They are political terrorists not religious ones

Union Flag

A United Kingdom means not only uniting the four home nations but uniting all the faiths and beliefs into one coherent and tolerant entity

After three recent terrorist atrocities those who seek to demonise one particular religion have had a field day. “It’s all the fault of the Moslems” say an extremist band of foul mouthed creatures in the UK of the type that tried to foment problems in Liverpool yesterday. Whilst the ever foul Donal Trump tries to use what happened in the UK to defend his racist and extremist policies for immigration in the USA.

If you believe that this is true please answer two questions for me. When the ‘troubles’ were at their height in Northern Ireland did you attack all Christians because some of the terrorists promoted a Catholic as well as national cause and some of them promoted a Protestant as well as a loyalist cause? When you see the Government of Israel doing something that you disagree with do you think that it’s the fault of all people of the Jewish faith?

If you answer to both these questions is yes please stop reading. You will never agree with my interpretation of events and actions and this will only make your blood pressure rise!!

I have met people of many, many faiths. I have visited countries where the predominant religion is Christian (Anglican or Catholic); Muslim, Hindu, Sikh. In the vast majority of these people of any faith are equally accepted. They share the same proportion of good and bad people as each other. You can carry out your faith whilst they carry on with theirs. In some of these countries such as Egypt Coptic Christians and Moslems have lived together for up to 1,500 years. They have done so in peace.

Problems in those and other countries arise when extremists want to upset that time honoured sense of harm between sects and religions. They do it in most cases not because of a deep sense of religion but because they want power. This could be economic power of political power or it could be personal power. But in all these cases where they claim to be doing this for their God or their Prophet the good people of that country deny it. Whether it’s the Koran or the Bible they point out that their Prophet preached goodness, toleration and care for others. They verbally and philosophically take on the extremist; the terrorist.

In March I went to visit my local mosque which is outside my ward in Liverpool but serves many of my constituents. This is what I said then:
Repeatedly we were told today that there is no conflict between the Muslim way of life and the British way of life. That is what their youngsters are taught in the evening and weekend school. That is the way they carry out their work in the Mosque and in the community. From the reception that all the external members of the community were given today I have no doubt that it is true. For those that choose to live here to be a good Muslim is to be a good Briton”.

What I wrote then I know to be true today. I met in my mosque doctors, nurses, Imams, social workers, shopkeepers, restaurant owners, building operatives, men, women and children. They could all have been my neighbours- in fact three of them were my neighbours! Good people who had their faith which part defined them but not as much as their national identity.

I concluded my blog then with this:

“Together we can defeat extremism. Together we can show the [prejudiced that all faiths have the same ration of the good, bad and the nasty. Together we can create a Liverpool and a Country where our children can live in peace.”

These comments were made before the attack on Parliament, before the attack in Manchester and before the attack last night on innocent young people seeking a nice night out. The deaths have been indiscriminate. Mostly young but people of all faiths and religions. As Manchester prepares to hold its benefit concert for those that died two weeks ago all of us need to reflect on the good and the bad. All of us need to seek out the truth that lies behind the hard words of the political extremist. We then need to come together to build a Country of which we can all be proud. Open, tolerant, progressive, caring and sharing. If we do that then none of the people who have died at the hands of political terrorists will have died in vain.

“They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old.

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them”.

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Care of our elderly – A long term crisis for which we should all be ashamed

OAPLEAFLET

Leaflets like these drawing attention to the Tories ‘Dementia Tax’ will be going out across Liverpool in the run up to the election

Some people seem surprised that we now have major health and social care problems for the elderly. They shouldn’t be. We have known two things for 30+ years:

  1. That people were living longer; and
  2. That did not mean that people were living healthier.

The gap in both finance and expectations has been growing for 30 years as successive governments put pensions, social care and long-term health problems in the ‘too difficult to deal with’ box and shoved it to one side with a succession of reports and commissions and reviews.

As examples of this we can clearly see that:

  1. For 25 years up to 2010, when the triple lock was introduced, under both Labour and Tory Governments the state pension fell increasingly behind earnings.
  2. For the past 10 years the number of social care places has been reduced whilst the number of people needing places has increased.
  3. Many women have been caught out at relatively short notice, in pension terms, by an increase of the age at which state pension would be made available.
  4. Many pension fund providers in both the public and private sectors stopped putting money into their pensions between 1990 and 2007 on the expectation of continually rising asset prices.
  5. Interest rates have been drastically been brought down which has affected badly the bond yield prices on which annuities are made for pension purposes.

