What the Lib Dems have achieved in the Coalition Government

The party has this morning issued the following briefing note on the achievements of the Lib Dems within the Coalition Government …

In just 10 weeks since the start of the Coalition Government, the Liberal Democrats have exerted a huge influence over its agenda.

Going into the election the Liberal Democrats made clear that they had four key priorities: fairer taxes; a fair start for children with extra funding for disadvantaged pupils; a comprehensive clean up of our politics, including a fairer voting system; and a green, sustainable economy.

Thanks to Lib Dem involvement, the Government will deliver on each of these.

There are also a large number of other Lib Dem policies and pledges that will now begin to make a real, positive difference to people’s lives because of our role in the Coalition Government.

These include everything from rolling back the surveillance state and giving people back their civil liberties, to prison and NHS reforms, fairer pensions, the ending of child detention and the scrapping of the third runway at Heathrow.

Delivering on our promises

Fairer taxes

The Liberal Democrats promised to make the tax system fairer by ensuring no one pays tax on the first £10,000 they earn and closing loopholes that allow the wealthy to pay a smaller proportion of their income in tax than people on low and middle incomes.

The Coalition Government has already taken a huge step towards achieving this by raising the income tax threshold by £1,000 in last month’s Budget, saving low and middle earners £200 a year, and reforming Capital Gains Tax. The income tax threshold will continue to be increased every year during this Parliament.

The Liberal Democrats also promised to restore the earnings link to pensions, which the Government will now do.

We also promised wide scale banking reform, including a banking levy to make sure that banks pay for the financial support they received from the taxpayer. The levy, which will raise £2.5bn, was announced in the Budget.

A fair start for children

The Liberal Democrats promised to introduce a Pupil Premium to target extra money at disadvantaged children. The Coalition Agreement makes clear that this will now happen.

We also promised greater freedoms for teachers over the curriculum, which will also be brought in as a key part of the Coalition’s education reforms.

Fair politics

The Liberal Democrats promised a comprehensive clean up of the rotten political system. This is now a key part of the Coalition’s agenda for which Nick Clegg has responsibility.

The plans include:

  • A referendum on the Alternative Vote to take place in May 2011
  • The right to sack MPs guilty of serious misconduct
  • Fixed term parliaments of five years
  • Reform of party funding
  • Moving towards an elected House of Lords, elected by proportional representation
  • A statutory register of lobbyists
  • A radical devolution of power and greater financial autonomy to local government and community groups

A green, sustainable economy

The Liberal Democrats promised a raft of policies to help the economy recover and make sure that we build a new green and sustainable economy fit for the 21st century.

A huge number of these policies will now become a reality, including:

  • Tough action to tackle the deficit
  • The creation of a green investment bank
  • Reform of the banking system to make sure that banks lend to viable British businesses
  • An independent commission on separating investment and retail banking
  • Measures to improve energy efficiency in homes and businesses
  • Support for low carbon energy production and an increase the target for energy from renewable sources
  • Enabling the creation of a national high speed rail network
  • The creation of a smart electricity grid and the roll-out of smart meters
  • The establishment of an emissions performance standard that will prevent coal-fired power stations being built unless they are equipped with Carbon Capture and Storage Technology
  • Replacing Air Passenger Duty with a per-plane duty
  • The provision of a floor price for carbon, as well as working to persuade the EU to move towards full auctioning of ETS permits

Other Lib Dem policies that will now become a reality

The Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for the restoration of freedoms and civil liberties eroded under Labour and the rolling back of the surveillance state. A huge number of Lib Dem policies will now happen, including:

  • The abolition of Identity Cards, the National Identity register, the next generation of biometric passports and the ContactPoint Database
  • The repeal of unnecessary laws
  • Further regulation of CCTV
  • The outlawing of finger-printing of children at school without permission
  • Extending the Freedom of Information Act
  • Ending child detention for immigration purposes
  • Removal of innocent people from the DNA database

