National News

  • Theresa May & Co
    Article: Jun 2, 2017

    A mock estate agency called "Theresa May and Co" has been launched by the Liberal Democrats today attacking Theresa May's Dementia Tax.

    The Conservative policy would force the sale of family homes to fund care for elderly and vulnerable relatives.

    The party has estimated that the Dementia Tax would cost £125,884, for someone receiving ten years of care living in an average-priced home in Folkestone and Hythe.

  • Black
    Article: May 23, 2017

    The Liberal Democrats nationally, along with the other political parties, have suspended campaigning today as a mark of respect for those killed and injured in the attack in Manchester last night.

    Here in Shepway we are doing the same, and have today suspended any public campaigning activity - canvassing, campaigning online and leaflet delivery - in Shepway.

  • Tim Farron
    Article: Apr 18, 2017

    Commenting on the Prime Minister's call for a General Election, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said:

    "This election is your chance to change the direction of our country.

    "If you want to avoid a disastrous Hard Brexit. If you want to keep Britain in the Single Market. If you want a Britain that is open, tolerant and united, this is your chance.

    "Only the Liberal Democrats can prevent a Conservative majority."

    In the first few minutes after Therea May's announcement, hundreds of people have joined the Liberal Democrats. Join them, and the Liberal Democrats, today.

  • Disabled
    Article: Apr 4, 2017

    Diabetics and those with mental illnesses could be left without support

    A Liberal Democrat motion designed to kill the Government's attempts to severely restrict disability benefits has been lost after Labour peers failed to support it.

    The move follows an announcement by the Government that they will be tightening the criteria for claimants of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) which could see diabetics and those with mental illnesses stuck without support.

  • Norman Lamb
    Article: Mar 16, 2017

    The Liberal Democrats have today published the interim report by the independent panel of health experts commissioned by Norman Lamb to set out a new deal for Britain's Health and Social Care Services.

    The panel is independent of the party and is making recommendations based on the experience and expertise of its members which they hope are considered by all political parties.

    The panel was set up by Norman Lamb in Autumn 2016 with the remit to ask the difficult questions about the challenges facing health and social care and to come forward with bold solutions needed to meet them.

    Today's report has been published ahead of the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference this weekend to update the party on its progress. The full report will be published later in Spring.

    Amongst the key conclusions are:

    • The current funding settlement for our health and care services is not fit for purpose. It is well documented that there is a projected funding gap in the region of £20bn across health services by 2020/21 and a further £6bn gap in social care.
    • The panel is unanimously of the opinion that it is necessary to raise additional revenue for health and care through taxation.
    • The panel will propose the establishment of an independent body to make health and care budget recommendations to Government, setting out what is needed to deliver services and essentially providing a similar function to that of the Office of Budget Responsibility.
    • The panel are considering a number of options for where additional taxation should come from, taking account of how we can raise the amount of money needed; but also, how this can be done in a way which is progressive and takes account of intergenerational fairness.
    • The options under consideration are as follows and the panel will conclude which of these they think is preferable in the final report:
    1. Raising Income Tax

    2. Raising National Insurance

    3. Introducing a dedicated health and care tax

    Commenting Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said:

    "I commend Norman Lamb for establishing this independent panel and thank them for their work so far. I hope this is a wake-up call for politicians as to the scale of the challenge we face in Health and Social Care.

    "I have made clear that we will take the final report and its recommendations seriously, and we can see from this interim document that bold solutions will be needed to tackle the ever growing challenges facing health and social care. My guarantee is that the Liberal Democrats will consider these seriously and will not shy away from offering big solutions."

    Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb said:

    "I thank the panel for their work, I brought this panel together in the face of the undeniable crisis in health and care. We have over a million older people with unmet care needs, people having to wait months for the treatment they need, and a situation that is only going to get worse.

    "The government are dragging their heels on offering anything resembling a vision for the future of health and social care in Britain. We are a wealthy country, we have to do right by our sick and elderly and excuses and promises of fixes tomorrow simply are not good enough."

