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  • Rugby Town Hall
    Article: May 10, 2020
    By Rugby Lib Dems

    The Liberal Democrats are at the forefront of cross party calls for urgent additional funding for local authorities going "above and beyond" in their response to the COVID-19 crisis.

    In a letter to the Chancellor and Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the cross party group of more than 20 MPs highlight the pressures cash-strapped councils are under, with a funding shortfall of £5 billion at a time when they are being asked to rapidly scale up support for the most vulnerable.

  • VE Day LGA
    Article: May 7, 2020
    By Rugby Lib Dems

    Paying tribute to the sacrifices made during the Second World War as the UK marks Victory in Europe Day, Liberal Democrat Acting Leader Ed Davey said:

    "On this 75th anniversary of VE Day we remember all those who put their lives at risk to defend our freedoms and defeat fascism.

    "Today we honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as all today's armed forces who continue to sacrifice so much to keep us all safe. We cannot thank them enough for what they are doing at home and around the world today, defending freedom.

    "We must never grow complacent or be fooled into thinking that war is impossible. This anniversary we must honour the sacrifices made and recommit to ensuring that international cooperation and hard-won peace across Europe is protected so that we may never suffer the death and destruction of World War II again."

    Liberal Democrat Defence Spokesperson Jamie Stone also paid tribute, saying:

    "Although the 75th anniversary of VE Day will be spent under lockdown, we can all take this opportunity to honour those who sacrificed for our freedom.

    "Today I remember the millions who died fighting in the war from the safety of my home. I am sincerely grateful for the arrangement of virtual remembrance services in Scotland and across the UK to commemorate the heroes of World War II."

  • VE Day
    Article: May 4, 2020
    By Rugby Lib Dems

    The nation comes together next week to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day, when the guns finally fell silent and the curtain came down on the conflict in Europe.

    While the original plans to mark the milestone on Friday 8 May have been cancelled in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the nation has been encouraged to commemorate VE Day at home and pay tribute to the thousands who died during the Second World War.

    And Rugby Art Gallery and Museum has a host of ideas and information to help residents mark the 75th anniversary safely at home and share the experience on social media.

    The Art Gallery and Museum's VE Day 75 online portal includes authentic Second World War recipes for picnic treats such as potato scones and Marmite biscuits, and crafty instructions to create VE Day pom-poms, Union Jack flags and a commemorative poster.

    The portal also invites visitors to take a trip down memory lane, with archive photographs of Rugby's VE Day celebrations in 1945 and items from the Museum's social history collection, including ration book food coupons and Government advice on air raid precautions.

    And the Art Gallery has delved into the Rugby Collection of contemporary art to display paintings commissioned during the Second World War by the War Artists Committee, pieces which were donated to Rugby in 1947 by the Imperial War Museum.

    Sally Godden, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum's senior learning and outreach officer, said: "VE Day was a time for the nation to remember the sacrifices made by so many during the Second World War and look forward to a brighter, better future, living in peace.

    "It's important the nation comes together again to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day at a time when the country faces a very different challenge.

    "And while we cannot join together in person to mark this milestone, we want to help Rugby share the experience and join our online commemoration."

    Rugby Art Gallery and Museum's VE Day 75 online portal can be found on the website at www.ragm.co.uk

    Residents can share photographs of VE Day commemorations via the Art Gallery and Museum's social media channels, using #VEDay75:

    Facebook - www.facebook.com/artsinrugby

    Instagram - www.instagram.com/rugby_gallery

    Twitter - @RugbyGallery

  • Jon Watson Tate
    Article: May 2, 2020
    By Rugby Lib Dems

    On Friday 8 May 2020, local campaigner in Paddox, Jon Watson-Tate will be playing songs on his piano to commemorate VE Day and live streaming to the Rugby Lib Dems Facebook page after the two minute silence at 11 o'clock in the morning.

    Jon Watson-Tate lives in Paddox Ward and has been working with Cllrs Jerry Roodhouse, Tim Douglas and Noreen New on local issues.

  • Lib Dem Cllrs Lewis, Roodhouse, Roodhouse and Sandison with RBC's retreat building in background
    Article: Apr 28, 2020
    By Rugby Lib Dems

    Rugby Foodbank still need continued donations of goods. They can accept them at the Retreat building behind Rugby Town Hall and next to the Benn Hall in Rugby.

    Rugby Foodbank can accept food donations at the Retreat on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 12 noon, or at supermarket collection points.

  • White bird on gold background (The Liberal Democrats)
    Article: Apr 25, 2020
    By Rugby Lib Dems

    The Liberal Democrats have called on the Home Secretary to set out what additional steps the Government is taking to prevent coronavirus-related hate crimes towards the Chinese community.

    The call comes amid concerns about incidents of racially-motivated hate crimes against people in the Chinese community during the coronavirus pandemic, including a shocking 900% increase in content of that nature on Twitter.

    In a letter to the Home Secretary from Christine Jardine MP, Daisy Cooper MP and Isabelle Parasram, Vice President of the Liberal Democrats, the Liberal Democrats have urged the Home Secretary to use her public platforms to "condemn this pernicious new form of racism."

    Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

    "Everyone should be free to live their lives without fear of discrimination, abuse or violence. Reports of Chinese people in the UK experiencing racist incidents linked to coronavirus are therefore deeply alarming.

    "All of us with a public platform must stand up to those whose language spreads hate - whether on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or anything else. The Home Secretary must stand up and be counted by taking these concerns head on."

    Dr George Lee, speaking for the Chinese Liberal Democrats, added:

    "British Chinese contribute enormously to the wealth and well-being of this country. As citizens we should be afforded the same rights and respect as any other citizen to live our lives without fear or discrimination.

    "We look to the UK Government, politicians, the media and other public figures to show leadership and set the right tone during this crisis not of our making."

    Please see the letter below.

    Dear Home Secretary,

    We are writing to raise concerns about incidents of racially-motivated hate crimes against people in the Chinese community during the coronavirus pandemic, and about videos on social media promoting these crimes.

    Everyone should be free to live their lives without fear of discrimination, abuse or violence. Reports of Chinese people in the UK experiencing racist incidents linked to coronavirus are therefore deeply alarming.

    The rise in online hate speech directed at the Chinese community is also very concerning: an analysis by the L1ght found a shocking 900% increase in content of that nature on Twitter. Less widely-reported but also extremely alarming are the videos being circulated on social media encouraging violence against members of the Chinese community.

    We know you will agree that it is outrageous and unacceptable for anyone to try to exploit this pandemic to spread their racist views and incite violence. We urge you to act to counter this hatred, including using your public platforms to condemn this pernicious new form of racism.

    Can you please outline what additional steps the Government is taking to prevent coronavirus-related hate crimes and protect members of the Chinese community from discrimination, abuse and violence?

    We look forward to your response.

    Yours sincerely,

    Christine Jardine MP, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson
    Daisy Cooper MP, Liberal Democrat Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Spokesperson
    Isabelle Parasram, Vice President of the Liberal Democrats

  • Mental Health Awareness Week
    Article: Apr 25, 2020
    By Rugby Lib Dems

    Liberal Democrats are at the forefront of cross party calls for a long-term, cross-departmental mental health plan in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

    Citing the "acute" impact of the pandemic on mental health, a cross party group of Parliamentarians warn that over half of adults admit the coronavirus crisis has impacted their wellbeing.

    The group, led by Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson Munira Wilson, are calling for the Government to set up:

  • LD demand better
    Article: Apr 25, 2020
    By Rugby Lib Dems

    The Liberal Democrats are leading a cross-party call seeking a rebate for motorists from insurance companies, who are set to make significant profits as the number of vehicles on the road - and subsequent number of insurance claims - falls dramatically due to the Covid-19 crisis.

    Citing the "direct correlation between the drop in claims, driving activity during lockdown and insurance company profits", Liberal Democrat MP Jamie Stone and other MPs are seeking the Chancellor's support in ensuring that insurance companies refund part of customers' premiums, rather than dishing out dividends to shareholders.

    Liberal Democrat MP Jamie Stone said:

    "Meeting the COVID-19 threat has meant changing our lives beyond recognition. One of the most dramatic impacts has been that millions of people are using their cars much, much less - 75% less to be precise.

    "The motor insurance industry is set to make vast profits as the number of claims plummets. I am delighted that Admiral are now saying that they will offer partial customer refunds. However, many are still failing to reward the trust and loyalty of their customers. In fact, we have seen payouts to shareholders to the tune of millions rather than refunds to policyholders unable to use their vehicles as normal.

    "Myself and colleagues across the political spectrum are therefore urging the Government to take steps to ensure that, rather than profiting from the pandemic, all motor insurance companies play a part in supporting the millions of households in financial crisis as a result of COVID-19, and refund a percentage of people's annual premiums."

    Full text of the letter to the Chancellor below.

    Dear Chancellor,

    We, the undersigned group of cross-party MPs, are writing to you about motor insurance premiums.

    We all pay for the insurance cover on our cars - and the cost of this cover is directly related to factors such as the type of vehicle, its use - and the age, experience, and driving record of the driver(s). This is perfectly acceptable in normal times.

    However, we are now in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many aspects of life have completely changed, including how often we're using our cars. Motor insurance should be adapting to these changes.

    Car insurers have reported an almost 50% drop in claims during lockdown. Furthermore, the UK Government has stated that driving is down by 75% as a result of lockdown. Accordingly, it has been calculated that insurers are set to make £1 bn profit from all of the motorists who cannot drive right now.

    Insurers in the US and elsewhere have refunded premiums to customers. Yet, this week we saw the insurance company Hastings Direct paying a £36m dividend. This was in direct contravention of Financial Conduct Authority's instructions not to do so at this time.

    It is important to also note that it is the nature of the motor insurance business not to cover risk in other insurance sectors. This means these motor insurance premiums are not offsetting of losses in other areas. Therefore, there is a direct correlation between the drop in claims, driving activity during lockdown and insurance company profits. This is why we have written to you today.

