Tag Archives: david laws

Opinion: The Immigration Premium: A positive approach to immigration

This concept of an Immigration Premium was developed after watching Nick Clegg struggle to counter Nigel Farage on the subject of immigration in the European election debates. The UKIP leader is correctly able to state that we have an open door policy to European Immigration and hundreds of thousands of people arrive year after year, putting immense strains on housing, education, healthcare and other infrastructure elements.

The Immigration Premium turns this problem on its head. New immigrants (identifiable by NI number) have high levels of employment and through sheer weight of numbers make a major contribution to the exchequer both through direct taxes and indirect spending. In fact, immigration is a major factor in the economy’s return to growth. The Immigration Premium identifies additional tax revenues generated by immigration and directs additional funds to the geographic areas and services most directly affected by sudden influxes of large numbers of new people.

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David Laws on Lib Dem plans for the General Election

Yesterday Nick Clegg officially launched our pre-Manifesto, which will be debated at Federal Conference next month. David Laws was asked by the BBC about the costings, and he said:

We will publish the figures before the next election, but what Nick Clegg did say today is that the proposals that are in our pre-manifesto that we published today are considerably less expensive than the manifesto that we stood on in 2010. I personally am confident that if we were a Liberal Democrat government by ourselves, and we didn’t have to negotiate with other parties, then all that we’ve put in our pre-manifesto is actually deliverable.

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Conference agenda published; deadline for amendments and emergency motions extended

Party members should last night have received an email from David Laws with an update on next month’s conference. The majority of the agenda and the directory have now been made available on the party website (some items will be published following the rescheduled launch of the pre-manifesto next Monday).

To reflect the delayed publication the deadline for the submission of amendments and emergency motions has also been extended to Wednesday 24 September.

Here’s David’s email in full:

Important documents for the Glasgow Conference, including the Agenda and Directory, have just been made available on the party website – please click to see them.

The Pre-Manifesto, which I have been leading on as chair of the Manifesto Group, will now be published next Monday along with the policy papers on Public Services and an Ageing Society (which also include some of the same new policy proposals)

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Opinion: Need, not a magic number, should determine size of the state

Union flag photo credit: Some rights reserved by ianonlineIronically, one of strongest views expressed about the size of the state in The Orange Book was by Vince Cable, subsequently more usually associated with wanting more state spending during the recession but at the time of The Orange Book wishing to see a cap introduced on the level of state spending.

Jeremy Browne has more recently talked of wanting to reduce the size of the state to around 35-38% of GDP but more significant has been David Laws’s comments which in effect put any push by people such as himself in the party for reducing the size of the state into the deep freeze. He attacked the Conservatives, saying:

“Their desire to shrink the state by continuing to cut spending long after the deficit has been cleared trumped their rhetorical commitment to expanding opportunity for young people. Clearly a political dividing line on fiscal policy matters more to them than the effort to reduce poverty and expand life chances.”

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The Independent View: The pupil premium may be starting to deliver – but beware false dawns of the past

student_ipad_school - 175Today Ofsted deliver their verdict on the Liberal Democrats’ pupil premium policy, four years into its existence – a pledge which was on the front page of the party’s manifesto. In straitened times, this was a welcome commitment to focus limited resources on poorer children, and an explicit attempt to break the cycle of poverty.

There are positive signs that the additional resources being put in through pupil premium are being used better to improve the education of children from low income backgrounds, but not yet evidence that they are …

photo by: flickingerbrad
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Laws: “99% of schools now have a plan in place to deliver universal free school meals in September”

school mealsI’ll be honest. If I had the choice over where to direct £500 million a year of taxpayers’ money, universal free school meals for infants would not be top of my priority list.

That said, the sheer desperation of right-wing newspapers like the Daily Mail for the policy to fail just to spite Nick Clegg strikes me as pretty mean-spirited. It’s a policy which is highly popular with headteachers, and will be with parents too. Perhaps more surprisingly, it’s possibly the only Lib Dem policy ever to attract the support of …

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“The Guardian view on the Lib Dem Orange Book”

The GuardianAs we noted earlier this week, the tenth anniversary of the publication of The Orange Book was marked by a conference hosted by CentreForum on Tuesday. Today The Guardian publishes an editorial reflecting on the book’s impact a decade on. Here’s an excerpt:

The book certainly signalled that the Lib Dems were not – or not only – a party of protest for those who resented tuition fees or the Iraq war. The market-minded emphasis of David Laws, who proposed a social insurance model for the NHS in his essay,

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LDVideo: David Laws on the success of The Orange Book, 10 years on

On Tuesday, Centre Forum, the liberal think tank, held a one-day conference in London to mark the tenth anniversary of the publication of The Orange Book (we have already run pieces on the event by Stephen here, by Andrew Chamberlain here and by Rebecca Hanson here).

