Liberal Democrats in Nottingham have slammed Labour for caving in to the Conservatives over rights for EU residents living in Britain after Brexit takes place. Liberal Democrats led the battle for EU citizens who have made Britain their home to continue to live here. With cross party backing, including Lib Dems and Labour, the House of Lords successfully amended the Brexit Bill. This is the law that will allow Theresa May to start negotiations to take the UK out of the EU.

Two successful amendments recognised the rights of EU citizen’s resident here and also gave Parliament a meaningful vote over the final Brexit proposals. On 13th March, the Conservative majority in the Commons rejected the amendments and shortly afterwards, Labour peers announced they would no longer fight for them. Lib Dem Spokesperson for Nottingham, Barry Holliday said:

“Labour have caved in to the Conservatives on EU citizens and ensuring Brexit decisions are taken by Parliament rather than simply by Conservative ministers such as Boris Johnson.

“While the Lib Dems are continuing to fight for the rights of Europeans living here as our neighbours, work colleagues and friends, Labour have shown they have no backbone for the battle ahead. They have let Theresa May and Boris Johnson walk all over them.

“The Lib Dems continue to fight for a soft Brexit, keeping Britain in the Single Market to protect jobs and battling for British influence. Labour on the other hand have thrown in the towel, leaving it to the Lib Dems to take on the Conservative Brexit Government.”

Labour have lost their backbone over Brexit!

Liberal Democrats in Nottingham are warning that crashing out of the EU without a trade agreement would be a disaster for the British economy. Speaking at a meeting of local residents, Barry Holliday, Lib Dem Spokesperson for Nottingham said:

“Conservative Brexit Prime Minister Theresa May has stated that ‘no deal would be better than a bad deal.’

“She is, in effect, saying that she is prepared to make Britain go it alone without a trade deal with Europe. This will be a disaster for jobs, incomes and prices. 90% of our exports will suffer tariffs, making them less competitive in the EU. Jobs will be lost as a result. Prices will also rise, not just because the pound has dropped since the Referendum, but because we will be under World Trade Organisation rules which will be tariffs will be added to many of our imports.

“The Conservative Brexit Government’s casual approach to trade negotiations and the future of the economy is shocking and they are potentially leading us to disaster, just to appease the Brexit extremists in their ranks.

“Liberal Democrats believe that the UK should remain in the Single Market. That would allow our exports to be sold in the EU without tariffs and allow us to continue trading tariff free with over 50 countries with which Europe has trade deals. Though Labour have now run away from the battle, Liberal Democrats will lead the campaign for Soft Brexit, rather than the Hard Brexit the Conservatives want to inflict on us.”

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This announcement announced that they would be channeling £2 billion to local councils, spread across the next 3 years, to support adult social care. There is no additional money for the NHS. From 2020, there will be no financial support from Government to Councils towards the costs of local services. Therefore, the cost of social care will fall entirely on the council tax and business rates.

It is a woefully inadequate response to the impossible pressure the NHS and care services are under. There will be a £2bn black hole in social care funding next year alone. The inadequate funding package will result in more elderly people going without the care they need and more pressure on our hospitals as more bed blocking will result in which elderly patients have to remain in hospital as there are inadequate care packages available from the local council.

The Government has refused to give the NHS the extra funding it needs. The percentage of our national income spent on the NHS is likely to fall. It is currently 7.4%. £8 billion extra a year was promised by the Conservatives in 2015 by 2020. Even with the lower rates of GDP growth as a result of Brexit, this promised increase is at a slower pace than the rate of growth in the economy and in the numbers of elderly people.

Research by the Kings Fund shows that hospital trusts ran up record deficits of £2.45bn last year and 53% are pessimistic about ending the next year in financial balance. 63% of clinical commissioning groups are also pessimistic. Furthermore, 74% of trusts and 86% of CCGs doubt they will achieve the huge savings expected of them by 2020.

The Liberal Democrats have attacked the Government for failing to hit their own target for the national living wage. When then Chancellor George Osborne introduced the “national living wage”, he said he expected it to be worth £9.30 an hour by 2020. Now the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) has revised down its forecast. The level is expected to be £9. This is because the National Living Wage is 60% of media pay and wage levels are now expected to rise at a slower pace following Brexit.

The Chancellor has broken a Conservative manifesto pledge by introducing a tax on entrepreneurs and “white van man” with a rise in National Insurance payments that will cost them £93 each next year. The tax will hit five million people and breaks a Conservative manifesto promise not to increase National Insurance. Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Susan Kramer said:

“This is a tax on builders, taxi drivers and window cleaners, some of Britain’s hardest working people. This hits the gig economy where people are already insecure and facing rising prices and job uncertainty. Companies will continue to save money by using workers without giving them the security and benefits of staff jobs. Meanwhile, these workers will have to pay more. This is patently as unfair as it is a tax on entrepreneurship and hard work.”