LibLink: Danny Alexander – “Every day the Coalition continues is a day Britain’s economy gets stronger”

Over in the Telegraph, Lib Dem chief secretary to the treasury Danny Alexander has welcomed the start of 2014 by highlighting the ways the Coalition is helping individuals and businesses to help get the economy growing fir everyone. Here’s an exerpt:

There is a lot more work to be done, but the recovery wouldn’t be happening without the Liberal Democrats. Every day the Coalition continues its work is a day that Britain’s economy gets stronger.

For the first time there are more than 30 million people in work and unemployment is at its lowest level since April 2009. It is those hard-working people and the businesses who employ them who are rebuilding our economy. The prospects for those currently looking for work should continue to improve.

And for those in work, the Liberal Democrat promise of a £700 income tax cut for low and middle earners will be delivered this April. That’s a promise that was on the front page of the Liberal Democrat manifesto being delivered to the pockets of 26 million working people.

For businesses, 2014 will be the first year of the £2,000 employment allowance. This will cut the costs of businesses employing people and will especially help small businesses who want to employ their first member of staff.

Over a million businesses around Britain will benefit, with around half a million of these taken out of paying employer national insurance contributions altogether. For a small company it will mean that they can employ four adults full-time on the National Minimum Wage without paying any employer NICs at all.

Companies will also see a drop in corporation tax to 21 per cent, that’s seven per cent lower than when we came to office and shows that Britain is open for business. It will fall further to 20 per cent in April 2015. The economy has moved from rescue to recovery.

2014 is the year that business investment needs to go up a gear to entrench this as a truly balanced and sustainable recovery. British businesses are currently sitting on a record half a trillion pounds in their coffers. I will be working hard to ensure that we offer the stable, supportive environment to make 2014 the year of business investment.

You can read Danny’s piece in full here.

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18 Comments

  • Bill le Breton 1st Jan '14 - 4:19pm

    O.k. given the Fiscal Compact with the Tories announced at the time of the Autumn Statement, still less than a month ago, how is our economic team going to ensure that there is sufficient monetary stimulus to keep the recovery going, if it continues to insist on complete independence of goal determination as well as operational independence of the Bank of England?

  • Peter Hayes 1st Jan '14 - 4:49pm

    Danny perhaps you can answer the following
    1 how many new jobs are zero hours
    2 how many of the above have freedom to look for hours elsewhere
    3 how many want more hours, are they limited by being below the NI threshold and other limits

    Or to put it simply how many new jobs are real full time paying a living wage?

  • @Peter Hayes

    I admire your attempt to find the glass half empty, whatever the news but:

    1) Of the 250,000 extra people in employment in the quarter to October, 155,000 (62%) were full time;
    2) Average hours worked per person per week were 32.1, up 0.1 from a year earlier.

    None of which supports your idea that growth in employment is being driven by zero hours contracts.

    Meanwhile, Vince Cable is looking at banning employers from imposing exclusivity for zero hours contracts.

    The economy is growing, the labour market is improving. Hopefully this year it will result in growth in real wages, but this is one thing the government can do nothing about.

  • “the recovery wouldn’t be happening without the Liberal Democrats”

    What? Is the claim that we’d still be in recession if there hadn’t been a coalition government? Amazing.

  • Frank Booth 1st Jan '14 - 11:22pm

    The ‘recovery’ we are seeing does not look very different to the growth under Labour. The medium to long term picture does not look very rosy unless things change i.e more investment, increase in wages and exports. Given the long term nature of so many of these problems I would not expect a great deal to change without concerted government effort. The current government seems to believe that the only thing wrong in 2010 was that Labour had spent too much money. With such shallow analysis, I wouldn’t hold my breath for much change.

  • @ Chris

    “What? Is the claim that we’d still be in recession if there hadn’t been a coalition government?”

    Yes, the Tories would have cut public spending even harder and faster on their own, which would have hit economic growth more. They also would not be investing in infrastructure, training, the Green Investment Bank etc. and by now we would be on our way out of the EU, also rocking business confidence further.

    So basically, Danny Alexander is right.

    @ Frank Booth

    “The current government seems to believe that the only thing wrong in 2010 was that Labour had spent too much money.”

    Totally inaccurate. Labour also neglected manufacturing and industrial policy, longer term planning for investment in energy, training and apprenticeships, incentives for work (higher taxes on the low paid), educational standards. Loads of things were wrong, not just their disastrous stewardship of the nation’s public finances.

  • jenny barnes 2nd Jan '14 - 8:42am

    “. British businesses are currently sitting on a record half a trillion pounds in their coffers.”
    So we’re facing an investment strike? Was it ok for Jim Ratcliffe, the boss of Ineos, to threaten to shut down Grangemouth?

  • “So basically, Danny Alexander is right.”

