying wind farms couldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding...

We were investing £8 billion to help make the UK the world leader in offshore wind.

And look what we achieved:

Four times as much clean, renewable power generated here in the UK.

Offshore wind now even cheaper than gas.

Thousands of good new jobs – in every part of the country. Parts of the country that need them most.

SOVEREIGN GREEN WEALTH FUND

And there’s something else that Liberal Democrat investment has created…

A whole new source of green wealth for our nation.

Just last month, an auction for the right to build wind farms off the coast of England and Wales attracted bids far, far higher than anyone expected.

Raising £9 billion. With more to come.

Now you probably haven’t heard about that nine billion – because the Tories don’t want you to know.

They don’t want you to know that Liberal Democrat investment has translated into green wealth for the country.

They’d rather slip the cash quietly into the Chancellor’s wallet, to pay for all their dodgy contracts.

No. This green wealth doesn’t belong to Rishi Sunak, or the Tories.

It belongs to the British people.

So I say: let’s invest it in a Sovereign Green Wealth Fund.

Let’s invest this windfall from wind power into more climate action…

To build new infrastructure and attract more private investment.

To grow our green wealth even further, and create thousands of manufacturing jobs here in the UK.

By investing in the green technologies and industries of the future – tidal power, hydrogen, green flight – Britain can not only recover but become the world’s first Green Powerhouse.

And with our new Green Wealth Fund, we can also invest in an emergency ten-year programme to insulate every single home.

Lower heating bills for everyone – and an end to fuel poverty.

Warmer homes for everyone – and green jobs in every village, town and city across the UK.

Real climate action to slash Britain’s carbon emissions.

If the Tories had invested the windfall from North Sea oil in the ’80s, they could have created a Wealth Fund worth more than £500 billion today.

But they squandered the nation’s wealth then, just as they are doing now.

But we must not let them.

Liberal Democrats, let’s put recovery first. A green recovery. 

To build a fairer, greener country.

MAY’S ELECTIONS

Conference, after all the darkness of the last 12 months – all the sadness and sacrifice – this is the brighter, hopeful vision our country needs.

Where Governments and councils put recovery first.

A green recovery, with small business at its heart

Where, together, we build a future that is so much better than the past.

A fairer, greener, more caring country.

The Liberal Democrats offer that vision.

We can deliver that future.

We will build that country.

And that’s why, in May’s bumper crop of elections, we must get out there and make our case across the UK.

Because our communities need us.

They need us to campaign harder than ever before.

To knock on every door. Speak to every voter. Deliver every leaflet.

And they need us to win.

After all the pain our country has endured, our communities cannot afford the Tories to take us backwards or the SNP to tear us apart.

It’s up to us to stop them – and to offer something better.

So, let’s get Scottish Liberal Democrats elected to Holyrood, to invest even more in schools, mental health services and local communities across Scotland.

Let’s get Welsh Liberal Democrats elected to the Senedd, to support small businesses and the self-employed across Wales.

Let’s get Liberal Democrats elected to the London Assembly, to build homes in the heart of London and take real action for clean air.

Let’s get Liberal Democrats elected to councils across England, who will work tirelessly for their communities, revive our high streets and protect our precious environment.

Let’s get Liberal Democrats elected.

Let’s put recovery first.

And let’s get to work for our communities.

Building the fairer, greener, more caring country we all want to live in.

Thank you.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

For too long those with disabilities have struggled to obtain secure employment - a struggle intensified by Covid-19. Even though the huge increase of working from home could have made finding and keeping a job easier, disabled workers have instead been disproportionately impacted by furlough, reduced hours and redundancies.1

Even before the pandemic, those with disabilities had a 52% employment rate, compared to 81% for non-disabled people - a staggering employment gap. Disabled workers also earn £2.10 less per hour than their non-disabled colleagues.

That’s why the Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to lift the unjust barriers excluding disabled people from the workplace.

Today we have passed a motion that sets out a targeted strategy furthering the employment of disabled people as we emerge from the pandemic. We are demanding overdue policy changes including:

For too long those with disabilities have struggled to obtain secure employment

  1. A Jobs Guarantee for newly unemployed disabled people and specialist disability employment support
  2. A £20 a week increase in Employment Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payments, in line with the Universal Credit uplift
  3. Disabled people to have a ‘day one’ right to work from home if they want to, unless there are significant business reasons as to why this could not be accommodated

Read the full motion here:

Lifting Barriers to Work for Disabled People

The Liberal Democrats are dedicated to defending disabled peoples’ right to work and secure employment. We recognise that the UK economy can only be truly successful if it supports disabled workers.


1 Leonard Chesire

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Liberal Democrats are urging the government to fix its response to Covid-19.

The Liberal Democrats have watched in horror and disbelief as the government made mistake after mistake tackling the Covid-19 crisis.

We mourn the suffering and loss of life caused by the Conservatives’ ineptitude. We demand the Government reassess its approach and address the long term ramifications of the pandemic. 

While we are relieved by the success of the NHS’s vaccination programme, nothing can bring back those lost to the virus, numbering over 126,000. Behind every statistic is life - a parent, a sibling, a friend. 

That’s why Liberal Democrat members have voted to back a motion urging the government to fix its response to Covid-19. 

Our motion set out how we would address the most pressing problems caused by the Government's mishandling of the pandemic:


We need a Public Inquiry

It’s long past time for the government to launch an independent public inquiry as promised by Boris Johnson.

From China to Italy, last Spring we saw other nations battling the virus before numbers started to climb in the UK.

