Author Archives: Mike Bird

Opinion: The Welfare Uprating Bill is a mistake; this is not economic liberalism

I was saddened to hear during the Autumn Statement that increases in many benefits would be capped at 1% for the next three years, particularly because I was in total agreement with David Laws when he opposed a similar policy last year. I was also disappointed that after months of party figures grandstanding about any welfare cuts being contingent on reformed property taxes, no higher council tax bands were announced.

Abandoning indexation for benefits does not just affect them in the year that benefits are not indexed. To use Job Seeker’s Allowance as an example, if inflation is 3% …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 21 Comments

Opinion: bashing bankers the economically liberal way – risk and responsibility

Just before conference I caught some largely unreported news on a Private Member’s Bill, put to the Commons by Steve Baker MP, founder of the Cobden Centre, and one of the Conservative 2010 intake.

My usual response to scant coverage of a Conservative backbencher’s bills would be thankful, but in this case, the bill highlights something that has received astonishingly little attention: reforming the personal liability of directors. We’ve rested on the important points of how to discharge shares in effectively state-owned institutions, and how to increase lending to struggling businesses. On these issues Stephen Williams …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 11 Comments

Competition and Universities: building new Higher Education policy

We took a severe beating in late 2010, from which we’re still not entirely recovered. From here, we can go in two directions: we can build a Higher Education policy that we can be proud of, or we can leave our policy in the pieces it’s currently in, and prepare for 2015’s brutal assault.

It’s hard to see a treasured policy fall apart under the pressure of electoral and financial reality. We all know there are positive aspects of the increase in graduate contributions that we can claim as ours: a Labour or Tory government would not have faced the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 12 Comments
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  • User AvatarRichard Dean 22nd Dec - 8:29pm
    People say the LibDem demographic is skewed in some respects, such as the gender balance. Is this "normal"? Are there class or income-band biases too,...
  • User AvatarStephen W 22nd Dec - 7:53pm
    They promised the referendum would be once in a lifetime. Within a couple of months they are demanding another referendum. What's that about keeping their...
  • User AvatarGraham Evans 22nd Dec - 7:52pm
    I have not seen any statistics on the subject, but I would surmise that the main difference between overseas graduates who pay much higher fees...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 22nd Dec - 7:47pm
    I think this is fine, as long as people don't have unrealistic expectations for businesses. A lot of businesses simply want what feels like a...
  • User AvatarDavid Howell 22nd Dec - 7:13pm
    Stephen W. Care to tell us why the SNP have quadrupled their membership since the referendum if what you say is so? Could it be...
  • User AvatarNick Collins 22nd Dec - 7:08pm
    Sorry, that should have read: 'Btw, RC, if you are "not afraid of standing up for the LibDems", why do you feel the need to...
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