Tag Archives: ippr

In full: Norman Lamb’s speech to the IPPR: Liberalism needs to be history’s chosen instrument to build the bridge to the future.

Both leadership candidates have given speeches to the Institute of Public Policy Research recently. We covered Tim Farron’s last week. Here is Norman Lamb’s.

I want to thank the IPPR for inviting me to speak here today.

The IPPR has been a leading progressive think-tank since I have been active in politics. Under the leadership of Nick Pearce it has consistently shown a thoughtful and challenging perspective on the issues of the day, not least in the field of health.

I have been particularly impressed with the emphasis on the quality of care and the commitment to making decisions locally. Was rather helpful to me as a Minister – thank you! We owe you a particular debt of gratitude for the fantastic Think Ahead programme, bringing the brightest young people into mental health social work just as Teach First brought a generation of new graduates into teaching.

I also welcome the fact that you – as a charity – work across the political spectrum.

And I congratulate you in that the Liberal Democrat trustees you have had in recent times – Shirley Williams, Kate Parminter and Alison Suttie. All brilliant liberals and I’m proud to report all supporters of my leadership campaign!

Well I hope after all those nice things that this speech goes better than the one that I heard about recently.

The speaker went on for rather too long, sat down to muted applause, very muted.

He turned to the person next to him and asked how they would have delivered the speech?

To which the reply came “Under an assumed name?”

But let me start by saying something about the election.

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Tim Farron’s speech to the IPPR: Liberalism: an optimistic confidence in the capacity of people to make the most of their lives

Both Liberal Democrat leadership candidates are giving speeches to the IPPR think tank over the next few days. Here is Tim Farron’s in full. 

IPPR has always been one of the leading think tanks on the progressive wing of British politics. I welcome the interest you’ve shown in Liberalism, and I hope that in the next few years you will further develop the arguments in your 2007 book on Liberalism, Beyond Liberty.

Now let me be frank. The election on May 7th was an utter disaster for the Liberal Democrats. In terms of our vote and number of MPs we are back to the level of the 1970 general election, when the Liberal Party won six seats on 7.5 per cent of the vote, compared to this year’s eight seats and 7.9 per cent.

Compared to the last election, in 2010, we lost almost two-thirds of our vote and over 85 per cent of our MPs. There is no other occasion in the entire history of the Liberal Democrats or the Liberal Party, stretching back to the early nineteenth century, on which we have lost such a high proportion of our vote or our seats.

It’s therefore entirely reasonable to ask the question: what is the point of the Liberal Democrats? Do we have a role to play in a country which appears to have rejected us so comprehensively?

It won’t come as a surprise to you that I think we do! And I’m not alone. Since the election Party membership has surged by more than 30 percent, we are the fastest growing political party in the UK – that 18,000 people have, without being prompted, had the same thought, at the same time, and then done something about it… well that’s a phenomenon, indeed it is a movement.  That’s more than just encouraging – it’s a signal that there are so many people out there who are Liberals at heart, who understand the threat that Liberalism faces, who think Liberalism’s worth fighting for and who see the Liberal Democrats as their vehicle and their voice.

Even The Guardian has now reached that conclusion. Having compared us during the campaign to ‘rinse aid in a dishwasher … probably useful, surely not essential’ – they decided after the election just three weeks later that, ‘in the absence of a liberal party, one would have to be invented – and indeed … one will now have to be reinvented and rebuilt’.

The result on May 7th might have been a rejection of the Liberal Democrats, but it was not a rejection of Liberalism. Rather, it was a consequence of our decision in 2010 to enter into coalition with our historic political enemies. We did the right thing by our country, and I am proud of Nick and all that we achieved, but our party was hugely damaged by the perceived submerging of our identity and by the tuition fees issue which undermined the electorate’s trust in us.  Our election campaign did not help too much either: a campaign which seemed to say  that we were desperate to get back into government and didn’t much mind with whom, while wholly failing to communicate what we stood for and what we believed.  We said something about what we would do, but we did not tell people who we are.

I want to be very clear, though: I am not repudiating the coalition. We were right to enter into coalition in 2010 and can be proud of what we achieved. Indeed, we proved that coalition government can be stable and successful and that people should not fear coalition in the future.  But I spoke about all this at length to the Gladstone Club a couple of weeks back, so you’ll forgive me for not repeating myself here.

