Thoughts on the Covid Vaccine - Cllr Shaffaq Mohammed

“The good news that the vaccine programme is gaining momentum is tempered somewhat by the number of people who say they will refuse it. The speed of the roll-out has clearly unsettled many and allowed conspiracy theorists and people who oppose vaccines to unsettle them still further.

What many may not realise is that a huge amount of research on coronaviruses and vaccine delivery was taking place in the years before covid-19 struck. It’s because scientists know that this family of viruses causes pandemics. A lot of the basics on which to build were already in place. The willingness of countries to share information allowed research to accelerate, as has the rapid release of data for evaluation.


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The Conservatives are letting down our Farmers...

Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, responded to the developments on the Trade Bill, as the Government refuses to back key amendments to protect British farmers. 

Farmers across the country are worried about their future - they’re worried that the UK will be flooded with poor quality food that undercuts the goods they produce to high environmental and animal welfare standards. 

The Conservatives have continually failed to protect our farmers from these risks. 

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An extra £1bn a year to restore community policing

Too many people feel unsafe in their own homes and walking down their local streets. So many communities feel exposed and vulnerable.

The Conservatives’ cuts to police numbers have contributed to a rise in violence and decimated community policing. 47% of people say they never see police foot patrols, up from 30% in 2014-15.

The Tories and Labour made big promises on police numbers, but have failed to commit the funding needed to deliver them. Police officers are leaving in their droves because they are not being properly rewarded for putting their lives on the line to keep us safe. We need to encourage experienced officers to stay, as well as recruiting the extra officers we need.

The other parties just don’t get it.

But we do.

We’re committing £1 billion a year to fund our police force. That’s £250 million more than Labour or the Tories…

Every year.

That’s enough for two officers in every ward, and to provide an immediate 2% pay-rise for our hard-working cops.

We’re the only party willing to put our money where our mouth is. We’ll back our bobbies with money, not just words.

We are the only party that will make our communities safer by stopping Brexit. Then, together, we will build a brighter future. 

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Commitment to reducing child poverty

The Resolution Foundation, an independent think-tank, has released a report on child poverty. You can find this here.

It found that our policies would mean 600,000 fewer children in poverty by 2023-24.

This makes ours the most progressive policies of the three main parties.

That’s not all the report found. Child poverty risks reaching a record high under Conservative plans. It is a damning indictment of the Tories’ heartless welfare policy.

As the Resolution Foundation recognises, we have the most progressive policies here. We would scrap the cruel two-child limit, benefit cap and bedroom tax. We would also invest in free school meals and childcare for millions of families.

We will ensure that everyone has the same opportunities regardless of where they come from.

The Tories are hell-bent on continuing their backwards economic policies. They are ruining the lives of millions of people, young and old.

But our manifesto helps the most vulnerable in our society. We are deeply proud of that fact.

We are the only party that is committed to helping the next generation get ahead in life.

The social security system is not working as it should: it is driving people further into poverty and forcing families to rely on foodbanks to get by. The Conservatives have designed the welfare system based on their backward-looking view of work and families and are making the matter worse. Liberal Democrats are looking to the future and will build a system that works for the modern world to support those who need it and help people back into work. We will:

  • Make the welfare system work by:
    • Reducing the wait for the first payment from five weeks to five days.
    • Tackling child poverty by removing the two-child limit and the benefits cap.
    • Making work pay by increasing work allowances and introducing a second earner work allowance.
  • Establish a legal right to food to enshrine in law the government’s responsibility to ensure that existing and new public policy is audited for its impact on food security.
  • Reform Universal Credit to be more supportive of the self-employed.
  • Increase Local Housing Allowance in line with average rents in an area.
  • Abolish the bedroom tax and introduce positive incentives for people to downsize.
  • Ensure that everyone gets the help they need by separating employment support from benefits administration and increase spending on training and education.
  • Introduce an incentive-based scheme to replace the current sanctions system, which does not encourage people into work, penalises people with mental health issues and deters people from claiming support.
  • Reverse the cuts to Employment Support Allowance for those in the work-related activity group.
  • End Work Capability Assessments and replace them with a new system that is run by local authorities and based on real-world tests.
  • Reinstate the Independent Living Fund.
  • Radically overhaul the Bereavement Allowance, slashed by the Conservatives, so that widows and widowers receive far more support and extend the payments to unmarried couples when a parent dies.
  • Aim to end fuel poverty by 2025 by providing free energy retrofits for low-income homes as part of our emergency programme to reduce energy consumption from all the UK’s buildings.

