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 AvatarAlex Sabine 1st Apr - 1:50am
    You are right that George Osborne did not make these arguments and matched Brown's spending plans until the onset of the financial crisis. This was...
  • User AvatarAlex Sabine 1st Apr - 1:45am
    @ Stuart - On the 'off-topic' point, I was responding to Steve Comer's argument about the 1997-2001 Blair government, which itself was a response to...
  • User AvatarDavid Evershed 1st Apr - 1:19am
    Caron You should have asked Mark Thompson about biting a BBC producer and then getting promoted to Director General of the BBC (according to Guido...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 1st Apr - 1:00am
    Nicola Sturgeon is now saying she wants Labour to remove the benefits cap and increase them by more than inflation each year. The SNP leadership...
  • User AvatarStevan Rose 1st Apr - 12:40am
    Joey Essex. The strongest argument there is in favour of requiring an examination before being granted a vote. The boy has made a fortune out...
  • User Avatarmalc 1st Apr - 12:32am
    Phyllis "I’m afraid my head tells me that nothing in the Lib Dem manifesto can be treated as anything other than a wish-list, ready to...
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