Author Archives: Mike German

Lord Mike German writes…ATOS contract scrapped, two requests for its replacement

stethoscopeThe previous Labour Government’s 2005 contract awarded to Atos Healthcare has been a long term thorn in the side of the policy of fairly assessing people on Invalidity Benefit for transferring to Employment and Support Allowance. The contract has been dogged by decisions taken which have been overturned on appeal, and longer and longer queues as people wait for their assessments.

At the root of the problem was Labour’s decision to award the contract to a single supplier for the whole of Great Britain. Now, we know Labour loves monopolies and centralising …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 12 Comments

Lord German writes… Monitoring the removal of the spare room subsidy

Like many people reading the front page of the Guardian this morning, I was worried by the headline on the pronouncements by the UN special rapporteur on the removal of the spare room subsidy. But it is important to look behind the headline to see that these comments were based on a very brief visit from this adviser, who did not have the time for a detailed discussion with the Department for Work and Pensions to understand the policy. If she had done she would have been able to understand that this policy brings the rules for the social …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 33 Comments

Lord German writes… Welfare – don’t panic! – it’s Cameron being a Tory!

So David Cameron has made a speech laying out some welfare ideas for his party’s manifesto in 2015. Some parts of the media portray the ideas as government policy – they aren’t! I was very surprised to see Shelter’s press release saying this was Government policy as well. It isn’t!

Party leaders in a coalition will always want to outline their plans for the next general election. It’s part of being an independent and separate party, and as believers in an electoral system which produces coalitions we should not get anxious about it either. I want Nick Clegg to …

Posted in Op-eds | 16 Comments

Lord German writes… A benefits system that works: the Welfare Reform Bill in the House of Lords

As Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Party Committee on Work and Pensions the Welfare Reform Bill has absorbed most of the past year. It is now in the final stages of passage through the House of Lords. There has been some negative press surrounding the Bill, which is clouding aspects that have been long term goals of the Liberal Democrats.

A big first step is being taken towards our long term ambition of merging tax and benefits. Our benefit system is the most complex and cumbersome system in the developed world. It requires an annual book to be published which explains …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 36 Comments

Lord Mike German’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. Alert LDV reader and bureaucratic blogger Mark Valladares, himself a husband to a Lib Dem Peer, our party’s president Ros Scott, has drawn to our attention that we have more new parliamentarians in the Other Place, who are also making maiden speeches. Earlier today we brought you the words of Baroness

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Mike German writes… my time as Welsh leader

Nominations to succeed me as leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats close today (Nov 3), and in the morning, the first all-female leadership contest in British political history will start in earnest.

Very few are the leaders who get to leave in a (mostly) dignified way, and I am grateful to my colleagues – both supporters and otherwise – for allowing me this luxury.

Looking back, the highlights of the last decade are obvious. I’ve made no secret of the fact that the highlight of my time as leader has been the time we spent in government. For three years, we were …

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Leader article: 2008 for Liberalism in Wales

2008 is shaping up to be an exciting year for Welsh Liberal Democrats. May’s local government elections will offer a real test of Labour’s unpopularity. The Welsh Liberal Democrats are the main challengers to Labour in all our largest urban areas. While the first-past-the-post system remains in place, we will be pushing to strengthen our position in Cardiff, Swansea, Wrexham and Bridgend – where we already lead the councils. Look out for Newport too, where – if as expected Labour lose overall control of the council – then all of Wales’ cities will have rejected their style of we-know-best politics.

It …

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  • User AvatarGraham Evans 19th Jul - 11:25pm
    Ashford is in many respects a partial black hole in regard to opposition to the Tories. In the whole council elections Tories regularly get returned...
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    Joe, As I have come to expect, a thorough and thought through reply. Thank you again. However, although it would indeed be nice if your...
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    Peter - You're seriously telling us that voters went to the polls in 2007, thinking "well I'm not gonna vote for the LibDems because I...
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    It is pretty obvious that in Ashford we should have let the Greens fly the flag
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    "examples of a paper candidate accidentally winning and ... going on to be a good councillor?" Tony Greaves wrote an obituary on Liberal Democrat Voice...
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    Looking at the people Depiffle is assembling it seems we will soon be faced with the Cabinet of no talents.