There are also a host of other Lib Dem policies that will now happen under the Coalition Government. These include:

  • Fair compensation for Equitable Life victims
  • The modernisation of the Royal Mail
  • Flexible working and promotion of equal pay
  • Reform of the NHS to strengthen the voices of patients and the role of doctors
  • A commission on long-term reform of social care
  • Cutting Quangos and government bureaucracy
  • Implementing the recommendations of the Calman Commission on Scottish devolution
  • A referendum on further powers for the Welsh Assembly
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52 Comments

  • This is a bit lazy of me, but here is a cut and paste semi rebuttal posted by Cuse.

    ““referendum on changing the electoral system”: Nick Clegg “AV is a miserable little reform”. DOes that include changing boundaries as well to suit your Tory masters? That’s not reform. That’s gerrymandering.

    “a democratically elected Upper House”: Mainly elected. Plus 100 new peers – mostly to prop up Tory + Liberals

    “a large increase in the basic income tax allowance”. £1,000 is not a large increase. Funnily you don’t mention either that that is entirely wiped out by the 20% VAT increase. Nick Clegg pre: GE “Tory VAT bombshell – it’s what they always do”. Funny that no Lib Dem ever wants to mention VAT – the most regressive tax possible. Good work guys.

    “more powers devolved in Scotland and a referendum on doing the same in Wales”. Nice that the Lib Dems have taken credit for the Calman Commission. Nice that your Scottish secretary has only hinted at devolving more powers and you’ve clamied them as done.

    “an increase in Capital Gains Tax” – diluted by Tory masters after their backbenchers rebelled. Big victory.

    “the ending of detaining children for immigration purposes”. Yup. You got it.

    Funny how you’re not talking about the Coalition’s NHS pre-privatisation; the cancellation of school buildings, the disappearance of the pupil premium; Vincent’s raid on graduate incomes to cover the tuition fees promise. etc etc.”

  • Is it also an achievement, on your part, that you are voting through what the IFS have called a regressive budget? Give yourselves a pat on the back.

  • George, the IFS were talking about the budget as a whole. That’s going to be a proud record to defend, isn’t it?

  • You forgot to mention that mr gove is using anti terror laws to push through his schools program..
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/tories-use-terror-laws-to-rush-academies-bill-through-house-2030336.html

  • Richard Blogger:

    “Did the LibDem manifesto say that you would privatise the NHS? This is what Lansley’s plans will do.”
    >> No, that’s what you say they will do. There is a difference.

    “Then Lansley wants FTs to become “employee-led social enterprises”. In company law a “social enterprise” is a private company”
    >> The first social enterprises contracting to provide NHS care happened under Labour. Plus, encouraging social enterprises to provide NHS care was in the Lib Dem manifesto. What don’t you like about giving working people power? Do you hate the Co-op?

    “So when you are in an NHS hospital waiting to be scanned by an MRI scanner bought with NHS money, the BUPA patient will be scanned before you. All in the name of “competition”. Did you vote for that?”
    >> Did BUPA patients not get faster care under Labour? Your point is irrelevant anyway as health outcome measures will determine how much money trusts get – treat people in time to cure them and get your money – what is your problem with trusts being paid based on outcomes?

    “Lansley wants all hospitals to be FT regardless of their quality.”
    >> Err, did you read the Labour manifesto? Here’s a bit of it: “All hospitals will become Foundation Trusts”.

    “In the Health Select Committee today Stephen Dorrell said that the government is putting together a policy of co-pay for NHS treatment ending the principle of “free at the point of delivery”. Did you vote for that?”
    >> Oh dear. This is the anti-EU school of argument… you take something that someone not in power says and you pretend that they are revealing some secret truth.