    We do not need to restate all of the financial challenges faced by families during these desperately difficult times. For this reason, we, MPs from all political parties, would suggest to you that HM Treasury take action to ensure that UK insurance companies repay some, or where appropriate all, of premiums to customers.

    We hope that you give this proposal serious consideration.

    Yours sincerely,

    Jamie Stone MP and all here undersigned

    Chris Bryant MP
    Dr Lisa Cameron MP
    Alistair Carmichael MP
    Wendy Chamberlain MP
    Daisy Cooper MP
    Sir Ed Davey MP
    Colum Eastwood MP
    Tim Farron MP
    Marion Fellows MP
    Stephen Flynn MP
    Paul Girvan MP
    Claire Hanna MP
    Neale Hanvey MP
    Wera Hobhouse MP
    Sir George Howarth MP
    Christine Jardine MP
    David Linden MP
    Angus MacNeil MP
    Shabana Mahmood MP
    Layla Moran MP
    Sarah Olney MP
    Virendra Sharma MP
    Tommy Sheppard MP
    Henry Smith MP
    Zarah Sultana MP
    Munira Wilson MP

  • Layla Moran Conf
    Article: Apr 25, 2020
    By Rugby Lib Dems

    The Liberal Democrats are leading a cross-party call urging the Government to set up emergency Coronavirus Maintenance Grants for students from low-income backgrounds who are struggling as a result of the pandemic.

    Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson, who is leading the campaign, warned students from low-income backgrounds are not able to claim Universal credit but are among the most "economically vulnerable in society during this crisis, and they do not have their parents to fall back on."

    MPs representing university towns from across the political spectrum have signed a letter to the Chancellor which also highlights that businesses relying on temporary student labour will find it far easier to hire a new cohort of students to fill vacancies when the shops, pubs and restaurants reopen, rather than furlough students that may not even be resident in the same city when the pandemic subsides.

    Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

    "Students from low-income backgrounds are among the most economically vulnerable in society during this crisis, and they do not have their parents to fall back on. They are not eligible for Universal Credit, and many who do work throughout their studies have fallen through the cracks in the Government's furlough scheme.

    "That's why I, along with thirteen other cross-party MPs with university constituencies, have written to the Chancellor, calling on him to introduce a maintenance grant to help poorer students through these tough and stressful times. We cannot allow the most vulnerable in our society to fall through the gaps."

    Please see the letter below.

    Dear Rishi,

    We're writing to you to highlight the financial difficulties that many university students from low income backgrounds find themselves in.

    Many students have been let go from their jobs as the pandemic has taken its toll on business. The majority were earning low wages and on zero-hours contracts. Although eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, we are highly sceptical that employers of students will use them. Businesses relying on temporary student labour will find it far easier to hire a new cohort of students to fill vacancies when the shops, pubs and restaurants reopen, rather than furlough students that may not even be resident in the same city when the pandemic subsides.

    Many of these students will not be able to find another job but will still be paying bills and rent. Full time students are also not entitled to benefits through Universal Credit. Instead, they must rely on the generosity of their parents or guardians, some of whom will not be in the financial position to support their children.

    Given this dire scenario we call on you to introduce a 'Covid-19 Maintenance Grant' for students from low income backgrounds or on low incomes themselves. This would allow those with few other options for financial support to cover their lost income like the vast majority of other employees. We must not let this section of society fall through the gaps; not all students have access to financial support in tough times and they deserve assistance from the Government.

    As MPs representing university constituencies, we urge you to consider implementing this student maintenance grant to stop students from falling into financial hardship during this crisis.

    Yours sincerely,

    Layla Moran MP
    Rushanara Ali MP
    Rosie Cooper MP
    Rt Hon Sir Edward Davey MP
    Geraint Davies MP
    Alex Davies-Jones MP
    Allan Dorans MP
    Mary Kelly Foy MP
    Claire Hanna MP
    Wera Hobhouse MP
    Clive Lewis MP
    Caroline Lucas MP
    Alex Sobel MP
    Nadia Whittome MP

  • The UK Border at Heathrow Airport (https://www.flickr.com/photos/dannyman/4672474943/)
    Article: Apr 25, 2020
    By Rugby Lib Dems

    Responding to news that John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow's chief executive has written to Matt Hancock to call for coronavirus testing at UK airports, Liberal Democrat Transport spokesperson Sarah Olney said:

    "Across the UK people are being asked to stay at home, avoid non-essential travel and work from home where possible. These are vital measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, protecting the NHS and saving lives. That's why the vast majority are taking these measures extremely seriously.

    "However, the Government has been far less robust in it's approach to people arriving in the UK from overseas, potentially carrying the virus. It is shocking that for weeks the Government has failed to take steps to reduce - or even to assess - the risk posed by people arriving in the UK off overseas flights, with no screening or testing measures in place at UK airports.

    "If we are to get a grip on this virus, testing and contact tracing will be absolutely key. Those arriving in the UK are no exception. The Government must act rapidly to step up testing at UK airports or risk undermining its own social distancing measures in the weeks ahead."