Now both Tory and Labour Parties intend to make things worse:

The Tories are determined to introduce what can only be described as a Dementia Tax. The concept of a reasonable cap on people contributing to their health care in old age has been dropped. This was always a bit of a lottery but a cap which says the state will pay if care costs pass £60,000 saved a lot of public money whilst keeping people’s own personal assets secure. Now the Tories will remove the cap and you will pay everything over £100,000.

As the pirates used to say, “Them as’ll die will be the lucky ones”. If you drop dead overnight, as most of us hope to, then our finances will be intact for our loved ones. If we die a slower death from dementia or other long-term maladies, as most of us do, we can lose the lot.

Labour should know better. After bleating on for the past 7 years about austerity hitting the poor they are refusing to reinstate 75% of the cuts in benefits that the Tories are proposing up to 2020. This hits two categories of people disproportionately – the elderly and parents with young children. They have produced back of the fag packet calculations on money for the NHS which does not even begin to understand the complex changes that are required in the health and care sector.

So as you would expect me to say Lib Dems would do things very differently. We will:

  1. Put another £6.1 billion into health and social care on actions which will get people out of hospital more quickly and into better local, neighbourhood facilities if not, and this is the ultimate goal, back into their own home. If we want good health and social care we have to pay for it.
  2. We will preserve the triple lock on pensions. Not only is this the right thing to do for the elderly but it reduces the pressures on their families and puts money back into local communities.
  3. We will guarantee the introduction of a cap on individual social care expenditure of around £70,000 to enable all of us to plan effectively for our old age.
  4. Scale back the changes in women’s pensions to give women more time to plan for a later retirement age.
  5. Remove the blocks on immigration which are causing people from other countries in the health and social care sectors to consider going home early or preventing them from coming to look after us in the first place.

These policies are important but it is the principles behind them that count. Liberal Democrats believe that every citizen young or old has the right to live in an adequate home that is warm, secure and in a decent neighbourhood and with the best possible health outcomes that are available. This should not be the dream of a distant utopia but the reality of the present day UK. The fact that it is not should be a source of shame for all legislators over the past 30 years. We cannot rewrite the past but we can write a better future for the elderly whose numbers will be added to next January when I too hit the state pension age!

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The Shame of Childhood Poverty in the UK in 2017

OLIVERTWIST

Do we really need to turn our Children into latter day Oliver Twist’s to get them the resources they deserve?

Last week I received a number of e-mails drawing my attention to a report by the Children’s Society about childhood poverty broken down constituency by constituency.

The figures for Wavertree Constituency were truly shocking:

There are 18,683 children in Wavertree constituency

 

33.0% of children in Wavertree constituency live in poverty (after housing costs), compared to a national average of 30%.

 

There are 3,300 children living in 1,900 families with problem debt in Liverpool Wavertree.

 

Based on the latest prevalence survey that estimates 1 in 10 young people aged between 5 and 16 had a clinically diagnosed mental health problem, there would be around 1,200 children this age in need of support in Wavertree.

 

Across Liverpool there are 2,522 children known to children’s services in Liverpool because of abuse and neglect.

 

Across Merseyside according to police recorded data for sexual offences against children in Merseyside Police, 965 children were victims of a sexual offence in 2015/16.

 

These figures are shocking in a country which calls itself civilised and the sad fact is that they will get worse. The highly respected Institute for Fiscal Studies has received the proposals of the 3 main Parties and come to the conclusion that the Liberal Democrat manifesto is the one that will do most to reduce the gap between rich and poor. The main treason for that is that the Tories have agreed £7 billion of cuts to benefits to be achieved by 2020. Shamefully the Labour Party have refused to reinstate them. Only the Liberal Democrats have a fully costed plan to replace that desperately needed cash.

 

It’s why we will fight to keep free school lunches for children at infant schools which was introduced as an initiative by Nick Clegg. The Tories have announced an uncosted plan to give children breakfast instead at a cost of £60,000,000. When it was pointed out to them that each meal would have to be provided for 7p they withdrew the amount but kept the policy! Kids need food if they are to concentrate and study. Rumbling tums and then the consumption of the wrong, cheap food full of chemicals attacks children’s ability to think and progress as well as making life very difficult for teachers.

