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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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarChris Bertram 24th Mar - 12:04pm
    @Ian BB - encouraging, but that is a town council result rather than a principal authority, so we should be wary of reading too much...
  • User AvatarIain BB 24th Mar - 11:44am
    Lib Dem Gain Prescot North West with 32% swing Lab>LD. LD 68% (+30%) Lab 28% (-34%) Con 4% (+4%)
  • User Avatarnvelope2003 24th Mar - 11:37am
    Further to my comment, for the record I do not believe that IRA violence can be justified but unless it was to go on forever...
  • User AvatarJohn Barrett 24th Mar - 11:17am
    Unlike Ben, I am not convinced of the case for a second referendum and think that if Tim and the party hope to win over...
  • User Avatartheakes 24th Mar - 10:46am
    Great win in Somerset. Leominster, an area of Lib Dem/Liberal strength for many years, therefore we should ask some polite questions. I hope we will...
  • User AvatarGwyn Williams 24th Mar - 10:30am
    The Department for Exiting the EU needs to by an atlas. The UK and France are not the only European powers with nuclear weapons. Russia...