Spring Conference 2022 local template pack 

Localised template press releases focused on motions passed at Spring Conference 2022


Templates

Please feel free to use whichever template releases work best in your local area. You can use the respective data sheets to fill in the blanks. 

If you have any queries on any of the below, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on press@libdems.org.uk


1) Sewage

You can localise the press release below using figures on the profits made by water companies by region. Additional Conservative facing lines are also included if appropriate for your constituency. 

This template is for use in England only.

Call for Sewage Tax on [insert water company name] after [insert column E] profit revealed

[Insert local party] Liberal Democrats have called for a ‘Sewage Tax’ on water companies to fund the cleaning up of rivers polluted by sewage dumps. 

It comes as the Liberal Democrats have revealed [Insert water company name] made a staggering [insert column E] in operating profits last year. The figures, taken from Company House records, also show the water firm made [Insert column D] in revenue. 

The local Liberal Democrats have demanded a new tax on water companies’ profits after repeated sewage dumps in [insert local rivers].  The ‘Sewage Tax’ of 16% on water companies would create an emergency fund for cleaning up rivers. The policy was officially backed by the Liberal Democrats at their Spring Conference this weekend.

[Insert more detail on sewage issues in your area]

[IF APPLICABLE]: The Liberal Democrats also challenged local Conservative MP XXX to back calls for a Sewage Tax, after he/she refused to back tougher action against water companies that dump sewage in local rivers in a vote in Parliament last year.

New analysis by the Liberal Democrats has revealed Britain’s nine water companies made a total £2.8bn in combined operating profits last year. 

The move follows outrage at water companies discharging sewage into rivers over 400,000 times in 2020, according to the Environment Agency. Only 14% of England’s rivers are in good ecological health, according to the Rivers Trust. 

Liberal Democrat [Cllr/Parliamentary candidate/local party position] [Insert name] said:

“These profits are absolutely scandalous. Our treasured local rivers have been polluted by disgusting sewage yet [insert water number company name] is raking in massive profits without taking any action. 

“People around here are furious at how badly [insert water company name] treat our local environment.

Optional Conservative facing quote “It is time our local Conservative MP finally stood up to the Government and [insert water company]. We need a MP willing to take action against these sewage dumps in our river.”

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey MP said:

“An environmental disaster is taking place in our towns, cities and villages, yet the Government shows no signs of taking action.

“Last year the Government initially refused to ban sewage dumps in rivers, then they let water companies carry on as normal by failing to set meaningful timescales and targets. The very least they could do now is to force water companies to clean up their mess. 

ENDS

Notes to editors

The Liberal Democrats are proposing an emergency cut to VAT for one year - saving families an average of £600 each - as announced by Ed Davey at the opening of the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference.

You can localise the press release below using figures on the estimated savings by either local authority (first tab) or constituency (second tab), whichever one works best for your local area and media. 

This template is for use across England, Scotland and Wales.

Cut VAT to save families in [AREA] £[INSERT LOCAL FIGURE - COLUMN C] say local Lib Dems

[AREA] Liberal Democrats have demanded an emergency cut to VAT to protect local families from soaring bills and the Conservatives' worsening cost of living crisis.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for the standard rate of VAT to be reduced from 20% to 17.5% for one year, a move that would save households in [AREA] an average of around £600 each. This would mean putting around [£INSERT FIGURE - COLUMN C] back in the pockets of [INSERT FIGURE - COLUMN B] families in [AREA]. 

The plans were set out by Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey at the party’s Spring Conference this weekend and have been backed by [INSERT SPOKESPERSON NAME]. 

It comes amid warnings that the war in Ukraine will worsen the cost of living pressures facing households, with energy, food and fuel bills all expected to rise. Inflation is also forecast to reach 8% in April, its highest level in decades.

The Lib Dem plans would support the economy by boosting spending at local high streets. The proposals would also be expected to keep inflation down by making the prices of everyday items lower than they would have been.

