Liberals in the news: on budgets, barbarism and federalising Britain

Liberals are in the news every week - here we try to highlight the... well, the highlights.

This week:

  • The Budget
  • Ending Conversion 'Therapy'
  • Federal UK

The Budget

This week Rishi Sunak presented the country with his Covid-recovery Budget plans. But first, he promoted himself with a 'hollywood style' video. It's not clear if this came from the government's new multi-million pound tv studio but what is clear is that the Tories will use the resources of government to boost their election campaigns.

Prior to the announcement, Christine Jardine called for a "furlough for SMEs" to put our tradesmen and small businesses at the heart of the Covid recovery. This covered everything from brickies to pubs to hairdressers, many of whom have been excluded from support (or have only had the bare minimum) and are at risk of shutting down despite the sense that we're turning the corner on Covid.

On the day of the budget, Christine Jardine joined the Federation of Small Businesses, UK Hospitality and other trade bodies to say that the budget didn't go far enough to save these small, community-based businesses.

Ed Davey came out with a stronger attack, saying the government is attacking the self-employed - including small businesses, self-employed & contractors. There has been a prominent campaign by 'The Excluded' which is believed to be around 3 million workers who have received no support at all throughout the entire Covid crisis.

Across the country, Liberals condemned the small 1% payrise for NHS workers and the lack of support for social care.

Ending Conversion 'Therapy'

The Scottish Liberal Democrats threw their full support behind the End Conversion Therapy campaign which is trying to make LGBT 'conversion therapy' illegal in Scotland. Scottish Liberals were quoted as saying conversion therapy is 'barbaric' and should be made illegal in Scotland.

At a UK-level, there has been a public petition on this and the issue will be debated on 8th March.

Federal UK

When Scottish Labour announced its new leader, Anas Sarwar, Scottish Liberal Democrats jumped to offer congratulations and offer to work cross-party on new Federal UK plans.

Later in the week, Scottish Lib Dems laid out their 5-point plan to reform the union as a Federal UK - including a Council of Ministers to be made of devolved representatives and mayors - and for Westminster to give up some of its powers.

Labour's approach seems to be being led by Gordon Brown who has recently set up a campaign front for his Our Scottish Future thinktank. The Scotland Can campaign has a starting focus of "6 key issues" where it believes Scotland 'can' do better without the need for independence.

The Tories in Westminster are reportedly intending to use central government funds to buy support for the Union by passing the money direct to councils without going through Holyrood.

Got a news tip? Fire it our way; we'll be much obliged.

Want to keep in touch?

Sign up to our weekly briefing - with all the latest news, opinion and analysis from justLiberals and our partners.

We'll never share your email with anyone else.