Only the Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit and build a brighter future for those struggling in our society.

64,885 businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber close

Recent figures show that 64,885 have closed in Yorkshire and the Humber between 2016 and 2018, a 22% increase compared to the three years previous. Across the UK one million businesses have closed their doors between 2016 and 2018, an increase of almost a third compared to 2013- 2015.

The Federation of Small Businesses has warned that a no deal Brexit, which Boris Johnson has repeatedly refused to rule out, would mean more damage to firms. Firms are also being held back by the Conservative government's failure to reform business rates, and by new taxes on the self-employed that business groups have described as "disastrous".

Liberal Democrats have said that they will Stop Brexit and invest the £50 billion Remain Bonus in improving public services and tackling inequality. The party would also put in place a package of measures to support small businesses and boost high streets in Yorkshire and the Humber, including:

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Our High Streets

The Liberal Democrats have announced plans to scrap business rates and replace them with a landowner levy, to "breathe new life" into high streets across the 21 Local Authorities that make up Yorkshire and the Humber region. 

The party would replace business rates with a commercial landowner levy, based on the value of the land only. This would take the cost off businesses and help support high streets.

The proposals would cut taxes for businesses by an average of 26% across the region, with North Lincolnshire seeing a massive reduction of 42%.

By taxing landowners rather than businesses, half a million small businesses across the country would be spared the burden of property taxation.

Liberal Democrat candidate for Cleethorpes, Roy Horobin said:

"Many retailers and small businesses across our region are under pressure from economic uncertainty, the rise of online retail and the burden of business rates.

"Yet this Conservative government is failing to get to grips with the crisis facing our high streets. Time and again they have promised reviews of business rates but have failed to take action.

"The Liberal Democrats will shift the tax burden from tenants to landlords, so we can breathe new life back into our high streets. We will stop Brexit and build a brighter future, giving local businesses the certainty and support they need to thrive."


£100bn on tackling climate emergency

The climate crisis is doing irreversible damage to our planet, and our country deserves a government that has a clear, ambitious plan to tackle the climate emergency. That's the Liberal Democrats.

We previously announced our bold green plan to build a brighter future, and now we go a step further as Ed Davey unveils the Liberal Democrats' latest economic pledge in taking urgent climate action. 

A Liberal Democrat government will jump-start an economy-wide programme to tackle the climate emergency. Across a five year parliament, we will spend and invest an extra £100 billion of public finance on climate action and environmental preservation. 

"A Liberal Democrat government will jump-start an economy-wide programme to tackle the climate emergency."

This will include a new £10 billion Renewable Power Fund to leverage in over £100 billion of extra private climate investment.

This will fast-track deployment of clean energy, to make Britain not just the world leader in offshore wind, but also the global number one in tidal power too. There will also be a £15 billion investment to make every building in the country greener, with an emergency ten-year programme to save energy, end fuel poverty and cut heating bills.

This election debate on the economy and public spending has Brexit at its heart, and the simple fact is, no party’s economic plan is remotely credible unless it starts with stopping Brexit.

With stopping Brexit as our number one economic policy, the Liberal Democrats won’t just grow the economy faster, but we’ll generate a £50 billion Remain Bonus and invest it in public services and tackling inequality.

Learn more about our Plan for the Future here

What is a Skills Wallet Anyway?

It’s a major, new, innovative policy and a key part of our Plan for the Future.


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Our plan for equalities and human rights

Our rights are at risk from creeping authoritarian populism - and only the Liberal Democrats will stop it. 

Read our plan now 🙌  

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The Liberal Democrats' plans to tackle knife crime

We will invest millions in youth services and adopt a public health approach to youth violence.

For Leeds, this would mean they would spend and extra £4.3 million on youth services, to help tackle rising levels of violence and knife crime.

