We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Recent updates
  • Article: Nov 30, 2021
    By Caron Lindsay in Lib Dem Voice
    Thursday was White Ribbon Day, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. At Holyrood MSPs paused for a minutes silence to remember those women murdered by men over this past year.

    Later there was a debate on ways to eradicate men's violence against women. Beatrice Wishart, our MSP for Shetland, who has a long record of helping women who have suffered domestic abuse made a brilliant speech in which she called for a Commission to look at ways of ending men's violence against women in all its forms. She drew attention to the way the media reports violence against women, often victim shaming and she talked particularly about how they talk about this awful practice of "spiking", drugging someone's drink in order to assault them.

    You can watch her speech here. The text is below:

    I refer members to my entry in the register of members' interests. I am a trustee of Shetland Women's Aid.

    I, too, pay tribute to Scottish Women's Aid, Rape Crisis Scotland and other services and individuals across Scotland for the good work that they do, not just on international day for the elimination of violence against women, but every day. It is worth saying again that 2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the global 16 days of activism campaign. It has been 30 years, and, each year, the debate exchanges statistics that are unacceptable and horrific, as Pam Duncan-Glancy stated.

    The World Health Organisation estimates that about one in three women worldwide will, in their lifetime, be subjected to

    "either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence."

    It is a major public health problem and a violation of women's human rights, and we know that Covid has impacted on women's equality progress across the globe.

    Earlier this year, Jess Phillips MP, the UK shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, read out the names of the 118 women who had been killed in the preceding year and in whose case a man had been convicted or charged as the primary perpetrator. It took her a little over four minutes and the list did not include the names of the women referenced in the motion, who were tragically killed after March this year.

    The number of domestic abuse incidents reported by Police Scotland has risen for the fourth year in a row, with one in four women in Scotland experiencing domestic abuse in their lifetime. Domestic violence is a plague that not only affects women but impacts whole households. Children are tragically caught in it, too. It was seeing the lifelong impact of domestic abuse on children and the financial abuse of women that drew me into my voluntary trustee role.

    I know that all speakers in the debate are striving to ensure that women and girls across the globe and closer to home can live their lives free from fear. Scottish Liberal Democrats have previously called for-and we do so again-the establishment of the new commission to look at ways of preventing men's violence against women and girls in all its forms, to ensure a co-ordinated approach across all levels of government. Along with providing increased training for those who work in education and on the front line in public authorities, we can work together to build better public understanding of the drivers behind violence against women and take action to eradicate it.

    The media, including social media, has a significant role to play in how it reports violence against women and girls. The subtle-and sometimes not so subtle-headline victim shaming must cease. We have known for too long about drinks being spiked on nights out, but the relatively new phenomenon of needle spiking hit the headlines recently. It is shocking. Rather than lessening its impact by giving it the almost jokey term of "spiking", let us call it out for what it is: the intention of a perpetrator to render someone incapable so that they can sexually assault and abuse them. It happens predominantly but not exclusively to young women.

    As has been mentioned, lockdown forced abusers and the abused to spend most of their time at home, when, previously, there might have been hours of respite. However, work is not always a safe haven. The Close the Gap briefing indicates that three quarters of women who are subjected to domestic abuse are targeted at work. Unsurprisingly, perpetrator tactics such as sabotage, stalking and harassment affect women's performance at work, levels of absenteeism and job retention.

    I was pleased that Shetland Islands Council received a bronze accreditation during the pilot of equally safe at work, and I encourage other employers to participate in that innovative programme, which requires demonstration across six standards and aligns with women's workplace equality.

    The Government's motion refers to "prioritising prevention". The equally safe fund is welcome, but it is for a two-year term. I wonder whether the Government would consider extending that term to three years, as that would benefit further prevention work.

    There is so much more behind gender-based violence against women and girls, globally and at home, as other members have eloquently voiced and will voice after my speech.

    My thoughts are very much with people who are currently experiencing domestic abuse. There is help out there if they are able to reach out.

    * Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

  • Article: Nov 28, 2021
    In Lib Dem Voice

    A month ago Daisy Cooper submitted a question to the Government, and she has only just received a reply. Her question was:

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many ambulance trusts have moved into REAP Level 4 in the last six weeks; and how many in total are at REAP Level 4 as at 22 October 2021.

