Lib Dems to reinstate bursaries for student nurses

Monday, May 15 2017

Speaking at the Royal College of Nursing Congress today, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, has confirmed that the Party would reinstate student bursaries, which benefit nursing, midwifery and allied health students, with immediate effect.

In 2015, the Conservative Government announced they would be scrapping bursaries for nursing students from August 2017.

UCAS figures show that the number of applications for nursing courses due to start this year were approximately 10,000 lower – down by nearly a quarter – compared to the same point last year. The Liberal Democrats argue that this short-sighted cut will compound the existing shortage of nurses in the NHS, threatening the quality of patient care.

Bridget Fox, Parliamentary Candidate for the Cities of London and Westminster said:

"We are proud to be standing on such a strong pro-NHS platform from the Liberal Democrats. Our pledge of 1p in the pound on income tax will generate an extra £6bn a year for the NHS and adult social care."

Alex Harding, Parliamentary Candidate for Westminster North said:

"With so many major teaching hospitals in our area, this extra support for student nurses will be a major benefit to our community."

Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said:

"The evidence has shown a drastic fall in the number of people applying to study nursing following this dangerously short-sighted cut.

"The Liberal Democrats are proud that we are committing to support nurses, midwives and other NHS professionals, not only by reinstating the bursary but by ending the cap on public sector pay rises and giving our NHS the extra money it needs over the next Parliament, which will reduce pressures on our hardworking staff."



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National Vote Projections for GE 2017

Friday, May 5, 2017

Latest results show the Liberal Democrats on course to make a growing number of parliamentary gains, with the party advancing across the country from St Ives to Aberdeenshire and coming out well on top in parliamentary seats as diverse as Edinburgh West to St Albans. 

The Liberal Democrats topped the polls in Eastbourne despite Theresa May’s visit, and early signs are they are surging ahead in Scottish seats such as East Dunbartonshire and NE Fife.

The BBC are reporting that the Liberal Democrat projected national vote is 18%, up 7%. The Lib Dems are just 9% behind Labour. The Conservatives are up by just 3%. This would more than double the size of the Liberal Democrat parliamentary party.

Bridget Fox, Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Cities of London & Westminster said:

“These results tell a clear and stark message. Labour has collapsed. They cannot win the General Election in seats like Cities of London & Westminster. If you want a strong opposition to this Government, we are the party for you.”

Sal Brinton, Liberal Democrat party president, said:

“With five weeks of the general election campaign to go, we are just 9% behind Labour and breathing down their necks. We have halved the gap on Labour in just one night and scored our best national election result in seven years.

“Labour is collapsing and we will stand up for people to provide the strong opposition this country needs.”

Tim Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said:

“These results tell a clear and stark message. Labour has collapsed. They cannot win the General Election.

“If you want a strong opposition to this government, we are the party for you.

“A strong opposition can change Britain's future. A strong opposition to stand up to Theresa May's divisive Brexit plans that will cost jobs and put up prices. A strong opposition to keep us in the Single Market. A strong opposition to rescue the NHS from Conservative neglect. A strong opposition to stop Theresa May cutting schools to the bone. A strong opposition to fight for you and your community. 

“Labour has failed as an opposition and handed Theresa May a blank cheque to do as she pleases. The voters have delivered their verdict on Jeremy Corbyn.

“The Liberal Democrats are the only party that can challenge Theresa May. We will be the strong opposition that will stand up for you.”



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Garden Bridge decision: Labour and the Conservatives both failed to put the interests of residents and taxpayers first

Friday, 28 April 2017

Reacting to the news that the Mayor of London has revoked any guarantee of further funding for the Garden Bridge, which has already cost taxpayers almost £40mn, Bridget Fox, Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Cities of London and Westminster, said:

"Finally the Mayor of London has seen sense and stopped throwing more public money at the Garden Bridge. Liberal Democrats in London, led by Caroline Pidgeon, have long opposed this flawed and costly scheme.”

“Residents in Westminster, who risked losing existing open space, will be relieved at the news.

“I hope Mark Field will reconsider his ill-judged support for this expensive folly."

Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member, who last year publicly called out the Mayor of London for his refusal to rule out the GLA providing a financial guarantee for the maintenance and upkeep of the bridge1, said:

“The Mayor has taken a year to make this decision and while he has been dithering more money has been wasted. Yet while it is regrettable that Sadiq Khan has taken so long to make a decision he has finally done the right thing following Dame Margaret Hodge's damning report.2

“It was quite clear this vanity project of Boris Johnson's would end up as a bottomless pit for the public purse. 

“It is now dead in the water and will be held up for many years as a case study on wasting public money and poor decision-making at both government and Mayoral level.”



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Westminster’s number of rough sleepers set to rise to 300 due to Conservative cuts to housing benefit for young people

Thursday, 27 April 2017

At least 40 more young people in the Cities of London and Westminster will be affected by the Conservative government’s decision to strip 18-21 year olds of housing benefit, research by the House of Commons library commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has shown.1

In total 18,000 young people across the country expected to be affected, with 2,820 of those in London.