  • VAT is an unpleasant tax – no doubt about it – but the way Labour has focussed so much of its opposition on VAT simply shows how far from reality is Labour’s vision of what it means to be “poor” in Britain today. The poor are not regularly buying even relatively everyday VAT-able good like chocolate biscuits and are certainly not overly worried about the extra ten quid on the price of a TV they had no hope of affording to begin with.
    Labour has become so obsessed with formulating policy to appeal to middle-class middle England that they seem to have convinced themselves that Worcester Woman and Mondeo Man genuinely do represent their constituency of the low-waged and the deprived – in fact the demographic Blair and Brown most took for granted.
    Let’s be clear. Nobody in the Lib Dems WANTED to increase VAT, but the idea that a tax is “super regressive” or “hits the worst off” on the basis that some swing voters in marginal seats might get worried about the price of their Ocado delivery is frankly offensive.

    As a Lib Dem there is much about having Conservatives in government that worries me. If there wasn’t I wouldn’t have joined an opposing party. But I am also proud that we have been able to make a start on delivering OUR manifesto pledges. They aren’t all happening as fast as I’d like and they don’t all go as far or look exactly like I would have preferred them to look, but we are going to have the chance to get rid of First Past the Post; we are cutting tax for the genuinely low-waged, we are rebuilding our freedoms as citizens and we are abolishing student fees.

    Not a bad start all things considered.

  • “Erm… What about the council tax, which has risen dramatically in the last 13 years”

    Not a problem, just fulfill your promise to “Axe The Tax” .Or failing that just reduce Council Tax bills by let’s say 30% across the board.Now you are the government nothing is stopping you. The statement released highlighting Lib Dem ‘achievements’ in government is entirely due to the growing perception the Lib Dems are little more than fodder for the Tories. There is nothing in the list that will change that perception.The truth is the truth.

  • Reading the Mirror this morning I spotted this sentence, opening their coverage of the Iraq Inquiry: “The Iraq war led to a massive surge in terror threats against the UK putting thousands at risk, a former MI5 spymaster revealed yesterday.”

    Richard Blogger, jayu, AJ, republica, you must be so proud to be Labour.

  • @Stuart

    The Iraq war is no longer a trump card for the LibDems. The country has moved on. You are going to have to get used to defending your record in government. Good luck with that one.

  • Stuart.if said former MI5 spymaster had spoken up and challenged the evidence at the time the war could have been averted so maybe all who opposed the war should have put pressure on mi5 at the time,we are all clever when it come to hindsight eh? but the answer to your final question is yes i am,i would rather be red and near dead than have a yellow blue tory in my bed, does the world cuckolded mean anything to you lib dems by any chance?

  • @jayu – oh, that’s OK then. You’ve radicalised a generation of young Muslims against us, killed 10,000s if not 100,000s of Iraqis, as well as 100s of our service personnel, but the pollsters report it doesn’t matter any more. You, jayu, are the reason Labour disgusts me.

  • @republica, I think you’ll find there were plenty of people opposed to the war, it’s just that your party, the Labour party, was hungry for war.

    Well, you got what you wanted, and the people of Iraq and our service personnel and their families have been paying the price ever since. But, don’t worry, as jayu says, it’s not affecting anyone’s vote any more, so who gives a toss about those limbless ex-servicemen.

  • Stuart, the Liberal Democrat’s coalition partners, The Conservative Party, supported Labour on Iraq. This is not an issue on which you can make political capital.

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 21st Jul '10 - 5:28pm

    G – there’s absolutely no reason why the position of the Lib Dems’ coalition partners has anything to do with it. They (and Labour) were wrong and we (and the many protesters) were proved right. There’s nothing in the coalition deal that prevents us making that point.

  • @Stuart..lib dems 14% and falling fast,You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time..we will be back stuart even if it takes a generation so enjoy your time with the big boys while its lasts ,i don’t hate lib dems i just don’t like upper middle classes of which lib dems are legion.

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore, bit ungracious to gloat how the deaths of 100,000+ proves you were right, besides with respect to the future, you can’t predict it unless you’re claiming psychic powers, only plan for a variety of possible outcomes – which was the biggest failure of the invasion. Anyway the main point I was making was that you cannot use Iraq as a vote winner now, if it bothered you so much why are you in a formal coalition with those that supported it, etc?

