Lib Dems respond to Heath Foundation survey on Brexit threat to NHS

A survey by the Health Foundation has found two-thirds of people want an increase in taxes to improve health and social care. 

This is in line with the Liberal Democrats’ policy of putting a penny on income tax to raise an additional £7 billion of funding a year for the NHS and social care.

The survey also found widespread public concern about the threat posed by Brexit, including staffing shortfalls caused by EU doctors and nurses leaving the UK.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary Luciana Berger commented:

“The NHS and social care are already being stretched to breaking point, but Brexit would make this crisis worse by driving away the EU nurses and doctors we need.

“Yet neither the Tories or Labour are being honest with the public about the challenges posed by Brexit or how they would raise the money needed to sustain our health service.

“This survey shows that the majority of the pubic agree with the Liberal Democrats that we should all chip in a little more to secure the future of the NHS and social care. We are being upfront about putting a penny on income tax to raise an extra £7 billion for health and social care a year, while stopping Brexit to protect the NHS.”

Lib Dem electric campaign bus creates climate buzz

Commenting on Extinction Rebellion protesters gluing themselves to the Lib Dems’ electric campaign bus in Streatham, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Ed Davey said:

“It is great to see our campaign creating such a buzz around tackling the climate emergency. Extinction Rebellion have played an important role, alongside the school climate strikes, in putting this crucial issue front and centre of this election.

“We know there is no planet B. The UK needs a government that will put protecting our planet at the heart of its ambitions.

“The Liberal Democrats have bold plans to achieve net-zero by 2045. Under a Liberal Democrat government we will generate 80% of our electricity from renewables by 2030, insulate every home, ensure every car sold is electric and plant 60 million trees a year.

“Only the Liberal Democrats have a plan to build a brighter future for our planet.”

Lib Dems lead with £11bn investment to transform mental health services

The Liberal Democrats will invest £11 billion in transforming mental health services, more than either Labour or the Tories, analysis by the party has found.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto mentions mental health 59 times, compared to just three times in the Conservative manifesto and 15 in Labour’s.

The Liberal Democrats have set out a clear and detailed plan to improve mental health services by:
• Making prescriptions for people with chronic mental health conditions available for free on the NHS
• Increasing access to talking therapies so that hundreds of thousands more people can receive this support
• Providing a dedicated maternal postnatal appointment for new mothers to tackle under-diagnosis of mental health problems,
• Training all teaching staff to identify mental health issues and ensuring schools provide access for pupil support and counselling.
For too long too many people have suffered as a result of the outdated Mental Health Act 1983. A Liberal Democrat government will reform the Mental Health Act in line with all the recommendations of the Wessely review. This includes introducing the principle of ‘care not containment’, to reduce the number of people inappropriately detained under the Mental Health Act. Reforms will also tackle the disproportionate number of people from black and minority ethnic groups detained under this law.

Luciana Berger, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care, said:

“Too many people are struggling with their mental health and aren’t receiving the support they need.

“The Conservatives have failed to bring forward changes that would see mental health approached with the same urgency as physical health. Their manifesto at this election only mentions mental health three times. It is clear that – under a Conservative government – mental health will not be a priority.

“The Liberal Democrats are the party of mental health. We have the most detailed plan to improve mental health services and we will commit £11 billion over five years to make these changes. This is at the heart of our plan to build a brighter future for all.”

Sarah Wollaston: Number of GP practices falls to record low as winter crisis approaches

The number of GP practices has fallen to a new record low of 6,867 while the number of qualified GPs has dropped by 339, NHS figures published today have revealed.

The Liberal Democrats have warned that the Conservative Party’s failure to meet its promise to address the shortfall in GPs has left the country poorly equipped to deal with the upcoming winter crisis.

Today’s statistics for September 2019 reveal: The number of GP practices in England has fallen to 6,867, a decrease of 270 (3.8%) compared to the previous year and the lowest number since records began in 1995.

The number of full-time equivalent GPs in England fell to 28,315 in September 2019, down 339 (1.2%) compared to the previous year.
 