David Laws, one of the co-editors of The Orange Book (along with Paul Marshall), delivered the key-note speech on the day, a video of which has now been put online by Centre Forum. You can view it below, or here on YouTube.

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Opinion: “Orange Bookers” are the boldest thinkers in the party. They need also to be the most progressive

David Laws speaking at Lib Dem Spring conference, Liverpool 2008“No return to soggy socialism” was the message that David Laws chose to end his keynote address to Centre Forum’s Orange Book Ten Years On conference yesterday.

It’s a message that is bound to antagonise people in the party who define themselves in opposition to the Orange Book and its endorsement of liberal economics. However much Laws and his co-editor Paul Marshall emphasised that their support for economic liberalism was predicated on the belief that it would promote progressive ends there will still …

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The Orange Book, 10 years on: 5 thoughts on its legacy

Orange_BookToday saw what its co-editor Paul Marshall called the belated launch party for The Orange Book – such was the controversy surrounding its publication 10 years ago that the original event was cancelled. I was only able to attend one of the sessions (on public service reform) so here are five more general observations on its legacy…

1) The Orange Book remains much misunderstood, sometimes deliberately by those who enjoy internal warring, more often by those who’ve not read it (whisper it, some sections are pretty turgid) but know its reputation and assume it’s a right-wing, Thatcherite manual for destroying this country’s social contract. As Paul Marshall re-affirmed today, the aim of The Orange Book was to show how socially liberal aims could best be achieved through economically liberal means, recognising that in the real world both markets and governments fail. Two of its leading contributors are currently the most popular Lib Dem ministers in government: Vince Cable and Steve Webb. That said, it was (for both Marshall and David Laws at any rate) also a very deliberate statement of intent in 2004 that the Lib Dems needed to do more than simply out-Labour Labour by proposing new money and extra staff in every area of public service and argue that was liberalism (which is largely what the party’s 2005 manifesto did).

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The two Orange Bookers who’ve won over the Lib Dem membership

Orange_BookIt’s 10 years since The Orange Book was published. Edited by David Laws and Paul Marshall it was widely regarded as an attempt by economic liberals within the Lib Dems to wrest back control of the party from social liberals.

Both Laws and Marshall would argue their attempt at ‘reclaiming liberalism’ (the book’s sub-title) was more about re-balancing liberalism as practised by the Lib Dems — that the party had grown intellectually lazy, happiest with simply saying ‘tax more, spend more’ as the answer to every public policy problem without thinking …

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Gove and Laws write for Times: We are committed to free school meals policy because evidence shows it helps kids achieve more

20120907-FNS-LSC-0544On his various media appearances this morning, Nick Clegg has been asked whether he ordered Michael Gove and David Laws to write an article setting out the background to the free school meals policy. He  said on Call Clegg that he had suggested it to them that they clarify the situation to reassure parents that the policy will be delivered on time.

This comes after a febrile few days when Dominic Cummings, Gove’s former Special Adviser, has been telling everyone who will listen that this was a policy drawn up pretty much …

photo by: USDAgov
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David Laws says Councils should charge for bin collections. Or does he?

Refuse collection bin lorry LicenseAttribution Some rights reserved by bilbobagweedToday’s Telegraph says “David Laws: Councils should charge for bin collections

It’s a headline designed to get you imagining piles of uncollected rubbish on the streets when people don’t pay.  It’s designed to invoke all of your senses. The smell of waste left to putrify in the noonday sun, that tell-tale sound of scurrying little rodent feet, and then the sight of pink-eyed, hungry rats. Everywhere.

That unmistakeable smell of decay is already in your nostrils, isn’t it?

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Lib Dems hit back against free school lunch attacks. Clegg on Mail: “utterly wrong”. Laws on Cummings: “utter balls”

daily mail free school lunchesToday’s Daily Mail front page was dominated by an attack on the Lib Dem plans to bring in free school lunches for all infants: “Free school meals fiasco,” it screamed.

Nick Clegg quickly refuted the Mail’s attack in a lengthy post on the party’s website – here’s an excerpt:

The Liberal Democrats are never going to be loved in the pages of the Daily Mail: our open, liberal and progressive brand of politics tends to be at odds with their editorial worldview (to put it mildly). However,

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Nick Clegg announces 2015 negotiating team

Nick Clegg has announced the team who will handle coalition negotiations after the election in 2015 (if needed, of course).  It will consist of Danny Alexander, Steve Webb, Sal Brinton, Lynne Featherstone and David Laws.

In his book ‘22 days in May‘ David Laws revealed that Nick Clegg had appointed the 2010 negotiating team in secret during the previous year. The team was not put together in haste after the election, as many had assumed, so there were really no excuses for the absence of women. Politically David Laws and Danny Alexander were drawn from the economic liberal wing of …

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Opinion: On child poverty targets, on which I agree with David Laws

“A fair, free and open society, in which… no one shall be enslaved by poverty.”

