Tag Archives: budget 2015

“Soggy Syriza with sandals” – thanks, Danny, for giving Osborne a stick to beat us with

I almost choked on my Earl Grey this morning when I read Danny Alexander’s piece in the New Statesman in which he suggested that there was much to cheer in George Osborne’s budget. I wondered if he had forgotten that May, you know, happened?

The reason we lost so many seats to the Tories is,  at least in part,  that the people who voted for us no longer felt that we represented their values, the sorts of values that had seen us stand up for freedom and social justice. Those people turned to the Greens and Labour. Yes, of course the Tory tactics over the SNP were relevant but we kind of stoked that by legitimising it.

We also made a great thing during the election campaign of talking about our opposition to the Tories’ £12 billion welfare cuts proposals, much of which we had stopped in government. Now Danny suggests that we shouldn’t go out of our way to oppose them in opposition:

Neither Labour nor the Liberal Democrats should envisage a future as a sort of soggy Syriza in sandals. I  don’t like some of the welfare reforms in the Budget, but to make it the political dividing line is to fail to recognise the views of most people.

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Senior Lib Dems react to Budget

This post will be updated during the day as more people respond.

First of all, what did the leadership candidates make of the budget?

Norman Lamb:

Update: 5:35: He has released a fuller statement:

In government under the Coalition, the Liberal Democrats took difficult decisions to tackle our deficit and get our public finances in order. Our financial discipline over five years means that under Coalition spending plans, national debt is set to start falling next year as a proportion of our economy.

But today the Chancellor has set out a wave of new cuts that are ideologically driven, and unnecessary. The idea that you would slash £12bn from support for the poorest working families and in the same breath cut inheritance tax bills for millionaires is beyond belief, and morally reprehensible. This will impact on some of the most disadvantaged people in our society, affecting millions of children and reinforcing disadvantage.

And we have seen vividly how David Cameron’s Conservative government has failed to grasp the existential threat we face as a society from global climate change. Plans to scrap the tariff exemptions that support our investment in tackling climate change and securing the future of our planet are depressingly short-sighted. If the Conservatives are worried about mass migration and instability in the Middle East and North Africa, they need to get serious about action against climate change.”

Finally, this Budget failed to mention mental health once. In government the Liberal Democrats made equality for mental health one of our top priorities, working to rectify the historic discrimination and under-funding suffered by mental health services in the NHS. The Conservatives have discarded equality for mental health along with tackling climate change, supporting working families, and helping children from disadvantaged backgrounds go to university in an ideological mission to cut the size of the state.

Tim Farron:

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Budget Live Blog as Osborne helps rich – but casts young and poor adrift.

Caron Lindsay 12:30 pm

“A budget for working people” says George Osborne. We’ll see.  I guess if you are a rich working person, maybe.

I’ve had an official hiding behind pillow for all budgets in the last five years. I need it more than ever today.

So, let the budget live blog kick-off.

The measures we do know about seem very much about giving to the rich and taking to the poor.

People struggling to get by, stuck in private rented accommodation, will find it hard to see Inheritance Tax thresholds being lifted to more than £1 million while their entitlements to tax credits are being limited.

It’s worth pointing out that those are exactly the sorts of measure that the Liberal Democrats spent the last five years stopping or at least limiting. Everything announced today would have been done by now if it hadn’t been for us.

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One of the most important acts of this government?

Hidden away in the pages of last week’s budget details was a very significant measure, which has received precious little public attention. The Guardian reports:

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Opinion: Liberal Democrat alternative budget is no answer to Osborne’s opaque way with the numbers 

 

Several years ago there emerged into public discourse one of those phrases that becomes ubiquitous solely on the basis of its banality – ‘joined up thinking’  – and which could be deployed to allow people with more of an agenda than a plan to escape the scrutiny of the serious observer.

This article’s purpose is not to explore the decision making process behind the alternative budget presentation, except to ponder that those Lib Dems who wanted the coalition to have the impact of us being taken seriously as a potential party of government can hardly be satisfied at how we have been ridiculed in the wake of that particular initiative.

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Independent: “Liberal Democrats do have a more balanced, pragmatic approach to the task”

This morning’s leader article in the Independent praises yesterday’s Liberal Democrat alternative budget and concludes that “five years in government have clearly matured the Lib Dems”:

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Danny set outs alternative Lib Dem budget

In a constitutional innovation, from the House of Commons dispatch box, Danny Alexander has today set out the Liberal Democrats’ alternative fiscal plans, as the Guardian reports:

Danny Alexander, the Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the Treasury, has taken the unprecedented step of standing at the Commons dispatch box to set out an alternative fiscal plan to George Osborne’s budget.

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Norman Lamb writes…A blueprint for a fairer society

1 in 4 of us will develop a mental health problem at some point in our lives – and 75% of these conditions develop by the age of 18. If people don’t get the support they need in childhood and adolescence it can have an impact on the rest of their lives.  
 
And in yesterday’s budget, Liberal Democrats acted decisively to make sure the best possible support is available, with £1.25bn of new investment in young people’s mental health services, and a clear blue print for delivering the transformation needed.
 
If we want to build a fairer society, where everyone has the opportunity to realise their full potential in life, we must ensure that young people with mental health problems get the help and support they need.
 
There are some really good mental health services for young people around the country. But too often these services are fragmented and under-resourced, and young people are simply not getting help when they need it.  A complete overhaul is long overdue.
 
Last year, I set up a Task Force to look at how we can link up mental health services with other advice services in the community, making it easier – and less daunting – for young people to seek help, and making sure they get the right support when they ask for it.
 
The task force brought together clinicians, counsellors, and mental health experts – but also, crucially, young people themselves with experience of mental health problems.  The charity Young Minds helped us work with young people to understand the problems they have faced getting help, and their priorities for change.
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Danny turns the tables on Balls on TV economy debates

On Sunday’s Andrew Marr show, Ed Balls caught the chancellor off guard when he all but forced him (in one of recent television history’s most awkward moments) to shake on an agreement to hold a television debate.

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Twelve major improvements announced in the budget

There are twelve significant improvements announced in today’s budget:

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Budget open thread

 

We will not be live blogging the Budget as there are plenty of other sources of live information. But readers are very welcome to add their own reflections in the comments section below.

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Cable: No room for “pre-election bonanza” budget

The Guardian reports:

Vince Cable has warned that George Osborne has no room in next Wednesday’s budget for a substantial pre-election giveaway, but acknowledged that there was some headroom in the public finances for modest tax cuts or an increase in public spending.

The Liberal Democrat business secretary indicated the chancellor had a sum estimated at £5bn – that could be used to increase the personal allowance tax threshold or to row back from plans to cut public spending back to the level of the 1930s in the next parliament.

In an interview with the Guardian a few days before the last major financial event of the coalition government, Cable said: “This budget, I think there is a common agreement across the coalition, cannot be some kind of pre-election bonanza because that would completely undermine credibility.”

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