The government had a chance to limit the number of infections but they failed to take action.

Why? Bereaved families who have lost loved ones to Covid-19 deserve answers.

We need a full, independent, public inquiry. 

In the words of Ed Davey,

“This is the biggest catastrophe, the biggest trauma the British nation has suffered since the second world war.

It has to be the toughest, most independent inquiry that British law allows, and anything short of that would be totally unacceptable.”

It’s time our frontline heroes' work was recognised by more than payment in claps.        


Support for NHS and Social Care workers

NHS, social care workers and emergency service personnel need proper support with a proper pay reward.

They have borne the brunt of the physical and psychological scars caused by Covid-19 and it’s time their work was recognised by more than payment in claps. 

We are also calling for increased funding for mental health support services to help key healthcare workers cope with the trauma of Covid-19.

In addition, we urge the government to grant foreign nationals working in healthcare indefinite leave to remain.


Support for Disabled People

Disabled people and their carers have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Disabled workers have been disproportionately impacted by furlough, reduced hours and redundancies and many have been in self-isolation since last March. 

The Government must increase their support for disabled people through the social care, housing, education and mental health systems.


A Strategy for Understanding and Treating Long Covid 

Last December, the ONS estimated that one in ten people in the UK are suffering with the effects of long Covid.

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has led the way raising awareness of this condition in Parliament. 

Together with the All-Party Group on Coronavirus, Layla is calling on the government to recognise Long Covid as an occupational disease.

Our motion backs research into the long-term effects of COVID-19 to help clinicians treat the condition.

The Covid-19 mortality rate is up to 4.3 times higher for Black and South Asian people.


A Plan for Supporting Ethnic Minorities

The disproportionate toll of Covid-19 on people from black and ethnic minority groups is extremely alarming.

The Covid-19 mortality rate is up to 4.3 times higher for Black and South Asian people according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

Furthermore, people from BAME groups make up a significant percentage of those on the frontline, increasing their exposure to the virus and their subsequent risk of falling ill.

We need more research into why ethnic minorities are so severely impacted by Covid-19.

That’s why we are calling for a cross-government Race Equality Strategy to ensure an effective response to the coronavirus crisis.

As liberals we must be wary of creating a two-tier system of rights here at home.


Saying No to Vaccine Passports

Introducing so-called ‘vaccine passports’ for domestic use would establish a two-tier system.

Vaccine passports will discriminate against those who cannot have the vaccine, either for health reasons or because they are not old enough.

And no vaccine has yet been authorised for use in children and adolescents.

Whilst they may be inevitable for international travel, as liberals we must be wary of creating a two-tier system of rights here at home.

What’s more, countries like Australia, Taiwan and New Zealand have shown it's possible to lift the restrictions on our liberties with robust public health interventions to keep the virus under control.

The fairest way to lift restrictions and to make lockdowns a thing of the past is to keep cases low and get as many people vaccinated as possible.


Learning from our Neighbours

Countries like New Zealand, Australia and South Korea have effectively managed outbreaks of the virus.

We must learn from their success and build a Coronavirus strategy that draws on the successes we’ve seen overseas.

All of these have used strict border controls and this undoubtedly helped stop the spread of the virus.

We must introduce robust quarantine measures to reduce the transmission of the virus and its new variants in the UK.

We must ensure no-one slips through the net as the scale of the mental health impact of this crisis emerges.


Mental Health Support

The coronavirus crisis has exacerbated mental health issues for many people across the UK.

As we address the physical effects of Covid-19, we cannot ignore the impacts of successive lockdowns, isolation, bereavement and financial pressure on people’s mental wellbeing.

Our motion highlights the importance of signposting available mental health support, while increasing the level of funding for mental health charities on top of providing additional investment in mental health services. 

We must ensure no-one slips through the net as the scale of the mental health impact of this crisis emerges.

It is vital that everyone in the UK is protected from the scourge Covid-19, no matter where they came from and that migrants have access to all the same services.


Ending Immigration Checks in the NHS 

The coronavirus does not respect international borders, nationality or ethnicity.

It is a moral and healthcare imperative that migrants are not prevented from accessing vaccines, healthcare or financial support.

We are demanding the government suspend the ‘no recourse to public funds’ rule, end immigration checks and upfront charging in the NHS and establish a firewall to prevent public agencies from sharing personal information with the Home Office for the purposes of immigration enforcement. 

It is vital that everyone in the UK is protected from the scourge Covid-19, no matter where they came from and that migrants have access to all the same services, respecting their right to equality. 


Read the full motion here: https://www.libdems.org.uk/f14-covid19-pandemic

The Liberal Democrats are dismayed that the government did not learn from their mistakes last spring, leading to a further 84,000 deaths since our Autumn Conference.

The government should take on our policy recommendations and put the UK’s recovery first.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

Here’s how we help young people

by Daisy Cooper on Sun, 21 Mar 2021

Young people’s lives have been severely disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdowns have taken a toll on young people’s education, mental health and future prospects - hitting those with fewer resources especially hard.

The Liberal Democrats believe significant policy changes are needed now to safeguard young people’s futures. We want to make up for the opportunities missed in lockdown, giving young people the chance to flourish.

Read this article on www.libdems.org →

My Vision for Britain

by Ed Davey - Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Sun, 21 Mar 2021

At our Liberal Democrat Spring Conference today, I outlined my vision for building a Fairer, Greener and More Caring country by putting recovery first. Take a look at my commitments here:

Read this article on www.libdems.org →