Tag Archives: winter fuel allowance

Well done, Ed Balls. He’s opened up space for a proper welfare debate. Lib Dems now need to claim that space.

Ed Balls has done us all a favour. His announcement last week that if he were Chancellor he would put a stop to winter fuel allowances for well-off pensioners means Labour has joined the Lib Dems in saying we need to focus the welfare budget where it’s needed most, not keep on re-distributing from the worse off to the better off in the name of universalism. It’s why I chose him as my 38th Liberal Hero.

And yesterday he was at it again, highlighting quite how much of the welfare budget the state pension represents — some £74 …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 13 Comments

Steve Webb writes: working for pensioners, now and in the future

When I was appointed Pensions Minister last May my first priority was protecting current pensioners. It was widely assumed that the spending review would see cuts to a range of forms of help that pensioners receive. But despite the spending pressures, the budgets for bus passes, free television licences, free prescriptions and the Winter Fuel Allowance have been protected at the level set out by the previous government. Better still, where Labour had planned to cut Cold Weather Payments to £8.50 per week we have made them £25 permanently to protect the most vulnerable when the temperature is below …

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged , , , and | 29 Comments

Opinion: what Ed Miliband should put on his blank sheet of paper – part 2

Ed Miliband has invited Lib Dems to make suggestions for his 2015 manifesto. Though I’m suspicious of his motives, and I’m a supporter of Nick Clegg and the coalition, I think we should respond to this invitation with a public discussion of what Liberal Democrat policies should be from 2015.

If he takes up the suggestions, so much the better. If not, public discussion of Liberal Democrat ideas is always a good idea.

In part 1, I’ve already made suggestions on the economy, the deficit, and on local government finance. Part 2 covers other policy areas.

Reducing the poverty trap

Income tax is …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 16 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
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Evans 29th Feb - 12:47am
    Gordon, as you say "There is a better way – but there are also strong vested interests who would rather go down with the ship...
  • User AvatarTom Harney 29th Feb - 12:44am
    Thank you Geoff for your comment. However there is a real Tom Barney, and I do not claim to be him.
  • User AvatarTom Harney 29th Feb - 12:34am
    I can only agree with what has been expressed here. This would have been a golden opportunity to focus on poverty in our society. We...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 29th Feb - 12:30am
    Galen, Indeed it would, and people have been saying just that for years. Unfortunately, neither Labour nor the Conservatives will let it happen while they...
  • User AvatarTom Harney 29th Feb - 12:24am
    I have never been to Australia, but would like to comment on the idea that an additional 1 degree in average temperature is insignificant. It...
  • User AvatarHywel 28th Feb - 11:43pm
    "The Party needs a mechanism by which its local issue members can work side by side with the new, bigger picture members," Well that's a...