Tag Archives: george osborne

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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Autumn Statement: the good, the bad and the ugly

So, the Chancellor has given his Autumn Statement. Liberal Democrat reaction is likely to be at best mixed. Will people feel that the balance of tax and benefit measures is sufficient to support our claims that we are making the system fairer?

Osborne painted a fairly gloomy economic picture. The growth forecast is under 3% for the next 5 years. Austerity will continue way beyond the next election. It’s in that context that his measures must be judged.

Let’s take a brief look at the key points from a Liberal Democrat activist’s point of view:

The good – Lib Dem gains

Steve Webb’s Pension …

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What did George Osborne agree to do that Nick Clegg refused to do?


(You can like and share this graphic via LibDemVoice’s Facebook page by clicking here.)

Compare and contrast:

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Opinion: Let’s unite against George Osborne’s employee rights grab

George Osborne has many faults, but we have to thank him for one thing – uniting the Liberal Democrats. There are groups within the Lib Dems holding different, even opposite views. However, many Lib Dems are united in their opposition to Osborne’s idea of exchanging workers’ rights for shares in their company.  If you agree, please help us by taking part in the consultation on these proposals which ends on 8th November.

Whilst the Lib Dems are fully behind the idea of Employee Share

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Vince Cable MP writes… My view on George Osborne’s employee ownership scheme

Last week at the Conservative Party conference the Chancellor announced a new equity ownership scheme. His proposed scheme, targeted at small companies, is entirely voluntary and cannot be forced upon employees. It would offer employees shares (from £2,000 to £50,000) in their business in exchange for certain employment rights. The shares are Capital Gains Tax free – which if the company grows extremely fast is a valuable offer.

The scheme has had a mixed reaction. However a few

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Opinion: Shares for Rights? An open letter to Nick Clegg

Dear Nick

Like most people I have spoken to this week I had imagined that Osborne’s announcement of “shares-for-rights” was for the Tory conference audience, and would not see its way into government policy, not at least while the Liberal Democrats are part of the government.

Yet today I read in Tim Gordon’s weekly update that we actually are supporting this as a promotion of employee ownership! Nick, it is anything but!!

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , and | 32 Comments

There are no easy choices when it comes to reducing the deficit

George Osborne’s statement that senior Liberal Democrats have agreed in principle to a further £10bn of welfare cuts in 2015-16 has prompted a strong reaction from many party members and a TV rebuttal from Nick Clegg.

But the issue is one worth pausing on, for it raises some important questions for Liberal Democrats.

Starting at the beginning, the first question raised is how we wish to close the deficit that will now exist in the first years of the next Parliament following the Chancellor’s decision in last year’s autumn statement to push back the period in which the

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News snippets from the Conservative conference: tax, Europe, migration and more

Conservative Party logoTrouble ahead on tax as Osborne opposes a mansion tax:

We are not going to have a mansion tax, or a new tax that is a percentage value of people’s properties.

Before you rush to spot the loophole in that – what about adding extra higher bands to Council Tax? – he opposed that too. Given Osborne made much of his reputation as was by opposing changes to inheritance tax, perhaps it is on capital gains tax that there will be room fro an agreement with the …

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LDVideo: George Osborne booed at Paralympics

This was the scene last night when Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne turned up at the Olympic stadium to present the medals at the 400m T38 victory ceremony:

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Julian Huppert MP writes… Britain deserves an affordable railway

Our rail fares are among the most expensive in Europe, and they keep going up. Between 1997 and 2010 rail fares went up by an astonishing 66% – well above inflation.

If next year’s planned rail fare rises go ahead, some passengers will hand over up to 15% of their wages for the pleasure of travelling to work.

Since the Labour party introduced above inflation fare rises in 2003, these increases have become a yearly occurrence. Indeed, Labour Party policy is still to have above-inflation rail fare increases every year.

We say that rail fares are already too high. We would cap rail …

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LibLink: John Pugh MP – With hindsight, Cable’s deficit reduction plan looks better than Osborne’s

Lib Dem MP John Pugh has written a thoughtful, balanced piece on economic policy for the New Statesman website. He freely admits he has voted for every part of George Osborne’s economic strategy brought before the Commons (“I did not know if it would achieve all its major objectives but I certainly did not know it would not”) but says the facts are plain: it’s not working. Here’s an excerpt:

Yes, jobs are being created in the private sector, unemployment is not moving upwards, the deficit is down, our export markets are engaging with the emerging economies, inflation is low and

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarToby Matthews 31st Oct - 11:58am
    Dav- Imagine a sprawling stately home in central London. Next to it, on the same size plot of land is gleaming modern skyscraper. Both pieces...
  • User Avatarbenj 31st Oct - 11:57am
    Dav It's not the act of owning land that gives it it's value is it? In which case, LVT cannot penalise, work, enterprise or success,...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 31st Oct - 11:57am
    I think we should continue the rescue operations, but I'm not outraged by it because people will still drown unless we start actively shuttling people...
  • User Avatarbenj 31st Oct - 11:47am
    Dav said "Why would the landlords not just pass the LVT on to the tenants in the form of higher rents?" Because they are not...
  • User AvatarToby Matthews 31st Oct - 11:47am
    Dav- As mentioned much of the land is already taxed privately. Yet London exists. Your point doesn't stack up. LVT taxes the rental value. That...
  • User Avatartheakes 31st Oct - 11:44am
    Hmm : a first openly public crack in the previous thought to be close Clegg/Ashdown scenario?