8 ways Lib Dems are changing the world

April 6, 2018 7:00 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

1. Working to end homelessness being criminalised.

We’re really glad to see Layla Moran speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions today, calling for the repeal of the Vagrancy Act 1824. Homelessness is a huge issue in Sheffield and across the UK, and we are extremely disappointed that the government still won’t repeal the Act. Please sign the petition to force a debate in Parliament! https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/205388

Vagrancy isn’t a word we often use in the 21st Century. That’s why the law that makes homelessness a crime dates back to the 19th century. Layla Moran MP, our excellent MP for Oxford West and Abingdon has brought forward a bill to repeal this draconian law and stop people being arrested just for not having a roof over their head.

2. Giving heterosexual couples the right to enter into a civil partership.

Religious weddings can be great, but they aren’t for everyone. Some couples want to declare their love in a secular way. Civil partnerships are currently only open to same-sex couples, but Baroness Lorely Burt is looking to change this.

3. Giving EU nationals already living in the UK, the right to remain.

EU Citizens have built lives, families and careers here. They contribute far more to Britain than they get back. And it’s absolutely absurd that our Government hasn’t guaranteed their Right to Stay already. To get around their ridiculous intransigence, Lord Oates has introduced a bill that would force the government to enshrine in law the right of EU citizens living in the UK, the right to stay with their family and continue to live and work in the country they call home.

4. Make upskirting a crime #stopskirtingtheissue

It is currently not a crime to take a photo up someone’s skirt – and as a result, the Police find it hard to prosecute. That’s why Wera Hobhouse, our MP for Bath, has presented a bill to make upskirting a criminal offence. In the age of social media, where thousands of women are assaulted in this way every year, this bill is long overdue.

5. Giving people with terminal illnesses top priority for housing.

Nobody should face a terminal illness alone, cold and in substandard housing. But if you have a terminal illness, you are no more likely to get social housing than anyone else. Councils are under no obligation to move people with terminal illnesses up the housing waiting list. That’s why Ed Davey, our MP for Kingston and Surbiton, has introduced a bill to ensure people with a terminal illness get priority for Council Houses.

6. Fight for unaccompanied child refugees to be reunited with their families.

For years, the Conservatives have dragged their feet over accepting child refugees. Time and time again, they’ve had to be dragged kicking and screaming into doing the right thing. In late 2015, the Conservative Government was forced to take 3,000 unaccompanied child refugees – but currently, there is no provision for the parents or siblings to be reunited. Baroness Hamwee has brought forward a bill to allow safe passage for the immediate family of refugees in the UK to leave refugee camps or war-torn countries and live in peace.

7. Reforming campaign finances.

The ideas in Lord Tyler’s bill were first thought up in a cross-party committee in 2003. 15 years of campaigning later and this bill is now at committee stage.Lord Tyler’s bill limits the money that big businesses can donate to political parties and ensures trade union donations are entered individually; this means union members get more say over where their subscriptions go.

8. Last but by no means least, fighting for an Exit from Brexit.

Lib Dem parliamentarians have submitted over 50 amendments to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. On subjects ranging from our continued membership of EURATOM (which carries out vital cancer research) to ensure that the people get a say on the final Brexit deal. We can’t start Brexit with democracy and end it with a Parliamentary stitch up.

School meals in line for Conservative cuts

Free school meals were brought in by the Liberal Democrats in coalition. Now they are being cut by the Conservatives.

Changes to Universal Credit mean nearly 1million poorer children will†lose out on a free nutritious meal at lunch – costing parents £400 a year.

Free school meals were brought in as one of a series of new investments in our schools by the Liberal Democrats in the coalition. Now they are being cut by the Conservatives.

The policy has been a huge success, improving school outcomes for local children. In fact the policy has not just improved outcomes for the families and children that receive free dinners, but all across school classes. The free nutritional lunches have been linked with better concentration as well as better health. The policy also saves some of Britain’s poorer families over £400 each year.