    Besides there are many Labour and Conservative supporters who vehemently disagreed with the then government over Iraq. Your position is hardly unique.

  • @Stuart..As i recall privately ming (your ex leader) was not so opposed at the time so trying to simply tar all with one brush is the method of the fool but you keep trying all you want and was not David Llyod George a pro boer war politician and also Prime Minister when the Government of Ireland Act was passed in 1920 which split ireland in two and increased terrorism?
    What a joy it must be to have such a selctive memory but then the lib dems are very astute when it comes to propaganda and it seems they did a bloody good job on you.

  • ROB SHEFFIELD 21st Jul '10 - 6:16pm

    You can always tell when the wheels are coming off .

    Just TODAY- a dire performance in PMQ’s “not speaking on behalf of No. 10″; Vince brushed aside on HE funding only a few days after revealing his options! All that on top of *everything else*.

    You can tell the wheels are coming off because the platitudes come out in list format.

    Not convincing at all.

  • @republica: you say, “we will be back”. You probably will be, but don’t worry, we’ll be there to clean up the economic mess you make.

  • Alix, a bit of reading for you, on your governments proposed policy on unaccompanied child asylum seekers.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jun/07/child-asylum-seekers-uk-afghanistan

  • Rob Sheffield 21st Jul '10 - 6:32pm

    Add these to the list:

    ” Source close ti Cable says option of looking at graduates paying towards education thro tax system was ‘fully agreed’ by senior members of govt”

    “Number 10 has said that deputy prime minister Nick Clegg was not speaking on behalf of the government today at prime minister’s questions when he described the Iraq war as “illegal”. Foreign secretary William Hague has also distanced himself from the comments.”

    “It’s been a day of mixed messages for the coalition after deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, said at PMQs today that British soldiers must be out of a combat role in Afghanistan by 2015, which shadow defence secretary Bob Ainsworth said makes the job of British troops in Afghanistan harder. Later today defence secretary Liam Fox would not commit to a withdrawal date when giving evidence to the defence select committee today, saying troops may be required “for some time.”

  • Richard Blogger, the phrase ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing comes’ to mind.

    Make your mind up: is healthcare to be floated off with us all at the mercy of American-style corporate health giants, or are providers to be hidebound by a new raft of Lansley rules & regulations?

    I am sure you did tell lots of people on the doorstep that the Tories will sell off the NHS and I am sure they didn’t like the sound of that. Labour campaigners always come out with all kind of rubbish when they campaign, esp when misrepresenting the Liberal Democrats. I am sure in five years’ time, come the next election, the NHS will be safe & sound.

    On social enterprises, you were virtually foaming at the mouth when it was the Tories likely to create them; yet you were happy to canvass for a party, Labour, which had, in your words, privatised parts of the NHS.

    You get a bit long-winded in the middle, so I’ll move on to the Dorrell bit. So, every word spoken by every Tory is a statement of government policy? Do you understand the difference between the executive and the legislature? I can suggest some reading material, if necessary.

    OK, mate. Ciao for now, Stuart

  • Stuart: “Labour campaigners always come out with all kind of rubbish when they campaign, esp when misrepresenting the Liberal Democrats”

    Ha ha ha. Pot meet kettle..

  • Paul McKeown 21st Jul '10 - 10:13pm

    @Alix

    Well said.

  • Rob Sheffield 21st Jul '10 - 10:45pm

    Hhmm

    Latest You Gov tonight: Lib Dems on **13**……

  • Rob Sheffield 21st Jul '10 - 11:28pm

    Mark- given your illiberal deletion policy ….well we know which side of the LD divide you reside :-)

    @Alix (obsessed with the letter casing)

    this evenings reportage seems to sum up the rather poor report card for Nicholas today does it not.

    “GAFFE”

    No? Well- I assumed you had both blinkers and ear muffs.

