Dods at Party Conference 2019

Labour | Conservatives | SNP

19 September 2019
Jo Swinson

The Lib Dems have pushed Labour into third place after vowing to scrap Brexit if the party wins the next election, according to a new poll.

The latest YouGov survey for The Times put Jo Swinson's party on 23%, up four points on last week. At the same time, Labour has dropped back two points to 21%. But both parties still trail the Conservatives, who remain on 32%. Delegates at the Lib Dem conference in Bournemouth agreed to change the party's policy to an overtly anti-Brexit stance. It means that if the party wins a majority at the next election, it would overturn the result of the 2016 referendum and revoke Article 50. But critics, including some Lib Dem MPs, have said the new approach is undemocratic and will completely alienate millions who voted Leave three years ago. Meanwhile, Labour is set for a Brexit clash of its own at its conference in Brighton next week.  The majority of members want the party to make clear it would campaign for Remain in any second referendum, but trade unions are urging Jeremy Corbyn to make clear a Labour government would not take a firm position. The Times also reports that Labour has...
19 September 2019
Food bank

Ministers have been urged to act on “shocking” figures which show a link between how long Universal Credit has been in place in an area and a rise in foodbank use.

Research by The Trussell Trust found that where the controversial benefits scheme has been in place for at least a year, foodbanks in its network had seen a 30% increase in demand. It also showed the figure rose to 40% over 18 months and then to 48% in areas with Universal Credit for at least two years. The charity called on ministers to end the five-week wait applicants face before receiving their payment from the system – which was designed to combine all legacy benefits into one but is yet to be rolled out in full. It said the stretch would see more claimants "plunged into poverty", and said that Government loans as a stopgap were “pushing more people into debt”. The Trussell Trust’s chief executive Emma Revie said: “Universal Credit should be there to anchor any of us against the tides of poverty. But the five week wait fatally undermines this principle, pushing people into debt, homelessness and destitution. “In a society that...
19 September 2019
David Cameron and the Queen

David Cameron has admitted he asked for the Queen to make an intervention for the pro-Union side during the Scottish referendum.

The former Prime Minister said he made representations to the monarch after a shock poll put the pro-independence campaign in the lead. In an interview for a BBC documentary on his time in office, Mr Cameron said: "I remember conversations I had with my Private Secretary and he had with the Queen’s Private Secretary and I had with the Queen’s Private Secretary, not asking for anything that would be in any way improper or unconstitutional but just a raising of the eyebrow even you know, a quarter of an inch, we thought would make a difference." Shortly afterwards, the Queen told well-wishers outside Crathie Kirk near Balmoral that she hoped "people would think very carefully about the future". Her remarks were seen as a pivotal moment in the referendum campaign, which the pro-Union side won by 55% to 45%. Mr Cameron said: "[Her remarks were] certainly well covered [by the media]. Although the words were very limited, I think it helped to put a slightly different perception on things."...
19 September 2019
School pupils

A massive hike in school funding announced by the Government is not enough to turn around more than a decade of cuts, experts have warned.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said the £4.3bn announced for schools by 2022 in the Chancellor’s spending review would “just about reverse” the cuts of 8% in spending per pupil since 2009. The additional cash unveiled by Sajid Javid earlier this month represents a 7.4% increase in spending per pupil. However they added that the lack of real growth amounted to an “unprecedented” 13-year real-terms freeze. The group’s report found that while the £300m earmarked for further education in 2020-21 represented a 4% real-terms increase in spending per student, it remained 7% down on 2010. It adds that fully reversing cuts to 16-18 year olds education, which includes sixth form colleges, since 2010–11 would cost £1.1bn on top of current plans. Luke Sibieta, co-author of the report and a Research Fellow at the IFS, said: "The 2019 Spending Round provided genuinely substantial increases in school funding, enough to more or less offset all cuts since 2009. "Of course, that still means no...
18 September 2019
Woman alone

Writing exclusively for Politicshome on today's appointment of the UK’s first Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Minister Victoria Atkins says she has been moved to hear of survivors’ resilience and strength.