This would be £4.3 million on top of the £3.6 million currently spent on youth services in Leeds (£7.9 million in total). This would form part of a total ring-fenced of £500 million for Local Authorities across England to spend on youth services, providing young people with positive, safe and healthy alternatives to gangs.

Under the Conservatives, council spending on youth services has been cut nationally by £300 million - or 40 per cent - since 2015. Knife crime has risen by 80% over the same period, with a record high of 47,500 offences recorded in the year to June 2019. Research has also found the areas with the biggest cuts to youth services have seen some of the biggest increases in knife crime.

The Liberal Democrats would also take a public health approach to tackling youth violence, modelled on the successful approach taken by Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit. This would involve identifying risk factors and treating them early on, with youth workers, police, teachers, health professionals and social services all working closely together to prevent young people falling into gangs and violence.

Liberal Democrat candidate for Leeds North West, Kamran Hussain commented:

“Too many people in Leeds feel unsafe walking down their own streets. 

“But for years, Conservative and Labour Governments have been competing to seem tough on crime, without doing enough to actually prevent it.

“Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future for young people by investing £4.3 million extra a year in youth services for young people in Leeds.

“With a Liberal Democrat government, young people will have the support and opportunities they deserve, our local communities will be stronger and people here will feel safer.”

A new era of learning


We have set out our vision for a “new era of learning throughout life” with the creation of an ambitious Skills Wallet.

This will give every adult £10,000 to spend on education and training throughout their lives.
A Liberal Democrat Government will put £4,000 into people’s ‘Skills Wallet’ at 25, £3,000 at 40 and another £3,000 at 55. The grants have been designed to encourage saving towards the costs of education and training throughout adult life.

Individuals, their employers and local government will be able to make additional payments into the wallets. Access to free careers guidance will also be provided.
Liberal Democrat Shadow Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary, Sam Gyimah, said:
“Working hard should mean secure work and a decent income, but for too many people that’s not the case. In an ever changing workplace people often need to develop new skills, but the cost of courses and qualifications shuts too many people out.
“Neither the Conservatives and Labour have the answers to these challenges. They are stuck pursuing 20th-century policies that simply won’t work in our 21st-century economy. They would take our country backwards.
“Only the Liberal Democrats have a real plan to build a fairer economy and a brighter future. We will create a new era of learning throughout adult life with Skills Wallets for every individual, providing them with £10,000 to spend on education and training at various stages of their lives.
“By stopping Brexit and investing in our Skills Wallets, Liberal Democrats will empower people to develop new skills so that they can thrive in the technologies and industries that are key to the UK’s economic future and prosperity.”

Part Four of our Plan for the Future

Today’s high cost of childcare means that too many parents are unable to return to work without risking real financial hardship. With the average cost of 25 hours nursery care for a child under two running to more than £6500 per year, many parents are effectively excluded from work due to the burden of childcare costs.

A Liberal Democrat government will build a fairer economy by providing free, high-quality childcare for every child aged two to four, for 35 hours a week, 48 weeks a year. The offer is extended to children aged between 9 and 24 months where their parents are in work. 

"The choice for parents now is simply not good enough. That is why Liberal Democrats are proposing a transformational change to our economy, by providing working parents with free childcare from when their child is 9 months old."

The Liberal Democrats will make sure that childcare providers are adequately funded, increasing the rates paid by government to match the actual cost of nursery provision. This will be funded by fair tax changes, ensuring that big businesses pay their share, and aligning the tax treatment of income from wealth with income from work.
We recognise that laws need to change so that parents have the chance to work with greater flexibility. As part of these proposals, employers will be required to advertise jobs flexibly, unless there are clear business reasons why they cannot.

The Liberal Democrat plans to transform the provision of early years support are at the heart of the our commitment to build a brighter future for the next generation. 

Learn more about our Plan for the Future here

Part Three of our Plan for the Future

The Liberal Democrats will tackle the climate emergency and deliver a bold green plan to build a brighter future.

The UK should be leading the world on tackling the environment crisis. Our planet is on the brink of being irreparably damaged and we are responsible for that damage.

