Moran: “authoritarian” Government intervention “outrageous affront to local democracy”

Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has said the Government’s intervention in South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC)’s Local Plan is “authoritarian” and an “outrageous affront to local democracy”, as Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick ordered the council to adopt the plan by December.

In May 2019, Liberal Democrat and Green councillors on SODC were elected on a clear mandate to challenge the housing figures in the local plan and revise them.

Moran offered to meet with Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State responsible, and council leaders, although a date has still not yet been offered by Jenrick’s office, despite him accepting the MP's offer.

The Lib Dem MP also said that this episode “has huge and deeply worrying ramifications for planning decisions being taken across England.”

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Layla Moran: Boris Johnson is failing to meet his own homelessness targets

Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has slammed the Government for “failing the most vulnerable,” as analysis from the House of Commons Library shows that the Government is significantly off track from meeting its target of eliminating rough sleeping by 2024.

The Conservatives announced the revised target, which was previously 2027, after the election in December.

There were an estimated 4,677 rough sleepers in England on any ‘given night’ in Autumn 2018, a reduction of just 2% or 74 people on 2017’s figure.

Analysis by the House of Commons Library shows that there would need to be an average of 780 fewer rough sleepers recorded each year, for there to be zero rough sleepers by 2024.

Moran said that “the data shows just how off track the Government is. We need actions, not just words.”

Given the nature of the data, intended to be a ‘snapshot’ of rough sleepers on any given night, the numbers are likely to be even higher.

The Lib Dem MP added that “this Government can’t even commit to scrapping the Vagrancy Act, which criminalises rough sleeping”, saying that a more compassionate and holistic approach to tackling the homelessness crisis was needed.

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Moran: “the end is nigh for the Expressway” as petition delivered to Downing Street

Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has today [Wednesday 26 February] said that “the end is nigh for the Expressway” as she joins a cross-party group of MPs and community activists to deliver the No Expressway Group’s (NEG) petition to 10 Downing Street.

Today, Moran is co-hosting a drop-in event for MPs and Peers to learn more about the campaign to scrap the Expressway, and is joining activists and some fellow MPs to deliver the petition to Downing St.

During the General Election, the Conservatives promised a ‘review’ of the Expressway, although no further official announcement has been made on the future of the project. Layla has called for the Expressway to be scrapped and replaced with a fully electrified East-West Rail.

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Layla Moran tables parliamentary motion in campaign to save easitNETWORK rail discount scheme

Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has tabled a motion in Parliament calling on the Government “to do all it can to encourage Great Western Railway to continue to participate” in the easitNETWORK rail discount scheme.

Layla expressed her “deep concern” that GWR’s decision to end its support will lead to commuters switching back to using cars rather than rail.

The MP previously wrote to the Managing Director of the rail firm, calling for “a compromise” and offering to host a meeting between GWR, representatives of easitNETWORK and other MPs whose constituents are affected.

Tabling the motion, published yesterday evening, Layla said “I hope all MPs who can support this motion do, to send a strong message to GWR that their decision is concerning when we are in the midst of a climate emergency.”

The motion also raises concerns that the loss of the scheme will lead to “increased congestion, poorer air quality and higher carbon emissions”.

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Moran: “dark day for local democracy” as Conservatives and Labour vote to strip local council of say over local plan

Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has said it is a “dark day for local democracy” as Oxfordshire County Council voted in favour of taking over the local plan of South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC), if they are invited to do so by Whitehall.

 

Moran was offered a meeting with Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State responsible, and council leaders, although a date has not yet been offered. The MP said “getting everyone round the table is now urgent.”

 

Layla said that it “would be a great shame” if democratically-elected local councillors had the power to decide local housing policy taken away from them by another political party.

 

In May 2019, Liberal Democrat and Green councillors on SODC were elected on a clear mandate to challenge the housing figures in the local plan and revise them.

 

At the vote during a meeting of the county council today, all Liberal Democrats and Greens voted against the motion.

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Moran welcomes Cotswold line investment plan, but calls for wider strategic rail network for Oxfordshire

Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has welcomed news that the North Cotswold Line Task Force have submitted proposals to improve the line to the Government, calling for a “wider strategic rail network for our county, including the Cowley Branch Line and new stations at Grove and Begbroke.”

