26 October 2022 – today’s press releases

Apologies for the lateness of the hour – I was trawling through my ballot paper for the Party’s internal elections…

  • Braverman appointment: Lib Dems call for Cabinet Office inquiry
  • Cancer diagnosis postcode lottery revealed as over 60,000 wait more than two weeks in August alone
  • Fiscal plan delay leaves families in a cloud of uncertainty
  • Concerns Over Welsh Government Housing Targets
  • PMQs: PM refuses to commit to 40 new hospitals
  • Scrapping triple lock would be a betrayal of pensioners

Braverman appointment: Lib Dems call for Cabinet Office inquiry

The Liberal Democrats have called for a Cabinet Office inquiry into the appointment of Suella Braverman to Home Secretary after she was sacked for breaching the ministerial code.

Liberal Democrats Home Affairs Spokesperson, Alistair Carmichael MP said:

Suella Braverman’s appointment makes a mockery of Rishi Sunak’s claims to be bringing integrity to Number 10.

There must be a full independent inquiry by the Cabinet Office into her appointment, including any promises Sunak made to her behind closed doors.

If it is confirmed that Suella Braverman repeatedly broke the ministerial code and threatened national security, she must be sacked.

A Home Secretary who broke the rules is not fit for a Home Office which keeps the rules.

Cancer diagnosis postcode lottery revealed as over 60,000 wait more than two weeks in August alone

  • 108 NHS trusts miss the two week cancer referral target (72% of all trusts).
  • Top 10 worst places for cancer referrals revealed.
  • Lib Dems call on the Government to bring forward an urgent plan to improve cancer care after NHS targets missed.

New analysis of the latest NHS data by the Liberal Democrats has revealed the worst places in the country to see a cancer specialist within two weeks after being referred by a GP.

A staggering 62,360 people had to wait more than two weeks to see a cancer specialist after a GP referral in August alone.

Despite the Government setting a target of 93% of patients seeing a cancer specialist after a referral, just 30 NHS trusts met the target. Some trusts only managed to see one third of people in time, as a post-code lottery is revealed.

The Liberal Democrats have revealed the top 10 worst places for cancer referrals in the country. Norfolk and Norwich NHS Trust is the worst, where only 34% of people were seen within two weeks of a referral.

Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

This grim postcode lottery is a national scandal. The evidence tells us how critical a speedy cancer diagnosis is yet thousands of people are left waiting far too long. The sheer number of people anxiously waiting is completely unacceptable.

Our health services cannot be ignored any longer. The Government must prioritise resources to clear record backlogs, slash dangerously long ambulance waiting times, and solve the healthcare postcode lottery.

All we’ve had from this Government is broken promise after broken promise. It is time for real action.

Fiscal plan delay leaves families in a cloud of uncertainty

Responding to the news of the fiscal event being delayed until the 17th of November, Treasury spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, Sarah Olney MP said:

This delay risks leaving mortgage borrowers, pensioners and struggling families under a damaging cloud of uncertainty.

Rishi Sunak must confirm now that benefits and pensions will be up-rated in line with inflation, and there will be no cuts to our NHS and other crucial public services.

Sunak was installed by Conservative MPs into Number 10 without anyone voting for him, and without telling anyone about his plans for the country.

The public deserve to know immediately what lies in store, and that they will not be made to pay for the Conservative Party trashing our economy.

Concerns Over Welsh Government Housing Targets

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have expressed concern after it emerged almost 90,000 households (200,000 people) are now on the social housing list. This is an increase of 40% from 2018 when it was at 65,000.

The Party states that Welsh Government figures show that housebuilding appears to have fallen this year and that Labour is allowing progress to stall. Welsh Government figures released at the start of this month show 1,232 new homes were built between April and June, 27% less than the same quarter of 2019.

If this rate was replicated throughout the whole of 2022, 4,928 homes would be completed far below the median estimated annual need of 7,400.

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

These figures are seriously concerning.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are proud that during the last Government we were able to use our influence to build 20,000 affordable homes by 2021. However, it now feels like Labour is letting these targets slip through their fingers.

People across Wales deserve a place to call home and that shouldn’t be an unachievable aspiration. What we are seeing now is generations of people, particularly younger people being unable to move out of their parent’s or relatives’ house and being unable to have an independent life of their own. This is not to mention the number of people being forced to move away from their home town.

Policies such as increasing taxation on second homes is welcome, but are not a silver bullet. To beat the housing crisis we need to see a higher number of homes being built and we need to see the Welsh Government work closely with local authorities to create the policies that enable housing (both social and private) to be built.

PMQs: PM refuses to commit to 40 new hospitals

Rishi Sunak today refused to commit to building the 40 new hospitals promised in the Conservative manifesto, in response to a question from Liberal Democrat MP Daisy Cooper at PMQs.

The Prime Minister instead said the “Chancellor will set out plans in the Autumn Statement.” It comes despite his pledge yesterday to deliver on the promises made in the 2019 Conservative manifesto in his first speech outside Downing Street.

Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

Rishi Sunak is on track to break a key manifesto promise by refusing to commit to building 40 new hospitals.

These days the Conservative manifesto isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. Anything less than a cast iron guarantee and cash in the bank will pave the way for another broken promise on our NHS.

As hospital roofs are at risk of collapsing and waiting lists spiral out of control, we desperately need these new hospitals. There can be no backtracking on promises made.

Scrapping triple lock would be a betrayal of pensioners

Responding to Number 10 refusing to commit to the triple lock on pensions, Liberal Democrat Work and Pensions Spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain said:

Rishi Sunak stood on the steps of Downing Street yesterday pledging to rebuild trust and stick to the promises made in the Conservative manifesto. But already he’s preparing to tear up his party’s promise on the pensions triple lock, while slashing welfare support for the most vulnerable.

This endless hokey cokey from the Conservatives is leaving pensioners and struggling families in a desperate limbo.

It shows this Conservative government can’t be trusted and is totally out of touch with people trying to make ends meet.

Struggling families and pensioners shouldn’t be made to pay for the Conservatives wrecking the economy with their disastrous budget.