The climate emergency is real and our planet is heating to unsustainable levels. Young people have taken to the streets because they’re so worried that the Conservatives are failing to act.

This climate catastrophe will create huge global inequalities and we have a moral duty to protect the future; that's why, as part of our Plan for the Future, the Liberal Democrats have set out ambitious plans to tackle the climate emergency by generating 80% of electricity from renewables by 2030 and insulating all low-income homes by 2025.

“Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for a Prime Minister that will deliver a bold green plan and a brighter future.”

As one of the party’s key priorities, a Liberal Democrat government will raise the energy efficiency standards for new homes, as well as investing £15 billion over the next Parliament to retrofit 26 million homes. This would save the average household £550 a year on energy bills.

We are the only party dedicated to building a brighter future by tackling the environmental crises with urgent actions. We are the only party with a bold, credible and detailed plan to tackle the climate emergency as soon as possible, to put climate action at the heart of our government, and to reverse the damage we’re doing to our planet.

The Liberal Democrats will take bold action to tackle the climate emergency and build a brighter future. 

Learn more about our Plan for the Future here.

Part Two of our Plan for the Future

The Liberal Democrats will treat mental health with the same urgency as physical health.

The NHS is the envy of the world, but our mental health service is not. Waiting times are being missed, people are not being referred for the treatment they need, and often action is taken only when at ‘crisis’ point, or too late.

That's why the Liberal Democrats are dedicated to transforming mental health services by treating them with the same urgency as physical health. 

"We want to break down the barriers of stigma and shame, which leave those suffering, alienated and isolated, and we want to make the UK a world leader in keeping our nation well with our push for greater emphasis on wellbeing.”

As part of our Plan for the Future, a Liberal Democrat government will invest £11 billion into mental health services such as:

  • child and adolescent mental health,
  • matching waiting time standards to those in physical health,
  • and expanding our mental health workforce

Approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. For too many, treatment is a postcode lottery; with waiting times for psychological therapy varying from 16 days in Waltham Forest, to 176 days in Leicester.

Making mental health services accessible to all is fundamental, and no one should be forced to travel unreasonable distances away from home. By prioritising young people coming out of care, and supporting students from school through to colleges and universities, it is possible to ensure that no one will have to travel out of area for all but the most specialist mental health services.

By putting a penny in the pound on income tax and ringfencing £11 billion in funding for mental health, the Liberal Democrats will provide real parity between mental and physical health care. We want to make prescriptions for people with chronic mental health conditions available for free on the NHS, as is the case for conditions such as cancer and diabetes. 

Brexit, either carried out by the Conservative or Labour Party, will put the NHS at risk. Our commitment will ensure it is kept safe and out of the hands of Donald Trump. 

The Liberal Democrats' Plan for the Future aims to build a brighter future for our country. Learn more here.

The Tories’ plan for a shameful Nurse Tax

Hard-working doctors and nurses from the EU are fundamental to the NHS. We all have loved ones whose lives have been saved through their skill and dedication.

But today, the full extent of the Tories’ contempt for our dedicated doctors and nurses was revealed. 

Even though the NHS is critically understaffed, the Tories have revealed that part of their nightmarish Brexit plan is to charge EU nurses and doctors £464 to come to the UK to save lives.

If this isn’t bad enough, the Tories also want EU workers to pay what they euphemistically call a ‘health immigration surcharge’. 

What does this actually mean?

It’s a £400-a-year tax they will charge all EU workers - including NHS nurses and doctors - to access basic health services.

And if hard-working, low-paid NHS staff can’t afford the Nurse Tax, the Tories will take it out of their wages.

To recap:

  1. The NHS is critically under-funded and under-staffed due to chronic under-investment by the Tories.
  2. In response, the Tories want to charge the EU nurses and doctors to come to the UK, then make them pay a huge tax to access the same services they deliver.

We cannot let this happen.

The Tories' plans couldn’t be further from the fair and welcoming society that the Liberal Democrats are fighting to build.

On Day 1 of a Liberal Democrat government, we will stop Brexit and use the funds from the £50 billion Remain Bonus to invest in the critical frontline services the NHS desperately needs.

