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Recent updates
  • covid19 ()
    Article: May 28, 2020
    By Wiltshire Liberal Democrats

    Wiltshire has had 552 confirmed cases of COVID-19. This is 104 cases per 100,000 people (compared to the average national rate of 268 per 100,000). There's likely to be an increase in confirmed cases as testing is rolled out across the whole population.

    Up to week ending 8 May, there were 128 hospital deaths and 129 care home deaths due to COVID.

  • The Weekly Whip
    Article: May 28, 2020
    By Ellen Nicholson

    Govt strategy must also support people in isolation

    The Government will today rollout it's test and trace system across England, a system to find people who come into close contact with those infected with coronavirus.

    • The Coronavirus crisis is leaving people rightly worried about their loved ones. Sadly, the Government has left confusion in it's wake this week and there are plenty questions still to answer.
    • Central to the Government's strategy must be a comprehensive test, trace and isolate system. Time and again, we have seen Ministers announce the next steps but never an effective plan to support people in isolation, thereby stopping the spread and saving lives.
    • Ministers must come forward with these clear and honest answers, in addition to addressing the obvious issues with their app and why the level of testing remains so low across the UK compared to some countries.
  • Article: May 27, 2020

    Following the Prime Minster's appearance at the liaison committee yesterday, where he stated he would "see what we can do to help" those with no recourse to public funds, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

    "It's unbelievable that someone who's been an MP for 12 years - and is now the Prime Minister - appeared to not have even heard of a rule that bars migrants from accessing crucial support from the government.

    "The 'no recourse to public funds' rule is particularly damaging during the coronavirus crisis, preventing many families who have lost their livelihoods overnight from accessing the Universal Credit safety net. Liberal Democrats have been urging Priti Patel to lift the rule for the duration of the crisis, so migrants - like everyone else - are given the financial support they need to stay at home.

    "I'm glad the Prime Minister said that people who live and work in the UK should have support. He must now instruct the Home Secretary to make that so by lifting the 'no recourse to public funds' rule."

  • Boris ratings ()
    Article: May 27, 2020

    Responding to polling which shows 71% say Dominic Cummings broke law and 56% of Conservatives say he must go, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

    "The public have made so many sacrifices since the lockdown and this polling clear shows people think there cannot be one rule for senior government officials and one rule for everyone else.

    "The Prime Minister's support for his adviser increasingly looks out of touch and is losing him support with the public and his own party. The Prime Minister's judgement has now become the issue, as this saga is confusing the vital public health messages needed to defeat coronavirus."

  • Article: May 26, 2020
    In Trowbridge Nub

    TROWBRIDGE town councillors have decided to reject a proposal to enforce them to repay any money borrowed on projects within a four-year term of office.

    The idea came up at the authority's annual general meeting when Cllr Edward Kirk said it was wrong for councillors to saddle future councillors with debt.

  • Wiltshire Council
    Article: May 26, 2020
    By Matthew McLaughlin in Wiltshire Times

    Wiltshire has the third highest number of 'made' Neighbourhood Plans in the country.

    As a local authority, Wiltshire Council has 31 Neighbourhood Plans, which give communities power to shape their local area.

    The Neighbourhood Plans allow residents to choose where they want new homes, shops and other developments to be built, to suit the community's needs.

    Cllr Toby Sturgis, cabinet member for planning, said: "This is a great national milestone, and I'm delighted that Wiltshire Council is at the forefront of making Neighbourhood Plans.

    "This achievement illustrates the hard work of our officers, who have created the right environment for Neighbourhood Plans to flourish and made it easier for communities to shape the future of developments in their area.

    "Communities are key to shaping the development and growth of their local area, and neighbourhood plans are a vital part of this.

    "We encourage all local residents to have their say on the future of their community."

    A council spokesman said: "Wiltshire Council continues to offer support and guidance to town and parish councils with neighbourhood planning despite the ongoing Covid-19 situation."

    Currently, there are five Neighbourhood Plans awaiting referendum, which have been recently postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

    The plans awaiting referendum are Lydiard Millicent, North Bradley, Market Lavington, Seagry Parish and Tockenahm.