The Liberal Democrats have committed to reverse the cuts, which came into force at the beginning of this month.

Official figures show Westminster already suffers from high levels of homelessness, with official figures showing there were 260 rough sleepers in 2016.2

Charities have warned that stripping 18-21 year-olds of housing benefits could push more young people onto the streets, should landlords refuse to take them on as tenants. Some 60% of homelessness in Westminster owes to evictions by landlords.3

Research by Heriot-Watt University has also shown this harmful policy is likely to cost taxpayers more than it saves, due to the impact of making more people homeless.4

Bridget Fox, Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Cities of London and Westminster commented:

"The heartless decision to strip under-21s of housing benefit risks pushing more people in Westminster onto the streets, who are already suffering due to a lack of affordable housing in the borough.

"The most vulnerable, who have nowhere else to turn, are being abandoned by this Conservative government.

"This election can change the direction of our country and give young people hope again. Liberal Democrats will restore housing benefit for 18-21-year-olds and prevent a destructive hard Brexit that robs young people of their futures."



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We can stop a disastrous Brexit by a government with no plan

In response to Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech earlier today which outlined her intention to call for a General Election to take place on 8 June, Mark Platt, Chair of Westminster and City of London Lib Dems, Alexander Harding, PPC for Westminster North, and Bridget Fox, PPC for the Cities of London and Westminster, said:

“Theresa may think she can push through a damaging Hard Brexit by calling an early election, but she does not speak for half of the country who do not agree with her vision.

“Nor many Leave voters, who do not want to jeopardise our vital access to the Single Market and the rights of EU citizens living in Britain as well as Brits living elsewhere in Europe.

“As Westminster and City of London Liberal Democrats, we will fight to put an end to the chaotic mess this government has been leading us into once and for all.”

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A hard Brexit puts our borough's FinTech jobs, revenue at risk

Today the UK Government hosted the International Fintech Conference in the heart of the City of London, which aims to promote the UK’s vibrant financial technology sector. Yet actions speak louder than words: Brexit is already causing firms to either consider relocating or starting up their businesses elsewhere in Europe.
In 2015, fintechs employed more than 61,000 people and generated some £6 billion in revenue. The sector also attracted half a billion pounds of capital investment.1, 2 That is now at risk as firms face uncertainty about the status of their employees and the prospect of losing vital access to the Single Market.
As Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Baroness Kramer said earlier today: “...there is one very simple way the government could attract more entrepreneurs and keep the ones we already have: by guaranteeing that Britain will remain in the Single Market".
That is why Westminster and City of London Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for the rights of EU citizens living in the constituency. And we will champion the voice of business with our commitment to retain Single Market membership.
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Corbyn visit to FSB: Lib Dem response

Ahead of Jeremy Corbyn’s visit to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Liberal Democrat shadow Chancellor Susan Kramer said:

“Jeremy Corbyn will speak to the Federation of Small Businesses, but he doesn’t understand or respect business. His extreme Labour Party lacks all economic credibility and would drive many firms out of business. Most people who graft running small businesses would be terrified if Jeremy Corbyn ever got anywhere near Number 10.

“He ordered his MPs to vote to take Britain out of the single market, which could cost the UK economy as much as £200bn over the next 15 years. He just doesn't seem to realise that you can’t have a hard Brexit and a successful economy.

“With the Conservatives also pursuing a hard Brexit, the Liberal Democrats are emerging as the only party of business.”

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Statement on Thursday's Terrorist Attack on Westminster

An attempt was made this week to attack the focal point of British democracy. We will not be cowed by this callous act, which has only served to strengthen our sense of unity, which is based on the shared values of freedom, tolerance and openness.

It is with great sadness that we pay tribute to the four victims who have died, in particular PC Keith Palmer—who bravely gave his life to save many others. We extend our deepest condolences to his family, who have lost both a husband and a father.

His sacrifice is a testament to the risks that the police and other emergency services take every day in order to keep us safe.

We also extend these condolences to the families of the two named victims, Aysha Frade and Kurt Cochran.

Our thoughts are equally with the loved ones of the 40 other people who have been seriously injured, including the three French school children who came yesterday to visit the seat of our democracy, and the three police officers who were hurt on their way returning from a commendation ceremony. 

Mark Platt, Chair

Westminster and City of London Liberal Democrats


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LGBT History Month is time to recognise those who fight prejudice

Westminster, and especially Soho, has been at the heart of London's LGBT community for decades. As Westminster and City of London Democrats we have a long and proud history of representing this vibrant community, and of campaigning to improve the lives of LGBT people across our city, and across the UK.

This year's LGBT History Month celebrates the landmark decision to decriminalise homosexuality, an act which began the slow but steady path to civil partnerships and finally equal marriage, policies championed and enacted by Liberal Democrats.

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Westminster Lib Dems lobby MPs on Brexit vote

In advance of today's crucial vote on triggering Article 50 in the House of Commons, our two PPCs, Bridget Fox (Cities of London & Westminster), and Alex Harding (Westminster North), have written to their counterpart MPs to ask them to support the Liberal Democrat amendment being tabled, and to vote against the Bill if it is not agreed.

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