• The government's Article 50 case cost taxpayers £1.2m in legal fees, a document published by the Brexit Department has revealed. The Liberal Democrats described it as a "kick in the teeth for taxpayers." The Department for Brexit's annual report states that a total of £3.7m was spent on legal costs. Of this, £0.7m was spent on the Article 50 and Article 127 court cases, while £0.5m was spent on court ordered third party litigation costs. The total net spending of the Department for Brexit this year was £24.2m. The government had previously repeatedly refused to make the costs of the court case public, including in answers to parliamentary questions by Liberal Democrat MPs. Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake commented: "This £1.2m bill is a kick in the teeth for taxpayers. "The Conservatives fought every step of the way in the courts to try and avoid proper scrutiny over Brexit, now the public is having to pick up the tab. "The government repeatedly refused to make this information public, and now have slipped it out at the eleventh hour. "None of this would have happened if the government had done the right thing and given Parliament a full role from the start. "But this bill is nothing compared to the huge cost the country will pay if the Conservatives plough ahead with their extreme version of Brexit."

    16 hours ago

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    The Liberal Democrats have described new figures showing the gender pay gap amongst highly paid employees at the BBC as a "wake-up call." Figures published today have shown that of the 108 people at the BBC who earn more than £150,000, just 34 are women. Only five women are in the top 20 and one in the top 10. Claudia Winkleman, the top earning female. earns a quarter (£400,000 - £449,000) of the salary of the highest earning male, Chris Evans (£2.2m – 2.249m). Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader and Former Equalities Minister Jo Swinson commented: "I hope these figures will act as a really strong wake-up call. "We need to eliminate the gender pay gap as quickly possible. "Making gender pay gap data transparent is vital to pierce the bubble of complacency in organisations. That is why I was so determined in 2015 to win the fight in government to introduce mandatory gender pay gap reporting. "That means that not only do we know the picture in the BBC, soon we will be able to see how other media organisations compare."

    16 hours ago

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    Today the IFS’s annual report on Living Standards, Poverty and Inequality in the UK, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that one in four poor children live in the 10% most deprived local authorities creating ‘geographical ghettos of poverty’ according to the Liberal Democrats. With real wages currently falling and working age benefits and tax credits being cut, income growth since then is likely to have been very weak. Commenting on the report, Liberal Democrat Shadow Welfare spokesperson Stephen Lloyd MP said: “This report shows for the first time we are creating geographical ghettos of poverty that are trapping a generation of people and their children. “The government for all their talk about strivers and the just about managing are actively doing nothing to help. These good people are being hauled below the waterline, which is unacceptable. “It is time to stop slashing social security, create a proper living wage and help those in need. In Britain, in 2017 no nurse should be going to a foodbank, this is a stain on our country.”

    16 hours ago

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