    "However, these Neighbourhood Plans can still be given significant weight in decision making on planning applications in their area, despite the referendums not yet having taken place," the council spokesman added.

  • DC Crisis ()
    Article: May 26, 2020

    Responding to yesterday's COVID-19 update from the Prime Minister, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

    "The Prime Minister's own judgement is now in question. If he was really convinced by Dominic Cummings' story, he is in a small minority and the public's confidence in Boris Johnson's handling of the coronavirus crisis will only fall further.

    "The Prime Minister ought to understand that the public want to see strong and clear leadership during this health crisis, but the Cummings scandal has heaped yet more confusion on the Government's public health messaging.

    "As if to distract our attention, the Prime Minister has attempted to outline key steps beyond lockdown. Yet this requires a comprehensive test, trace and isolate strategy to be in place. That is the only way to keep people safe.

    "To get us through this crisis, and start to rebuild public trust, the Prime Minister must show leadership, terminate Cummings' contract, and commit to an independent inquiry into the Government's handling of this crisis."

  • Article: May 25, 2020
    By Liberal Democrats

    Responding to news that Weston General Hospital in Somerset has been forced to close to new patients due to a high number of COVID-19 cases, Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

    "This outbreak demonstrates the incredibly urgent need for a comprehensive test, trace and isolate system. That is the only way to keep people safe. Testing at scale and effective contact tracing on the ground are essential if we are to prevent further widespread transmission of COVID-19, and ensure our NHS can continue to function.

    "Given that just yesterday the Prime Minister suggested he is looking to ease elements of the lockdown in the coming days, he must ensure that a robust test, trace, isolate system is up and running, ready to contain localised outbreaks wherever they emerge. That is the only way to monitor and halt the spread of this dreadful virus.

    "Ministers must be entirely transparent about how close we are to rolling out this kind of system across the country, and confirm whether measures to test, trace and isolate are already in place at Weston General Hospital to help contain this outbreak."

  • Wiltshire Liberal Democrats ()
    Article: May 25, 2020
    By Ellen Nicholson

    The Liberal Democrats have written to Andrew Murrison urging them to "end the distractions" and support calls for scandal-hit Dominic Cummings to go, so the country can focus on the coronavirus emergency.

    In the letter, Liberal Democrat South West Wiltshire councillors and spokesperson Ellen Nicholson for South West Wiltshire urges all Conservative MPs to "put the interests of your constituent's first, end the distractions and join the growing number of Conservative MPs who are calling for Dominic Cummings to go."

    The call comes alongside Liberal Democrat demands for an independent inquiry into the Government's handling of the coronavirus crisis, while several Conservative MPs have also broken cover to call for Dominic Cummings to quit, amid claims he broke coronavirus lockdown rules twice.

    Liberal Democrat spokesperson Ellen Nicholson for South West Wiltshire said:

    "People right across South West Wiltshire have made incredible sacrifices to stop the coronavirus. Even if the Prime Minister keeps his blinkers on, Andrew Murrison cannot be oblivious to how angry people are with this scandal.

    "Each minute this scandal is allowed to drag on is another minute the Government is distracted from upscaling Britain's testing capacity, securing PPE for frontline workers and preventing the tragic deaths in our care homes.

    "Andrew Murrison must put the health, wellbeing and economy of our country before efforts to save the Prime Minister's adviser."

    Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey added:

    "By failing to act, the Prime Minister undermines his own authority to lead the country through this appalling crisis, bringing his own judgement into question.

    "The Prime Minister must come clean about what he knows and terminate Dominic Cummings' contract. It is now clearer than ever that, once we are through this crisis, there must also be an independent inquiry to review the Government's actions."

  • Wiltshire Council
    Article: May 24, 2020
    By Wiltshire Liberal Democrats

    The government has changed the rules to make housing development easier on greenfield sites outside of designated town and village policy limits. Where councils don't have a five year supply of building land then the assumption is that development can take place on such sites unless there's a strong reason against, such as Green Belt designation. Whereas previously the existence of a neighbourhood plan also counted as a strong reason against, that has now been restricted to only include NPs less than two years old.