Author Archives: Danny Alexander MP

Danny Alexander is the Liberal Democrat MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey and Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

Danny Alexander writes… Direct community engagement on Scotland’s future

TGOC 2011: NW Highlands (gp027)When Russell Johnston, that stalwart of liberal democracy, first ran for parliament for Inverness in 1964 he made a point of holding public meetings across the constituency. And when I first met him, in the 1980s, he was still following that old tradition – small gatherings, inviting all-comers to engage in open debate, determined that he could persuade the communities he served so energetically to follow him on the best path for the Highlands.

Over the subsequent years, politics has perhaps lost a little of that traditional engagement.

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Danny Alexander MP writes: We shouldn’t fritter away our EU influence when we can lead drive for jobs and growth

As the House of Lords debates the EU Referendum Bill, you may be forgiven for thinking that the Coalition Government has already legislated for a referendum. In fact we did – in 2011 Parliament passed the EU Act which holds that there will be a referendum if there is a transfer of powers from the UK to the EU. This is a sensible approach which means that the British people will get their say in a referendum when our terms of membership change.

At the time, Conservative Ministers strongly supported the EU Act and rejected attempts by their own backbenchers to …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 22 Comments

Danny Alexander MP writes… This is the Liberal Democrats’ policy and everybody knows it

The Conservatives may claim to be the party of hardworking people. But the same cannot be said for their policy wonks. According to today’s Financial Times, the Conservatives are apparently considering a proposal for their manifesto to increase the personal allowance to £12,500. An almost identical idea to our own policy of raising the personal allowance to the minimum wage that we first passed in our spring conference of 2012 and reaffirmed just one month ago at our Autumn conference in Glasgow. Once again, it is the Liberal Democrats who are shaping the future of the British tax system.

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Danny Alexander writes… A good home should not be a luxury for the few, but an achievable aspiration for the many

Across the UK tens of thousands of aspiring homeowners find themselves in the same situation. They have steady jobs, reasonable incomes, but for them the dream of owning their own home is currently just that-a dream. It’s made even worse by the fact that they can afford the mortgage repayments on a new home.

The one thing holding them back is the cost of a big deposit. And without parents wealthy enough to give them a helping hand these aspiring homeowners will continue to be excluded from the property ladder. I don’t think our housing market should be shut off …

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Danny Alexander MP writes… Trident: The UK’s voice on an international issue

I believe Trident is the UK’s last, unreformed bastion of Cold War thinking. And I believe we can adapt our nuclear deterrent to the threats of the 21st century by ending 24-hour patrols when we don’t need them and procuring fewer submarines.

This is the conclusion I draw from the Trident Alternatives Review that the Coalition Government published in July – a Review that clearly would not have happened without Lib Dems in Government.

But when the Review was published, some of our critics claimed any changes to Trident would seriously damage our relationship with the US. …

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Danny Alexander MP writes… Investing in Britain’s future

Video by hmtreasuryuk on YouTube.

Yesterday, we set out a Spending Round that delivers Liberal Democrat priorities on investment and improving our public services while making responsible choices to deal with the financial problems Labour left us. It demonstrated that the Liberal Democrats will remain firm in our commitment to tackling the deficit, but fair in the way we go about it. Our number one priority in Government has been to fix the economic mess we inherited from Labour.

Today I have set out how we will invest in our country’s economic future by creating balanced growth and delivering lasting prosperity. I have announced the most comprehensive, ambitious and long-lasting capital investment plans this country has ever known.
In doing so we are putting long term priorities before short term political pressures and we are ending the culture of short-termism that plagued so many of our predecessors.

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Danny Alexander MP writes… Spending where it matters

Our number one priority in Government has been to fix the economic mess we inherited from Labour. Today, we set out a Spending Round that delivers Liberal Democrat priorities on investment and improving our public services while making responsible choices to deal with the financial problems Labour left us. It demonstrates that the Liberal Democrats will remain firm in our commitment to tackling the deficit, but fair in the way we go about it.