    Plus a subscription to certain conspiratorial websites !!

  • Oh dear, the boasting about Clegeron at the despatch box was a bit premature wasn’t it? Already he’s been slapped down for potentially putting troops in the dock for Iraq, misspeaking about Yarl’s Wood (nice for the families and friends of those detained there) and Vince has had his (unilaterally announced) policy of a graduate tax stopped. The latter’s not too big a deal for members though – I thought your policy was decided democratically at Conference? I don’t remember when you voted for a graduate tax, so I assume Vince is making it up on the spot.

    The first gaffe is quite a biggy. You’re not in opposition now – you have to be serious when you speak. Clegg was speaking for the government today, not the Lib Dems. Time to remember you’re in government, not writing a Focus. Your lies and misspeaking now will have consequences.

  • Mike80 wrote:

    “Your lies and misspeaking now will have consequences.”

    Do you mean Tony Blair’s lies and misspeaking? The lies about WMD that Cheney commanded Blair to tell in order to bludgeon Parliament into backing an illegal war at Cheney’s behest, which cost hundreds of thousands of lives and has made the world a more dangerous place (E Manningham-Buller)?

    Nick Clegg was absolutely right to say what he said. Congratulations and hurrah! Cheney’s war for oil in Iraq was quite clearly illegal under international law, as almost every specialist in public international law acknowledges.

    How about an investigation itno the murder of Dr David Kelly, who knew about it and who ordered it? The chances of getting Cheney in the dock are fairly slim, I guess, but Blair might just prove expendable, as poor old Conrad Black did.

  • Rob Sheffield wrote:

    “Foreign secretary William Hague has also distanced himself from the comments.”

    Well, Mr Hague is also pretending that Abol-Bassat Al-Megrahi carried out the Lockerbie bombing, despite all the evidence to the contrary. I think it unlikely that Hague will ever utter words that remotely displease the military-industrial complex and the families.

    One would have thought that a good socialist like Mr Sheffield would be delighted to hear a politician attack an imperialist war waged by billionaire merchant adventurers against a third world country. Not in the modern Labour Party, apparently.

  • This is really a rather depressing little thread, isn’t it now? I suppose Richard Blogger sometimes just about hits an acceptable score on a serious-content-to-bile ratio basis, but precious few other posters do, on either side of the argument.

    Could it be that some Labourites are working off years of frustration over their own party’s poor performance by bashing the Lib Dems? Could it be that some Lib Dems are working off weeks of frustration over their own party’s more recent poor performance by bashing Labour?

  • The funny thing is I voted Tory to get a lot of that list. Although I wonder whether the Tory’s would have backed out of some of those electoral promises without the Coalition Agreement.

    I’m annoyed some of the unworkable Green policies made it in but on the whole the policies for which I refused to vote LibDem were dropped.

  • David Allen 22nd Jul '10 - 4:49pm

    “The funny thing is, I voted Tory to get a lot of that list.”

    Yup, that’s funny!

  • john martin 22nd Jul '10 - 6:49pm

    Someone must help me here. Lib Dem support in the country moves steadily down, 14% compared to 23% at the General Election. My earlier prediction that it will drift back to 8% looks more and more credible. And yet correspondents argue that the Coalition is fulfilling a raft of Lib Dem election pledges. What does this mean? Does it mean that the adoption of more Lib Dem policies would push it down even further? Explain please, someone.

  • John Martin,

    If you look at actual elections rather than opinion polls, you will see that Lib Dem support is holding steady. There’s your explanation.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 22nd Jul '10 - 7:20pm

    “Someone must help me here. Lib Dem support in the country moves steadily down, 14% compared to 23% at the General Election.”

    And on the latest YouGov figures, actually down to 13% – the lowest rating for the party from YouGov since the final days of Ming Campbell’s leadership, more than two and a half years ago.

    I believe the comparable (mainland) percentage from the general election was 23.6%.

