Tag Archives: george osborne

Your thoughts on Osborne’s Autumn Statement


Before George Osborne steps up to the dispatch box today we already know which Government departments will be protected from the cuts and which will have to take the brunt. The Tories have pledged to protect the NHS, education, defence, pensions and foreign aid, so that leaves vulnerable the police, local government (and just think of the huge number of services they provide), social care, further education (apparently not considered ‘real’ education), renewable energy and, of course, welfare.

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Liblink: Tim Farron on the five things Lib Dems want to see in the Spending Review


Tim Farron has been writing today in the Huffington Post.

The simple fact is that nearly half of the cuts George Osborne will make aren’t necessary to get spending under control. Instead that are motivated by an ideological drive to shrink the state. That’s a big departure from the decisions Liberal Democrats took in Coalition.

He outlines the five things that he would like to see in the review:

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LibLink: Shirley Williams tells George Osborne that he has 10 days to save the NHS


Writing in the Guardian, Shirley Williams picks up the baton passed on by Nigel Crisp, the former chief executive of the NHS, who four years ago wrote about his experiences in his book 24 Hours to Save the NHS.

Shirley explains that many of the financial woes in the NHS have been inherited from past schemes:

For example, the number of funded places for young men and women training in this country as nurses was cut by 12% – 2,500 places – in 2012. The consequent shortage of newly qualified nurses has been filled by people recruited by employment agencies. The cost of agency staff is one of the main reasons for overspending by NHS trusts. In 2014/15, agency staff cost the NHS £1,770m, a year-on-year increase of 29%.

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Opinion: The impact of the Budget on students


George Gideon Osborne. Feared and distrusted by the left, the sensible and reasonable portions of his own party. And now he has given university students yet another reason to distrust him. In the Conservative majority budget issued on July 8 2015, the Chancellor introduced a barrage of attention-grabbing measures, many of which present disappointing news to youths – particularly university undergraduates.

The speculation that the first Tory budget since 1996 will be unforgiving for the young and the unemployed have, sadly, been realised. The National Living Wage (set to £7.20 by next April and £9 by 2020) is all very well for workers over 25, but will not apply to those under 25, who will still have to contend with a £6.50 minimum wage. This means that young people who have just left university will have to make their earnings stretch further to cover the rising cost of living that will result from a more robust economy, which will result from reduction in bank levies and cuts in corporation tax.

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Budget Live Blog as Osborne helps rich – but casts young and poor adrift.

Caron Lindsay 12:30 pm

“A budget for working people” says George Osborne. We’ll see.  I guess if you are a rich working person, maybe.

I’ve had an official hiding behind pillow for all budgets in the last five years. I need it more than ever today.

So, let the budget live blog kick-off.

The measures we do know about seem very much about giving to the rich and taking to the poor.

People struggling to get by, stuck in private rented accommodation, will find it hard to see Inheritance Tax thresholds being lifted to more than £1 million while their entitlements to tax credits are being limited.

It’s worth pointing out that those are exactly the sorts of measure that the Liberal Democrats spent the last five years stopping or at least limiting. Everything announced today would have been done by now if it hadn’t been for us.

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Danny turns the tables on Balls on TV economy debates

On Sunday’s Andrew Marr show, Ed Balls caught the chancellor off guard when he all but forced him (in one of recent television history’s most awkward moments) to shake on an agreement to hold a television debate.

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Vince Cable writes… Osborne’s deep cuts are damaging and ideological

It is encouraging to be part of a Lib Dem chorus from across the party denouncing Osborne’s damaging, ideologically inspired, proposals for further deep cuts in spending on public services throughout the next Parliament.

Being in coalition means that we have to go out of our way to differentiate ourselves clearly from the Tories on the central issue of economic policy. The Tories want to create an election narrative of Tory competence versus Labour incompetence (with the LibDems portrayed either as marginal to the story or cheering the Tories on). Next week’s parliamentary debate on a fiscal charter makes the issue of differentiation particularly topical.

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The polls in 2014: what they show with 133 days left til 7 May 2015

The final polls of the year have been published — getting on for 500 have been commissioned in 2014 — and their story is told in the graph below.

