Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon, has said that investment in flood prevention in Abingdon, Oxford and the surrounding villages is “long overdue”, following the party’s announcement that it will create a £5bn flood prevention and adaptation fund.
Moran secured a debate on flooding in her constituency during the last parliament, taking the Government to task over its failure to invest sufficiently in the Abingdon Flood Alleviation Scheme, and over issues with the Oxford plans including traffic and pollution in South Hinksey, the main route for construction traffic for the scheme. The Lib Dem also called for a public meeting into the scheme, attended by local residents, and has argued that funding allocated for the Expressway project should be spent on flood alleviation instead.
During the debate, then-flooding minister Thérèse Coffey agreed to meet with Layla to discuss the schemes in Abingdon, Oxford and surrounding villages including South Hinksey. However the meeting never took place before the dissolution of Parliament in October, due to repeated cancellations and delays in the diaries of both Coffey and her successor Rebecca Pow.
As the world grapples with a climate emergency, the Tories are turning their backs on communities most at risk by failing to provide adequate flood defences. Their Brexit agenda risks the UK losing access to vital EU funds for improving flood defences and flood relief.
Over the lifetime of the next parliament, a Liberal Democrat government will create a £5bn flood prevention and adaptation fund. The fund will help the UK build resilience against future flooding, and ensure all communities can access the funds they need during periods of crisis.
A Liberal Democrat government will also increase DEFRA's budget by £1bn per year, ensuring that non-departmental bodies like the Environment Agency receive more funding.
The organisation Unite to Remain has confirmed this morning that the Liberal Democrats and Green Party in Oxford West and Abingdon have agreed to enter an electoral pact, with Lib Dem candidate Layla Moran saying "this is what grown up politics looks like."
As in 2017, Green candidate Cheryl Briggs will stand aside to help ensure that a Remain candidate wins in Oxford West and Abingdon.
This is part of an agreement that the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and Greens have entered into across a large number of seats in England and Wales. The news follows a successful arrangement in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, which saw Liberal Democrat Jane Dodds defeat the Conservative Party in August earlier this year.
Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon, has condemned the Conservative government for not offering permanent residency in the UK for EU nationals. Official figures reveal that thousands of EU nationals living in Oxfordshire have not been offered permanent residency in the UK.
Layla Moran and the local Liberal Democrats have accused the Government of leaving local families from the EU in “legal limbo” and throwing people’s lives into uncertainty.
The figures show that of the 24,930 EU nationals across Oxfordshire who have applied for permanent residency, fewer than half or only 12,280 have been offered settled status. 8,730 have been granted pre-settled status, which only gives the temporary right to stay in the UK. Another 3,850 EU nationals living in Oxfordshire have applied for permanent residency but not yet received a response.
2,330 of the applications for settled status came from under-18s.
Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has written to Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, asking him to “urgently review why there have been further delays to the upgrade of the Lodge Hill junction on the A34”.
The MP raised the issue in her maiden speech in Parliament in 2017 and has continually pressed the Government to take action.
The latest delay is due to a lack of progress being made in the detailed assessment of the site by Highways England.
Moran emphasised the importance of the upgrade going ahead “before the thousands more homes planned for sites north of Abingdon are built.”
Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has today tabled a motion in Parliament calling for “comprehensive public consultation on plans for the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway” which must include the option of not progressing with the scheme.
Moran, who has campaigned consistently in opposition to plans for the highway, said residents are “impatient and disillusioned” by the fact that the long-promised public consultation has still not materialised.
The motion, tabled today for publication tomorrow, also calls for the consultation to consider alternatives to the Expressway, such as “the expansion and electrification of the Oxford to Cambridge rail link as well as the Reading to Oxford line”, and “greater investment in cycling infrastructure”.
Responding to the Department for Education’s announcement that applications have opened for academies and sixth form colleges to access more than £400 million for school improvements, Layla Moran, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon and Lib Dem Education Spokesperson, said:
“Any extra money for schools is always welcome but today’s announcement comes nowhere near the amount needed and shows how the Government have again failed to realise the sheer scale of the issue.
“The list of school building repairs is growing faster than they can be fixed. In 2017, the National Audit Office calculated that it would cost £6.7bn to return England’s schools to a satisfactory condition or better. Imagine how much it would cost now, two years on.
“Years of Conservative funding cuts mean that school budgets simply do not stretch far enough. This is a sticking plaster that only covers the next year and excludes schools that are not academies or sixth form colleges. By stipulating that applicants must get pay under control, this only shows us that the Government has failed to restrain executive pay in academies.
“The Liberal Democrats would create a £17 billion infrastructure fund that would provide capital investment to expand and modernise our schools and hospitals, so that children can learn in well maintained, modern schools.”
Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has said continued cuts to school funding in her constituency and across England are “deeply unfair”, saying the Conservatives must “face up to reality”.
Analysis by the School Cuts coalition of unions (NEU, NAHT, ASCL, UNISON, GMB and Unite) found that 80% of schools in Moran’s constituency will face a funding shortfall in 2020/21.
An example of the local situation is Fitzharrys School, whose funding has been cut by an average of £492 per pupil since 2015. This is above average and equivalent to the salaries of 4 teachers.
In a debate on the Queen’s Speech in the House of Commons earlier this month, Layla said: “Schools need the money now, not later. As a result of not providing that money, the Government are failing our children.”
The analysis shows that 83% of schools in England as a whole will be worse off in the next academic year than they were in 2015.
Layla Moran, the Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has said that “we must have a People’s Vote” after MPs voted to hold off the approval of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal until the relevant legislation is passed, meaning the Prime Minister must seek a Brexit extension.
Moran said that “the PM has to now obey the law, and not try and sneak his deal through”. The Liberal Democrats have tabled an amendment to the Queen’s Speech calling for a People’s Vote, and have called on the Government to extend Article 50 to take no deal off the table.
Layla branded it “simply outrageous” that Boris Johnson said the UK was still leaving on October 31st in the House, even after the Letwin amendment passed.
Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government calling for “considered discussion, and compromise” over the South Oxfordshire Local Plan.
The MP wrote to Robert Jenrick in response to his letter to South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC), in which he suggested that central government could take over the plan from the local authority. Layla said that Jenrick’s actions are “being seen as very heavy handed.”
In the letter, Layla notes that the current issues are due to the fact that the political makeup of SODC and other district councils changed following May’s local elections and says that there is a “clear mandate to reflect the wishes” of residents.
Moran also reassures the Government that the SODC Cabinet’s desire to withdraw the plan, and begin developing a new plan for delivery within three years, will not affect planned housing levels in and around Didcot, and so will not compromise the County Council’s Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) bid to Whitehall.
The MP criticises what is “a change in policy from the Government”, referring to the level of direct interference from the Department.
Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has today responded to the release of 2018’s casualties statistics for the A34 that show a rise in fatalities compared to 2017, saying that planned improvement works need to “go further and happen faster”.
Layla has commented after a Parliamentary Question revealed the latest statistics, showing that there were 495 casualties on the road in 2018, 10 of which were fatalities.
In July, Highways England made it clear that some improvements to the A34, such as the installation of a hard shoulder, would not be given the go-ahead whilst the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway remains on the cards.
Layla has campaigned throughout her time as MP for crucial infrastructure improvements to be made, including on the A34, that would make a significant difference to safety and residents’ lives.
Moran has called for the Government to scrap plans for the Expressway, and instead concentrate planning and resources on more wide-ranging safety measures to the A34.