When we entered Government in May 2010, we inherited from Labour an economy that was on the brink. We set out a plan to get our economy …

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Danny Alexander MP writes… Budget 2013: putting Liberal Democrat principles into practice

Today’s Budget delivers Liberal Democrat policies to help families with the cost of living and invest in the future of our economy, while making responsible choices to deal with the financial problems Labour left us with.

The announcement that the Coalition will increase the personal allowance to £10,000-one year ahead of schedule-is a huge victory for the Liberal Democrats. At the last General Election, we made big tax cuts for people on low and middle incomes the centre piece of our manifesto. We have delivered that promise-helping deliver a strong economy in a fairer society, so everyone can get on in …

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Danny Alexander MP writes exclusively for Lib Dem Voice: Statement on Lord Rennard allegations

Nick Clegg has today announced that Helena Morrissey will chair the independent inquiry into culture, process and complaints within the Liberal Democrats. Jo Swinson is speaking at the party conference rally tonight and will tell party members about her role in dealing with allegations about Lord Rennard. I want to do the same.

I had been Nick’s chief of staff since his election in December 2007. In 2008, Jo told me of concerns that had been expressed to her privately and in confidence by a number of women about the conduct of Lord Rennard.

While she did not give me any names …

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Danny Alexander MP writes… Liberal Democrat budget victory for “further faster” tax campaign

Over 20 million working people will be better off next year after Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government delivered the biggest ever increase in the income tax personal allowance in the Budget.

The increase of £1,100 is worth £220 to 21 million working people – taking the total income tax cut for working people delivered over 3 years by the coalition to nearly £550 a year. Two million people will pay no income tax at all. By going ‘further and faster’ as Nick Clegg promised, we’re getting real help to millions of hard-pressed people at a time when they need …

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Danny Alexander writes … Campaigning on Our Manifesto

On Friday, Nick emailed all members to outline our position on the abolition of tuition fees. It was great to see our position, agreed by both the Federal Policy Committee and the Parliamentary Party, broadly welcomed on LDV and elsewhere.

Saddling students with huge debts as they leave universities, particularly at a time when many are failing to find jobs through no fault of their own, is clearly wrong. And the prospect of such debts putting talented young people off going to university is equally wrong. That is why our plan to scrap tuition fees over 6 years from the election will be one of a very small number of core commitments in our manifesto.

Posted in General Election and Op-eds | Tagged , , , , and | 9 Comments

The Tories are not a progressive party

It’s little wonder Eric Pickles is trying to persuade Liberal Democrats to vote for him; we’ve been winning council seats off the Conservatives in his constituency and he’s obviously rattled.

The Tory Chairman says liberal democracy is “part of the Conservative family”, but I’m certain I’m no part of his family. His flawed view of history is matched only by his arrogance in assuming that he’s got the General Election in the bag and can now order people to vote for him.

Let’s remember, the Conservatives are the party that opposed social welfare in 1909 and the creation of the NHS forty …

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Danny Alexander MP writes… “We have a different, radical message about the change our country needs”

Yesterday Nick launched ‘A Fresh Start for Britain’ – a document which outlines the values upon which our manifesto for the next General Election will be based. You may have seen some of the media coverage; I hope you have also visited Nick’s new site on it –

This document is the first part of a two-part paper which we will be taking to Autumn conference. It promotes a vision that was agreed by both the Federal Policy Committee and the parliamentary party; which shows how our party would do things differently from Labour and Tories. The second explains in more detail our existing policy portfolio.

The next election is our opportunity to show the British people we have a different, radical message about the change our country needs. The two old parties don’t really want to change a political system that keeps them in power or challenge the bankers who got the economy into such a terrible mess.

‘A Fresh Start for Britain’ explains how our values – the basis upon which we will reach our choices on what should be in our manifesto – are fundamentally different from those of the Conservative and Labour parties. In the unprecedented economic situation that the country faces, only the Liberal Democrats are clear that the choices we make will be driven by a clear set of values and principles.