    The full report can be read here.

  • Lynne Beaumont
    Article: Mar 8, 2017

    The Liberal Democrats have called on Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins to ensure thousands EU nationals living in Kent are guaranteed the right to remain in Britain, as figures have revealed the extent to which local NHS services rely on EU nationals.

    The news comes after the government was defeated in a historic vote in the House of Lords this week, after peers voted for an amendment to guarantee the right of EU citizens to remain in the UK. The issue will now be voted on by MPs, as pressure mounts on the government to change position.

  • Lord Dick Newby
    Article: Mar 8, 2017
    By Dick Newby, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords

    Over the last month, I've led Liberal Democrat peers in scrutiny of the article 50 bill in the Lords and during that time, we have sought to make changes to the government's plans.

    We had three goals: to protect Britain's membership of the single market; protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK and to give the people the final say on the Brexit deal.

    Unfortunately, two of our amendments that would have protected membership of the single market and given you a final say on the deal were defeated after the Labour Leadership failed to support us, and even went so far as to back the Government over plans to tear us away from the single market. A third amendment which would force the government to guarantee EU citizens right to stay passed, as was an amendment which we supported to give Parliament a meaningful say at the end of the process.

  • Article: Feb 10, 2017

    Figures show that Theresa May's Government does not appear to care about the NHS.

    • 38 Trusts facing serious pressure
    • More beds closed due to Norovirus
    • Cancelled operations up 15%
    • 9 hospitals had no available beds on some days in February

    Analysis by the Liberal Democrats of the Weekly Situation Report for the week ending 5 February 2017 reveals that:

    • 38 trusts are facing major pressure that could lead to poorer care. The NHS themselves describe this as leaving organisations unable to deliver comprehensive care. There is increased potential for patient care and safety to be compromised.
    • Bed occupancy rates were 95% or 96% every day between 1st February and 5th February - significantly higher than the official 'safe' threshold of 85%.From the 1st-5th February 3,517 beds were closed due to Norovirus.
    • 21,249 operations were cancelled at the last minute for non-clinical reasons. This is 15% up on the previous year. 1551 of those cancellations still had not been treated within 28 days.

    The data, released today by NHS digital showed in February that 9 hospitals had no General and Acute beds available on certain days.

    Commenting on the data, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: "Day after day we hear more stories about the NHS struggling to cope and yet we hear silence from Number 10 and the Department of Health. What is it going to take for them to wake up. Enough is enough.

    "I don't know how bad the figures need to get for them to actually take action.

    "Only the Liberal Democrats are prepared to make the case that we may need to raise tax to pay for the NHS and social care services patients deserve."

    The Liberal Democrats called for an additional £4bn of funding for NHS and care over the next year to help cash-strapped services cope with the impending winter crisis and ever-increasing demand for services."

    Norman Lamb, Shadow Health Secretary added: "The NHS is facing a perfect storm, with unprecedented demand for care and a chronic lack of funding. Bed occupancy is at dangerous levels, A&E units are struggling to cope, and patients in severe pain are having to wait longer for operations because resources are over-stretched. Patients are being seriously let down, and this has gone on for too long.

    "Sir Robert Francis has warned that the NHS is facing an existential crisis, and even the Health Secretary has admitted that the current situation is unacceptable.

    "Although there is no silver bullet to these problems, it is impossible to see a solution that doesn't involve additional funding. The Government must listen to the views of patients and healthcare staff, and release extra cash for social care and the NHS in next month's Budget. They must also trigger a cross-party process, engaging with the public, to come up with a long-term deal for the NHS and social care."

  • Norman Lamb
    Article: Feb 2, 2017

    Norman Lamb, the former Liberal Democrat Health Minister, has responded after West Kent banned all non-urgent operations until April.

    "Patients who are in severe pain should not have to wait for a new financial year to have an operation. This is not what our NHS is about. What we need instead is a new financial plan from the government to deliver the funding the health service needs.