Call Clegg: Proud of Budget, help for parents, taking on Ed Balls and “silly” Shapps and keeping Scotland in the family

call cleggAnother good Call Clegg this morning with one question from Philadelphia on Scottish independence. The caller asked if David Cameron should resign if Scotland voted yes. Nick didn’t get into that, but he said he fervently hoped that Scotland would stay in the “UK family of nations” with more powers.

One criticism of the budget is that it only helps working parents, not those who choose to stay at home. Nick expressed his admiration for those who make that choice, but he said that so many had said to him that they would love to be able to work more but the cost of childcare simply made it not worth their while. He added that the Coalition had helped all parents with 15 hours childcare a week.

He spoke of the changes to pensions helping women who had taken time out of work to care for children, saying how we had ended the previously discriminatory system.

Another questioner asked him to speculate on the fate of the missing Malaysian plane. He said he wasn’t going to speculate, but his empathy for the relatives was very clear.

The cabaret for the morning was a recorded question from Ed Balls saying that the Budget had done nothing for the poorest. He said that Nick was “all radio show and no action.” Nick retorted that half a million fewer children were living in poverty than when Labour left office and that youth unemployment was also lower.

Asked whether it was a “budget for plebs”, Nick said that he thought Grant Shapps’ tweet was “silly.”

Here is my Storify thingy with tweets from me and some others to give you a flavour of what went on. You’ll be able to see the whole thing here.

<div><iframe src=”//” width=”100%” height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src=”//”></script><noscript>[<a href=”//″ target=”_blank”>View the story “Call Clegg 20 March 2014” on Storify</a>]</noscript></div>

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Frank Booth 20th Mar '14 - 2:51pm

    I see why the LDs want to make hay over Shapps’ stupid poster but they should be careful. There’s a danger of giving the impression that the real difference between the 2 coalition parties is simply one of attitude rather than policy and vision for the country.

  • A couple of spurious characters make your link fail. Try .

  • Chris Manners 21st Mar '14 - 5:01pm

    “There’s a danger of giving the impression that the real difference between the 2 coalition parties is simply one of attitude rather than policy and vision for the country.”

    Crike, what would give anyone that idea?

  • There is no thread in LDV about Vince Cable and The Budget but thanks to Jonathan Clasr’s Blog I have just read it.

    It is excellent. I am surprised that party HQ has not made more of it. I particular this bit on bankers bonuses, the facts of which I had not been Wre of before (maybe that is y fault – but I doubt that I am alone).

    Vince in response to Ed Balls says this —
    “…When the right hon. Gentleman was City Minister and presiding over all of this, the total bankers’ bonus pool was something in the order of £11.3 billion, and it was £11.5 billion the following year when the Labour Government brought in a bankers’ bonus tax. According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research, which monitors these things, the bankers’ bonus pool was £1.6 billion last year. In the current year, it is estimated to be £1.3 billion. That is one-tenth of the size of the bonus pool on which the original tax was placed. We are then left with the question that is at the core of his fiscal policy: how is he going to get £3 billion in tax out of a £1.5 billion bonus pool? The charitable way to describe that is as a mathematical puzzle. We ought to refer it to the new Turing institute to investigate. ..”

    Perhaps it is time for a positive thread in LDV which features the some reports of what Vince Cable has been saying and doing rather than the gossipy stuff you have had recently?

  • For some reason my I-Pad garbled Jonathan Calder’s name in my last comment. Apologies to Jonathan but this is the link to his piece on Vince Cable.

  • Paul In Twickenham 22nd Mar '14 - 8:49am

    @JohnTIlley – the bonus rules have been radically changed so that a maximum of 25% of base salary can now be paid in “up front” cash. There are two consequences: firstly, base salaries have increased massively, and second most of the bonus is now paid in shares that typically vest after 3 years or more. Deferral via stock options is quite useful in that it discourages reckless behaviour as the deferred component may be clawed back.

    What I find interesting is that the banking sector is becoming a microcosm for society at large: bonuses used to be delivered quite broadly to employees. Now many staff – especially in back office – get a big fat nothing and the bonus pool is used to provide massive bonuses to selected staff. The gini coefficient in the square mile is soaring!

    But I agree that this is a useful data point, especially given how many times over Labour have now rehypothecated those diminishing bankers’ bonuses.

  • Paul in Twick
    Yes you’re right.

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