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Liberal Democrats Leader Ed Davey has called for a fairer, greener, more caring country and putting the recovery first

March 20, 2021 5:09 PM

Ed Davey, Leader of the Lib DemsSpeaking to the Liberal Democrats Spring Conference, Ed Davey called on the Prime Minister to put the recovery first, as he set out the Liberal Democrats vision for a fairer, greener and more caring Britain.

He started by addressing the need to urgently tackle violence against men and women:

"…after all the pain inflicted by Covid, last week we were forced to confront another national anguish.

"The shocking, tragic killing of Sarah Everard.

"And the violence perpetrated by far too many men against far too many women.

"The abuse, the harassment and the fear women face every day, walking down their own streets.

"We have to do better as a country.

"We must do better at tackling violence against women. Believing survivors. Making clear that misogyny in any form is unacceptable.

"And we have to do better as men. Listening to women. Calling out other men. Never turning a blind eye."

Then he called on the Prime Minister to put the recovery first:

"After so much hurt, we need hope. And that is what our wonderful NHS staff and volunteers are injecting into our lives as they work tirelessly delivering vaccines.

"Hope, so we can finally look forward. And as we do, we must put recovery first.

"The recovery of our health, our freedoms and our communities.

"The recovery of business, the economy and jobs.

"A recovery that is fair."

Speak about the impact of the pandemi, he saidc:

"Our country is hurting right now.

"One hundred and twenty-five thousand lives have been taken by this cruel virus.

"One hundred and twenty-five thousand mums and dads. Brothers and sisters. Sons and daughters.

"One hundred and twenty-five thousand empty chairs at our kitchen tables.

"So many families, mourning the loss of a loved one.

"Even those who have been spared the agony of bereavement…

"Even they are suffering enormous hardships."

Before calling out the Government for their failures during the pandemic:

"All compounded tragically by the failures of this Conservative Government.

"Poorly prepared. Slow to act. Ignoring expert advice.

"Boris Johnson's indecision and incompetence has failed our nation."

Ed Davey called for a major tax cut for small businesses in our local communities:

"The UK's economic recovery starts with small business.

Small businesses are at the heart of every local community, and every local economy.

"Many have had to stay closed all year.

"And for so many, the support from the Treasury hasn't been nearly enough.

"Let's work with local small businesses to help their recovery, and help our communities recover too.

"And let's challenge the Chancellor to give small businesses a bold new tax cut to support thousands of new jobs.

"Slash their National Insurance Contributions by - not doubling, not trebling - but quadrupling the annual Employment Allowance from four thousand pounds to sixteen thousand.

"So no small business pays a penny in National Insurance Contributions on their first five employees."

He criticised the Government for refusing to give nurses a proper pay rise:

"How dare Boris Johnson say all he can afford is a one per cent pay rise for nurses and other NHS staff?

"How can he find billions for contracts for his Tory cronies, but not for the amazing people who have put their lives on the line for us?

"How dare he boast about the vaccine rollout they are delivering so brilliantly, while he treats them so disgracefully?

"Prime Minister: pay NHS and care staff properly. Do it now."

Then he made clear the Conservatives have scrapped green energy projects since 2015:

"And let's be clear: when we say recovery, we mean a green


"A recovery that faces up to the existential threat of climate change.

"We've seen the warnings.

"Floods devastating communities across the UK.

"Fires burning the Amazon, burning Australia.

"This is a global emergency.

"The world must act - before the fires burn out of control and the flood levels rise beyond measure.

"And the UK must lead.

"Now Boris Johnson has recently started talking the talk on climate change.

"But talk is cheap. It's actions that matter

"And just look at the Conservatives' actions since twenty-fifteen:

"Our zero carbon homes law? Scrapped.

"Our Green Investment Bank? Privatised.

"Liberal Democrat initiatives on onshore wind, solar power, community energy? All binned by the Conservatives."

He concluded his speech by saying directy to voters ahead of the local elections in May:

"After all the darkness of the last twelve months - all the sadness and sacrifice - this is the brighter, hopeful vision our country needs.

"Where Governments and councils put recovery first. A green recovery, with small business at its heart.

"Where, together, we build a future that is so much better than the past.

"A fairer, greener, more caring country.

"The Liberal Democrats offer that vision."