Moran met on Tuesday with officials from the Department for Transport to make the case for a strategic network across Oxfordshire.

Whilst Layla has said she fully supports the plans for the Cotswold line, she has made it clear that “we need to be joined-up, and pool our efforts to deliver the best rail network possible for the communities we represent.”

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Moran: “heartless” that one in three EU children refused permanent residency in UK, with only half of all Oxon applicants granted full settled status

Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has said it is “heartless” that one in three under-18s from the EU living in the UK have been refused permanent residency, according to figures published today by the Home Office, leaving over 100,000 children living in uncertainty.

The figures also reveal that almost half of the EU nationals who applied for permanent residency in Oxfordshire were only granted the weaker pre-settled status.

Of the 316,960 under-18s who have applied so far for the Conservative government's settlement scheme nationwide, only 199,260 have been offered settled status, which gives the right to stay permanently in the UK. 116,620, or more than one in three, were offered the weaker pre-settled status which only gives a temporary right to remain. Another 1,080 applications from under-18s were withdrawn or deemed invalid or void.

In total 32,830 EU citizens have now applied to stay in the UK under the settlement scheme in Oxfordshire. Of these, over 14,000 have only been offered the more precarious pre-settled status. This means they will have to reapply for the full, permanent settled status once they can prove they've been in the UK for over five years.

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Layla Moran presses Government for rail investment in Oxfordshire

Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has today met with officials from the Department for Transport to make the case for the reopening of rail lines in Oxfordshire, including the Cowley Branch Line and Grove Station in Wantage, saying “if the Conservatives are serious about reviewing the Expressway, they’ll invest in our rail.”

Moran was invited to attend a drop-in session organised by the Department, and spoke to civil servants and ministers about the “urgent and important” need to “invest in connectivity across the county, not just in and into Oxford.”

The MP laid out the importance of building a new station at Grove in particular, on land already safeguarded under the Vale of White Horse’s local plan, which would help bring people into an area that houses a growing number of enterprises such as the Williams Formula 1 team.

Although the Oxfordshire Growth Board’s recent study into developing rail infrastructure said the station would become viable in 2028 with future housing growth, Moran said that “we need this station sooner, as we need to take current congestion and a lack of public transport capacity into account.”

Layla also spoke about restoring the Witney to Oxford line and building a station at Begbroke, actions that would help ease congestion in west Oxford including along the Botley Road.

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Layla Moran: “let’s make 2020 the year that we finally scrap the Vagrancy Act”

Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, is to call for the Dickensian Vagrancy Act to be scrapped in a debate on homelessness in the House of Commons tomorrow, highlighting new stats that show a majority of people think rough sleeping should not be criminalised.


The MP will say that “Even one person sleeping rough in this country in 2020 is a disgrace”, bringing the campaign to scrap the Vagrancy Act back to Parliament following the General Election.


Moran introduced a Bill to repeal the law from 1824, which makes rough sleeping a criminal offence, in the last parliament, and will say tomorrow that her draft legislation “can be brought back in a heartbeat with this Government’s support.”


She will also highlight the “‘out of sight, out of mind mentality’” shown in the installation of a new gate close to MPs’ and peers’ private entrance to Westminster tube station, which “pushed the homeless people out of MPs’ and peers’ way”.

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Layla Moran calls for compromise over at-risk rail discount scheme for commuters

Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has today written to Great Western Railways calling for “a compromise” over the easitNETWORK travel scheme, which offers discounted travel schemes for commuters across the South East.

Writing to Mark Hopwood, the operating company’s managing director, Moran made it clear that “sustainable travel has never been more important”, expressing her concern that “without the easitNETWORK in place, many commuters will instead move back to using their cars”. The MP has offered to host a meeting between GWR, easitNETWORK and MPs whose constituents are affected.

The scheme offers discounted travel for commuters going in to towns and cities across the South East region, using up capacity on trains leaving London that would otherwise be empty.

In later 2019, GWR indicated that it was going to stop offering the easitNETWORK discounts, indicating that Transport for London’s takeover of some routes ahead of the delivery of Crossrail influenced the decision. However, TfL have reassured easitNETWORK that they will continue to offer the discounts if GWR do.

Layla has questioned whether GWR has assessed the impact on its revenues that stopping support for this scheme would have, with fewer commuters likely to travel by rail going forward.

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