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Today's Headlines

June 11, 2020 2:48 PM
By Danny Simm

Govt must commit to inquiry into handling of COVID-19

Yesterday the Prime Minister announced the next phase of easing the COVID-19 lockdown.

  • Parents and teachers will be asking why the Prime Minister is talking just about theme parks and zoos when so many parents want to hear about the practical steps to reopen schools safely in the weeks ahead.
  • The fact remains that a comprehensive test, trace and isolate system is still the only way to keep people safe as we move out of lockdown. Yet the Government still hasn't delivered on this, and apparently won't be able to until September. Ministers can't even provide figures for the number of people being tested day-to-day.
  • The Prime Minister needs to be utterly transparent about the barriers to opening schools, the limits to testing capacity and the issues affecting the test, trace and isolate system. As more and more questions are raised about key decisions throughout this crisis, Boris Johnson must now commit to an independent inquiry into his Government's handling of this pandemic.

UK needs Green Recovery Plan to counter COVID-19 economic damage

An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report released yesterday predicts the UK economy will shrink by 11.5% and experience the worst economic contraction among developed countries due to the coronavirus.

  • Coronavirus has proven to be a bigger threat to people's jobs and livelihoods than even the financial crash. People are rightly worried about their jobs, their families and their communities. We must ensure no one is left behind.
  • The UK desperately needs a Green Recovery Plan. We can rebuild the economy and protect the environment by creating jobs through embracing new, green technologies.
  • The Prime Minister must also stop the double-whammy of a no-deal by ending the uncertainly and extend the Brexit transition period, protecting access to markets across Europe.
  • We can also now see, by international standards, the Government failed to prepare properly for a pandemic and has been slow to act. There must be an independent inquiry to review the Government's actions.

Lib Dems lead cross party push for more diverse curriculum

Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran is at the forefront of a cross party group of MPs who have written to the Education Secretary calling for review of the national curriculum in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests to combat institutional racism in the UK.

  • The Black Lives Matter protests in the UK and overseas have helped to expose inequalities and injustices that black British citizens face in the UK in 2020. They are galvanising people across the country and right around the world to tackle racism and injustice head on.
  • Education has a huge part to play in this. We all have a duty to make sure the next generation, at least, has a better understanding of the historical injustices contributing to institutional racism that persists in the UK and elsewhere today. Education is a vital tool to empower young people to make change happen.
  • That's why we need to include a more diverse range of historical perspectives in our curriculum and examinations. Teaching a more diverse curriculum in schools is one way we can make greater, swifter progress. We must also ensure that teachers have the training and resources they need to deliver this.
  • There needs to be an investment in recruiting BAME educators and enabling them to take positions of leadership. Role models and representation at all levels is crucial to achieving equality. This should be a clear focus for educational institutions going forward.

PM must abolish suspicion-less stop and search

Yesterday Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey wrote to the Prime Minister calling on him to abolish harmful section 60 suspicion-less stop and search powers.

  • Black people are disproportionately likely to be stopped and searched by the police, and for suspicion-less stop and search the figures are particularly stark. Last year there were there were 4,858 searches of black people and 2,669 of white people, meaning that a black person is 47 times as likely to be subject to Section 60 Stop and Search as a white person.
  • Under suspicion-less Stop and Search powers, a Black person is 47 times more likely to be stopped and searched than a white person.
  • On too many occasions stop and search seems to mean being black is enough to suspect someone of being a criminal.
  • Boris Johnson must abolish suspicion-less Stop and Search powers and end the pain and injustice they wreak on so many people from Britain's black and minority communities.