Vince: Lib Dems want a fair deal for young people

Two weeks ahead of the Budget, tomorrow Vince gets his retaliation in first. Of course, as a former business secretary and the man who predicted the financial crash, he has a whole load of economic credibility. In comparison, when the Chancellor delivers his speech on 22 November, he’s going to look pretty amateurish compared to Vince.

He will outline the major challenges facing Phillip Hammond in  light of the expected downgrades in Britain’s projected future growth, the threat posed by Brexit to any attempt to fix our economy, and what needs to be done in the budget to begin to solve these problems. He will include the Liberal Democrat long-term vision for the economy. And I’ll be very surprised if the Paradise Papers didn’t get a mention.

He will emphasise the need for a Government with economic competence and how important it is to have a fair deal for young people.

I’m kind of hoping that the main speech is slightly less heavy than the extracts released tonight.  It will definitely be a credible, authoritative speech and not a wild oration, though.


The Liberal Democrat focus is on freeing up capital spending to build the homes and infrastructure the country needs; on reviving the NHS with a targeted injection of cash; and on giving a leg up to young people with an endowment in the form of a learning account as they begin their working lives.

To do all this, we need a Government which prioritises economic competence over political dogma.

A ‘no deal’ Brexit hangs over forecasts. An environment of radical uncertainty is already spooking business investment and depressing growth in government revenue.

Neither the ‘no deal’ Brexit extremism of the Conservative Party nor the ‘socialism in one country’ dreamed of by Labour will deliver a successful economy.

He will look at solving the inequality facing young people in more detail:

By common consent, young people have been left behind for too long.  There now has to be some form of redistribution between generations to restore the implicit contract in every society between young and old.

In ours, the spiralling price of property has radically shifted the balance making home ownership unaffordable for large numbers of younger people. Taken together with diminished job security, pension availability and the costs of post-school education, an issue of inter-generational equity has arisen.

“We are developing proposals to create a learning account for young people on their 16th or 18th birthday which they can draw down at any time in life to pay for further and higher education, reskilling and adult learning, as they choose.”

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • OnceALibDem 7th Nov '17 - 10:58pm

    ” It will definitely be a credible, authoritative speech and not a wild oration, though.”

    Hopefully not! Vince is not a wild orator but he is thoughtful and credible. That should be his and the Lib Dems USP.

  • Ed Shepherd 8th Nov '17 - 10:22am

    Socialism in one country dreamed of by Labour? Not sure that a return to nationalised railways and free higher education amounts to socialism in one country. That would mean that England under John Major was socialist and that Scotand now is socialist. The neoliberal idea has now penetrated political thought to such an extent that it is now incredibly difficult to discuss economics and politics clearly and accurately.

  • Peter Hirst 8th Nov '17 - 11:10am

    Our young people are getting a raw deal. We should be embracing their vitality, idealism and passion. We could make some sacrifices in order for them to enjoy life more in the areas of housing, education, the environment, training and budgets.

  • And when we get into power will we suddenly decide that ‘we can’t afford it’ and break another promise. I’m sorry but nobody is going to believe a word we say on this issue. I don’t know what it is going to take to get Vince to wake up. A slap in the face with a wet kipper marked ‘Pledge’ maybe?

  • Red Liberal 8th Nov '17 - 12:53pm

    I fear that the LibDem (and Liberal) brand is forever tarnished to the younger generation due to the tuition fee debacle. (Yes, a whole generation that has been indebted their whole working lives will not forget easily.)

  • Roger Billins 8th Nov '17 - 2:54pm

    I was at the speech this morning. It was deadly dull but Vince came across with considerable credibility to an audience of the financial press and business people so that was good. What was lacking was any big idea, which I think we need in order to get some attention. It might be that the wealth taxes being worked on now will provide that big idea.

  • Steve Trevethan 8th Nov '17 - 4:01pm

    The harm done done to young people is a consequence of economic policies which have deliberately favoured those with great wealth and, especially, those with wealth from real estate and investments.

    The young people from wealthy families have been advantaged by “Austerity” policies as has been the intention. In addition they have been afforded greater access to positions of power through internships.

    The harm done to young people is a disaster for all but the wealthy as the economics of employment and housing have made it more difficult to have children at a young age.
    The average EU fertility rate is now 1.6 which is well below the “replacement rate” of 2.1 which is a reason for immigration.

  • Arnold Kiel 11th Nov '17 - 8:59am

    A growing, and therefore almost insurmountable group of voters are completely insulated from economic reality by the triple lock on pensions. That makes them largely disinterested in wage (=productivity)-growth, investment, and inflation. Drop two locks (inflation and the 2.5%) to put them back into the same boat with the working-age (i.e. younger) population.

  • Arnold, please don’t join those who scapegoat the elderly for ills that are not of their making.
    We will all be old one day, and once the protections for pensions are scrapped, they won’t be there for us when we need them.
    I can apparently, if I pay enough NI, look forward to a state pension of circa £8,000. For many, that will be all they can look forward to. Scrap the triple lock now out of jealousy/a perception that people who lived through a world war and rationing have always had it easy, and the prospects for us when we get old will be bleak.

    I suggest anyone who thinks pensioners have it easy visits a geriatric ward or a day centre.

  • Cassie, David Raw,

    I am not scapegoating the elderly (with respect to their Brexit vote, I blame them outright: they thought they could not lose with a triple lock, paid by an increasingly precarious working population they did not care about). I am absolutely fine with raising the levels of pensions, if there is a societal consensus and the money. But shielding one group from economic developments while exposing another one to them ruthlessly harshly is creating intergenerational divisiveness.

    Let’s face it: it is only demographics that keeps the Tories in power, and they will only stay in power if they continue to be a pensioners first party. Maybe it is too late, and all other parties must fall in line, but then don’t speak of a fair deal for young people.

  • Arnold Kiel 11th Nov ’17 – 10:37am……………I am not scapegoating the elderly (with respect to their Brexit vote, I blame them outright: they thought they could not lose with a triple lock, paid by an increasingly precarious working population they did not care about)……..

    Most of ‘us’ pensioners have children/grandchildren (and, in my case, great grandchildren) that we do care about….The divide and rule policy of the Tory party seems ‘alive and well’ here….British pensions are amongst the most miserly in the developed world so the idea of pensioners, as a group, living ‘high on the hog’ is right up there with the myths about ‘armies of workshy benefit scroungers’….

  • David Raw: If things are so rosy in Germany why do they need food banks ?

  • Arnold Kiel 11th Nov '17 - 3:35pm

    I was neither evaluating pension-levels nor making international comparisons. No public system in the world provides for an old age in dignity; it is economically and demographically impossible. All I am saying is that everybody should have skin in the game, especially if everybody has had a say in this biggest gamble with the country’s businessmodel.

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