In fact we achieved a lot for Liberalism in the coalition. The Agreement included: a rise in the income tax threshold to £10,000; the pupil premium to give extra resources for children from disadvantaged backgrounds; restoration of the earnings links for the state pension; a banking levy and reform of the banking system; investment in renewable energy; the immediate cancellation of plans for a third runway at Heathrow; an end to the detention of children for immigration purposes; the dropping of plans for identity cards; agreement to reach the UN target of 0.7 per cent of GNP for overseas aid by 2013; the introduction of a fixed-term parliament of five years; and reform of the House of Lords.

With the exception of Lords reform, every single one of those objectives was achieved. And we managed more in the five years that followed: same-sex marriage, the world’s first Green Investment Bank, the triple lock for pensions, two million apprenticeships, free schools meals for the youngest pupils, and much more. I don’t believe any of that would have happened without Liberal Democrats.

And that’s just the positive things we achieved; I don’t have time to list all the Tory commitments we blocked. Over the next five years people will see exactly what a difference we made. In fact, the last six weeks have shown pretty clearly what an outstanding job Nick Clegg and his team did.

So why did we do so badly in the election? Ask random members of the public what they remember about the coalition, and will they list any of those achievements? While we were sweating over our best policies, people weren’t listening. Tuition fees created a barrier – like those force fields in Science Fiction films. We fired our best policies and achievements – and they were brilliant policies and achievements – and they just glanced off the electorate because the tuition fees barrier – that lack of trust – was too strong.

So we need a fresh start. We have to prove, from first principles, why Liberalism in Britain still matters. So I’ll start by defining what I mean by Liberalism – what are the underlying beliefs and values that underpin our approach.

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The Independent View: Political inequality threatens constitutional holy cows

ipprIt is time to put some holy constitutional cows out to pasture. The traditional liberal reform agenda remains necessary, but it is no longer enough to reanimate our democracy. Too many of its solutions remain insensitive to how class and demography intimately shape how our political system operates; structural political inequalities in who participates and has voice will not end with a codified constitution and a more proportionate electoral system. Liberals of all party stripes and none need a new political agenda squarely aimed at reversing ingrained political inequality, a phenomenon that threatens the integrity of British democracy.

Last week, President Obama said: “it would be transformative if everybody voted. If everyone voted, that would completely change the political map in this country.” He’s not wrong. “The people who tend not to vote are young, they’re lower income, they’re skewed more heavily towards immigrant groups and minority groups,” he said. “There’s a reason why some folks try to keep them away from the polls.” America is already a divided democracy, and the UK is headed in the same direction.

Political inequality is where despite procedural equality in the democratic process, certain groups, classes or individuals nonetheless have greater influence over and participate more in political decision-making processes, with policy outcomes systematically weighted in their favour. As such, it undermines a central democratic ideal: that all citizens, regardless of status, should be given equal consideration in and opportunity to influence collective political decision-making.

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged | 16 Comments

Decentralisation decade – Nick Clegg responds

Last Friday Nick Clegg was speaking about devolution at an event organisation by the Institute for Public Policy Research. It marked the launch of their publication entitled ‘Decentralisation decade: A plan for economic prosperity, public service transformation and democratic renewal in England‘.

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Ed Miliband’s speech: tricky message, poor timing

Ed MilibandI’ve quite a lot of time for Ed Miliband. Politics needs intelligent, thoughtful folk with their hearts in the right place.

I respect, for example, that he held out last year against the superficially attractive urge to call for an in/out EU referendum advocated by more opportunistic Labour colleagues who relished the idea of stirring Tory discontent with Cameron. Miliband, rightly, decided to put national interest ahead of narrow party interest.

But there are evident troubles with his leadership, crystallised by his speech yesterday in which he acknowledged his own image problems: “I am not trying to win a photo-op contest in the next 10 months. And I wouldn’t win it if I tried.”

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The Independent View: Lessons for Clegg – we need to be more innovative on maternity and paternity pay

Nick Clegg in a London schoolLast week, Nick Clegg gave a speech at the launch of the Cityfathers, a network of working dads based in the Square Mile and Canary Wharf. In it, he focused in particular on changes to parental leave coming into force next year, which will allow couples to transfer a portion of their maternity leave entitlement to fathers after two weeks. While the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has argued that we should go further, creating a ‘use it or lose it’ block of leave for fathers, in general the Coalition’s move has been regarded as at least a first step in the right direction for parental leave policy.

