Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon, has said that the Conservatives "have failed small businesses in Oxfordshire", after figures revealed that 8,755 businesses in the county closed over the last three years.
It comes after the Liberal Democrats on Saturday unveiled a series of measures to reverse this decline and boost local firms, to mark Small Business Saturday.
Recent figures show that 8,755 closed in Oxfordshire between 2016 and 2018, a 10.8% increase compared to the three years before that.
Across the UK, one million businesses have closed their doors between 2016 and 2018, an increase of almost a third compared to 2013- 2015.
The Federation of Small Businesses has warned that a no deal Brexit, which Boris Johnson has repeatedly refused to rule out, would mean more damage to firms. Firms are also being held back by the Conservative government's failure to reform business rates, and by new taxes on the self-employed that business groups have described as "disastrous".
Layla Moran, Lib Dem candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon, has called for a review “as a matter of urgency” after many of the proposed development sites in the Cherwell Local Plan were flooded in recent weeks.
Rowel Brook overflowed during the recent floods, spilling into the field to its south (east of the A44) and heavily inundating the area with water. This is a site proposed for new housing in the local plan. Similarly, the area around the Thames Water pumping station east of Sandy Lane was badly flooded, with local councillor Conrad Copeland describing it as “knee-deep in places”.
The roundabout in Begbroke, and Springhill Road nearby, were also filled with water, as was the field immediately to the south, which again is a site of proposed new housing under the Cherwell Local Plan. Yarnton also saw significant flooding, both on Cassington Road and Church Lane as well as the field to the west of the village.
Moran has said the fact that during the floods water collected on the site of proposed new homes between the Bicester Road and Oxford Parkway rail station “shows how much a review is needed, and for councils to work together.”
The Lib Dem candidate questioned what the point of building so many new homes in the areas was if the risk of flood damage was increasingly high. Moran made a submission earlier this year as part of a hearing on the Cherwell Local Plan, making it clear that the housing proposals were based on out-of-date Government figures of housing need.
Layla Moran, Lib Dem candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon, has condemned the "Brexit brain drain" after research by the Liberal Democrats revealed that 1,624 EU academics from Oxford and Oxford Brookes universities combined have quit in the three years since the Brexit vote.
527 academics from the EU left Oxford University alone in 2018/19, the figures show, with 46 leaving Oxford Brookes in the same period. Since the 2016 referendum 1,515 EU academics have left Oxford University, and 109 have left Oxford Brookes.
The analysis, based on Freedom of Information responses from 81 universities, shows that across the country 4,014 EU academics have left UK universities in 2018/19.
Layla Moran said the figures reveal that uncertainty across Oxfordshire over freedom of movement and international research funding is leading to a “Brexit brain drain”.
Academics face uncertainty over both their immigration status and their funding following Brexit, meaning the UK risks becoming less competitive in attracting global talent. Previous analysis by the Royal Society has shown that the UK’s share of total EU research funding has already fallen from 15.8 per cent (€1.49bn) in 2015 to 11.3 per cent (€1.06bn) in 2018.
The findings are also consistent with recent research by the higher education industry body Universities UK, which reported that 60% of universities surveyed believed they had lost existing or potential staff members to overseas institutions because of Brexit.
Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon, last night launched her bid to win a second term as MP for the area, addressing a large rally of members and supporters from across the constituency.
Layla addressed the crowd in the TAP Social in Botley, speaking about her experience as an MP over the past few years, and condemning the Conservatives' disastrous Brexit plans.
She outlined her priorities for this election, speaking out about the importance of taking a strong stance against Brexit, school cuts and taking real and tangible action on climate change. She spoke also of her delight at seeing so many young people across the constituency engaging in climate action in the recent school strikes, and outlined the Liberal Democrats' commitment to tackling climate change moving forward..
Layla Moran, Lib Dem candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon, has today responded to the news that the Conservatives have pledged to review plans for the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway between Oxford and Milton Keynes and the M1 section, saying that they are “finally aware of how unpopular their Expressway plans are with our community.”
Layla and the local Liberal Democrats have constantly campaigned for a full public consultation on the Expressway including the option to not go ahead with the project at all, with Moran tabling a motion in Parliament in October.
In January 2019, Layla held a debate in the House of Commons on the Expressway, putting pressure on the Government to hold a full public consultation and raising residents’ concerns with the then-Secretary of State. She also arranged for the then-Minister of State, Jesse Norman, to visit Botley in October 2018 to listen to residents.
The Liberal Democrats announced today that they would allow district councils in Oxfordshire to increase council tax by up to 500% on empty homes that are left empty long-term.
The latest Government statistics show that there were 1,748 homes left empty long-term in all of Oxfordshire in 2018.
In response, and as part of their plan to alleviate the housing crisis, the Liberal Democrats would legislate to allow Cherwell, Oxford, South Oxfordshire, Vale of White Horse and West Oxfordshire city and district councils to increase council tax by up to 500% where properties are being left vacant long-term. The revenues would then be reinvested to build new homes for the community or to invest in local services.
Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon, has been selected by More United members along with 35 candidates from key marginal seats including Rosie Duffield, Labour, Luciana Berger, Liberal Democrat, and Paul Masterton, Conservative. The movement will provide funds and a boost of on the ground volunteers to help them get elected. More candidates selected will be announced over the coming weeks.
More United aims to crowdfund £250,000 over the course of the election and recruit a national network of volunteers who will turn out to support candidates locally. The unique model aims to elect more progressive candidates from different parties to shift the balance of parliament away from extremism and reform politics.
Candidates selected by More United all share values of opportunity, openness, tolerance, democracy and care for the environment, and sign a pledge to stand up for these values as MPs. Once elected they will join a cross-party network to build consensus and campaign together on issues including social care, the environment and mental health. In the last election, More United support helped elect 34 MPs and the More United MP network grew to over 57 MPs from seven parties working together in Parliament.
The Liberal Democrats have announced they would more than double spending on youth services in Oxfordshire to £7,769,119, to help tackle levels of crime and antisocial behaviour among young people. This would form part of a total ring-fenced fund of £500 million for Local Authorities across England to spend on youth services, providing young people with positive and safe alternatives to gangs.
Under the Conservatives, council spending on youth services has been cut by £300 million - or 40 per cent - since 2015. Knife crime has risen by 80% over the same period, with a record high of 47,500 offences recorded in the year to June 2019. Research has also found the areas with the biggest cuts to youth services have seen some of the biggest increases in knife crime.
The Liberal Democrats would also take a public health approach to tackling youth violence, modelled on the successful approach taken by Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit. This would involve identifying risk factors and treating them early on, with youth workers, police, teachers, health professionals and social services all working closely together to prevent young people falling into gangs and violence.
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.