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Queen's Speech: Rescue package needed for rural communities let down by Conservatives

May 9, 2022 1:00 PM
Queens speech ()

The Liberal Democrats are demanding a rescue package for rural communities in the Queen's Speech that have been "forgotten about" by Boris Johnson and his Conservative Government.

It comes after a huge backlash against the Conservatives in rural areas at the local elections with the Liberal Democrats making sweeping gains, including taking control of Somerset and Westmorland and Furness councils.

The Liberal Democrats have demanded that the Queen's Speech address some of the glaring issues being faced by people living in the countryside, such as long ambulance waiting times and the pumping of raw sewage into rivers and waterways.

  • Sewage: Bring into law Tim Farron's Sewage Discharges Bill, which would ban water companies from dumping sewage into rivers and legislate to name and shame those companies who poison animals and swimmers.
  • Farming: Introduce Tim Farron's proposed farming bill to protect farmers from being undercut by trade deals, including by giving MPs a vote and final say on any agreements signed.
  • Ambulances: Introducing Daisy Cooper's Ambulance Waiting Times bill to help tackle soaring wait times in rural areas, and launch a Community Ambulance Fund to reverse station closures.

The party has also called for an emergency tax cut to address the cost of living crisis, slashing the top rate of VAT from 20% to 17.5% to put an average of £600 back into the pockets of every family.

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Rural Affairs, Tim Farron MP, said:

"Rural communities that have been forgotten about by Boris Johnson's Conservatives are fed up with being taken for granted. From Somerset to my own patch of Westmorland and Furness, people used the local elections to make that crystal clear.

"Boris Johnson must use the Queen's Speech as an opportunity to tackle the pressing issues facing rural communities up and down the country.

"They don't deserve tonnes of raw sewage being dumped into their rivers. They don't deserve having to wait hours for an ambulance to arrive. And farmers don't deserve to be undercut by damaging new trade deals and the slashing of farm payments."