 

It’s also why schools in areas like Liverpool got a pupil premium from the coalition government to try and help children living in deprivation catch up on the education which will give them a good start in life. This money is proving to be effective in providing the extra support within the school setting which is more readily available within the home setting of middle class and wealthier families. Progress was made in reducing the educational gap across the Country. This is now threated by a Tory proposals to move money to wealthier areas. Basically the Tories are saying that the money should be made available on a per head basis without any recognition that some children’s needs are greater than others.

 

It’s why we are pledged to put an extra £1 billion into children’s mental health services as part of the £6.1 billion. If all children cannot be given the support they need at home they need to get help elsewhere. Too many children live transient lives in poor accommodation and without enough to eat. This obviously causes major problems with their mental health which if not treated quickly will create problems for them all their lives.

Its why despite all the furore over tuition fees for undergraduates more children from poor backgrounds were able to access university because of the greatly increased grants available to them. These, of course, were slashed in months by the Tories in months after 2015.

 

On top of all that it is now abundantly clear that this country will get poorer and that there will be less money for those in need of all sorts. The hard BREXIT being pursued by Corbyn and May will reduce the tax take, reduce employment, minimise wage growth and reduce the ability to progress up an employment ladder. Both Labour and Tories have tried to avoid the Brexit debate because they know just how bad it will be. So many promises being made by both the other Parties will come to nothing in a desolate post Brexit landscape.

 

Eradicating poverty, especially for Children, is a major concern for us. Our Country will only be a truly great country of we maximise the potential of every person in it. We cannot exists in a low cost, low economy world by diving to the bottom on wages, standards and conditions. Unless our children get a good start in life they cannot achieve their potential which means that the Country likewise will not achieve its potential. Putting money into the upbringing of our children is not just morally right but also economically sound. When morals and the economy go together it must be the right way forward.

 

 

 

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Obsessed with Europe? You should be!

European_flag_wavyThis EU flag flies better when it is alongside the St George’s Cross of England and the Union Flag of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

I was out canvassing in Childwall the other night when a lady on the doorstep suggested that she thought the Lib Dems were obsessing over the EU and Brexit. Interestingly she was voting for us and she thought the EU and Brexit was important but wanted to know why it is so much a feature of our local and national campaigns.

The answer is that at the heart of the whole future of our country are the discussions about:

  1. Whether we will or will not leave the EU after what was an advisory referendum of the people last June.
  2. What terms we will leave on.

Look at what the Tories are suggesting. Incredibly they haven’t actually costed their manifesto proposals but suggest that any additional costs (and there are a lot of pledges) will be met from growth. What growth? The figure for GDP announced today on a quarter by quarter basis is just +0.2%. In other words allowing for population growth the real annual growth per head GDP is about 0.4%. Not a lot there to pay for the increasing problems of the NHS and social care never mind anything else.

On the other hand Labour are promising to meet most of their manifesto commitments out of higher taxation on top earners and on corporation tax. BUT many high earners in the banking, IT and Hi-tech sectors are already leaving the Country. Many FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies are contemplating a move of their HQs to mainland Europe dependent on the negotiations. So less high earners and less corporation tax are likely to follow from Brexit.

But in fact every area is likely to suffer:

  • Northern Ireland will suffer because of the hard border that will be introduced with the Republic. This is already happening.
  • The NHS will suffer because the new doctors and consultants that we need are already going back to Europe because of employment uncertainty and new ones are not following in their wake. This is already happening
  • Our Universities will suffer as they lose their place in research collaboration, the Erasmus exchange of students and less foreign students choose to come here. This is already happening.
  • New employment growth will slow and reverse as companies either delay capital decisions because of the uncertainties of Brexit or will choose mainland Europe because of their position in a huge EU market of 540 million people. This is already happening. This is already happening
  • The Port of Liverpool will suffer as companies choose to land European based produce in mainland ports to avoid taxes and bureaucracy even for entre-pot trading. This is already happening.
  • Infrastructure projects like HS2 and housing will slow down as the tax revenues are reduced. This is already happening.

So why are the Lib Dems the only ones who are obsessed?  Because the leadership of both the Labour and Tory Parties are believers in the isolation of the UK. Retention of our Single Market status and the free movement of Labour which we so badly need are minor items to them compared to the jingoistic rhetoric that they both share.

