Budget Day always generates a lot of press coverage, and this year is no exception, but there have been plenty of other issues worthy of comment. Indeed, there has been so much that I’ve been forced to do this in two parts…
Welsh Lib Dems – Budget a Golden Opportunity
Ahead of the UK Government’s budget, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have urged Chancellor Phillip Hammond to seize the opportunity the budget presents to end austerity and create a fairer, more prosperous Wales.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling on the UK Government to stop Brexit, fix Britain’s broken tax system, fund public services properly and give Wales the investment it needs to flourish.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:
Wales is not the best it can be, we cannot become a country that accepts rising homelessness, food bank usage and poverty as inevitable. This budget is a golden opportunity to help create a society where no-one is enslaved by poverty.
By pausing and fixing Universal Credit, delivering ambitious Growth Deals for North and Mid Wales and truly ending austerity, the UK Government can improve the lives of people across Wales who need a helping hand.
We have a clear plan to stop Brexit, fix Britain’s broken tax system and fund public services properly. We urge the UK Government to follow our plan to create the fairer, more prosperous Wales we need. We demand a free, fair and Liberal Wales and our plan helps deliver it.
50p coin nothing more than reminder of long lasting Brexit damage
Responding to reports that the Chancellor is expected to announce the launch of a 50p Brexit coin in the budget, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:
The 50p coin will be nothing more than a sad and permanent reminder of the long lasting damage Brexit will do to our economy, credibility and influence in the world.
If the PM was to feature on one face of the coin, the other must of course feature Corbyn, because the catastrophe that is Brexit is very much a joint enterprise.
Rather than a nonsensical coin, the people deserve a final say on Brexit including the option to remain in the EU.
Conservatives acting like school kids on post-Brexit immigration
Responding to the Home Affairs Select Committee’s report slamming the Government for its “cursory” response to its report on the future of EEA migration, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:
On planning for post-Brexit immigration, Conservative Ministers are acting like school kids who can’t be bothered to do their homework.
Their response to the Select Committee looks like it was scribbled down five minutes before class. They say they’ve almost finished their white paper, honest, while the dog apparently ate their Immigration Bill.
Liberal Democrats demand better. Ministers must publish their plans now, so that we can scrutinise them. Migration has brought big benefits to our economy and our society, and we will not let the Conservatives throw them away.
Lib Dems: Grayling’s complacency on airline route access is breathtaking
Responding to reports that the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has admitted to members of the Airport Operators Association that no talks on route access have been undertaken in preparation for Brexit, Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Baroness Randerson said:
Grayling’s complacency is breathtaking and is not shared by the aviation industry, who are at the sharp end of the uncertainty Brexit has created.
Only last week the NAO reported on the lack of preparation at our ports and airports and the huge economic and security impact that is likely to have. Instead, the Tory Government is happy to muddle on leaving passengers with huge uncertainty. Liberal Democrats demand better.
This Government have been saying that everything will be fine for over two years, but they have never attempted to grapple with the complex detail Brexit. This is why the Liberal Democrats are demanding a final say on Brexit with an option to remain in the EU.
Lamb: Govt mental health funding falls well short
Former Liberal Democrat Mental Health Minister Norman Lamb has today warned the Chancellor’s expected announcement of £2bn for mental health services “falls well short” and called for investment in “community-based care as well as early years support.”
Mr Lamb said:
While extra funding for mental health is sorely needed, the Chancellor is investing the bare minimum. For all the Government’s spin, this £2 billion falls well short of the amount experts say is needed to deliver vital improvements to services and achieve real equality between mental and physical health.
Today’s announcement also recycles commitments set out in the Coalition Government’s blueprint for children’s mental health, which pledged a named mental health lead in schools as well as a dedicated professional in specialist NHS services. The Conservatives have failed to drive these changes through nearly five years on. Why should we expect things will be any different this time around?
Liberal Democrats demand better. The Government has failed to ensure that money from previous spending commitments gets through to where it is needed. It is vital that the new funding is used properly to invest in community-based care as well as early years support.
Lib Dems: Chancellor ignores rising violence and worsening prison crisis
Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget today, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:
Given the sharp rise of serious violence on our streets and the worsening crisis in our prisons, it’s almost unbelievable that the Chancellor’s Budget contained not a single penny to tackle these problems. Merely promising to ‘review police spending power’ isn’t nearly good enough.
Liberal Democrats demand better. We are calling for an extra £300 million a year to boost community policing and urgent investment to recruit more prison officers.
I’ll be back in half an hour with the rest of today’s bumper crop…