The emergency change to VAT could be introduced quickly and easily by the Chancellor for one year. [AREA]’s Liberal Democrats have said he should use the Spring Statement coming up on March 23 to bring forward the change as well as scrapping the Conservative’s National Insurance tax hike, to bring much-needed respite to local families.

Liberal Democrat [SPOKESPERSON] said:

“The Conservative cost of living crisis is hitting families hard and it is about to get worse. People across our community are worried about how to make ends meet as bills go through the roof.

“An emergency cut to VAT would offer a massive boost to people in [AREA] feeling the pinch by putting £[INSERT LOCAL FIGURE - COLUMN C] back into their pockets. It would also support our treasured shops, cafes and restaurants by boosting spending on the high street.

“This is crunch time for the Chancellor and the Conservatives. Will they act or just inflict more financial pain on families by clobbering them with another unfair tax hike?”

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

“This is a once-in-a-generation crisis, and the government must step up to help struggling households and businesses on the brink. 

“Instead of clobbering struggling families with a tax hike, the Chancellor should be putting money back into their pockets.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

  • The Liberal Democrats are calling for the standard rate of VAT to be reduced from 20% to 17.5% for one year. The party’s analysis suggests this would save households around £600 on average. Full figures on estimated savings by local authority and constituency are available.
  • Cutting VAT would help the retail industry, giving a much-needed boost to local high streets and increasing economic growth. A similar VAT cut in 2008 was found to boost retail sales by about 1%, increasing aggregate expenditure by around 0.4%. [IFS, 2014]
  • A VAT cut will help to keep inflation lower than it otherwise would be. When the last VAT cut came in in December 2008, inflation fell from 4.1% to 3.1%.
  • Reducing VAT to 17.5% would require a very short and simple statutory instrument. The standard VAT rate can be changed by up to 25% for up to a year through secondary legislation. This means no new primary legislation is required unless the cut needs to stay for longer than a year.

3) Schools catch up (reading age)

The Liberal Democrats are calling for an extra £10 billion to go towards education catch up funding - including £5 billion to be put directly into the hands of parents as a catch up voucher for every child - as backed at the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference.

You can localise the press release below using the reading age data, organised by constituency.

This template is for use in England only.

[COLUMN C]% of children in [CONSTITUENCY] below reading standards

New figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed [COLUMN C]% of 11 year old children have a reading age below 11. The research reveals almost 167,960 11 year olds across the country and [COLUMN B] in [CONSTITUENCY] as being below the standard reading age. 

The shocking figures were published recently by the Department for Education in response to a Parliamentary Question tabled by Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Munira Wilson.

The latest figures held by the Department are from 2019 as testing was suspended over the pandemic. This means that the numbers are likely even higher after children have faced consistent disruption to their education over the last two years. 

Liberal Democrats in [CONSTITUENCY] have urged the Department for Education to:

  • Fund the full £15 billion catch up programme put forward by their own Education Recovery Commissioner
  • Publish any new data they have from during the pandemic. 
  • Commission an urgent review into reading ages across the country.

The party said that the recent figures were just the “tip of the iceberg” with thousands of children hit hard by lost learning during the pandemic.

The research comes as the Liberal Democrats are calling for an extra £10 billion to go towards catch up, including £5 billion to be put directly into the hands of parents as a catch up voucher for every child. The policy was backed by the Liberal Democrats at their Spring Conference this weekend. The voucher could be used to empower parents to help improve their child’s reading age outside of school. 

Responding to these figures, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson [NAME]: 

“These figures reveal a reading crisis in our schools and they’re just the tip of the iceberg. The Government must get a grip of this issue by commissioning an urgent review into reading ages for pupils. 

“The pandemic has had a huge effect on our children, and with reading ages already below standards for many before the crisis, the case now could be terrible for thousands of children across the country. 