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Time for Nick Clegg to ditch the “Great Britain not Little England” line

england-flag“Great Britain not little England” – it was a line Nick Clegg used in his recent Spring conference speech, setting up the new political dividing lines between those who are optimistic, outward-looking, progressive pro-Europeans and those who are gloomy, isolationst, reactionary anti-Europeans.

It’s a line he used again in this week’s Nick v Nigel debate. “Great Britain, not Little England” was the subject line, too, of the party’s immediate post-debate email to supporters.

Clearly it’s a line the party believes encapsulates the main fault-line in British politics right now. …

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The Independent View: Is the Coalition is doing enough to help Britain’s couple families?

The Chancellor looks set to announce a new tax break for married couples in next month’s Autumn Statement, while universal credit continues its slow and increasingly painful roll out. Both are heralded by the Coalition as flagship policies to support families by raising incomes, helping more parents into work and promoting stable family life. In practice, neither will provide the help that Britain’s couple families need to cope with the growing pressures of time and money that push too many into poverty and put enormous strain on relationships.

A tax break for married couples has long been a core demand of …

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The Independent View: Early years reform – should Clegg take another stand?

childcareWith a childcare announcement expected imminently, early years is shaping up to be both a key battleground for the next election and a major coalition split. All agree on wanting to bring down prices for parents, while driving the quality and accessibility of childcare. So far so good. But since More Great Childcare was published at the start of the year, proposals have courted criticism, with experts questioning whether this reform package would actually jeopardise quality and push up costs.

In a high profile move last month, Nick Clegg stepped in …

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The Independent View: Clegg should champion ‘everyday integration’

Nick Clegg’s speech later today will remind us of how crucial an effective immigration policy is to Britain. One of the areas that has been the least developed by previous governments, as well as the Coalition government, is a clear integration policy. Far too often, integration policy has focused on the symbolic notions of identity and much less on the everyday experiences of individuals that might be able to capture better experiences of integration.

Although the UK’s experience of integration is generally positive, outcomes for different groups and in different places across the country are still very mixed. A new …

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What would a liberal, progressive migration policy for the UK look like?

As the next election begins to loom into view, the issue of immigration continues to pose a challenge for liberal progressives of all political persuasions. A new report published today by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) makes a rich and valuable contribution to this essential debate on the future of British migration policy.

There are few politicians who would disagree with the report’s urgent call to “actively engage with the issue of migration – and the reality of people’s views on it”. The extent to which the political ‘elite’ have avoided talking about immigration has been exaggerated …

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Independent View: two cheers for Vince

Landlords and punters across the country should be raising a glass to Vince Cable today after he announced new rules for pub companies (or pubcos) which will help local publicans in these difficult economic times.

His plans include the introduction of an independent adjudicator and a new statutory code for the industry – something I argued for in this IPPR report: Tied Down.

Pubs are an important part of the community – they’re a meeting place for family and friends and host meetings of local clubs and associations, promoting local charities and events. But they’ve faced serious demise with 16 pubs …

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Independent View: What now for housing policy?

As the coalition approaches the halfway point of the Parliament, Liberal Democrats are in search of policies that demonstrate their distinctive contribution to government – especially on the crucial issue of growth. Pre-conference briefing suggests that leading party figures see affordable house building as a leading option. They are right to do so. It would boost demand, create jobs, and meet a pressing social need. The Tories are focused on reforming the planning system, but evidence suggests this is a tough political sell. Efforts to finance house building through clever Treasury wheezes that try to circumvent borrowing constraints have …

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Independent View: Housing Benefit reform needs liberal principle of localism

The Prime Minister’s recent suggestion that young people under the age of 25 might be barred from receiving Housing Benefit has re-ignited the debate about welfare reform. Talk of a further ‘benefits crackdown’ duly generated the positive headlines that Downing Street strategists were after, while opponents howled in apocalyptic objection to this latest attempt to control the benefits bill. Pretty soon, the political debate moved on, everyone having fulfilled their roles to perfection. Evil Tory bogeymen, tabloid headline writers, charity campaigners all did exactly what we would have expected them to do. Maybe the specific proposal will remerge in future …

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Housing: the IPPR’s answer

Over the last week I’ve highlighted how the Britain’s love of home ownership is not based on any evidence that high home ownership brings economic success (if anything, the opposite is true), that the proportion of people living in private rented accommodation is on a long-term rise and that changes in property prices in Britain are widening rather than narrowing the huge geographic imbalances. Add to all that the increasing importance that Vince Cable and Nick Clegg, in particular, are giving to the housing market for boosting economic growth, and it is a sector clearly in need of action.

