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.
For the first time the Commonwealth Games organisers deepest fears about the impact of Brexit have been laid bare as a result of a Liberal Democrat investigation.
The Games' organisers state that there is a risk that the UK's EU Exit will negatively affect Games deliverables, by changes to Government policy, economic impacts across markets and industries. This could result in potential workforce attrition and cost inflation. They count this risk as the highest possible, 20 out of 20.
In another document, marked ‘sensitive’ from February, the organisers in a meeting with the Police and other bodies state that ‘Possible increases in crime and disorder that result in reprioritised staff to deliver ‘BAU’ services (e.g. civil disobedience requires more operational policing) resulting in less resource availability for Games activity.’
In addition, they state that there is a risk that post EU Exit, public support for the games ‘will diminish’ as other priorities take precedence and Games messages are lost or fail to cut through as Brexit dominates the media narrative. 'This could impact on Licencing, Sponsorship and Ticket Sales revenues.’
The organisers also have fears over a potential lack of available workforce. They state that they use suppliers that have traditionally relied upon small numbers of EU workforce to supplement their UK-based workforce for the 10 day period of the Games. If they are no longer permitted to employ EU workers without a visa, this could result in a shortage of resources and/or a delay to recruitment to fill these roles or inflate the market price. They also state that EU nationals might not want to stay in the UK post Brexit and identify that there could be the difficulty of replacing “like for like” in areas that are very industry-specific.
A big risk, according to the organisers is that Brexit may introduce adverse volatility to foreign exchange rates impacting several suppliers that are expected to invoice in foreign currency. This could result in a fluctuation in these costs. Suppliers may face increased costs or supply chain challenges to in delivering the Games.
Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, yesterday joined other MPs in signing a pledge for a new code of conduct for behaviour in the House of Commons.
The code of conduct, drawn up by cross-party group More United, includes commitments to avoid language or behaviour that incites hate or encourages disrespect, reform debate as a way to build consensus and uphold a level of respect and professionalism.
The hope is that the new pledge will start to bridge the divides in Parliament and raise the standards of debate in the House of Commons. Earlier this week, party leaders released a joint statement following a meeting with the Speaker to ‘weigh their words carefully’. The move yesterday brings together MPs from all parties. More United and Compassion in Politics are working with MPs to have it adopted as a formal code of conduct across the House.
Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has today condemned the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality following the publication of new statistics by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing a rise in deaths of homeless people in 2018.
The ONS data shows that there were an estimated 726 deaths in 2018, an increase of over 20% on the previous year. The highest numbers of deaths were recorded in the North West (77) and in London (110).
Layla has renewed her call for the Vagrancy Act to be scrapped, which criminalises rough sleeping and is still in use in many areas in England and Wales.