Corbyn does believe in internationalism but not the EU. His rhetoric for 40+ years has been for an international socialist utopia where the market is a danger and the EU as currently constituted a rich man’s club.

The Tories think that the rest of the World is waiting to embrace them with open trading arms. This is despite the USA saying that negotiations will have to wait until the EU deal is done. Commonwealth Countries in Asia and Canada have made clear that the EU is a much more important prize than the so-called ‘Mother Country’.

When it comes to trade and money it’s the size of the market that counts most and its proximity and not some out-dated notion based on former Imperial possessions.

Complicating the matter is the undoubted fact that the other two main Parties are irredeemably split. Ken Clark and Tony Blair have more in common with the Lib Dems on this crucial issue than many if not most in their own Parties. The splits are obvious. The 3 women Labour MPs for our area voted against the triggering of Article 50 while the 2 male Labour MPs went into the Lobby behind Corbyn to trigger it.

Theresa May says one thing about the single market and Brexit and then slaps down the 3 muppets, Johnson, Hammond and Davies when they say things that often hugely contradict her. I suspect that the days of at least two of them are now numbered!

So whether you like it or not we will continue to champion the EU. We will do it philosophically because we believe it to be right. We will do it pragmatically because we know how much of our Country depends on it.

Sometimes obsessions are right and obsessives are doing the right thing. That’s certainly true for the Lib Dems today!

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Manchester What Next?

Cath Cathedral

The Metropolitan Cathdedral in Liverpool where many of us met tonight for a vigil for those who died in Manchester yesterday

I have just got home from a Mass which was held in the Catholic Cathedral in honour of those who died in the massacre in Manchester yesterday. I am not a person of religious belief but somehow Archbishop Malcolm summed it up when he said, “When you are in sorrow this is the place to be”. We always get together in Churches, Mosques, Temples and Synagogues when we want to commiserate or celebrate. Many do it because they believe in the power of intercession and prayer. Others because it is a place where belief can be manifested. Some like me go because there are places where wider things can be easily considered.

The Pope has sent a Prayer of Peace to be read out by all assembled. Two paragraphs of this struck me forcefully and I reproduce them here in full:

“O Jesus, Prince of Peace, we pray to you for the ones who have been wounded in these acts of inhuman violence; children and young people, old people and innocent people accidentally involved in evil. Heal their bodies and hearts; console them with your strength and at the same time, take away any hatred and a desire for revenge.

Touch the hearts of terrorists so that they may recognise the evil of their actions and may turn to the way of peace and goodness, of respect for life and dignity of every human being, regardless of religion, origin, wealth or poverty”.

Of course I don’t get the religious bits but somehow these two paragraphs summed up the two sides if what we need to do:

  1. Work to heal and support those who have been maimed or bereaved. These were mostly young girls with a life full of hope and future still unwritten. For the rest of their lives their mums and dads will miss the; wonder about how they would have done at school or Uni; about whether they would have got good jobs; found a partner or had kids. There will always be an aching void in their hearts where their child would have been.

 

  1. Work to change and convert those who even think in their darkest moments about conducting such atrocities.

 

What we should not do is to rush to judgement about a whole religion and way of life on the basis of what a handful of people who claim to be its adherents say and do. I have lived in a Moslem Country for three years. Millions of us go on holiday to countries like Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey which are largely composed on Moslems. Do we feel threatened when we are there? Of course not. We come home saying what a lovely holiday and what friendly people.

To say that this is a Moslem problem is to say that all the Catholics and Protestants who live in Northern Ireland were terrorists because of the Catholic and loyalist paramilitaries. The handful of terrorists who cause atrocities are extremists who are cast out of Moslem Society. Most Moslems are like every most Christian, none-believer, Jew, Sikh or Hindu et al. They want to bring up their children in peace, have a decent life and live in a warm and safe home.

There are those who are seeking to make trouble from this. We must not let them win. We must work on both sides of the ignorant spectrum if we are to achieve long-lasting peace. We must understand what is changing a small number of largely British people into extremists. Most Moslems are not changed in such a way. Is it personal circumstance where they have been touched personally by events in the Middle East? Is it the internet? Is it a psychiatric problem? It could be any of those.

What about those who seek to cause divisions where divisions need not exist. The vermin from the English Defence League who get on a train to revel in every tragedy and the newspapers writers who get off on scurrilous writings. With them as well we must work to show them that what they espouse is both wrong factually as well as wrong morally.

