Nick Clegg’s Letter from the Leader: “The Lib Dem vision for future economic growth and prosperity”

The Lib Dem leadership — as I noted here yesterday — is determined to get on the front foot on the economy. This autumn will see a leadership-proposed motion backing further capital investment (“within the fiscal envelope”) while retaining the commitment to deficit reduction. Nick’s letter this week is coordinated with that message, and in particular the importance for growth throughout the regions of the UK. Here’s what he has to say…

libdem letter from nick clegg

On Thursday I visited the Toyota and Rolls Royce factories in Derbyshire to announce the latest round of the Regional Growth Fund: 102 new projects that will create or safeguard 77,000 jobs.

I remember first making the case for the £3.2 billion RGF back in May 2010. We knew we had to take decisive action to get control of government borrowing. But I remember also being crystal clear that cuts would not be enough to get our economy going again. We couldn’t let our industrial heartlands pay the price for the economic mess we had inherited from Labour. We had to invest where it mattered to create jobs.

That’s as true now, as we start to emerge from the worst of our economic difficulties, as it was three years ago. Cutting the deficit is vital but it’s just a foundation. We need to be creative if we want to build on that foundation: and that’s what Danny Alexander, Vince Cable and I have been relentlessly fighting for.

It’s not just the Regional Growth Fund.

You can find out exactly how government has been investing in jobs in your area on this map, part of our Million Jobs campaign.

In the Treasury, Danny has pioneered government guarantees to back £50bn of investment in infrastructure and housing. At the Business Department, Vince has created the new Green Investment Bank and the Business Bank to channel money to people who can create jobs.

We’ve enabled over a million new jobs, and growth is slowly returning to our economy but we cannot be complacent. The budget deficit is still likely to be among the largest in the EU. Youth employment remains stubbornly high. House building remains well below historic averages. And small businesses continue to tell us they are struggling to access the finance they need to grow.

I know the party – its members and supporters – prioritise jobs and growth above almost everything else at the moment. You are rightly looking to me, Vince and Danny to give the party strong sense of purpose and direction on the economy. So the three of us have come together over the past few months to discuss the economic choices ahead with our Parliamentary colleagues, with our councillors, with our members and with our supporters.

We’ve agreed this autumn is the right moment to set out a clear, Liberal Democrat vision for Britain’s future economic growth and prosperity. We are putting a motion to our party conference that will move us beyond the sterile Plan A versus Plan B debate and onto distinct liberal territory. Not abandoning for a moment our commitment to fiscal discipline. But not wavering, either, in our determination to find new ways to support growth and jobs.

In that motion, we’ll be setting out the Liberal Democrats’ commitment to fight in government:

  • to help young people find work and training
  • to get more credit to small businesses through our Business Bank
  • to make the Green Investment Bank independent so it can borrow in the markets and expand
  • for a creative approach to the state owned banks to ensure they lend, and banking competition increases.

Importantly, we’ll also be setting out ideas to give local councils new freedoms to invest in building the affordable homes their communities need: a plan built on the liberal principles of localism, innovation and social justice. I know just how important housing – and especially affordable housing – is to the whole of our party, across the country.

And of course, in our Million Jobs campaign we’re working to double the number of companies that take on apprentices.

You can join the campaign here.

We will remain committed to balancing the budget, now and in the future. Labour’s fantasy that you could eliminate the deficit by borrowing billions more is just that: a fantasy. But we can be more creative and innovative in the drive for growth, and with your endorsement at conference, we will do so.

I hope to see you there.

You can register here.

Best wishes,

Nick Clegg

Do you know someone who would like to get Nick’s weekly email? Forward this post and they can sign up here: http://www.libdememails.co.uk/nick

For those Lib Dem members wanting to receive Nick and the party’s emails, Mark Pack has produced a handy guide to help ensure you’re signed up: Why did I not get that email from the Liberal Democrats?

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

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18 Comments

  • Marvelous how you manager to use the word “remember” twice in your second paragraph.

    And yet.

    You failed to remember a Lib Dem promise of No cutting the deficit on the backs of the poor,
    No further cuts to welfare. What was it you said again?
    Oh yes
    “”I believe that if you’re going to reopen welfare, it’s only fair to work at the top and work down, not start at the bottom and work up,””

    And what happened in the chancellors spending review?
    The new seven-day wait before the unemployed can claim benefits.
    A Total cap on welfare spending which “excludes” pensions and can only be achieved by {Wrongly and unfairly} assessing those claimants in need of sickness benefits.

