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Recent updates

  • Suzanne Fletcher, Chair of Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary (LD4SOS)
    Article: Jul 22, 2016

    The Liberal Democrats have slammed the Government for slipping out an announcement that Cedars pre-departure accommodation is to close.

    It raises the prospect of children once again being held in immigration detention centres - a practice ended by the Liberal Democrats in Government.

    Liberal Democrats in Coalition established the centre to end the detention of children, and the Conservatives have used the final day of the Parliamentary session to reverse the move.

    Prior to 2010, thousands of children were being detained in prison-like conditions. During Labour's last 5 years in government, over 7,000 innocent children were held in adult detention centres, sometimes for weeks and months at a time.

    The establishment of the centre was driven by Sarah Teather and Nick Clegg and following the news of its closure the Liberal Democrat Seekers for Sanctuary have set out 10 questions the government must answer.

    Aside from scrapping the centre the Conservatives have failed to offer any assurances on what will replace it, the emotional support that vulnerable children will be given or any preparations that will be made for them ahead of their return to a country that many of them may not even remember.

    Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesman Alistair Carmichael said:

    "Ending the detention of children for immigration purposes was one of the first priorities of Liberal Democrats in government. It is the mark of our society how we treat the most vulnerable and it is disgusting that the Conservatives are now rolling back such an important measure.

    "It is outrageous they slipped out this announcement on the last day of Parliamentary business, and they must now set out what exactly is going to happen to children in the future. We cannot have a return to the days of children being locked up in immigration detention centres, as happened under Labour. The Government has a lot of questions that remained unanswered."

    Chair of Liberal Democrat Seekers for Sanctuary, Suzanne Fletcher, who has visited Cedars, and been part of an Independent Monitoring Board until the change of Government last year said:

    "Cedars provided an oasis of care and calm at a very traumatic time for those families with children who very sadly were being sent against their will back to their country of origin. , and our Government should be ashamed of such a backward step."

  • A pair of wedding rings (Jeff Belmonte. Licensed as Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.)
    Article: Jul 22, 2016

    The Liberal Democrats have branded the Conservative's Flagship Married Couples Tax Allowance policy a 'pathetic failure' after figures revealed that only a fraction of eligible couples had bothered claiming the allowance.

    Only 330,000 people have taken advantage of the allowance, equivalent to 8% of those eligible.

  • Child in prison cell mental health
    Article: Jul 21, 2016

    Alistair Carmichael has demanded the government rule out the prospect of children being kept in prison cells.

    This follows the government slipping out an announcement of the closure of the Cedars facility, which supports families who are being returned overseas by the Home Office. Ending child detention was a major Liberal Democrat achievement in the coalition government. The facilities were described as "exceptional" and their closure has also been attacked by Barnardo's.

  • Article: Jul 21, 2016

    Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today warned that cuts to drug and alcohol services could leave people stranded as new figures revealed that more than 3000 children were treated for drug or alcohol misuse in the last two years.

    The statistics, obtained by the Liberal Democrats through Freedom of Information requests, showed that 3336 children were admitted to emergency departments or to hospital in 2014-15 and 2015-16 as a result of drug and alcohol misuse.

  • Article: Jul 21, 2016

    Scottish Liberal Democrats have said lessons must be learnt to protect the rights of grieving families following the publication today of the report of the National Cremation Investigation.

    The investigation, led by Dame Elish Angiolini, uncovered a litany of failures, including "unethical and abhorrent practices" at Aberdeen Crematorium such as the cremation of foetuses and babies along with unrelated and unknown adults. The report makes 13 recommendations which the Scottish Government has accepted.

  • Article: Jul 21, 2016

    Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP today said the implosion of the Labour party confirms Liberal Democrats are the only party able and prepared to stand up for both the EU and UK.

    Thirteen members of the shadow cabinet have resigned so far and Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson this morning told Jeremy Corbyn to stand down. In comparison, over 5000 members have joined the Liberal Democrats since the referendum result and the party has confirmed it will stand for re-entry to the European Union at the next election.

  • Article: Jul 21, 2016

    Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today said the fact that 1 in 12 occupied NHS bed days are due to delayed discharge shows the scale of the challenge facing the new integrated health and social care bodies.

    New statistics from ISD Scotland show 567,853 bed days were lost to delayed discharge in 2015/16.

  • Article: Jul 21, 2016

    Scottish Liberal Democrats today said the Scottish Government's housing policies have failed the thousands of children living in temporary accommodation after new figures showed a further 13% increase.

    National Statistics published today revealed 5224 children were living in temporary accommodation at 31 March 2016 - 591 more than last year and over 1000 more compared to 2014.

  • Article: Jul 21, 2016

    Speaking during today's debate on the outcome of the EU Referendum, the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:

    "The First Minister knows that I oppose another independence referendum. I made that commitment during the election only last month.

    "Today's motion does not endorse independence. The First Minister has made that clear. I welcome the First Minister reaching out to other parties to engage in the negotiation process.

  • Article: Jul 21, 2016

    The Scottish Liberal Democrats have called on the government to reverse its 20% cut to drug and alcohol services after new figures showed nearly nine in ten of those trying to quit or decrease use of illicit drugs did so without support.

    Statistics released today as part of the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2014/15 showed 87.4% of those who had tried in the last month to cut down on their most often used drug did so without benefiting from any support services.