But somewhere in the middle of those extremes there are a lot of people who are scared. Scared of changes in the communities in which they have lived for decades; scared of new food; new ways and new clothes. It would be too easy to scoff at those concerns as being those of ignorant people. We must work with them to and the communities in which they live to try and ensure that problems are dealt with and communities are integrated.

I have not sought in this matter to give you 10 easy points which will solve the problems of society. If I did that I would be a genius or a fool. I don’t believe that easy answers exist. If we are to stop other atrocities we have to work together and work consistently to reduce tensions in the Middle East and then reduce tensions in our fractured communities.

In the meantime it is right that the political parties have stopped their General Election wrangling and have jointly agreed this. Sometimes we must forget divisions and come together. Perhaps today as a none-believer I heard the words of the Pope telling us how.

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Chief Executive of Liverpool Arrested and Questioned over LDL and OCL scandal

anderson

The Mayor of Liverpool should resign after his lack of judgement in this moral and financial crucial issue

Statement from the Liberal Democrats

“I am delighted that after 3.5 years investigation by the Lancashire Police four men are being brought to justice and will presumably appear in court. In 2014 I and two knowledgeable and professional members of the public presented a 1,000 page dossier on what we considered to be major problems with the running of LDL. In addition I gave evidence about activities in Lancashire which I considered to be totally inappropriate.

This investigation has now cost almost £3million but will be worth it justice is finally done. In the immediate future the Chief Executive of Liverpool City Council should be suspended, without prejudice, until the matter is finally dealt with through the Courts. I hope that the court action will take place as soon as possible so that the council tax payers of Liverpool and Lancashire can see how the systems that safeguard their money have been flouted.

I must make it absolutely clear that although the Labour Party will try and throw as much sand as possible in the eyes of the people of Liverpool and Lancashire these problems have arisen since Labour took control of the Council. As I understand it the Mayor took personal control of these issues and was, until recently, a Director of LDL.

It is also clear that the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, should tender his resignation over this issue. He has supported the Chief Executive Mr Fitzgerald through thin and thin and should have taken immediate action when the council offices were raided about this in 2015 and again when he was questioned by Police earlier this year.”

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,

Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats

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How much do Labour really care about those in poverty?

Corbyn

Corbyn talks a good talk on poverty but doesn’t walk the walk

For the past 7 years I have sat in Liverpool Council listening to Labour speaker after Labour speaker deriding the Lib Dems for austerity. These Braveheart Trots always missed the fact that for every £10 that the coalition introduced in cuts Labour would have cut £8 according to their own figures. Even now as they thrash around trying to hide from the inadequacies of their own Party’s manifesto they seek to blame the Lib Dems for things done since the 2015 General Election.

I did not like everything the Lib Dems did as a junior partner in Government but I was proud of 4 things that would not have happened if they had been there that made a real difference.

  1. The triple lock for pensions was introduced in the face of Tory opposition. For 25 years under both Tory and Labour Governments pensioners had drifted way, way behind the increase in earnings. This measure made significant changes to the pensioners.
  2. By increasing income tax thresholds well above inflation those at the bottom of the earnings ladder made significant savings in tax. In total more than 25 million workers benefited from this reduction with about 5 million being taken out of tax paying altogether.
  3. Free schools meals were given to all infants school children. This [presents a saving of about £450 per child and improved the quality of education as children with rumbling tums cannot concentrate.
  4. The pupil premium redistributed money for schools from wealthier areas to poorer areas to try and bridge the gap between rich and poor.

In addition there was another real benefit for 18 year olds. The introduction of improved grants massively increased the uptake of children from working class families going to University.

I’ve been thinking about these things because of an article that I have read in today’s Guardian. This is reproduced in full below. In it the Guardian reveals the research of the Resolution Foundation, a highly respected independent think tank that of the £9billions of welfare cuts planned by the Tories up to 2020 Labour will keep £7 billion of them! In fact this will get worse because the estimates of £9 billion depended on a much lower rate of inflation than seems to be heading our way. Earlier this month we got information which shows that earnings as a whole are falling behind inflation. This is exacerbated by the Tories Benefits Cap which is now being supported by Labour.

Lib Dems have made it abundantly clear in our fully coasted manifesto that one of our priorities would be to remove the benefit cuts. But are we surprised that Labour are not doing likewise. No, Not really. Just look at what they have done in parliament.