  • East Dorset DC, Corfe Mullen South
    Thursday 15 July 2010 12:00

    LD Philip Howland Harknett 478 (55.5%; -1.0)
    Con 350 (40.6%; -2.9)
    UKIP 34 (3.9%; +3.9)
    Majority 128
    Turnout 40.5%
    Lib Dem Hold
    Percentage change is since May 2007

    Surrey CC, Worplesdon
    Thursday 15 July 2010 12:00

    Con 1844 (53.6%; +5.1)
    LD Paul Ronald Cragg 1286 (37.4%; +2.3)
    Lab 193 (5.6%; +1.5)
    UKIP 78 (2.3%; -9.9)
    Peace Party 39 (1.1%; +1.1)
    Majority 558
    Turnout 31.3%
    Con hold
    Percentage change is since May 2009

    Note that the Labour vote in Worplesdon went up by only 1.5%. If the thesis being advanced by these Labour trolls is correct, then it should have sky-rocketed. These are not the best ever results for the Lib Dems, but they will do pro tem.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 22nd Jul '10 - 8:19pm

    Sesenco

    I think it’s extremely hazardous trying to deduce anything about the national situation from local by-elections, to the extent that it’s probably better _not_ to try.

    But if you are going to try, you certainly shouldn’t pick and choose. Below, from Keith Edkins’s site, are the other results of that date which had a change in the Lib Dem vote indicated:

    Guildford BC, Pirbright 35.3(+1.6) since May 2007
    Leicester City Council, Castle 7.5(-10.8) since May 2007
    Preston City Council, Riversway 29.1(-4.4) since May 2010
    Rochford DC, Wheatley 11.4(+11.4 – did not stand previously) since May 2010
    Walsall MBC, Bloxwich West 3.3(-6.5) since May 2010
    Wycombe DC, Greater Marlow 16.9(+0.0 – ????) since May 2007

    http://www.gwydir.demon.co.uk/byelections/le100715.htm

  • Anthony Aloysius St 23rd Jul '10 - 12:47am

    Obviously the three urban contests here show significant drops in the Lib Dem vote, which is much as we should expect if the decrease in the national polling reflects disillusionment among left-leaning former supporters. Loyalists can plausibly spin the results as implying that in rural areas and traditionally Tory suburbs the damage will be more limited, because more of the party’s supporters are “naturally” conservative. Equally, there may be local factors at work in most of these contests which invalidate them as predictors of national support.

    But on the whole the drop in support in opinion polls has been faster and deeper than I would have expected. Based on the lows during the last parliament when the party was in opposition, I thought single figures were on the cards at some point. But I didn’t think we’d be three quarters of the way there by late July, before the “vast bulk” of public spending cuts have even been announced, let alone felt.

    This is going to be an interesting time for the parliamentary party which – after all – ditched its leader twice in the last parliament at times when opinion poll ratings were not much worse than they are now.

  • Peter Chivall 27th Jul '10 - 12:27pm

    Of course the local byelection results are mixed (but see today’s Guardian on the opinion polls) – they seem to reflect a lowering of LibDem morale, especially when facing Labour opposition. Your pro-Labour bloggers and the Labour Party in Parliament have deliberately targetted the LibDems (for only having *partial* success in moderating the Tories’ rampant right wing policies) as what they perceive as the weaker half of the Coalition). They cynically forget the mass of right wing, authoritarian, pro-City and Big Business policies that New Labour actually drove through and that the massive and wasteful public spending (most of which went to apparatchics in the middle and upper reaches of local govt. and quangos anyway)was mostly just a bribe to keep their swing voters and supporters on-side.
    What we need to hear from prominent LibDems whether in Govt. or on the back benches is a repeated loud enunciation of what are still *our* LibDem policies and an open, frank criticism of where Tory ministers in Health, Education, DEFRA etc. have stretched the Coalition agreement beyond what is acceptable. I’m looking forward to our Liverpool Conference in September – it’s going to be fun!!

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