It shows Labour’s declining (down from c.38% to c.33%), the Tories static (at c.32%), Ukip on the rise (up from c.12% to c.16%), and the Lib Dems dipping (down from c.10% to c.8%). I’ve added trendlines to cut through the noise and give us a signal:

2014 in polls

The last month has done little to alter this overall picture.

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LibLink: Danny Alexander – Liberal Democrats have no part in Tory plans for harsh cuts and empty tax promises

The two Coalition parties continue the process of “conscious uncoupling” today. Yesterday, George Osborne said the Lib Dems threatened the economic recovery. Today, it’s a case of straight back atcha from Danny Alexander, as he lays bare the difference between the Lib Dem and Tory economic approach ahead of the May 2015 election in an article in today’s Telegraph:

Last Wednesday, the Coalition delivered another Autumn Statement that stuck to the strategy we’ve had since 2010: clearing up Labour’s mess in the public finances and doing so fairly; reforms to reward work and improve the UK’s long-term growth prospects. This

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What is going on with the Liberal Democrat media strategy?

This morning we have George Osborne all over the media talking about how wonderful it is that he’s able to give £2 billion to the NHS. Let’s bear in mind that Norman Lamb has been pushing for a cash injection for some time. All he gets is billing on the Liberal Democrat website for the months of tenacious evidence building and making the case for further investment.

I was quite pained to see Simon Hughes put out round the news channels on Wednesday to promote the Counter Terrorism Bill. While he was in the BBC News Channel studio, David Anderson was criticising the very plans that Hughes was defending. It seemed like a bit of a stitch-up. Nick Clegg has always set great store by David Anderson’s judgement. Anderson’s opinion of the Government’s plans to exclude people they think have been fighting in Syria for up to two years was pretty scathing.

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Does George Osborne really want to derail the future of our planet?

Earth Day 2007 - Atlantic ReflectionTim Farron was on punchy form when taking on George Osborne’s lack of ambition on climate change in an article in the Independent this week. He did not mince his words:

Osborne’s destructive rationale for overspending on our planned carbon budget is this: without a new strategy agreed, the UK would be ahead of its planned share of emissions cuts within the EU. It can therefore weaken its ambitions and still meet the old targets – there is nothing holding us to the necessary action to tackle

photo by: FlyingSinger
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Some first thoughts on the Budget

George Osborne with Red Box, Budget 2012So the Chancellor has just sat down. Here are my first thoughts on the Budget.

Nick gets his Workers’ Bonus

The personal tax threshold rises to £10,500. I doubt it was anything to do with the petition being pushed on social media in the last few days. This was down to the hard work of our ministers staying on message, in volume, over time, in budget negotiations. Nick Clegg has stuck with this through the entire Parliament and given us a very tangible promise kept – and more. “I am proud of what we have achieved”, said Osborne. Aye right.

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Who’s afraid of Scottish independence?

Saltire - St Andrews Flag - Scotland - Some rights reserved by byronv2The last month has seen the ‘Yes Scotland’ independence campaign take a battering.

First, Mark Carney raised doubts about Alex Salmond’s plans for a post-independence currency union between Scotland and the remainder of the UK.

This warning was echoed when, with more naked partisanship, George Osborne, Danny Alexander and Ed Balls teamed up to state they would each refuse to form such a currency union.

And then last Sunday, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso hammered in

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Ruling out currency union: Locking the horse inside the stable?

MoneyThe currency in an independent Scotland has been the subject of much frenetic debate in recent months. The Scottish Government’s White Paper on independence is clear that their preferred option is to continue to use sterling within a monetary union with what would remain of the UK:

The Commission’s analysis shows that it will not only be in Scotland’s interests to retain Sterling but that – post independence – this will also benefit the rest of the UK.

Under such an arrangement, monetary policy will be set according to economic conditions across

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Marriage tax breaks: Lib Dem members oppose Conservative plans by 62% to 22%

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 750 party members responded – thank you – and we’ve been publishing the full results.

(There were a couple of results I ran out of time to publish during the Christmas holiday period – I’ll be publishing them this week.)