In 2015 the Labour Party twice supported benefit changes that discriminated against the poor. This year the Labour Party abstained no less than 3 times in the House of Lords when bad benefits policy could have been defeated.

Why does Labour behave this way? Who knows? I have a suspicion though that the well-heeled Islingtonites who control the Party have little idea of the effects of their policies on people outside their own bubble. They can fulminate against the Tories but when given the chance to beat them they raise the white flag and fail to accept the problems that are being faced by those at the bottom of society’s ladder..

As always the decision about who is working on these issues is up to you and I would be delighted to get feedback from you. In the meantime here is the Guardian article. At the very least it will make you think about the gap between Labour’s rhetoric and its reality.

Article from Today’s Guardian

At least £7bn of George Osborne’s plan to slash welfare will go ahead after the election Labour wins power, an analysis of the party manifestos has revealed.

Three-quarters of the huge package of benefit cuts announced by the former chancellor in 2015 are yet to be implemented, including a major reduction in support given to the low-paid, and limiting payments to families with more than two children.

The Conservative manifesto suggested that the party would plough ahead with the cuts, should it win a majority. However, despite opposition to the cuts within Labour, the party’s manifesto only pledges to reverse £2bn of the £9bn cuts to come as part of a review, according to an analysis by the Resolution Foundation thinktank. Jeremy Corbyn was among 48 Labour MPs to rebel against the party whip in 2015 to oppose the cuts. Corbyn also criticised the decision by the party’s frontbench to abstain during his first leadership campaign.

There are three areas in which big cuts are scheduled to be made in the next parliament. A further two-year freeze to most working age benefits, which includes Jobseeker’s Allowance, housing benefit and child benefit, is expected to save £3.6bn a year by 2021.

Reductions in the payments given to people in work through the new universal credit system are set to save £3.2bn. Meanwhile, limiting support to two children per family and reducing payments to new families will save £2bn a year. Labour’s manifesto includes a pledge to hold a “review of cuts and how best to reverse them”. However, the Resolution Foundation said that the £2bn Labour has allocated for the review would reverse less than half of the £5bn cuts to universal credit and support for children

It would also leave the benefits freeze intact just as inflation begins to bite. The foundation said that, under Labour’s proposals, 78% of the welfare cuts would still go ahead. It also said that neither party’s pledges to increase the minimum wage would come close to offsetting the welfare losses that low-income families face.

However, Debbie Abrahams, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said Labour’s spending plans included £20bn over the next parliament to reverse Tory cuts to social security. She added that the party was committed “to ending the benefits freeze at the earliest opportunity”.

“Our plan will improve support for young people, sick and disabled people, unpaid carers, working families, bereaved families and pensioners,” she said.

Torsten Bell, the Resolution Foundation’s director and Ed Miliband’s former policy chief, lambasted both main parties for their failure to deal with the welfare cuts.

“Tackling the renewed squeeze on living standards that risks seeing incomes actually fall for low and middle income families in the years ahead, should be front and centre of the next government’s purpose,” he said.

“Instead both parties are guilty of neglecting the living standards concerns of working families by allowing George Osborne’s welfare cuts to be rolled out, either in full with the Conservatives or largely intact under Labour’s plans.

“The concerns of low and middle income families are at the heart of Theresa May’s rhetoric but this week was a missed opportunity to live up to it. Improving the living standards of working people is the reason the Labour Party exists at all – something it’s time they remembered.”

The cuts are “heavily concentrated” on low-paid working families and will reduce their incomes by around £1,200 a year, the Resolution Foundation said. In some extreme cases, families will lose up to £3,000 a year.

It comes with the Lib Dems attempting to outflank Labour on welfare by promising to reverse all of Osborne’s cuts package, including the benefits freeze.

The party said that as a result of the freeze, a family with one low-paid working parent and two children under-seven living in London would be around £787 worse off a year by 2020-21. With other welfare changes taken into account, the family is likely to be £1,630 a year worse off by 2021.

Simon Hughes, the former Lib Dem justice minister, said: “Soaring inflation and higher prices as a result of Brexit will worsen the impact of the benefits freeze for millions of families already struggling to get by.

“But after having voted to give Theresa May a blank cheque for Brexit, Labour is now is refusing to help vulnerable families cope. It is a double betrayal.”

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