    REAP = Resource Escalation Action Plan. Level 4 is the highest level and indicates Extreme Pressure.

    The response did arrive after this prompt:

    In the last six weeks, all 11 English ambulance trusts have been at or moved to REAP Level 4. On 22 October 2021, all 11 ambulance trusts were at REAP Level 4.

    The Government has not made a statement to Parliament about this very worrying situation. So the Liberal Democrats are calling for an emergency plan to support ambulance services this winter. It recommends:

    • Bringing in military personnel across all ten trusts in England to help address staff shortages
    • Reversing recent and planned closures of ambulance stations
    • Increasing beds and staffing capacity at A&Es to reduce queues of ambulances outside hospitals

    Daisy says:

    This is shameful. Forget the statistics, we're talking about loved ones waiting for ambulances that arrive too late or get stuck in queues at hospitals with devastating results.

  • Trowbridge Town Hall
    Article: Nov 27, 2021
    By WC (edited)

    Trowbridge's historic Town Hall will be one of the projects to benefit from the government's Future High Streets Fund.

    The Grade 2 listed building has been allocated £8,176,810, of the £16,347,056 awarded, to refurbish and restore the building. The money will allow the building to host an exciting and vibrant programme of activities.

  • Article: Nov 26, 2021
    By Andy Boddington in Lib Dem Voice

    How did it come this? Tens of migrants drowning in the Channel. There is a sense of inhumanity about current events. A sense of unreality. A sense that the horrors of humanity at its worst is lapping up on the shores of the Channel. Alive. But often dead.

    There is a sense of unreality about our government's response. And that of the French leadership.

  • Article: Nov 25, 2021

    Last night in Parliament, Lib Dem MPs voted against controversial changes to how much people have to pay for their social care.

    The Health and Social Care Bill calls for an £86,000 cap on how much anyone has to pay for social care.

    Until last week, people thought financial support from local authorities would count towards that sum.

  • Article: Nov 24, 2021
    By South West Wiltshire Liberal Democrats

    You could win the top prize of £1,500 cash this December. Or one of the other sparkling prizes in this year's Christmas Draw - tickets are on sale NOW!

    You can buy Draw tickets online at Buy tickets for the Liberal Democrat Draw, supporting South West Wiltshire Liberal Democrats (libdemdraw.org.uk) and when you do, you can be sure South West Wiltshire Liberal Democrats will also be a winner.

  • van
    Article: Nov 24, 2021
    By WC

    A new asymptomatic testing van will be on the roads this week.

    The van will be visiting various targeted communities, to offer free lateral flow tests and ensure no-one is missing the opportunity for regular testing to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

    Kate Blackburn, Director of Public Health, said: "We hope our asymptomatic testing van will improve the accessibility of COVID-19 testing for people who are not showing symptoms but may be carrying COVID-19, and help offer that extra protection and reassurance to our communities during autumn and winter, keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe."

  • Social care (Georg Arthur Pflueger @knurpselknie)
    Article: Nov 24, 2021

    The social Care vote represents yet another broken Tory promise. The Conservatives have rammed through half-baked proposals which break a promise to struggling families and make savings exclusively from the least well off. Far from levelling up, these changes double down on inequality between the rich and poor. Now, struggling families face the double whammy of tax hikes and potentially losing their home to fund spiraling care costs. Liberal Democrats opposed these unfair and divisive plans and will continue to fight for a fair and long term solution which will address the social care crisis facing families every day.

  • 0gsb (Photo by Dmytro Pidhrushnyi on Unsplash)
    Article: Nov 19, 2021

    First, the Tories rubbish the triple lock when it is included in the 2008 Lib Dems manifesto; secondly they are forced to accept it as part of the coalition agreement that year; then they claim it as one of their own when it proves popular, including it in all their subsequent manifestos; finally Rishi Sunak goes back on their word.

  • Article: Nov 18, 2021

    The former police and crime commissioner (PCC) denied making a false declaration in his nomination papers.

    Conservative Jonathon Seed won the PCC election in May but withdrew after an historical driving conviction emerged.

    Mr Seed, who appeared at Oxford Magistrates' Court via videolink, spoke only to confirm his name and address, date of birth and enter a plea.