Independent: Liberal Democrats’ “major and under-rated contribution” to Budget success

Budget 2010 photocallYesterday’s Independent editorial had some very complimentary things to say about the Liberal Democrats’ influence on the Budget:

It is widely said that George Osborne had a decent Budget this week, aided in no small part by Ed Miliband’s curiously weak response. But the Liberal Democrats, as has frequently been the case during this parliament, made a major and underrated contribution to its success.

Raising the tax-free personal income threshold is the Liberal Democrats’ baby. It is their most popular policy and the achievement that will be heralded in the run-up to the next general election as the party’s key economic accomplishment in government. It has certainly had a serious impact. By the time the increase announced on Wednesday takes effect, the threshold will have risen by more than 50 per cent from its 2010 level. Well over two million people will have been taken out of paying income tax completely.

And two ministers are singled out for praise:

 Once more, the Liberal Democrat hand on the tiller is in evidence in this development, with  the pensions minister, Steve Webb, steering an impressive course through annuity-filled seas. And again, the decision to grant pensioners more choice over what to do with their savings pot is both popular and substantive.

Danny Alexander’s stature has “grown exponentially”, a compliment which he will probably feel more comfortable about than Osborne’s effusive praise in the Budget speech. The glum look on Danny’s face was quite a picture to behold when that came out.

While we’re on the subject of Liberal Democrat ministers performing well, you might like to take a look at Liberal England’s assessment of Vince Cable’s speech in the Budget debate in which, to be brutal, he eviscerated the Labour party’s increasingly feeble arguments.

There’s optimism for the future, too. a prediction that we may do better than expected in 2015:

Beyond the fact that these Liberal Democrat-inspired policies have gained popular currency, they also show that the party is capable of developing a programme for government within a coherent, liberal economic philosophy. After all, both the raising of the personal allowance and the scrapping of the annuity noose, which had previously ensnared all but the wealthiest, are policies that permit greater freedom and more choice for individuals. Ties to the state and to the annuity industry are curtailed at a stroke.

There’s plenty of material in this article for Liberal Democrat leaflet writers.

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  • We can only hope that The Independent is wrong when towards the end of this piece it claims —-
    “….Ten years on from its first publication, the age of the Orange Book may finally have arrived…”

    BTW – I have only just become aware how small is the circulation of The Independent , at around only 70,000 there are probably more regular readers of Focus.

  • Frank Booth 22nd Mar '14 - 2:28pm

    The age of the orange book may finally have arrived? Perhaps if the Lib Dems had fought an Orange Book election campaign in 2010 people would respect them. Instead they fought an anti-Tory campaign probably to the left of Labour. They have no mandate for the orange book.

  • Had they fought on the Orange Book, Frank, they would have ended (at most) with 12% of the popular vote, and probably some 25 – 30 MPs max, which is what we may get next year – now the electorate are getting a flavour of Orange Bookery – without as you say having any mandate for it.

  • Good stuff – the Indy may be little read but as you say, good material for leaflets! Sad that the first three commenters can only whine when something positive is said about us.

  • I think the readership of the indy is grossly underestimated given it pretty much gives content away free on various platforms.

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