Tag Archives: universal benefits

Clegg: “Every primary school pupil should be able to sit down to a hot, healthy lunch with their classmates every day”

school childrenNick Clegg’s speech to the Lib Dem conference on Wednesday will contain one new, significant policy announcement: all pupils at infant schools in England are to get free school lunches from next September.

In addition, disadvantaged students at sixth form colleges and further education colleges in England will also be eligible for free school meals also from next September. Money is also being provided for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but as education is a devolved issue, it will be up to those running schools there to decide whether …

Posted in Conference and News | Also tagged , , , , and | 112 Comments

While David Cameron and Owen Jones unite in favour of universal benefits, I want us to get explicit about why redistribution matters to society

owen jones david cameronIt’s an odd coalition: left-wing commentator Owen Jones and Tory leader David Cameron united as one. Yet that unlikely alliance was formed yesterday, as both defended universal benefits for wealthy pensioners and both fought shy of asserting the importance of redistribution.

David Cameron’s defence was in response to Iain Duncan Smith’s rather odd suggestion that the answer to millionaires getting a fuel allowance is that they should voluntarily hand it back to the government. Those trusty ‘sources close to the Prime Minister’ briefed journalists that IDS was on …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 28 Comments

Opinion: Just 0.001% of pensioners hand back their Winter Fuel Payment

Interviewed by the Sunday Telegraph, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith urged wealthy pensioners who do not need the universal benefits they receive to hand them back to the State.

What he didn’t say in that interview, or at least it isn’t reported, is that pensioners are able currently to inform the Government they do not want to receive, for example, the Winter Fuel Payment (WFP). Some already have, but do you know how many? I got hold of the numbers last week thanks to the Freedom of Information Act.

Over 12.6 million people receive the WFP, …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 15 Comments

Welfare reform: what should the Lib Dems do?

This much I think I know… Cuts to the overall welfare budget are inescapable: it accounts for too large a chunk of of public spending for it to be immune — certainly if the NHS, schools and overseas aid budgets are to be protected at the same time as spending is reduced.

These cuts would be happening whichever party was in power, though doubtless the precise methods would differ. The IFS’s verdict in 2010 on what they termed Labour’s “fiscal drift” was stark: “By the eve of the financial crisis … the UK one of the largest structural …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 25 Comments

Opinion: the problem of Welfare Reform

Ed Miliband has stirred up some New Year’s controversy, not least amongst his own supporters, with the news that Labour is to speak out more strongly against the perils of so-called “benefit scroungers”. Labour are no doubt concerned at consistent polling evidence suggesting that opposition to benefit cuts are out of step with the views of the public.

In reality, there’s little difference between the positions of the different parties, nor much change in the position of any individual party over the last couple of decades.

Across the mainstream political spectrum, few disagree that handing out state benefits too freely causes …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 44 Comments

Huhne scorns tax breaks for married couples as “flag-waving”

Today’s Telegraph has an in-depth interview with the Lib Dems’ climate change and energy secretary Chris Huhne, in which he expertly steers the tightrope of punchily sticking up for party policy while sticking well within collective responsibility.

Somewhat bizarrely, both the BBC and the Torygraph are leading on the least contentious part of the interview, in which Chris points out that the Coalition will adjust economic policy according to circumstances and forecasts:

“I’ve never known one Treasury Red Book to be exactly like the last one. There is always a change. It is a bit like setting sail. If the

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

Clegg gets specific on cuts: Lib Dems to cut winter fuel payments for under-65s

So reports the BBC:

The Liberal Democrats have said if they won power they would stop the winter fuel allowance for people under 65. Anyone aged 60 can claim the allowance, worth £125 to £400, but the minimum age is due to rise to 65 in 10 years’ time.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said his party would implement the change now – saving about £400m in public spending. He said just under £200m would be used to give extra winter help to about one million severely disabled people or those who are terminally ill. …

Mr Clegg told the BBC his plan

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 19 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarThomas 15th Oct - 10:11am
    Is this different from a national carbon tax with rebates scheme, like, for example, the one in Canada?
  • User AvatarRuth Bright 15th Oct - 9:56am
    Throroughly agree Caron. She was a bright and modern presence during all the ceremonial guff (tucked menacingly behind the PM in all the TV shots...
  • User AvatarAndy Hyde 15th Oct - 9:18am
    As someone who worked in a nationalised and the privatised utility, CEGB-NG, I can say despite much misgivings at the time, I was glad we...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 15th Oct - 9:07am
    @ Frankie, Please go away and annoy someone else. I have answered your question many times.
  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 15th Oct - 8:57am
    @ expats, He has been on 'a journey'. @ Richard Easter, I really think that the Liberal Democrat party needs to stop pretending to have...
  • User Avatarfrankie 15th Oct - 8:42am
    As to nationalising at least you would be gaining an assets, if you could actually get the assets to make a profit over the long...