Liberal Democrats to veto plan for benefits freeze

From The Independent:

Nick Clegg will veto George Osborne’s demands for a two-year freeze in most state benefits from next April and a further £10bn of welfare cuts…

The Deputy Prime Minister revealed he will block the Treasury’s demand for more cuts before the 2015 election to compensate for lower-than-expected growth. “Not a penny more, not a penny less,” he declared.

The message is reinforced Danny Alexander in The Guardian:

“A two-year freeze in benefits, which would freeze the incomes of the poorest people in this country, is not a place we should be looking at,” he says…

He indicates that a new wealth tax could be agreed by the coalition before the election. He also gives a strong hint that the government may shelve its fiscal mandate – debt falling as a proportion of GDP in 2015/16 – if public finances deteriorate.

Or as Vince Cable put it earlier in the week:

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* Mark Pack is Party President and is the editor of Liberal Democrat Newswire.

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  • toryboysnevergrowup 22nd Sep '12 - 8:57am

    The message is most definitely not reinforced by Danny Alexander – in the same article he says

    “He also insists that he does not accept George Osborne’s suggestion that the next round of welfare cuts needs to be as high as £10bn. “I am not wedded to any number,” he says.”

    If he believes in no cuts he would be wedded to a number of zero – as for saying this is not a place we should be looking – perhaps he could explain his reported (in the Guardian) attendances at Treasury meetings where just such cuts were being looked at? Sounds like another LibDem pledge to me.

  • The lib Dem’s signed off on some very nasty benefits caps and cuts, so whilst this is welcome too much damage as already been done. To be blunt, I just want the coalition to end ASP. The case that the Lib Dems are tempering the Conservatives looks increasingly weak, the case that it is good for the economy is even weaker and the case for the idea that it offers stability is, whilst to an extent true, is really more about keeping an unpopular government in power to the bitter end than doing good work. Plus it’s killing the Lib Dems.

  • Of course you will (not).

  • Actually, I do agree with the case for a benefits freeze, and for action to make the priviliged pay their way too.
    Many of us who do work haven’t had a payrise for 3 years or more, and are working far more hours too. No party speaks for this section of society.

    What could the case be for benefits accelerating ahead in such times?

  • The LibDems stand to lose many older people’s votes because of Nick Clegg’s threat to abolish bus passes and other universal benefits for all but the poorest pensioners. The Party needs urgently to repair some of the damage by announcing its plans to eliminate old-age poverty and isolation, and to provide first class, inexpensive care for all those older people who need it.

  • Helen Dudden 29th Sep '12 - 7:39pm

    I do agree that there are some who draw the winter heating payments, and they do not need them. There is also the families who never have worked, they in turn produce another generation who feel they have rights. We all should give back to society, however small the return.

    In some cases things are going too far, that is the case, but we have to reach a balance. If no one worked the consequences would be dire. It is a healthy situation, that we use our day in a useful way.

  • I agree with Danny that freezing the incomes of people who are already struggling on the lowest incomes is a bad idea.

    After paying in 12 % of all my wages in national insurance for the last 10 years, I am unhappy to find unemployment support so inadequate that it doesn’t even cover food and bills. Bills and food costs are rising faster than inflation, so the real value of this support is even shrinking. I worry about this because not eating properly always makes me feel ill.

    John mc – wouldn’t you agree that when you have contributed and do your bit for society, that unemployment support should be adequate?

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