This policy paper does not prejudge what those choices might be, but it does emphasise the uncertain and difficult economic context against which these choices will be made and the real constraints that will place on our own manifesto when it is drawn up next year. It makes clear that we will treat the British people like grown ups; we will be honest about the tough choices ahead – both for the country and for ourselves.

This policy paper, which is going to conference in the place of a more traditional pre-manifesto, highlights three key priorities – a sustainable economy, a fair society, clean politics – that will drive the choices that we will make when we come to draw up our manifesto. Each of these is illustrated by two policy examples that form a key part of our current narrative.

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | Tagged , , and | 9 Comments

Danny Alexander writes… Help us win the battle of ideas!

On January 17th, the Federal Policy Committee, in association with the Keynes Forum, is arranging a one day conference at the London School of Economics (LSE) in London to look at “creating a progressive society”. It promises to be a very interesting day, opening with a keynote speech from Nick Clegg MP.

In the morning we will have a plenary session looking at the political challenges and opportunities for the party in creating a progressive society. In the afternoon plenary we will consider the issue of social mobility following the anticipated report from the Social Mobility Commission which …

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | 3 Comments

Danny Alexander writes… our plan to fix the economy

For months now, families across the country have felt the pinch as fuel and food prices have spiralled out of control.

They have watched as financial institutions hit the rocks and have seen the great lengths the Governments has been prepared to go to in order to bail them out.

As they read of the billions of pounds of their money that Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling have been prepared to pump into the banking system, it is understandable that they should ask what is being done to help them.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party to set out clearly what should …

Posted in News | Tagged | 19 Comments

Danny Alexander writes… the Lib Dems’ tax-cutting agenda

Liberal Democrats want Britain to be fairer. That simple, principled commitment has always been core to our beliefs – and always will. That’s why Liberal Democrats will go into the next general election promising big tax cuts for ordinary people and families. From the poorest up, we want to cut taxes for those struggling to make ends meet in the face of today’s severe economic problems.

There’s been a lot of debate recently about where we’ll find the money to make these tax cuts. First, we’ll make sure everyone pays their fair share. There’ll be no more special exemptions for the …

Posted in Op-eds and Party policy and internal matters | 29 Comments

Opinion: Real solutions to tackle poverty and inequality

This month when the policy paper ‘Freedom from Poverty; Opportunity for All’ goes before the Liberal Democrat federal conference we have the chance as a party to put forward a radical and unique set of proposals to tackle poverty and inequality in the UK.

If we are honest with ourselves this is a challenge which we have not stood up to for too long. While many people within the party have proposed and put into practice polices at a local level, it is now seven years since we have put forward a coherent package to tackle inequality and eradicate poverty.

After 10 years of Labour the time is ripe for us to make ourselves the only party offering genuine solutions to help the 12 million people still living in relative poverty. It is simply unacceptable that in the UK a person’s life chances still are determined more by their parents’ income and employment than in almost any other developed country.

Labour’s attempts to reduce poverty have come at the price of trapping people in dependency, with means-tested benefits. Labour seeks to move people over an arbitrary ‘poverty line’, rather than giving them the real opportunities which would allow them to play their full part in society.

Labour has failed to tackle educational inequalities, failed to get ‘hard to reach’ groups back into employment; failed to deal with the dramatic shortages of affordable housing; and failed to strengthen the pensions and benefits safety net. The Conservatives meanwhile have no sensible policies to deal with poverty and inequality at all. They want to “roll back the state and roll forward society” in a great leap backwards to nineteenth century Victorian conservatism.

It is time for us as a party to wage a new war on poverty, and give people the opportunities to succeed in life. To establish a real meritocracy where, regardless of background, everyone is given the opportunity to acquire the education and skills to succeed. Where the poorest in out society are no longer abandoned to a childhood spent in failing schools followed by a lifetime of form filling to claim means-tested benefits. But if these aspirations are to be more than merely platitudes, if we are to prove ourselves as a party of substance against two parties of spin, we must take difficult choices, and look not only to the state for solutions but also individuals and business.

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | 7 Comments

Recent Comments

  • Brandon Masih
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