But what action?

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The True Cost of Energy: why Ed Davey must act

A poll out yesterday showed that action to address high energy bills is now the top priority for voters, so Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey has a political interest in new research on the True Cost of Energy published by IPPR. The report argues that competition in the energy market is not working and that some consumers are paying higher prices as a result.

IPPR has analysed how much it costs energy companies to supply electricity and gas to UK consumers, finding strong evidence that competition in the market is not in good health.

The UK energy market …

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Labour leaning think-tank IPPR backs Osborne on ‘granny tax’

George Osborne has received support from an unexpected source: the Labour leaning think tank, the IPPR.

In an article entitled “Why Osborne’s ‘granny tax’ makes sense“, Senior Research Fellow at the IPPR, Kayte Lawton says:

It is right for older people to contribute to deficit reduction…

Older people have been relatively protected from the spending cuts imposed by the coalition. The young have taken the brunt of the pain… Asking older people to contribute to tackling the deficit and shoring up the country’s tax base in the long-term is not unreasonable…

Osborne’s pleas of simplification have not played well, but he is right that age-related allowances add

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IPPR: making the Third Wave of Globalisation work for us all

A new report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), headed by a foreword by Lord Peter Mandleson, takes an in-depth look at the positive and negative impacts of the increased internationalisation of trade – what they characterise as the Third Wave of Globalisation.

IPPR’s Will Straw and Alex Glennie set out how the modern increase in global commerce is distinct from those seen around the Industrial Revolution and World War II that were dominated by the UK and the USA respectively. Today’s growth in global trade is lead by developing economies in the East with a …

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Labour’s stance on high pay leaves the ball firmly in Vince Cable’s court

The appearance of cross-party consensus in politics usually makes me welcoming and wary in equal measure – welcoming as it signals a weakening of the fierce discord between political tribes, wary because the sheen of consensus often betrays a deep underlying suspicion of the ability of any party to take on the challenges they face.

Excessive remuneration appears to be the latest issue on which the three main parties appear to agree – it apparently unites the hitherto unlikely trio of Vince Cable, Ed Miliband and, latterly it seems, David Cameron around the recognition that extremes of …

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Opinion: Will fixing the planning system improve the housing supply?

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Britain has a housing problem. There are problems of shortage and, consequently, access and affordability.

There are three principal mechanisms for dealing with significant housing shortage and indirectly reducing the affordability problems that go with it: (1) You can reduce the number of households needing to be housed; (2) You can increase the number of properties available; and (3) You can improve the utilization of the existing stock of properties.

You can try to do something on all three fronts. A couple of weeks ago LibDemVoice co-editor Mark Pack identified six …

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Housing: six things that could be done

As Tim Leunig pointed out last week, housing plays an important role in most people’s concept of social mobility, a point highlighted in Stephen Gilbert’s piece over the summer recounting his own personal circumstances:

Last year I was probably the only MP to be elected while still living with my parents. Of course, I’d moved out of home and, like many others, had to move back again. It’s a symptom of the fact that housing policy in the UK is in crisis. We have millions of people languishing on social housing waiting lists, first-time-buyers priced out of the market

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Opinion: Dr. Balls makes the right diagnosis, offers the same old failed prescriptions

Leading commentators on the political economy must have been flattered to hear many of their principles and policies given lip service by Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls this week in his speech to the Labour party conference. Flattered only to be deceived, sadly, as lip service is all he paid; underneath the rhetorical support for a reformed political economy promoted by the likes of Will Hutton, the Institute for Public Policy Research, Ha-Joon Chang and others, Balls’ prescription for the UK economy amounts to little more than tinkering with the same old policy levers that haven’t worked in the past.