    Really? If there had been a majority government, Britain would have been alone among the major Western economies in remaining in recession, while all the others returned to growth?

    If only politicians would just occasionally acknowledge that we weren’t all born yesterday …

  • Michael Parsons 2nd Jan '14 - 11:21am

    How come total overall debt (household, government, foreign. credit-card) has increased then under this Coalescence? Why are asset-bubbles and share-inflation called “growth” when real investment is falling?

  • @ Chris

    Don’t forget that the UK had by far the worst deficit at 11.4% of GDP of all the major economies.

    The “Tory plus” strategy would have to been to cut harder and faster than the Coalition did, betting on a recovery in investment and exports to make up for it.

    As has transpired, inflation due to high food and energy prices has hit consumer spending power and the recovery in exports and investment has yet to materialise. That would also have been the case, possibly more so, under a “Tory plus” strategy as internal demand was killed by real declines in government spending including benefits, avoided so far by the Coalition.

    So yes, I firmly believe that it is quite possible the Tories governing alone would still have us in a recession by now, with only the faintest glimmer of a recovery in prospect.

  • Has Danny asked people on minimum wage or zero hours contracts or who are unemployed or are disabled or who run food banks if they agree with his view?

  • “So yes, I firmly believe that it is quite possible the Tories governing alone would still have us in a recession by now …”
    [my emphasis]

    Implausible though that is, it’s a lot weaker than Danny Alexander’s grandiose claim that “the recovery wouldn’t be happening without the Liberal Democrats”. Silly stuff.

  • Eddie Sammon 2nd Jan '14 - 2:27pm

    I would stick to just praising the Lib Dems, strengthen the emphasis on opportunity cost and keep an eye on inflation, interest rates and debt levels.

  • andJohn Innes 2nd Jan '14 - 4:39pm

    Crap …or is that rubbish? ?

  • Every day Danny Alexander remains in a prominent media role for The Coalition, the Liberal Democrats get weaker.

    Reputations can be cruel in politics,: like it or not young Mr Alexander has the reputation of being the ‘office junior’ to the Tory Chancellor.

    In three and a half years he has failed to mark out a distinctive personal or even Liberal Democrat position. This may not be his fault. He was not Clegg’s first choice for the job and was slotted in rather hastily when his predecessor was found out over a past difficulty with telling the truth.

    The fact that he has survived at all given his lack of experience or aptitude for the post is a plus pointto Danny’s credit. But let’s get real – he is no Gladstonian colossus when it comes to economics or government policy. Within the party he will always be in the shade of Vince Cable. It would be kinder to him to reshuffle him to agriculture or something with a lower profile. Or is his real role to be the one in The Quad that makes Clegg’s look good? A sort of Spiro Agnew without the corruption?

  • Michael Parsons 6th Jan '14 - 9:45am

    Surely “cutting” by Alexander et al has nothing to do with “recovery” and everything to do with dismantling labour proptection, exposing workers to declining real incomes or declining share of real GDP, switching resurces to the wealthy few (who don’t benefit from tax cuts because their tax-payment is broadly optional, but do benefit from cheap labouras services reduce): and above all “shrinkiong the State” so that public need is exposed to private greed and proft rake-offs. Since corporations are sitting on vast hoards of idle bank-money the claim that propfits must be maintained to encourage investment is bogus: they/ve had the propfits, but without State intervention won’t invest, and contrive all sorts of tax-incentives and write-offs for what they do.
    Worse is this nonsense about “deficits”: if tax were collected from the big corpporations that sell here, the deficit would reduce rtapidly. If they wriggle, competition curbs even the strongest business ego – nationalise one operator and cut prices, place restrictions on the recalcitrant.

  • Jayne Mansfield 6th Jan '14 - 10:07am

    @ Michael Parsons
    It stinks doesn’t it? The rich seem to be the only ones who are worthy of benefits.

    We have been tricked intobelieve that what benefits the rich is a benefit to society as a whole. If something benefits them, it supposedly benefits the rest of us in some way.

    I don’t know what the answer is Michael. Communism didn’t work out too well either did it“?

  • @jenny barnes 2nd Jan ’14 – 8:42am
    ” ‘. British businesses are currently sitting on a record half a trillion pounds in their coffers.’
    So we’re facing an investment strike?”

    Not so simple. As a business, it is often easier and cheaper to borrow against capital than against sales forecasts…
    Hence money in the bank, whilst not directly earning is contributing to keep costs down and hence maintain prices at which goods are selling.

    “Was it ok for Jim Ratcliffe, the boss of Ineos, to threaten to shut down Grangemouth?”
    Yes and No – I suspect a game was being played, where we the public didn’t get to see all the cards… However, there is no doubt about the outcome – a win for petrochemical industry and jobs remaining in Scotland, with full government backing regardless of the outcome of the Scottish referendum.

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