    You also failed to remember the promise in the first paragraph of your constitution “The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.”

    And lets no fail to remember that promise on tuition fee’s.

    You seem to have a knack of remembering somethings Mr Clegg and yet have total amnesia when it comes to the things that really count.

    Why should anyone listen or belive in another word you have to say

  • “copy and paste what you have written into an email to Nick Clegg. That might have some impact, and even gain you a response to your concerns.”

    Possibly – but I’m still waiting for a reply from an email to him in March about secret courts so lets not get too optimistitic

  • @ peter.tyzack

    Perhaps members feel a bit embarrassed complaining to NC’s about his leadership of the Party – particularly if they believe he is the biggest hinderance to recovering its lost support.

    Since I presume you are in direct contact with NC, perhaps you could quietly inform him of the results of this poll and suggest that he does the right thing:

    In touch:
    DC – 46%; EM -29%; NC -51%; NF -7%

    Interesting:
    DC -9%; EM -38%; NC -39%; NF -4%

    Honest:
    DC -10%; EM -4%; NC -24%; NF -14%

    Good in a crisis:
    DC +5%; EM -29%; NC -46%; NF -28%

    Up to governing:
    DC +1%; EM -26%; NC -47%; NF – 40%

    Genuine:
    DC -33%; EM -26%; NC -34%; NF -9%

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/4959003/Boris-Johnson-tops-party-leaders-popularity.html

  • @Simon Shaw

    I take it you support The new seven-day wait before the unemployed can claim benefits then?

    I take it you also support the Cap on the total welfare budget {which excludes pensions} even though these make up for half of the welfare budget, which will only be achieved by denying people access to sickness benefits in which they should be entitled.

    I do not see how in anyone’s mind that can be fair. But please enlighten me on why you think it is.

  • Simon

    Do you ever answer a question that is put to you? or do you just get off on arguing?

    You waded into a comment that I made, which is MY OPINION and for which I am entitled to air.

    You seem to be challenging “MY OPINION” so i therefore ask you again.

    Do you agree with the new seven-day wait before the unemployed can claim benefits then?
    &
    Do you also support the Cap on the total welfare budget {which excludes pensions} even though these make up for half of the welfare budget, which will only be achieved by denying people access to sickness benefits in which they should be entitled.

    It is not a difficult question really Simon.

    You questioned my opinion, so surely you can elaborate on your “own stance” on these welfare measures.
    If your not going to do so, then it was pretty pointless of you to Interject in the first place I think

  • Peter Watson 15th Jul '13 - 5:56pm

    @Simon Shaw “You completely ignore Nick Clegg’s very clear apology on that.”
    But did Clegg apologise for breaking a promise or for making one? It never seemed very clear at all.

  • Peter Watson 15th Jul '13 - 5:58pm

    But who can forget the brilliant musical video. All together now, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so so sorry …”

  • @Simon Shaw

    You really are kerfuffled aren’t you, is the sun getting to you lol.

    I was not caught out saying anything untrue.

    I pinpointed to things Clegg “failed” to remember when he made those promises or statements.
    Whether he apologized for his failures at a later date is totally irrelevant .

    You clearly are not going to indulge us with what your stance is on the welfare policies that I gave” my ” opinion on, So your interjection into this thread is pointless

    Is it the case that you agree with these new welfare policies that where announced, and if so, what is your problem in defending them.

    If it is the case that you are not supportive of those changes, then your comments directed at me are pretty pointless and would show you up as being someone who likes to cause friction and argument for the sake of it.

    There are no smoke screens from my end I assure you, but the room is looking pretty cloudy your end!!!!!

  • First lets have an explanation for your first post @ 1.21pm
    “I’m sorry, but that doesn’t mean “No further cuts to welfare”. It implies there have to be further cuts but that they should be fair.”

    After all that was your first snipe at me, The opinions that I gave with regards to the changes to welfare.

    Your post at 1.21pm seems to be supportive of those new welfare changes and you believe them to be fair.

    I fail to see why you feel unable to set out your position, when this was the crux of your first argument.

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