Domestic abuse has no place in our society. It usually takes place behind closed doors, turning people’s homes from places of safety into places of fear, abuse and violence. It is a devastating crime which tears lives and families apart. As Minister for Safeguarding and Vulnerability, I have had the privilege of meeting victims and survivors of domestic abuse as well as charities and groups who provide refuge and support for those in need and to help them rebuild their lives. I have been shocked by the physical, emotional and psychological trauma many experience and moved to hear of survivors’ resilience and strength.  This government is determined to ensure that anyone facing the threat of domestic abuse has someone to turn to. That’s why today’s appointment of the UK’s first Domestic Abuse Commissioner is such an important milestone in tackling this horrific crime. Nicole Jacobs has the wealth of experience necessary to stand up for victims and survivors. Formerly Chief...
18 September 2019
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has been labelled “the father of lies” over his controversial decision to suspend Parliament.

The extraordinary remarks were made by a senior lawyer on the second day of a landmark case at the Supreme Court. Aidan O'Neill QC is representing more than 70 MPs challenging the Prime Minister's decision to prorogue Parliament ahead of a Queen's Speech on 14 October. They claimed that the suspension was actually aimed at limiting the amount of time available for them to debate Brexit. The MPs won their case at the Court of Session in Edinburgh last week, promoting an immediate appeal by the Government. Presenting the MPs' case at the Supreme Court, Mr O'Neill said Mr Johnson was guilty of “an abuse of power”. Referencing an infamous US supreme court case which ruled that black people could not be American citizens, he said: “I say to this court, don’t let this case be your Dred Scott moment. “Instead stand up for the truth, stand up for reason, stand up for unity in diversity, stand up for Parliament, stand up for democracy by dismissing this...
18 September 2019

Sally Copley, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Alzheimer’s Society, comments on a new survey. 

More than three-quarters of adults in England would support the introduction of free personal care for older people, a survey suggests. Some 78% support the proposal, by Independent Age, and 74% say they would help fund it, according to research carried out for the charity. It estimates that more than 330,000 older people have had to sell their homes to pay for care costs, including help with washing, getting dressed and going to the toilet, since 2000. Sally Copley, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “These findings show that the British public want to see urgent action to reform our ailing social care system. No-one should have to sell their home to pay for care, but the overwhelming cost of dementia care – which can be at least 15% more expensive than standard social care – means it’s something that happens far too often. “The Prime Minister needs to make sure the cost of care is spread across society. It’s completely unfair that the...
18 September 2019
Liz Truss

Liz Truss has suggested that the UK and Australia could agree to allow free movement between each other's countries after Brexit.

The International Trade Secretary said on a visit down under that visa-free travel could form part of a deal once Britain exits the European Union. After meeting the Australian prime minister Scott Morrison and her counterpart Simon Birmingham Ms Truss told a press conference in Canberra the two nations had a "special link". According to the news.com.au website, she told reporters on the subject of free movement: "It's certainly something we will be looking at as part of our free trade negotiations." Current immigration rules between the two nations mean Brits need a visa to go on holiday to Australia and separate visas if they want to work temporarily or live permanently. There have been suggestions that post-Brexit the Trans-Tasman agreement Australia has with New Zealand allowing free travel could be...
18 September 2019

MPA's Priorites for Government 

Mineral products are essential to our construction and manufacturing industries, to our economy and to our everyday lives. Of the two billion tonnes of all materials we typically use every year in the UK, mineral products (at 250 million tonnes or 13 per cent) are the biggest material flow. The mineral products industry has much to offer in the next five years. We will be in the engine room as the nation recovers from an unprecedented period of recession and negligible growth. Our relationship with Government is crucial. Delivery of its aspirations for the built and natural environments is heavily dependent upon our contribution. We will play our part – but we need support from Government and a willingness to tackle several crucial issues. Read the MPA's 'Priorities for Government' here.
Mineral Products Association
18 September 2019

The Mineral Products Association (MPA) has set out its new Priorities for Government, urging Cabinet Ministers to improve delivery of projects. 

As Brexit unfolds, mineral products will continue to be essential. There remains a fundamental responsibility for the Government to deliver the conditions within which industry can thrive and also a responsibility for industry to invest so that continuing demands for mineral products can be met sustainably. Accordingly, the Mineral Products Association (MPA) has set out its new Priorities for Government, urging Cabinet Ministers to improve delivery of projects and not take for granted the vital role that the mineral products industries have in delivering the homes, public and commercial buildings and infrastructure which society relies upon.  The new document, released ahead of the Brexit deadline, outlines eight Priorities for the Government and industry, which MPA believes will help deliver continuing prosperity for the UK: Building confidence for business investment Enhancing industrial competitiveness Boosting growth and productivity Strengthening UK supply chains...