The fundamental basis of our party’s constitution – its very soul – is the elimination of poverty. We may disagree amongst us on how best to achieve this ambitious goal, but there’s little dissent on having it as a goal, particularly when it comes to the blight of children growing up in poverty.

As Caron made clear, we find ourselves in government with a party that doesn’t share many of our values – rarely is this crystallised as starkly as this week’s battle over child poverty …

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David Laws challenges Tories on child poverty

The frustrations of being in government with the Tories are no greater than when they are concerned with issues of poverty and vulnerability. Many Liberal Democrats have ongoing concerns about welfare reforms which remove support from people who need it. However much we might try to console ourselves with the fact that we are making a difference with things like free school meals, the raising of the tax threshold, extra childcare for the poorest, an early start to education for the poorest 2 year olds and making sure that the whole country enjoys the benefits of the economic recovery and …

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David Laws on Times manifesto article: “Nothing could be further from the truth”

I wrote this morning about an article in the Times which suggested that our manifesto would ditch policies that both the Conservatives and Labour disagreed with.

Manifesto Working Group Chair David Laws has responded to the Times article with an unequivocal posting on the party’s new website.

He says:

Nothing could be further from the truth.

As Chair of the Manifesto Group, I see it as our role to set out a clear Liberal Democrat vision of where we would like to take Britain in the next Parliament – this is why our Manifesto themes paper at the Glasgow conference has a chapter

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Nobody else will speak up for liberalism, so our manifesto has to be brimming with it

lib dem manifesto tax cutI find myself bemused by this report from today’s Times (£) which suggests that Liberal Democrats would steer clear of any policies that both the Conservatives or Labour disagreed with in our manifesto for next year’s General Election.

The article reports a conversation with a Liberal Democrat source:

He conceded that the party was not going to win a majority at the next general election, but said it was vital that it left open the opportunity of working with either of the other two parties. “We need to

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Fraser Nelson’s must-read guide to utterly and completely misunderstanding the Lib Dems’ Coalition strategy

Fraser Nelson has written a must-read guide to utterly and completely misunderstanding the Lib Dems’ Coalition strategy today. My guess is he’s reliant on Tory intelligence, which in this case is an oxymoron.

Much of it is the usual half-fair/half-unfair admixture of insults regularly thrown at the Lib Dems by the right-wing media. We are, says Fraser, “a hodge-podge of a party defined by its lack of definition”, “conservative in Somerset and socialist in Solihull” (has he met Lorely Burt?). Unlike the Conservatives, of course, where the small-l-liberal outlook of Ken Clarke and Nick Boles dovetails perfectly with the …

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It’s Laws v Gove again as Lib Dem schools minister says academy chains should be accountable to Ofsted

‘It’s civil war in the Coalition classroom’ – that’s how the Independent bills the latest row between those two very civil politicians running the education department, Conservative secretary of state Michael Gove and Lib Dem schools minister David Laws.

I wrote at the weekend about the first spat, which erupted after Michael Gove’s decision to sack Baroness (Sally) Morgan as chair of Ofsted for doing too good a job – at least, that seemed to be the gist of his argument, as he praised her to the skies for her “superlative” work before saying it was time for a …

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Gove and Laws scrap it out on front pages over sacking of Ofsted head. Here’s what the row is all about.

Today’s newspaper front pages are full of the scrap taking place at the heart of the Department for Education between Conservative secretary of state Michael Gove and Lib Dem schools minister David Laws:

gove laws - papers

  • Ofsted row: Lib Dems furious at Conservative plan to ‘politicise’ classrooms (Independent on Sunday)
  • Lib Dems savage Gove over sacked schools boss (The Sunday Times, £)
  • Angry Lib Dems accuse Michael Gove of bid to politicise education (Observer)
  • Why is there a row?

    On Friday night, The Independent broke the news that Baroness (Sally) Morgan, the Labour

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    Want to see a photo of a Young David Laws?

    Young David Laws – no, not a new telly detective, but a picture of Lib Dem schools minister David Laws aged about 19. Hint: he’s the chap on the left… a phrase not normally associated with David.

    (Hat-tip to Jezz Palmer for spotting.)

    young david laws

    Anyone got other photos of Lib Dem MPs before they were famous?

    Posted in News | Also tagged | 17 Comments

    The Independent View: Could Ireland’s emerging healthcare reforms test David Laws’ NHIS vision?

    Nearly a decade ago now, David Laws MP raised the idea of evolving the NHS into a continental-style universal ‘National Health Insurance Scheme’ (NHIS), where healthcare would be progressively funded from dedicated income contributions, individuals could choose insurers and everyone would be entitled to a comprehensive package of set treatments within a decentralised but heavily regulated system. It was a bold and interesting proposal, which for better or worse helped define the 2004 Orange Book in eyes of many, though it has perhaps also been misunderstood and straw-manned to a degree.