Lib Dems oppose married couple tax-breaks by 62% to 22%

The tax break for married couples and civil partners was a Conservative election pledge that has lain dormant during Coalition. Not because of Lib …

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Coalition minister calls for minimum wage increase (that’s Vince, 4 months ago, in case you were wondering)

Here’s the Lib Dems’ Vince Cable on 14 September 2013:

vince min wage - sept 2013

And here’s the Tories’ George Osborne – four months later – on 10 January 2014:

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Opinion: Is Europe “falling behind” – or is it leading the way?

Where did George Osborne get his figures from? Who writes his speeches?

A quick look at Wikipedia offers four sources of data for GDP per capita in 2012.  The first and simplest comes from the IMF (as it omits odd places such as Monaco and Liechtenstein).

Of the top 30 no less than 14 are members of the EU, 7 are major oil producers, 3 are the great trading hubs of  Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland and the remaining 6 are Australia, Canada, United States, Japan, Iceland, and Israel.

At 23rd in the list the UK is …

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The Autumn Statement and the unreal economic debate in which everyone pretends the Coalition stuck to ‘Plan A’

It’s autumn statement day. George Osborne will stand at the despatch box of the House of Commons this afternoon and present his pre-budget report. The Guardian’s Martin Kettle sums up what it’s all about:

For the Conservatives, today is about redefining themselves – in the face of a run of seriously disappointing polls – as the party that feels the voters’ pain over energy prices, house price inflation, wind farms or payday loans – while still, boosted by yesterday’s strong economic surveys and the possible return of the UK’s AAA rating, managing a recovering economy more soundly than Labour. For

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Might some of the welfare changes be a little more helpful to people than Osborne made out?

Conservative Conference week is never an easy time to be a Liberal Democrat. The Conservative in its natural habitat is not a pretty sight to those of us who cherish the principles at the heart of the preamble to our constitution, of liberty, equality and community, of freeing people from poverty, ignorance or conformity. The words Tory leaders use to rally their troops give us that joyless feeling that is known in Scotland as the dry boak.

But, you know, the Tory conference is what the Cabinet table would be like if it weren’t for the Liberal Democrats in Government. …

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Nice try, George. But the Pupil Premium is happening only because the Lib Dems are in government

Osborne -  Some rights reserved by altogetherfoolWho has made sure the Pupil Premium is being delivered in Government? Pretty straightforward question, you might think: the Liberal Democrats. Not if you’re George Osborne, though…

“I sit at that Cabinet table and I know who has really put forward the policies that are delivering a fairer society. The pupil premium to support the most disadvantaged children: that was Michael Gove’s idea, front and centre of the last Conservative manifesto.” (30 Sept 2013)

Erm… okay, George. Let’s take those two claims in order.

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Lessons of Coalition (13): what do the Lib Dems need to learn from the first 3 years?

ldv coalition lessonsLibDemVoice is running a daily feature, ‘Lessons of Coalition’, to assess the major do’s and don’ts learned from our experience of the first 3 years in government. Reader contributions are welcome, either as comments or posts. The word limit is no more than 450 words, and please focus on just one lesson you think the party needs to learn. Simply email your submission to [email protected] Today David Allen shares his thoughts.

If It Won’t Work, Walk

In 1974, Ted Heath called on Jeremy Thorpe to join the Conservatives in a historic …

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The Tories’ 35% strategy shows they know they cannot win outright in 2015

George Osborne with Red Box, Budget 2012“The 35% Strategy”. The phrase was initially coined by Dan Hodges to decry the Labour leader’s soft-left leadership:

Forget the One Nation strategy, Ed Miliband is pursuing what is known within his inner circle as the 35 Per Cent Strategy. Come 2015, he thinks he can stagger over the line with 35 per cent of the vote.

Less commented on is that the Tories have also been adopting their own 35% strategy under the tutelage of strategist Lynton Crosby. Today’s news that George Osborne has ruled …

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Opinion: Liberal Democrats must stay firm on deficit reduction

Osborne -  Some rights reserved by altogetherfoolGeorge Osborne will stand up in the House of Commons on Thursday to announce the government’s intentions for public spending for the 2015-16 financial year in circumstances he neither anticipated nor wished for.

