Tag Archives: economy

LibLink: Vince Cable: It’s time to tackle the UK’s dangerous addiction to debt

One of Vince Cable’s claim to fame is that he accurately predicted the 2007 financial crash. Ten years on, he recently wrote an article for City AM in which he said that our economy was again at risk because of high debt levels.

Debt, in itself, isn’t bad. He talks about his own experience:

Indeed, my own youthful borrowing included buying my late wife a grand piano on an overdraft, a decision that underpinned 33 years of happy marriage. (And I paid off the debt after a struggle.)

The issue with debt is one of limits and sustainability, for both the individual and the wider financial system. The same, clearly, applies to government debt and corporate and financial sector leverage.

What the 2008 financial crisis and its aftershocks have taught us is that those limits may be closer than we think – and, once crossed, can lead to rapid and painful corrections.

He looks at the current situation in which we are seeing high levels of personal debt again:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 54 Comments

WATCH: Vince talking about the financial crash

Here’s Vince on Good Morning Britain talking about the 10th anniversary of the financial crash. Could it all happen again? What does he think about the current state of our economy?

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A new economic vision for the Lib Dems

The Liberal Democrats need new thought on how we view the economy and the role of the state and this idea could influence what we choose to support. We often struggle to find an economic system we can get behind.

Unrestricted capitalism leads to unacceptable inequality. The Conservatives stand for a small rich elite, while everyone else struggle to make ends meet. The Corbynite vision of socialism would leave us all worse off. The Liberal Democrats must form a new vision of how our economy should work and what role the state should play in it.

I would propose the Enabling State as our vision.

The state has a duty of promoting liberty in all its forms, and to ensure everyone has the chance to make the best of themselves. This would include freeing people from poverty, through a basic income, to ensure everyone has the money for basic needs.

Posted in Op-eds | 83 Comments

New thinking on job creation


One of the big challenges of our time is to provide work for all those who need it, work which is useful, fulfilling and which pays enough to live on. And although the British economy is creating around half a million jobs (net) a year, many of them do not satisfy those simple criterion.

The need for good quality jobs will increase as the population increases and working careers get longer, yet hardly anyone is thinking about where these jobs are to come from.  Government departments, unions and think-tanks tend to concentrate on where jobs have been created in the past or predicting where they may come in the future, or on skills training or how to improve conditions for those already in work. The private sector seems to regard jobs as a by-product, a necessary evil in the process of making a profit, and in the public sector the government wants to cut as many jobs as possible to save tax-payers’ money.  No one is actively looking at areas where new and worthwhile jobs can be created and how to do it.

Let me be bold and suggest six sectors where this might be done, in what I call the “infinite industries” ie where there is no limit to the amount of production that can be done: education, health, energy, environment, sport and the arts.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 27 Comments

Cable: Tories and Labour have turned their backs on the economy and business

Vince Cable makes a major intervention in the election campaign today with a speech on the economy and Brexit. He is not going to mince his words.

He will

  • Accuse both Labour and the Conservatives of adopting a Brexit strategy almost designed to inflict maximum economic damage by rejecting membership of the single market and customs union, as well as other benefits of the EU
  • Warn that the economic storm clouds are already gathering once more from rising inflation, falling real wages and rising personal debt to slowing spending and growth
  • Highlight the Liberal Democrats’ positive economic plan, including boosting spending while still achieving a surplus on the current budget
  • State that “under Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leadership’s model for economic management is the bankrupt, hyper-inflationary Venezuela.”

Here’s a flavour of what he’s going to say.

If we crash out of the single market and customs union and revert to World Trade Organisation terms, respected independent estimates suggest that our trade will slump by almost a third by 2030. Far from turning Britain into a centre for exports, the main thing we would export under Theresa May would be jobs.

Labour’s plans for a spending spree funded by taxing the rich and corporations have been described by the IFS as wholly unrealistic, and will certainly scare off the investment and talent that are fundamental to our global economy. The May-Farage extreme Brexit that Labour voted for will drive out high-earners and leading international companies, leaving lower tax receipts for public spending.

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We need to tell people about our economic policy

As an Orange Book adhering Lib Dem, a big highlight of the reign of Clegg & Cable was a very simple, yet very effective thing – that our economic policy was clear, empathised, and well known. We knew where we stood, we knew where we were going, and quite frankly, the economic policy that we pushed in the coalition, reflected that fact. The Liberal Democrats were a party that knew how to manage an economy.

So, looking back at that highlight, I fear that, something may have been rather overlooked this campaign; our economic plan. Indeed, more importantly, what exactly it is. I mean, obviously we have one. In fact, according to Oxford Economics, we have the best one. So, for me, the question is simple – why aren’t we making a big deal out of it?

It is very clear to me, and to many people up and down the country, that the Liberal plan for our economy is worlds ahead of the Labour or Conservative ones. We have a plan for proper growth, for sustainable development environmentally, for treating small businesses with the high regard they deserve, and for ensuring that our spending plans are sensible, and above all else, fair. Yet, when we are covered in the media, very little focus is put upon this. It seems insane to me that we aren’t inundating the whole nation with the fact that when push comes to shove, we could, will, and can, make people better off. In fact, those in the whole bottom half of our income demography would be faring far better if we were the government.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 78 Comments

Inflation sign of Brexit squeeze – Lib Dems

Inflation has gone up to 2.7% today.

This confirms long-held Liberal Democrat warnings about the impact of Brexit, with businesses struggling to contain rising costs and consumer demand being squeezed.

Susan Kramer said:

These worrying levels of inflation show the Brexit squeeze is hitting shopping baskets across the country.

This is the reality of Theresa May and Nigel Farage’s extreme Brexit agenda: higher prices in the shops, the cost of holidays going up and less money for our schools and NHS.

A brighter future is possible. We will give people a choice over their future through a referendum, so they can reject a bad Brexit deal and choose to remain in Europe.

Willie Rennie underlined this point:

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarFrances Alexander 21st Sep - 6:43pm
    Centre? No - we're way out in front!
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 21st Sep - 6:30pm
    I always thought I was a centrist because I believed in a mixed economy. Right now, after we've had so much privatisation, that's considered to...
  • User AvatarGlenn 21st Sep - 6:24pm
    John King Ah yes the sick man of Europe claim again. The Three Day Week 1973 to 74 happened when we were in common market....
  • User Avatarpaul barker 21st Sep - 5:46pm
    I am another Libdem who welcomes this approach. Has Will tried to get this piece published on Labour List (The Labour equivalent to LDV) ?...
  • User AvatarJohn King 21st Sep - 5:40pm
    Glen- I think geography comes into it - we are geographically part of Europe which is why we have been cementing closer trade and political...
  • User AvatarRuth Bright 21st Sep - 5:11pm
    James Pugh - I think Flo's admirable interest in the rights of pregnant workers (in the region of 700,000 people each year) hardly represents a...