    However, besides substantive criticisms and the understandable sensitivities that talk …

    Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged and | 19 Comments

    David Laws’ “Manifestival” now up on You Tube

    David Laws and PinguLast night, David Laws spent an hour answering members’ questions on the development of the Liberal Democrat manifesto. He took questions on a huge range of issues ranging from the economy to civil liberties to justice, fracking and schools. It’s quite remarkable that this is being done so openly and publicly.

    Some of us had trouble accessing the event. If it hadn’t been for Stace Williams, I wouldn’t have managed it at all. As it as, I have half an hour to catch up on. And I can, too. Because it’s up on You Tube.

    It’s 53 minutes long, so best to be enjoyed over a cup of tea.

    I make no apology, by the way, for the gratuitous use of the photograph of David and Pingu. I don’t think Paddy Ashdown has yet forgiven you readers for not voting it the best photo in the Liberal Democrat Voice awards. I see no reason why we shouldn’t use it as much as we possibly can.

    Anyway, enjoy the Q & A. You will note that the Divine Ms Duffett looks as if she has been at that Fountain of Eternal Youth again. She is very good at chairing these webinars, making them informal and informative.

    I should also emphasise that David said that he ideally needs ideas for the manifesto within the next six months s0 get them to him. Go and Join the Debate.

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    Nick Clegg’s Letter from the Leader: Two big issues – free schools and energy bills

    It would have been very surprising if Nick’s weekly letter hadn’t been on the subjects which have dominated the headlines this week – free schools and energy bills. Although, to be honest, I think it’s the energy bills that most voters are most concerned about and possibly merited a larger proportion of the Letter than they get. Nick makes the case for retaining the green charges which pay for the warm homes discount and home insulation programmes. Ed Davey wrote more about what he’s doing to keep down energy bills on this site last week. The thing is, it’s

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    David Laws writes… Nick Clegg and I have always been clear that Free Schools must also be fair schools

    On Thursday this week, Nick Clegg will set out the Liberal Democrat approach to improving standards in schools.

    He will set out what parents and pupils should expect from schools. This is an issue we have worked on together for some time, and which was debated and agreed at our party’s conference this Spring.

    The Liberal Democrats are instinctive supporters of freedom, diversity and choice. We believe in giving schools more autonomy and teachers more freedom.

    That’s why we have supported extra powers to innovate for free schools and academies and have taken steps in government to extend autonomy for all schools. We …

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    Two questions journalists aren’t asking about Nick Clegg’s free schools speech

    Nick Clegg’s speech on free schools – setting out the policy approved by the Lib Dem conference last March – has ruffled feathers. Apparently he and David Cameron even had lunch yesterday to discuss this ‘bombshell’ announcement (which in fact won’t be made until a speech this Thursday).

    My view (as I set out here on Sunday) is that schools should have the freedom to appoint teachers who lack formal qualifications, though I’d expect these to be the exceptions not the rule in the vast majority of state-funded schools. But I don’t think it’s at all surprising that Nick …

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 40 Comments

    Clegg on free schools and National Curriculum: no more, no less than party policy. And that’s for better and worse.

    No-one should be that surprised by Nick Clegg’s decision to distance the Lib Dems from Michael Gove’s schools policies — specifically that every teacher should be qualified and that every school should teach the national curriculum. After all, what Nick is due to set out in a speech this week is the policy that was voted for overwhelmingly by the party’s conference in March this year.

    Here’s what the adopted policy – Every Child Taught by an Excellent Teacher – says about teachers in all schools having qualifications:

    All classroom teachers, including in academies and free schools and Further Education

    Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | 31 Comments

    Opinion: League tables – Lib Dems deliver real change

    schoolsignA quiet revolution happened last night that seems not to have made the front pages or even featured particularly prominently on Today. However, to me it represents one of the best examples of Lib Dems making a difference in education since being in government – and a genuine step in the right direction with regards to realising the potential in all students.

    There is to be a massive shake-up of GCSE league tables which is designed to stop the ‘perverse incentive’ for schools focusing on the students close to the C/D border to maximise the number of students achieving A*-C grades. Thanks to David Laws and his work in the department of Education, league tables will no longer be measure on just 5 subjects but 8 subjects, which include the humanities and vocational subjects or arts. Schools will be measured not just by how students do at the end of GCSE’s but by how much progress was made between GCSE’s and the end of Key Stage 2 (about age 11).

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      Fraser, people can't help their voices, and if you are going to dismiss her like that, then you are the one who is missing out....
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      I don't agree with word limits, but Sara makes a decent point: long posts can be counter-productive. I think they are less likely to be...
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