The amount of GP time available per patient in England has dropped by almost 10% over the past four years, from 60.5 minutes a year in 2015 to just 55.2 minutes a year in 2019. In the run-up to the 2015 general election, then health secretary Jeremy Hunt promised an extra 5,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) GPs by 2020/21. 

Liberal Democrat candidate for Totnes and former GP Sarah Wollaston said:

“People across the country struggling to get appointments will be appalled to see the number of GPs and practices continuing to fall. The Conservatives have completely failed to keep their promise to increase the number of GPs and have now plucked an even greater number out of the air.

“People depend on GP practices for their front-line care. Both patients and the primary care workforce have been badly let down by this government and the situation in General Practice will make for a very difficult winter across the NHS.

“People deserve better. The Liberal Democrats would properly invest in our NHS, reverse the damaging impact of under-investment in primary care and build a brighter future. We have a credible plan to increase the number of GPs and invest in social care, so we can take the pressure off our overstretched hospitals and A&E departments.”

The number of GP practices is at its lowest since 1995, the earliest year for which comparable figures are available.

Linda Johnson visits flood victims

Flooding in Anlaby made worse by ground clearance, destroying a small wood with many birds, small mammals and deer in favour of building houses. Flooding would have been worse if not for the massive flood defence scheme along First Lane paid for with EU money. The LibDems have earmarked millions of pounds of more funding for more flood defences as sea levels rise due to climate change as well as the planting of 6,000,000 more trees every year. LibDem Councillors are visiting everyone who has been flooded over the last couple of days.

Recent flooding in fields at Anlaby
Flooded fields in Anlaby which were a threat to nearby housing
A concerned resident shows Liberal Democrat councillors round the partially flooded land near her property.

Lib Dems will freeze rail fare increases in Haltemprice and Howden saving commuters money

The Liberal Democrats have announced they will freeze rail fare increases for Haltemprice and Howden commuters and season ticket holders for the next five years, while fixing the broken fares and ticketing system.

A Liberal Democrat government would cancel the 2.8% rail fare increase planned for December 2018 and freeze Haltemprice and Howden commuter fares and season tickets for the entirety of the next five years.

This policy is expected to cost approximately £1.6 billion.

The Liberal Democrats would also overhaul ticketing by simplifying the system, looking to create season tickets for part-time commuters and introducing early-bird fares. The party would ensure that all rail franchises apply delay repay compensation for delays of 15 minutes or more.

Liberal Democrat candidate for Haltemprice and Howden, Linda Johnson said:

“Under the Tories, Haltemprice and Howden commuters have been catastrophically let down. People are paying way over the odds for what has often been an appalling service.

“The Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future by freezing fares from Haltemprice and Howden to Hull for the next five years, saving local commuters hundreds pounds. We will properly invest in fixing our creaking rail network to improve capacity and reduce overcrowding, so Haltemprice and Howden commuters are no longer treated like cattle.

“But this is about more than just providing more funding. We will also strip rail companies of franchises if they don’t meet the standards expected of them, and develop new transport mutual companies to foster alternative competition.”

Lib Dems to scrap business rates to “breathe new life” into high streets in Haltemprice and Howden

Lib Dems to scrap business rates to “breathe new life” into high streets in Haltemprice and Howden.

The Liberal Democrats have announced plans to scrap business rates and replace them with a landowner levy, to “breathe new life” into high streets in Haltemprice and Howden.

The party would replace business rates with a commercial landowner levy, based on the value of the land only. This would take the cost off businesses and help support high streets.

The proposals would cut taxes for businesses in East Riding of Yorkshire.

By taxing landowners rather than businesses, half a million small businesses across the country would be spared the burden of property taxation.

Liberal Democrat candidate Linda Johnson said:

“Many retailers and small businesses in Haltemprice and Howden are under pressure from
economic uncertainty, the rise of online retail and the burden of business rates.

“Yet this Conservative government is failing to get to grips with the crisis facing our high streets. Time and again they have promised reviews of business rates but have failed to take action.

“The Liberal Democrats will shift the tax burden from tenants to landlords, so we can breathe new life back into our high streets. We will stop Brexit and build a brighter future, giving local businesses the certainty and support they need to thrive.”