Starmer – Tackling climate emergency must be at the heart of our rebuild from the pandemic
Keir Starmer has today argued that tackling the climate emergency must be at the heart of the UK’s rebuilding process after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starmer has set out his optimism that successfully tackling the climate crisis can benefit British jobs and wellbeing. He argued that “if we get this right, the fight against the climate emergency can create huge opportunities for our country.”
His comments follow a meeting with leading climate and environmental campaigners today alongside Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband, Shadow Climate Minster Matthew Pennycook and Shadow Environment Secretary Luke Pollard.
The Labour leader warned that the climate and environmental emergency will be “the defining challenge of the next decade” and repeated Labour’s calls for a Green Economic Recovery from the pandemic. Reiterating Labour’s commitment to tackling the climate emergency, Starmer confirmed the issue “will be central to Labour’s agenda both now and at the next election.”
The meeting, convened by the Green Alliance, also included leaders of the National Trust, Greenpeace UK, RSPB, WWF UK, The Wildlife Trusts and Friends of the Earth.
Keir Starmer said:
“Tackling the climate emergency is the defining challenge of the next decade. It must be at the heart of our rebuild from this pandemic. The way we rebuild will determine the kind of society we live in, and the kind of planet we live on, for generations to come.
“If we get this right, the fight against the climate emergency can create huge opportunities for our country. From good jobs in the industries of the future, to improved health and wellbeing and a more resilient natural world. That’s why Labour has called for a world-leading Green Economic Recovery; to protect jobs and communities as well as our planet.
“Warm words from the Prime Minister have not been backed up with climate action at the level required. The climate emergency will be central to Labour’s agenda both now and at the next election. I was delighted to meet with climate and environmental leaders today to reiterate that commitment.”
Labour demands urgent action to prevent children going hungry again
Labour is demanding urgent government action to prevent children going hungry throughout lockdown after images circulated on social media show inadequate quantities of food being given to families.
Labour is calling for Ministers to urgently restart the national food vouchers scheme, which operated during the first national lockdown and helped ensure families were getting the full value of Free School Meals support.
Shadow Minister for Children and Early Years, Tulip Siddiq MP, has written to Minister Vicky Ford calling on the Department for Education to urgently investigate the images. She states that: “Around 200,000 children were forced to skip meals at the height of the first lockdown – under no circumstances can this be allowed to happen again. Yet the images circulating online suggest that your Government has not learnt from the mistakes made during the first lockdown.”
Labour is calling on the government to set out:
- the results of the Department for Education’s investigation into the cases raised on social media, explaining why some families are receiving inadequate food support?
- what progress has been made on restarting the national voucher scheme?
- why national guidance states schools are only able to claim up to £3.50 in additional funding for food parcels, compared to £15 additional funding for vouchers?
- the steps the Department is taking to ensure that money provided for free school meals is not being wasted,
- a list of the stakeholders consulted over the new guidance for free school meals during lockdown.
Tulip Siddiq MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Children and Early Years, said:
“The images of food parcels circulating on social media are shameful. No child should go hungry in lockdown and the government must urgently explain how this has been allowed to happen.
“Around 200,000 children were forced to skip meals at the height of the first lockdown, this cannot happen again.
“I am meeting the Children’s Minister tomorrow to demand action and the immediate rollout of the national voucher scheme for free school meals.”
Labour demands “serially incompetent” Gavin Williamson answers dozens of outstanding questions from parents
Labour demands “serially incompetent” Gavin Williamson answers dozens of outstanding questions from parents after announcement chaos
Labour is demanding that Gavin Williamson urgently answers outstanding questions after his shambolic announcement on school reopening led to chaos for parents, pupils and school staff just days before term is due to restart.
Primary schools across the country face closure with no clear path to reopening and the Education Secretary’s statements and media appearances so far have shed little light on the situation.
Accusing the embattled Education Secretary of a “cavalier approach to children’s education”, Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green has demanded a clear and transparent route out of school closures that will ensure that pupils can return to the classroom safely.
With one working day to go until the return of schools, thousands of parents have been forced to find last minute childcare as over 870,000 – more than one in six – primary age children will be off school for at least the next two weeks.
Kate Green has written to Williamson urging him to immediately clarify the announcement and ensure school and college staff and working families get the support they need to keep children learning safely. She calls on him to publish the SAGE advice on schools and colleges, stating: “Parents and school staff deserve to know that the government is taking all possible measures to keep children learning and keep children and staff safe.”
Labour is calling on the government to immediately:
- Publish SAGE’s advice on the return of schools in January;
- Confirm how many primary schools across England will not be opening as planned, and how many pupils are affected by this;
- Publish the criteria used to determine which schools have closed and the specific circumstances in which schools will reopen during the new term;
- Confirm which secondary age students will receive remote learning over the next two weeks;
- Set out what support is available to families whose children will be off school;
- Consider pausing the return of university students to campuses in line with the increased in tier 4 stay at home restrictions;
- Set out how BTEC and vocational and technical exams taking place in January will be supported to go ahead safely and fairly.
Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education, said:
“Gavin Williamson’s cavalier approach to children’s education has put the life chances of a generation at risk.
“He must end the serial incompetence and urgently clarify how many schools are closing, how many more are at risk, and provide a clear path to reopening for all schools affected.
“With just four days to go parents and pupils are confused about the start of term with dedicated school and college staff again being left to pick-up the pieces. Parents, pupils and staff deserve better.”
Almost 700,000 businesses fear they’ll go under in the next three months – and the Chancellor is nowhere to be seen
Labour is repeating its call on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to “do the right thing” and make a public statement on economic support measures as evidence shows businesses and workers across the country were in a perilous position even before this weekend’s turmoil.
Almost 48 hours after the Prime Minister announced new Tier 4 restrictions for London and large parts of the South East, and 12 hours after France closed its borders to passengers and accompanied freight coming from the UK, the Chancellor has still said nothing.
His silence comes as data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows just how precarious the situation was for many businesses even before these developments. One in eight businesses – or 690,000 in total – said they had low or no confidence that they would survive the next three months. In addition:
- 30% of businesses had less than three months’ worth of cash reserves, rising to 49% for the hard-hit hospitality sector
- 16% said they were at moderate or severe risk of insolvency
- Businesses reported that they expected to make one in twenty workers redundant over the next three months
- More than a quarter of exporting businesses said their exporting had already been negatively affected by Covid-19
Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, Anneliese Dodds, has said that Sunak must “speak to the British people” and set out what the Government plans to do to support businesses and workers through the challenges ahead.
Anneliese Dodds MP said:
“For businesses and workers right across the country, this winter is going from bad to worse. They are craving certainty and leadership from the Government but the Chancellor is still nowhere to be seen.
“People understand that these are extraordinary times, but the UK Government’s irresponsible choices mean we have been much harder hit, with the steepest recession of any major economy.
“It’s time for the Chancellor to front up, do the right thing and speak to the British people about the economic challenges we face and the support he is planning to offer.”