.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Getting real in a recession

Nick Clegg has given an interview in which he sets out the reality facing the party when it comes to draw up its manifesto for the next election in the face of a recession and the need for spending cuts to rebalance the budget.

Mr. Clegg is clear that the party is not dropping key policies but that the financial mess that faces the next government will mean that some will take longer to bring in. Instead he has prioritised some key areas that will form the headlines of the offering put before electors when they come to vote on the next government:

He announced two rules that will govern his party's policies: no spending commitments without cuts elsewhere to fund them, and, similarly, no promises of tax cuts without increases in other taxes.

Mr Clegg wants to kickstart a debate that he claims Labour and the Tories are denying the voters as they squabble over headline departmental budgets in a Whitehall-speak that leaves ordinary people cold. The first task, he insisted, was to set out the values which inform spending priorities.

"The circumstances are utterly different from anything in the last 15 years. Our shopping list of commitments will be far, far, far, far, far shorter," he said. "We will have to ask ourselves some immensely difficult questions about what we as a party can afford. A lot of cherished Lib Dem policies will have to go on the back burner. They will remain our aspirations. They will remain our policies. But we are not going to kid the British people into thinking we could deliver the full list of commitments we have put to them at the last three or four elections."

Asked if that meant watering down pledges on tuition fees, personal care and pensions, Mr Clegg replied: "Some of these might be retained as policies that we could not honestly place at the forefront of our manifesto because we could not honestly claim they could be delivered in the first few years of the next parliament.

"I hope people will understand these are aspirations we will maintain but that, in these completely different circumstances, you can't carry on promising the same menu of goodies. It is just not plausible."

The Liberal Democrat leader insisted he had not drawn up a hit list of policies to be dropped. "The blunt truth is that everything is vulnerable. All the aspirations remain. We are setting out the criteria by which the Lib Dems will pick and choose from that menu."

The policies that remain priorities are:

* Education £2.5bn "pupil premium" for a million children from disadvantaged backgrounds, smaller classes and extra tuition.
* Tax Raise personal allowance to £10,000, reducing bills for most earners by £705 a year, funded by £17bn package of tax increases including abolition of top-rate tax relief for pension contributions and closing tax loopholes.
* "Green jobs" Package to create zero-carbon homes, insulate existing homes, schools and hospitals, and expand rail network.
* Political reform To clean up politics after MPs' expenses scandal, including proportional representation for Commons, elected House of Lords and state funding for parties.

Other policies that remain as aspirations for when the economy picks up include free tuition for first undergraduate degrees for full and part-time students, free personal care for those over 65 at cost of £2bn, a higher "citizen's pension" with immediate restoration of link between state pension and earnings and a £200 a year winter fuel payment for the disabled.
That's good he's mentioned 'zero carbon homes' as all the new builds
are about as non -eco friendly as one could describe. Concrete and more concrete, plastic windows, concrete roof tiles instead of supporting welsh slate, plasterboard which is has poor eco value. Man made boards with all the glues and toxic chemicals. True eco homes would be to build in wood (a renewable resource) and this will mean afforestation which will create green jobs and resurge the slowly but surely disappearing flora and fauna on this island due to intensive agriculture.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?