Our hard-working nurses and doctors should be celebrated, not charged to save lives. And what kind of government would charge sick nurses to use the same hospitals they work in round the clock?

We must stop the Nurse Tax. To do so, help us to stop Brexit and build a better future. 

Part One of our Plan for the Future


At our general election campaign launch, leader Jo Swinson has declared that a Liberal Democrat government will Stop Brexit and use the £50 billion Remain Bonus to invest in public services and tackle inequality. 

This £50 billion injection to the areas that need it most can only be delivered by a Lib Dem government - we are the only party standing up to stop Brexit. 

With Jo Swinson as Prime Minister, we will reverse the drastic cuts to public services that the Conservative government have made and continue to lead from within the EU.

"Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to stop Brexit, build a brighter future and invest the £50bn Remain bonus in our vital public services."

Boris Johnson and the Conservative party have caused a national crisis with Brexit; he has lied to the Queen, he’s lied to Parliament and he's lied to the country to push his bad Brexit deal. Together, we can stop him, stop Brexit and build a brighter future.

Brexit to blame for 'anaemic' economic growth

Responding to the UK's GDP growth figures, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor and Deputy Leader, Ed Davey said:

"Today’s growth figures are anything but a cause for celebration. Over the last year, Britain's growth has slowed to its lowest rate in almost a decade - a disastrous performance by the Conservatives, whose main economic policy of Brexit is a promise of yet more slow growth.

"The economy under the Tories is anaemic.

"Brexit has already cost us at least £55 billion in lost growth and will keep us underperforming for years. Just last week the credit rating agency Moody’s downgraded the UK’s economic outlook. And the Bank of England said growth will be a whole 1% lower in the coming years.

"On the other hand, the extra growth from remaining in the EU would generate a Remain Bonus of over £50 billion. The Liberal Democrats will use that money for a huge cash boost to our schools and to tackle inequality, building a brighter future for the UK."

Stop Brexit - Vote Liberal Democrat - European Elections 2019

Polls are open now.

If you want to stop this Brexit mess, vote for the biggest, strongest party of Remain: the Liberal Democrats.

Stop Brexit Vote Lib Dem

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Climate Change, the Lib Dems and the European elections

Actions to tackle the climate change crisis and strengthen democratic participation are at the forefront of the Liberal Democrats’ European Election manifesto.

The manifesto sets out the party’s vision for the UK within the EU and our commitment to stopping Brexit. It calls for the EU to adopt a net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050 and an emergency £7.5 billion support fund to help those affected by Brexit uncertainty.

It also calls for strengthening our democracy by giving EU citizens living in the UK the right to stand and vote in elections. For the Yorkshire and Humber region, the proposals would:

  • Protect the region’s main export market: the European Union
  • Protect research funding for our excellent universities and maintain freedom of movement across the EU for UK students
  • Protect our public services staffed by EU nationals

Lead Liberal Democrat candidate for Yorkshire & the Humber region Shaffaq Mohammed said:

“Brexit is a national embarrassment. Both Labour and the Conservatives have failed to find a way forward. Every Liberal Democrat vote is a vote to stop Brexit. The Liberal Democrats, with more than 100,000 members and 2500 councillors across the country is the strongest remain voice going into the European elections.”  


Cooperation with the UK’s European partners is nowhere more crucial than  in tackling the climate emergency

The party’s policies on the environment include a comprehensive set of commitments including:

  • Zero Carbon Britain by 2045 and zero Carbon EU by 2050
  • Extend the emissions trading scheme to include aviation
  • Higher standards and investment in energy efficiency
  • Campaign for an EU wide ban on fracking
  • Paris style agreement to save global biodiversity
  • More ambitious targets for reducing waste

Rosina Robson, no.2 on the Liberal Democrats candidate list said:

“The Liberal Democrat manifesto sets our vision for the UK in a dynamic, sustainable and reformed EU in the future. Our membership of the European Union is the best way to tackle cross border issues such as climate change and security.”

Lib Dem Lords force action on empty houses

Leading Liberal Democrats from the region have claimed victory as the Conservative government has bowed to pressure to take decisive action on empty houses by giving new tax powers to local councils. 

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