As a result of weaker economic growth and a revision to the estimates of the capacity of the British economy, the structural deficit that the coalition had hoped to eliminate by the time of the next election will exist well beyond it, meaning further spending cuts and tax rises.

Liberal Democrats must spell …

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Sarah Teather blasts George Osborne’s “irresponsible” comments on Philpott case

George Osborne has said some crass things in his time, but his comments today, as reported by the BBC, that there should be a debate on whether “the state should subsidise lifestyles like that” were awful, giving a whiff of credibility to the demonising headlines in the Daily Mail that my co-editor Stephen Tall wrote about earlier. Does this make Osborne a “trollemicist?”

Stephen sensibly said:

The welfare state was no more to blame for their deaths than capitalism would be to blame if they’d done it to claim on insurance. The motive was greed; the result a tragedy.

I think, though, …

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Opinion: George Osborne doesn’t get it… again

This should have been a budget for growth, helping the UK economy to recover from the deepest and longest depression on record. George Osborne’s announcements on childcare, investment in industrial research and of course raising the personal income tax allowance to £10,000 are welcome steps in the right direction. They are all are clear examples of Liberal Democrat influence in the Coalition, not least the flagship move on the tax threshold. These measures, however, don’t go nearly far enough to support businesses starved of credit or households facing escalating living costs and squeezed incomes – where was …

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Budget 2013: Osborne crosses fingers and hopes ‘steady as she goes’ will come good by 2015

George Osborne with Red Box, Budget 2012Move along, nothing to see here… This was a steady-as-she-goes budget at a time when the economy is anything-but-steady.

Of course as Lib Dems it’s great to welcome the final push towards lifting all those paid less than £10,000 out of income tax. As my Co-Editor Caron Lindsay notes here, this is a policy direct from the front page of our 2010 manifesto to the Coalition’s budget. That’s no mean achievement — we know that because the Tories keep trying to claim it as …

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Budget 2013…..Live Blog

George Osborne is about to get to his feet to deliver his Budget.

IF campaign Budget Dy

In Parliament Square this morning, Enough Food IF campaigners gathered to remind him to stick to the 0.7% overseas aid pledge.

Join us for our budget live blog.

“It was of course inevitable that debit reduction would impact on growth, but what the independent OBR figures show quite clearly is that other factors – namely the weak international picture and higher-than-expected inflation – have had a much greater impact on economic growth. Given the risks of not …

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UK loses its triple-A rating – George should’ve listened to Danny

The BBC reports tonight’s predictable news:

UK’s AAA credit rating cut to Aa1 by Moody’s
The UK has had its AAA credit rating cut by Moody’s, based on its expectation that growth will “remain sluggish over the next few years”. The ratings agency became the first to lower the UK from its highest rating, to Aa1. … The UK’s net sovereign debt was the equivalent of 68% of the country’s annual economic output, or GDP, at the end of last year. All three major credit agencies last year put the UK on “negative outlook”, meaning they could downgrade its rating if

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Opinion: Time to quash Osborne’s employee-owner status

I would like to make a plea to MPs of all parties not to support the new employee-owner status and to table an amendment to remove it from the Growth and Infrastructure Bill. Buried in section 25 of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill (as amended in Public Bill Committee), it seeks to provide a new employment status involving company shares in exchange for worker rights. It is due at report stage and third reading in the

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‘Please give generously’: Tories mail-shot supporters asking for donations to fight Lib Dem mansion tax

That’s the story in the Guardian this weekend:

The Conservative party privately sent letters to Tory donors and wealthy homeowners promising to defeat Liberal Democrat plans for a mansion tax at the same time as their coalition partners thought they were negotiating on a version of the proposal ahead of the autumn statement, it emerged on Friday. … The letters were sent by the Conservative treasurers Lord Fink and Michael Farmer in November, when Lib Dem cabinet ministers privately believed there was hope that the Conservatives would agree to two extra higher-rate council tax bands as a way of raising

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