There was a double dose of senior Lib Demmery on yesterday’s World at One with Nick Clegg and Tim Farron both talking about the local elections. Firstly, Nick on the Liberal Democrats making fair decisions in challenging economic times:
Everybody knows money is tight and that local councillors have done and will continue to have to make savings. The question is who can be relied on to do it most fairly. You certainly can’t rely on either Conservative or Labour parties if you look at their local records. I think the Liberal Democrats locally have proved themselves to be a party which is responsible and tough enough to deal with the economic issues we’re facing but to do so as fairly as possible.
Later on, Tim Farron took part in a panel with Hilary Benn and Grant Shapps.
You can listen to him here from around 28 minutes. On Liberal Democrat prospects in the elections, he was optimistic:
There’s no point in pretending we haven’t had a bad couple of years. But in 2012 we saw a real comeback against Labour in places like Hull, Newcastle and Sheffield where nobody would have predicted that. If you look at local government by-elections, we are making net gains which is quite staggering. No-one would imagine that is the case but it is and I’m bound to point out to you Eastleigh. It demonstrates that where we have a base and where we’ve got strength, the Liberal Democrats are still capable of winning. These are not going to be easy elections but we are proving we are winning again and there’s a lot of confidence about.
Tim was then asked how he felt about the Conservatives claiming credit in their campaigns for the Liberal Democrats’ flagship tax policy.
Well they know it’s popular and it’s the one thing people mention on the doorstep more often than anything else is that they realise that the Liberal Democrats have won this massive victory for them, an extra £600 in their pocket and that’s hugely significant. But just on Council Tax benefit, it’s interesting that Liberal Democrats are doing the right thing in difficult times. Where I’m sitting now in Kendal, where the Liberal Democrats run the District Council, what we’ve done is stick up the second home council tax for very wealthy people who don’t live here and nobody is getting any cut in their Council Tax benefit whatsoever.
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