News, Events and Opinions from Our Region and beyond
Article: May 18, 2022
Crisis in cancer care: Third of patients facing two month waits for treatment
Lib Dems call for urgent plan to improve cancer care after NHS targets missed in worst ever performance
Over 2,000 people are missing out on a timely diagnosis every day while 15,000 are left waiting two months or more to start treatment
Ministers accused of "sitting on their hands" while people are being left in pain
The Liberal Democrats have called on the Government to come forward with an urgent strategy to improve cancer care, after new statistics revealed that NHS England has yet again missed all four of its major targets for cancer waiting times.
Analysis by the party shows that from January to March 2022, nearly 150,000 people waited longer than two weeks to see a consultant after an urgent referral from their GP, or an average of 1,600 per day.
It means only 78% of people saw a consultant within two weeks of a GP referral, way below the NHS target of 93%.
The figures also show that almost 200,000 or 29.5% of people waited longer than 28 days to get a cancer diagnosis from their specialist after an urgent referral from a GP. This means the target of 75% of people getting their diagnosis within this time was missed and that the equivalent of over 2,000 people per day missed out on a timely diagnosis.
Over 6,000 (7.7%) patients waited a month or more to begin their first treatment after a decision to treat the cancer, almost double the 4% target.
Meanwhile, 15,000 or over one third of people waited two months or more to start cancer treatment after a referral from their GP. This means a target of 85% of people starting treatment within that period is being badly missed by 21 points.
It comes after no reference was made to improving cancer care in last week's Queen's Speech. Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron has tabled an amendment to the Queen's Speech, calling for a comprehensive strategy to be put forward on how the Government plans to meet a commitment for 80% of patients to be seen within two months by 2023. The party is also calling for the Government to hire more health staff, particularly specialist cancer nurses.
Commenting, Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron said:
"This Conservative Government has no real plan to fix the crisis in cancer waiting times. Ministers are sitting on their hands while people are being left in pain, or have to watch their loved ones suffering.
"The Conservatives have taken the NHS for granted for years and have their heads in the sand over huge staff shortages. The Queen's Speech didn't mention cancer care and Boris Johnson hasn't even brought forward any new legislation to tackle this mess.
"He needs to bring forward a plan now - people bravely battling cancer deserve far better than being abandoned by a Government that doesn't do enough to ease their burden."
Article: May 17, 2022
Emergency budget: £38m tax bill for every day of inaction
Every day without an emergency budget costs the squeezed-middle £38 million extra in taxes
Households pay extra £1.6 million in tax for every hour Parliament debates Queen's Speech
Lib Dem MP calls the debate "the most expensive waste of time by Parliament I have ever known"
Analysis by the Liberal Democrats has found the additional tax hikes introduced by this Conservative Government is costing households £38 million a day.
The figures come as Michael Gove denied the Government would be introducing an Emergency Budget this week despite hints from the Prime Minister in Parliament yesterday.
Today, Parliament will be debating the Queen's Speech, yet hard-pressed families will be forking out an extra £1.6 million per hour in tax hikes. These tax increases include the hit from National Insurance Contributions increasing and the Government freezing the income tax thresholds, which impacts the squeezed-middle.
The Liberal Democrats are calling for an Emergency Budget to slash VAT which would save the average family £600 a year.
Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP said:
"The squeezed-middle are drowning in tax hikes and spiralling energy bills yet Rishi Sunak is nowhere to be found.
"Imagine watching the news today and seeing MPs talk for hours on end about a bunch of new laws that will not save you a single penny. This is the most expensive waste of Parliament's time I have ever known. Every second that ticks by ratchets up the tax bills for hard-pressed families.
"Now is the time for an emergency budget to slash taxes and save hard-pressed families on the brink. Dark clouds are looming over our economy and every day of inaction from this Chancellor will force more people to make the heartbreaking decision between heating and eating."
Article: Sep 20, 2021By Dan Schmeising
Lib Dems made waves at Conference this weekend. Here's a quick roundup of the press coverage we got!
What a conference we've had!
From motions to keynote speeches to training, there was something for everyone and the quality of debate was, as ever, excellent.
We also got a huge amount of press coverage. Our stunning win in Chesham and Amersham has put us back in the spotlight - and the media are beginning to see that only we can dismantle the Tory Blue Wall.
Article: Jun 18, 2021By Liberal Democrats
Across the south, the Tory Blue Wall is beginning to crumble. Here and in great swathes of the country, only the Liberal Democrats can beat the Conservatives and breach their Blue Wall.
Last night Liberal Democrats gained a 25% swing in Chesham and Amersham electing our 12th MP, Sarah Green.
We struck at the heart of the Conservatives' blue wall and took one of their safest seats.
Liberal Democrats showed that we are a force to be reckoned with. We have a team to match anyone.
Our huge triumph in Chesham and Amersham has shown that the Liberal Democrats are a serious and credible opposition to this Convervative party.
Their blue wall isn't just on notice; it has been shaken at its foundations by the Liberal Democrats in both the Chesham and Amersham by-election and the last set of local elections.
Article: Jun 15, 2021By Alistair Carmichael
Just 353 refugees were resettled in the UK last year. The Government must provide safe and legal routes to sanctuary.
Priti Patel says refugees should come to the UK through safe and legal routes, and is threatening to punish any who don't.
But at the same time, the Conservative Government is failing to provide any safe and legal routes for refugees to take.
The Government's latest figures show that just 353 refugees were resettled in the UK in 2020-21 - a drop of 93% since the previous year.
The UK has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need, but now the Conservatives are turning their backs on refugees.
Their failure to provide safe and legal routes is pushing desperate, vulnerable people into the hands of people smugglers and human traffickers.
Priti Patel's tough rhetoric and cruel policies only increases their profit margins. "We thank your government for our full pockets," one smuggler told the Guardian recently.
That's why the Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to make an ambitious, ten-year commitment to resettle 10,000 vulnerable refugees a year from Syria and other dangerous conflict areas. Because that's how we will actually combat these criminal gangs and prevent people from making dangerous attempts to cross the Channel and the Mediterranean.