Commenting Liberal Democrat schools spokesperson Layla Moran MP said, ìEnsuring every child has a nutritious meal during the school day is incredibly important, helping to ensure they thrive at school and get the most from their lessons.î

These changes come in the wake of broken promises on free school breakfasts for every child. A promise that was popular and central to the Conservatives failed General Election gamble.

Hospital admissions due to an older persons falling, is set to rise to nearly 1,000 a day

Local Liberal Democrats have warned that the number of hospital admissions due to an older person falling, is set to rise to nearly 1,000 a day by the end of the decade.

The worrying forecast, according to data released by the Local Government Association, has prompted renewed calls for more funding for adult social care to invest in cost-effective prevention work to reduce falls, which can have devastating and life-threatening consequences on a person’s health and wellbeing.

New research shows that falls prevention programmes run by councils reduce the number of falls requiring hospital admission by nearly a third (29 per cent). For every £1 spent on preventing falls in the home, £3 is saved in hospital care.

Liberal Democrat Alex Brims said extra government funding for councils to scale up this prevention work to address a rising older population would help the NHS by reducing the need for people to be admitted to hospital after a fall and cut costs to the public purse.

Falls are said to cost the NHS more than £2 billion a year – the amount needed to plug the annual funding gap that councils face in adult social care by 2020. But Government funding restrictions are limiting the work that local councils can do.

Local Liberal Democrats believe many falls can be avoided and are calling for:

Greater awareness raising among the public around fall prevention
The Government to fully address the adult social care funding gap, which will reach more than £2 billion by 2020
Adult social care to be put on an equal footing to the NHS
Latest figures from England in 2016/17, show there were 316,669 hospital admissions of people aged 65 and over due to falling, amounting to two thirds of all fall-related admissions. Around a fifth of these were as a result of slipping, tripping or stumbling.

The number of fall-related hospital admissions among older people has increased by nine per cent over four years, and based on this trend, will continue to rise to around 350,000 by 2020/21. This is the equivalent of approximately 950 cases every day. In contrast, the number of admissions for those aged under 65 has remained constant.

Falls have a significant impact on older people, as well as adult social care and health services. They can lead to considerable distress, pain, injury, loss of confidence, loss of independence and even death.

The reasons for older people falling vary, but can include poor eyesight; dizziness, due to medication; poor physical health; long-term conditions, such as Parkinson’s Disease or stroke; badly fitted carpets; clutter in the home, and trying to hurry to answer the door or get to the toilet.

A few simple changes to a person’s lifestyle and home can help to reduce the risk of tripping, such as making sure rugs are correctly fitted, stairs are well lit and have handrails, replacing worn-out slippers, keeping active, or talking to a GP about any dizziness caused by taking multiple medications.

Liberal Democrat campaigner Alex Brims said:

“It is deeply saddening when someone falls over, including in their own home, and have to go to hospital as a result.

“Not only is this traumatic and upsetting for the individual concerned and their families, but this has a significant impact on health and social care as well, which are already overstretched as a result of unprecedented demand.

“The fact these shocking figures are set to soar even higher over the next few years, will heap further strain on local services.

“Council-run fall prevention schemes, such as home assessment and modification programmes, have shown to significantly reduce the number of falls requiring hospital admission and to offer a good return on investment, saving money from the public purse. But government cuts mean less can be done, which has seen spending on prevention work from adult social care budgets reduced by more than £60 million in the past year.

“To reduce demand and cost pressures on the NHS, the Government needs to switch its focus from reducing delayed discharges from hospital to preventing admissions in the first place and put adult social care and the NHS on an equal footing.

“Older people may be at a greater risk of falling but in many cases falls can be prevented by making a few simple changes either to a person’s lifestyle or in the home. This could be anything from having regular eye tests, checking a rug is fitted correctly, replacing a pair of worn out slippers or doing moderate exercise.

“We want to raise awareness of these straightforward prevention tips to help reduce trips and falls, including while at home, and the unwanted consequence of ending up in a hospital bed.”