Mr. …

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The Independent View: Vince needs to consider his legacy

Plan A is looking shakier than ever. After a slow climb out of recession, growth is now stalling and unemployment rising again, the approach taken thus far – cutting the deficit, and waiting for a spontaneous boom in the private sector – feels ever more risky, both politically and for our pockets. Vince Cable, who has always looked uneasy with a “plan for growth” that involves little except sitting back with fingers crossed, must feel increasingly unnerved.

And he’s right to be worried. His credibility is on the line and his legacy at BIS is yet to be secured. Now is …

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The Independent View: Public support action on excessive pay gap

The clamour for action on excessive pay is growing, not least from some of our biggest business names. Sir Stuart Rose, of Marks and Spencer, recently suggested that the gap between CEO pay and the wages of ordinary workers might have got out of control, while the newly appointed President of the CBI, Sir Roger Carr, this week described ‘rewards for failure’ as “unforgivable”.

Yet the idea that very high salaries can be justified as long as they are deserved is called into question by research from the High Pay Commission, which found that executive pay has grown by 7 per cent a year in real terms over the last 10 years, compared to annual average real growth of just 0.8 per cent between 1949 and 1979. Researchers can find no evidence that UK firms have done better over the last 10 years than in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Nor is there any evidence that senior executives are significantly more mobile than ordinary workers or modern firms more complex to run, as many supporters of the rapid increase in top pay argue.

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Nick Clegg: “AV gives people more power, more choice”

Yesterday morning, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg delivered a speech at the Institute for Public Policy Research think tank on political reform, particularly on the need to change the UK’s voting system as part of the ‘new politics’. The speech was trailed on the Voice here.

You can read the text of Nick’s speech below. (We also linked to Nick’s Telegraph piece yesterday here.)

Liberals have been champions of political reform since the formation of our party more than a century and a half ago.
House of Lords reform, party funding, devolution – and of course, reform of the voting

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Go and see Nick Clegg’s electoral reform speech tomorrow morning

Tis the day for tickets for events in London it would seem, as the IPPR have been in touch about a few spaces left for tomorrow’s speech on electoral reform from Nick Clegg:

The Shape of the New Politics
Keynote speech by Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Thursday 21 April 2011, (9.45am for) 10 – 11am
ippr offices, 14 Buckingham St, 4th Floor, London, WC2N 6DF

Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg MP, will give a keynote speech at ippr outlining the case for the Alternative Vote as part …

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Switch to AV would not boost BNP

The British National Party has featured surprisingly prominently in the AV campaign so far, since their introduction into the debate by the NO campaign. The BNP are, of course, firmly positioned in the NO camp, not least because they know that they wouldn’t have a hope of winning a Parliamentary election under the system – as their deputy chairman Simon Darby acknowledged to Channel 4’s FactCheck team yesterday.

This comes on the back of a report by the IPPR think tank which analysed the claim of the NO campaign that under AV, second preferences of BNP voters would be decisive …

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What the think tanks are saying: The IPPR on “How much is Labour to blame?”

(On 14 January 2011, the IPPR published a paper by Tony Dolphin, Senior Economist and Associate Director for Economic Policy at the IPPR entitled Debts and Deficits: How much is Labour to blame?)

Tony Dolphin makes a key point in his paper, that Labour did not seem to realise how much it was relying on revenues from sources associated with rampant lending, such as the City and the housing market.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t develop this point.

Using the Treasury figures for the budget deficit, between 2007 and 2009, the deficit leapt from £37bn to £123bn. These figures are cyclically adjusted, …

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The Independent View: The UK voting system is broken

One of the key arguments made by defenders of First Past the Post is that it produces clear outcomes on which strong and stable government is based. New analysis published today by the ippr (Worst of Both worlds: Why First Past the Post no longer works) shows why this claim no longer stacks up. It shows that the last general election result was not an aberration but a reflection of long-term changes in voting patterns across the UK which significantly increase the likelihood of more hung parliaments in the future.

Britain has evolved into a multi-party system, but it still has an electoral …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

Baroness Kate Parminter’s maiden speech

In recent weeks, LDV has been bringing its readers copies of our new MPs’ first words in the House of Commons, so that we can read what is being said and respond. You can find all of the speeches in this category with this link. Today’s guest editor Mark Valladares feels that it was only right that the same honour should be offered to new Peers, and today we bring you the words of Baroness Parminter of Godalming.

Baroness Parminter: I add my thanks to the noble Baroness, Lady Verma, for initiating this debate today. As a new girl, …

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