Oliver Bonas to be congratulated for paying Living Wage in a sector dominated by low pay

Stephen Knight AM, Liberal Democrat London Assembly economic spokesperson, commenting on the decision by Oliver Bonas to become the first high street fashion chain in the UK to become an accredited Living Wage employer, said: 

“The retail sector is sadly dominated by very low paying, insecure jobs.  It is therefore significant when a high street fashion retailer like Oliver Bonas with stores across London in places such as Battersea, Cheapside, Clapham, Crouch End, Dulwich, Ealing, Kingston, Hampstead, Islington, Kensington, Putney and Richmond pledges to pay the London Living Wage.”

“The problem is that most employers so far signing up to the Living Wage have been organisations that had very few low paid employees in the first place, like banks and insurance firms. The vast majority of low paid employees work in sectors like hospitality and catering, cleaning, social care and retail.  These are the sectors where we most need employers to raise their wages. 

“Oliver Bonas has now set down a challenge to other retail companies to raise their wages too.”






Mayor must now come clean over plans for Night Buses – Caroline Pidgeon

Caroline Pidgeon AM, Liberal Democrat London Assembly transport spokesperson, commenting on the announcement that the launch of the Night Tube has been deferred said:


"This is a big climb down for the Mayor.  His retreat is entirely due to his error in setting a specific start date before all the staffing arrangements and other issues had been settled.


"By pushing for a set start date the Mayor strengthened the union’s negotiating position.


"The Mayor must now also come clean and explain when the expected changes to Night Buses will take place.


"It would be totally wrong if any Night Bus routes see a cut in their weekend service before the start of the Night Tube."






A long delayed report with outdated arguments


Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the support for a third Heathrow runway by the Davies airport commission said: 

“This much delayed report simply repeats many outdated arguments in opting for a third Heathrow runway.

“However many conditions are set ultimately a third Heathrow runway will have devastating consequences for a large section of London in terms of noise and increased air pollution.   

“By advocating a third Heathrow runway it seems all the evidence for better using the extensive spare airport capacity at airports such as Stansted have been rejected.    The commission’s inability to consider a future with fewer internal and European flights is also depressing.”





Rise in London’s children who are missing from care is a scar on this city – Caroline Pidgeon

New evidence has revealed that in many parts of London there has been an alarming rise in the number of vulnerable children who have gone missing from the care of our local authorities in the last year.

The report London’s Children: Missing From Care, launched today by the London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon, provides a detailed picture of theextent of how many children have gone missing and how many times, using freedom of information requests sent to all 32 London Boroughs.

Accurate information was obtained from 21 of London’s boroughs and comparing similar data collected last year it is now possible to accurately compare the changes between 2013 and 2014 in 11 London Boroughs.

In these 11 London Boroughs 231 vulnerable children went missing for more than 24 hours in 2013.  A year later in 2014 the number of runaway children had soared to 504 – an increase of 118%.

The increase in runaway children took place both with children placed within London boroughs, but also children placed in care in other councils.

 Some examples of the rise in runaway children include:

  • Enfield: 110 children went missing from care 251 times in the last year.  Between 2013 and 2014 the number of children going missing from care increased by 358% from 24 to 110.   A closer examination of the statistics shows a staggering 722% increase in missing children in borough placements                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

  • Brent: 93 children went missing from care on 172 occasions last year.  Between 2013 to 2014 the number of children going missing from care increased by 94% from 48 to 93 children.

  • Camden: 65 children went missing from care 151 times last year.  Between 2013 and 2014 the number of children going missing from care increased by 51% from 43 to 65.

  • Lewisham: between 2013 and 2014 the number of children going missing from care increased by 164% from 28 to 74 children.

Caroline Pidgeon, commenting on the findings from her report said:

“There is a serious problem with the number of children missing from the care of London Boroughs in every part of London.  Not one London Borough can be complacent about this issue.

“A looked after child is already a vulnerable child.  If they go missing for 24 hours or more they are immediately at serious risk, such as being drawn into criminal activity or becoming a victim of sexual abuse.  Sadly across London there are a number of criminal syndicates which target girls and boys for sexual abuse, often targeting runaway children.

“The recorded figures from boroughs showing a steep rise in runway children over the last year should set alarm bells ringing.

“However, these boroughs at least know how serious the situation is.   What is most concerning is the boroughs that fail to accurately collect information or make feeble excuses for not releasing the data.

“Accurate figures for the number of children who runaway form care must be collected by every London council and the data regularly published.  Ultimately you can only tackle a problem when you know how serious it is.  It is simply wrong that this information has to be obtained through freedom of information requests.

“It says everything about the low priority we give to the protection of children in London that more accurate information is collected about late running tube trains than recording the risks facing London’s most vulnerable children.” 

The report also sets out a number of areas for action to provide greater protection to London’s looked after children.


Join the fightback for liberal values

Last Thursday was the most difficult of nights. Not just for the Liberal Democrats, but also for all of us who believe that hope is much more powerful than fear.

Last Thursday the politics of fear beat the politics of hope, and that hurts.

The Liberal Democrats are down, but we're not out. We're starting our fightback today and I'm asking you to be part of it.

Since polls closed over 5000 people have joined the Liberal Democrats because they believe that there is a better way. Will you join them?

Join the fightback today


Nothing could show just how much Britain needs a strong, liberal party than Theresa May's announcement that she will immediately be introducing the snoopers charter, giving the state unprecedented power to monitor your personal communications. 

Those of us who believe in the values of liberty, community and individual freedom must stand together. Please join us today and be part of our future.

Thank You

Caroline Pidgeon
Leader of the Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly

Plans launched for Care Closer To Home Fund

The Liberal Democrats have launched a £2.5bn "Care Closer to Home" fund. It's designed to help people stay healthier for longer, and avoid hospital admissions by investing in care for people in their own homes, GP surgeries, care homes and community clinics.

It's clear to most of us by now that pressures on hospitals usually appear because of problems elsewhere in the health system. Elderly people can't be discharged from hospital because they don't have the appropriate care at home, or mums and dads are forced to take their children to A&E because the GP surgery is closed. 

The fund will create a fairer society that will mean patients receive the right care, at the right time, in the right place, with them having more control over their treatment and support. 


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“When has a report launch about Europe had anything less to do with Europe?” – Caroline Pidgeon

Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the launch today of Dr Gerard Lyons' report, titled "The Europe Report - A win-win situation" said:

"When has a report launch about Europe had anything less to do with Europe?

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Network Rail fines are just the start to delivering a better rail service – Caroline Pidgeon

Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group and transport spokesperson, commenting on the awarding of £53 million in fines to Network Rail due to its poor punctuality record said:

"These fines will be considered by most train passengers as long overdue. Hopefully they will force Network Rail to ensure real improvements take place in the punctuality of rail services.

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