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  • Tree Planting in Matlock 1 (Martin Burfoot)
    Article: Mar 29, 2020
    By Martin Burfoot

    Before the Coronavirus emergency measures came into force, local residents planted over 450 native trees and shrubs on two sites in Matlock.

    The first one was above the Arc Leisure Centre and at the top end of the nearby Dimple playing fields where well over 300 trees and shrubs were planted. The other site is one where previous initiatives have been reinforced to provide a shelter belt and wildlife resource around the edge of the much used and ever popular Cavendish playing fields. It is hoped that these trees and shrubs will help to absorb a great deal of the excess moisture and ground water on both sites, while helping to screen parked cars and enhance biodiversity.

  • Layla Moran
    Article: Mar 25, 2020
    By Layla Moran in The Independent

    Key workers from overseas are paying thousands in additional visa costs to keep their families in the UK, despite our desperate need for their skills and dedication at this critical time

    I don't base my politics on Lenin's rhetoric, but in our current situation it's difficult not to reflect upon and resonate with his remark that "there are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen." The relative normality of just two weeks ago feels like a distant memory. Yet, as disruptive and difficult as social isolation is, it is incredibly important to listen to advice and stay at home.

    Yesterday, along with Caroline Lucas, I argued for parliament to become virtual in a bid to ensure politicians follow our government's public health advice, too. I've also been advocating for a universal basic income, and better protections for the most vulnerable in our society and key workers.

    Last weekend I called on the government to end visa fees for key NHS workers from overseas. Not only is it the right and compassionate thing to do, the cost of doing it is a drop in the ocean compared to the £30bn additional spending already announced by the Government to tackle COVID-19.

    For those that aren't aware, the "Immigration Health Surcharge" adds £400 a year to the cost of a UK visa per person. This means an NHS worker with a family of four is required to pay fees of £1,600 a year. Under new government plans, the fees are set to rise to £624 a year per person, and will be also applied to NHS staff from the EU from next January.

    There are more than 153,000 staff from overseas working inside the NHS, with one in four hospital staff from outside the UK. To my mind, it is disgraceful that our government was ever charging these people to work in our NHS and save lives - but to carry on charging them during a national health crisis is absurd.

    They are heroes. They will save our grandparents, parents and friends. They deserve gratitude, not a bill.

    This policy speaks volumes about how we treat key workers in this country, particularly those from overseas. And it needs to change.

    In the short term, measures like waiving the visa fee are vital to both help our brave doctors, nurses and medics, and to protect our NHS and population from the coronavirus crisis. In the longer term, they need to be scrapped completely in order to send a powerful message to all NHS workers from overseas: you are welcome here and your contribution to our country is valued.

    We also need to apply this same critique and thinking to how we treat other key workers. The carers and teachers, public service broadcasters and benefit administrators, warehouse supply chain workers and cashiers, the army and rescue services, train drivers and drainage managers, to name but a few. They have always been essential to the running of our country. We are better because of them.

    They should not have been some of the first to worry about putting food on the table in a time of a national crisis. The many renters among them should not have been left out in the cold when the government announced protections for homeowners. And they should never have been disrespected, as so many of them were, by the label "low skilled."

    They are British and from overseas; they have different ethnic backgrounds; they are straight and LGBTQ+. And none of that makes a blind bit difference to the fact that our country depends on each of them, and is better for them.

    I never these considered these people low skilled or unwelcome in our country. I do hope the small minority of people who did will now take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror, reflect on these key workers' vital roles in this crisis, and give them the respect they deserve.

    During this crisis, and beyond, I will continue to push in parliament for measures to better protect our key workers, not least the waiving of the visa fee for our heroic NHS workers from overseas.

    Layla Moran is the Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon

  • Article: Mar 25, 2020

    Ed Davey challenges government to roll out support package for self-employed

    Today Ed Davey, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats, challenged the Chancellor to "move as fast as possible" to roll out a financial support package for the five million self-employed people in the UK.

    In an Urgent Question in the House of Commons, Ed Davey highlighted that the self-employed, who are excluded from current financial support for businesses and employees, are under "real stress" and are "literally running out of money" as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

  • Article: Mar 22, 2020
    By Peter Dobbs

    With a great deal of contradictory advice around it is worth checking that you are following the requests of Public Health England.

    Coronavirus Advice is here

  • Document: Mar 19, 2020
  • Document: Mar 19, 2020
  • Sir Ed Davey (UK Lib Dems)
    Article: Mar 19, 2020
    By Alain Tolhurst @Alain_Tolhurst in Politics Home

    The Liberal Democrats are mobilising thousands of their members for a taskforce to help the most vulnerable deal with self-isolation during the coronavirus outbreak, PoliticsHome can reveal.

    The new body will be chaired by Sir Stuart Etherington, former chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, and will help people with basic supplies.

  • Ed Davey
    Article: Mar 14, 2020
    By Ed Davey
  • Foston Hall (Nottingham Post)
    Article: Mar 4, 2020
    By Kate Smith

    On 3 March 2020, Lib Dem MP Daisy Cooper put forward legislation which would ensure female offenders are given community sentences, unless they have committed a serious or violent offence which makes them a real threat to the public.

    Women make up less than 5 % of the prison population, but they are more likely than male prisoners to be serving short sentences for non-violent offences. Most experienced childhood abuse, and many are domestic abuse victims. Many are single mothers of dependent children. They take up a disproportionate amount of Police, probation service, prison and other resource, still not making them any more unlikely to commit more crime.

  • Document: Mar 1, 2020

Articles from LibDemVoice.org

The opinions expressed in these articles are those of the individual authors and do not represent the position of Derbyshire Dales Liberal Democrats.