“Parents, teachers and pupils have not had a fair deal throughout this pandemic. No child should leave primary school unable to read at the standard level for their age - they need a chance to catch up. 

“The Liberal Democrats would invest an extra £10 billion to tackle lost learning, including £5 billion going directly to parents and commission a review into our children's reading crisis.” 

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1.    Parliamentary Question by Munira Wilson MP

2.    Policy Details 

Catch-Up Vouchers worth £200 a year for 3 years, given directly to parents for all 8.3 million children in state-funded schools.

Double vouchers (worth £400/yr) for disadvantaged children (those eligible for the Pupil Premium) and those with special educational needs.

Triple vouchers (worth £600/yr) for:

  • Pupils with special educational needs who are also eligible for Free School Meals
  • Looked-after and previously looked-after children

For parents to spend on approved tutors or classes however they choose – through the school or outside of it. Any vouchers not spent over the year go to the child’s school for their benefit.

Schools would be encouraged to offer extra catch-up tutoring and classes, funded through vouchers, and teachers encouraged to discuss with parents what would most benefit their children.


4) Ambulances

Liberal Democrats passed a motion at Spring Conference to pass Daisy Cooper MP’s Ambulance Waiting Times Bill into law (requiring accessible, localised reports of ambulance response times to be published), make emergency funding available to reverse closures of community ambulance stations and cancel planned closures, and launch a campaign to retain, recruit and train paramedics and other ambulance staff.

You can localise the press release below using the data on both A&E waiting times and ambulance response times, organised by local NHS trust.

This template is for use in England only.

[AREA] Lib Dems demand action to fix ambulance crisis as figures reveal worsening waiting times

[Insert Column I, Tab 1]% patients in [INSERT AREA] waited longer than 4 hours in A&E before being seen in February, new analysis of NHS England figures by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

Even more shockingly [Insert Column G, Tab 1] patients waited over 12 hours, or [Insert column J - tab 1]% of the total. 

The figures also show that people in [INSERT AREA] waited an average of [Insert Column F from Tab 2] for serious incidents like strokes and heart attacks in February. Scandalously, one in 10 people waited over [Insert Column G from Tab 2] for an ambulance to arrive.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a clear plan to support local ambulance services, including emergency funding to reverse the closure of community ambulance stations and cancel planned closures where needed. The party is also calling for localised figures on ambulance waiting times to be published to help local communities hold the government to account. The proposals were backed at the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference this weekend. 

Nationally, the data shows that 7,672 ambulance arrivals in the latest week were delayed by more than an hour before handing over their patients due to pressures in A&E. That’s almost one in 10 ambulance arrivals.

Liberal Democrat [Insert Name] commented:

“These shocking figures show too many people are being left stranded waiting for an ambulance to arrive, waiting in pain and distress for the medical care they need.

“Ambulance services in [Insert Area] are being stretched to breaking point. People are being let down by a Conservative Government that is sitting on its hands whilst lives are put at risk due to their incompetence.

“After years of driving the NHS into the ground, the Conservatives need to act to fix this crisis.

“The Liberal Democrats have set out a clear and credible plan to support our A&Es, ambulance services and the chronic staffing shortages that are leaving patients at risk.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

To solve the ambulance crisis, the Liberal Democrats are calling for: 

  • Emergency funding to be made available to ambulance trusts to reverse closures of community ambulance stations and cancel planned closures where needed.
  • The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid to commission the CQC to conduct an investigation into the causes and impacts of ambulance service delays.
  • An Ambulance Waiting Times Bill to be passed into law requiring accessible, localised reports of ambulance response times to be published. 
  • A campaign to retain, recruit and train paramedics and other ambulance staff.

The NHS target for Category 2 is 18 minutes. and at least 9 out of 10 times (90th percentile) within 40 minutes.

NHS England A&E Release

Ambulance Analysis - NHS Confederation 

A&E Source

Ambulance Source