The Liberal Democrats have announced today that they will move more than 9,000 members of staff out of the Home Office, under the party’s plans to strip the discredited department of responsibility for immigration and asylum.
Highlighting the Windrush Scandal, the Hostile Environment and the large number of rulings against the Home Office in courts and tribunals, the Liberal Democrats argue that the department is “not fit for purpose” and warned "the Conservatvies' chaotic approach to Brexit risks a repeat of the Windrush scandal for EU citizens."
The party’s manifesto commits to stripping the Home Office of responsibility for policy making in relation to work visas, international students and asylum – and handing it to the Departments for Business, Education and International Development respectively.
The Liberal Democrats said that their plans for a “fair, effective immigration system” also include establishing a new arms-length, non-political agency to take over processing visa and asylum applications.
This new agency would be given the staff, training and resources to process applications quickly and fairly, with a focus on getting decisions right first-time and therefore saving time and expense on appeals.
The Liberal Democrats have today announced they would triple funding for disadvantaged children aged three and four attending nurseries and other childcare providers.
The Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) – introduced by Liberal Democrats in Government in 2015 – gives childcare providers up to £302 extra a year for all disadvantaged children aged three and four that they look after. Around 99,000 children a year benefit from the extra funding.
Nick Ireland, Liberal Democrat candidate said "In Dorset we need to support our disadvantaged children to give them the best start in life"
Since May 2015, the Conservatives have frozen the EYPP in cash terms. Liberal Democrats would triple the EYPP to £1,000 per child, costing £65 million to £70 million in 2024/25.
In addition, Liberal Democrats will support families on low incomes by:
- Investing £1 billion a year in children’s centres;
- Improving the quality of staff in early years settings, by requiring all providers to have a staff training programme with the majority of staff working with children to have a relevant early years qualification or be working towards one.
- Providing 35 hours’ free childcare from the day parents go back to work to the day their child starts school.
Responding to today’s announcement by the Labour Party on school funding and teacher recruitment, Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary Layla Moran said:
“Our schools and colleges should be world class, but instead Conservative cuts have led to staff being sacked and schools closing early to balance the books.
“While Labour have attempted to copy the Liberal Democrat policy to employ 20,000 more teachers, they have no hope of meeting this target. With thousands of EU teachers coming to work in schools each year, Labour cannot square these promises with delivering Brexit.
"The Liberal Democrats are the party that can stop the Conservatives getting a majority, stop Brexit and build a brighter future for our children."
Swinson warns of imminent Scottish independence
With one week to go until polling day, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson will address activists at a rally in Edinburgh and warn that there is the threat of a fresh Scottish independence referendum unless the Liberal Democrats defeat nationalist MPs at the forthcoming election.
Lib Dems: Tories' failure on child homelessness is shameful
Responding to the report released today by Shelter that 135,000 children in Britain are homeless and living in temporary accommodation, which is the highest number in 12 years
Liberal Democrat candidate Nick Ireland said:
"It is unfathomable that in 2019 people don't have anywhere to call home. Weymouth & Portland has the highest rate of homelessness in Dorset, with one in 270 people were homeless last year. Analysis by housing and homelessness charity Shelter found that there were 243 people in Weymouth and Portland rough sleeping or living in temporary accommodation. Five homeless people died in Dorset last year bringing the total in the last six years to 16."
A LibDem Government would spend £100bn tackling the Climate Emergency
NICK IRELAND IS YOUR LIBERAL DEMOCRAT CANDIDATE FOR SOUTH DORSET. HE IS THE LEADER OF OUR 29 DORSET COUNCILLORS. HE PROPOSED THAT DORSET COUNCIL DECLARE A CLIMATE EMERGENCY, WHICH WAS ADOPTED. HE CARES PASSIONATELY ABOUT GREEN ISSUES AND WORKS HARD FOR THE COMMUNITY.
'Climate change is already having an impact on our coastal communities and we need to act immediately to reduce its effect for our children and our grand-children.
The Liberal Democrats have a proud record of taking action both locally and nationally and our commitment to achieving carbon net zero as soon as realistically possible is evident in our plans.' Nick Ireland
NICK IRELAND CHAMPIONS THE NHS IN SOUTH DORSET
In the face of Conservative opposition, Nick and his Lib Dem colleagues on the council successfully defeated the Conservative motion NOT TO REFER the closure of Poole A&E to the Secretary of State.
Nick persuaded the Health Scrutiny Committee (which he is a member) to set up a “Task and Finish” group to review the original closure decision in depth. The Conservatives support for closure was then defeated by Nick’s group and a motion TO REFER TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE was passed.
Lib Dems: Ofsted stats reveal Tory failure on school standards
Following Boris Johnson's announcement on Ofsted, analysis by the Liberal Democrats reveals that the Conservatives have let over 1,000 schools go unvisited by inspectors for over a decade.
Figures published yesterday (28 November 2019) reveal that 1,048 schools have not been visited by an Ofsted inspector since 29 November 2009.
Schools rated outstanding by Ofsted in their previous inspection are no longer inspected routinely, unless concerns are raised.
This means that safeguarding or other problems with a school that are not reported to Ofsted can go unnoticed for years.
Boris Johnson today has restated a policy to remove this exemption. His Government first promised to do this two months ago but he has failed to deliver.
New figures show that of the 593 previously outstanding schools that were inspected last academic year, more than half saw their grade drop and 113 were rated ‘Requires Improvement’ or ‘Inadequate’.
The Liberal Democrats have committed to replacing Ofsted with a new schools watchdog that teachers and parents can trust.
Lib Dems to fund 23 more police officers across South Dorset
The Liberal Democrats have today announced plans to fund at least 23 police officers across South Dorset as part of an extra £1bn nationwide investment into community policing.
This commitment amounts to 20,000 more police officers across England and Wales, enough for an extra two officers per ward. The Liberal Democrats will also fund an immediate 2% pay-rise for serving police officers.
Liberal Democrat plans stand in stark contrast to Labour and the Conservatives, who have made big promises on police numbers, but have failed to commit the funding needed to deliver them.
Today the Liberal Democrats will set out a bold plan to end rough sleeping within five years, spanning social housing, welfare, local authority funding and legal changes
Shadow Housing Secretary Tim Farron declared that “nobody should have to spend a night sleeping on the streets” and announced a package of measures to prevent rough sleeping, including:
- Scrapping the Vagrancy Act
- Introducing a “somewhere safe to stay” duty on local authorities to provide immediate emergency accommodation
- Abolishing Section 21 “no fault” evictions
- Increasing Local Housing Allowance payments
- Providing accommodation and support for survivors of domestic abuse
- Extending the “move on” period for refugees from 28 days to 56
The latest government figures show that, under the Conservatives, the number of rough sleepers in England on a single night has risen by 31% since 2015, to 4,677. In 2018, 1,320 people were prosecuted under the Vagrancy Act, according to the homelessness charity Crisis.