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 AvatarAndrew T 22nd Jan - 9:47pm
    @Andrew McCaig - Mostly pensions. I'm unsure on social housing as a good idea, the cost of housing is more a specific problem in London...
  • User AvatarGlenn 22nd Jan - 9:44pm
    No I don't believe in snarling. I think it it's perfectly easy to be cordial, nice and commutative without believing all things are interconnected. Here's...
  • User AvatarMick Taylor 22nd Jan - 9:27pm
    Sorry that I can't be there to help. Australia is too far away to commute or phone canvass! I will be cheering you on from...
  • User Avatarpaul holmes 22nd Jan - 9:15pm
    @Andrew T. When the Lib Dems were campaigning for specific tax increases for specific purposes in the 1997/2001/2005 General Elections we successively won our 3...
  • User AvatarCaracatus 22nd Jan - 9:11pm
    Well done Nick , talking up UKIP just before two crucial by-elections. It ill becomes someone who was so useless in Government to criticise Labour...
  • User AvatarAndrew McCaig 22nd Jan - 9:03pm
    Andrew T Can you tell us what "welfare spending" you want to cut? Disability benefits again? I would be in favour of cutting the huge...