16 government policies the Lib Dems didn’t stop

by Michael Dugher

Nick Clegg looked awfully pleased with himself yesterday.  I think he very much enjoys being deputy prime minister.  His message to the party faithful yesterday was “I’ll be in government with anyone”, which roughly translates as “I don’t believe in anything”.  And though Clegg had a carefully choreographed pop at the Tories yesterday, the truth is the Lib Dems vote with the Tories day after day.

Despite the huge cost of living crisis engulfing most families, with people on average nearly £1,500 worse off a year under this Government, Clegg told the Lib Dems yesterday that they should “feel proud that country’s fortunes are turning”.  He also listed 16 policies that he had apparently blocked the Tories from introducing.

Well, just for the record Nick, here’s 16 things the Lib Dems didn’t block:

1.      A tax cut for millionaires – cutting the 50p top rate of tax, giving 13,000 millionaires a handout worth on average £100,000 each.

2.      Trebling tuition fees. Nick Clegg promised to vote against any rise in tuition fees. He didn’t.

3.      Increasing VAT to 20 per cent. The Lib Dems warned before the election of a “TORY VAT BOMBSHELL”.  Then he helped them introduce it.

4.      An economic policy that choked off the recovery – which is now the slowest for 100 years.  Vince Cable warned before the election that “the danger of drastic cuts in public spending right now is that it would make the recession worse and it would make the deficit worse” – but he signed up to them.

5.      A £3 billion top-down NHS reorganisation, while queues grow in A&E and over 5,000 nurses are cut.

6.      Cutting 15,000 police officers – even though the Lib Dem manifesto promised an extra 3,000 police officers.

7.      Cuts to Sure Start, with 558 fewer centres so far, even though Nick Clegg said “I want all of these centres to stay open”.

8.      Scrapping the Future Jobs Fund – even though the Lib Dems promised before the election that they would keep it.  Now almost one million young people are unemployed and the number of young people unemployed for more than a year is up 142 per cent.

9.      Increasing rail fares by as much as 9 per cent from next January – even though the Lib Dem manifesto promised to cut them every year.

10.  The hated Bedroom Tax – an unfair policy that is hitting over 400,000 disabled people.

11.  The ‘granny tax’ – an unfair policy leaving pensioners paying more while the highest earners pay less.

12.  Scrapping the Education Maintenance Allowance.  The EMA was a lifeline for young people from deprived backgrounds who wished to stay in education and training after the age of 16.

13.  Big City bonuses are back – up 82 per cent in April this year alone.  Yet the Government refuses to repeat the Banker’s Bonus tax, which would have raised £2 billion to help secure jobs for young people.

14.  The introduction of the Strivers’ Tax – a raid on working age benefits and tax credits.

15.  Halving the fuel poverty budget whilst energy bills spiral and energy companies’ profits soar.

16.  The Lobbying Bill that let’s Cameron’s chief adviser and the cigarette lobbyist Lynton Crosby off the hook – but at the same time seeks to gag cancer charities.

So next time Nick Clegg or another Lib Dem tries to kid people with the ‘differentiation strategy’, let’s remind them of their real record in government. The truth is you can’t believe a single word Nick Clegg says.

Michael Dugher is MP for Barnsley East, vice-chair of the Labour party and shadow minister without portfolio

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8 Responses to “16 government policies the Lib Dems didn’t stop”

  1. james says:

    1. Why did Labour keep it at 40% for 99% of the time it was in office – how much did that cost lower earners – was that the price in keeping low tax thresholds?
    2. Agreed about the pledge – Labour would have had to have done something perhaps something more regressive
    3. Putting VAT up is less regressive than keeping tax thresholds the same – what would Labour do instead?
    4. Very debateable – if that’s so why didn’t Labour lay out its plans each year – what would Labour have done instead? Can Dugher point me in the right direction via internet
    5. Depends whether you think that in the long-term it would be better
    6. Crime has fallen in my lib dem led council area – council works hand in hand with the police to keep tabs on those that commit crimes – depends whether you think more police always = less crime
    7. Which were cut? They all seem open around my way
    8. FJF – can’t comment as I don’t know precise details – would have thought a million more apprentices be better
    9 Agreed – and this is something Labour and LD/Con activists should take up for future campaigns
    10. Why did Labour vote against measures by Stockport and Derby Lib Dems to punish people when they could have protected people – why did Labour do the same for private tenants in the noughties
    11. Really? It’s funny what you learn when Labour’s not in power – sounds fair to me.
    12. Agreed – although it’s re-focussed not scrapped
    13. They are a lot less than when Lab were in power (though need to be tackled)
    14. Most people want to have more money in their pocket not claim benefits – people locked out of the benefit system agreed with this measure
    15. I had free insulation courtesy of the Govt – didn’t get it under Labour

  2. Ex-labour says:

    Oh I’m going to hate myself for rising to this dimwit Labour MP, but lets just look at some of his points….

    1. Labour introduced this and it has been acknowledged by senior Labour figures that is was a bit of political shenanigans to put the Tories under some pressure. It also lost HMRC some 7 Billion in tax revenue…….so well done there Labour. Brilliantly thought out.

    2.the whole tuition fee issue was actually started by Labour who admitted that had they been returned to government they would have introduced them.

    4. Hmmmmm……. Most people would now agree that Vince Cable was right to sign up. Labours alternative policy was to spend vastly more public money…..or was it? What exactly is Labours economic policy ? Answers on a postcard to E Miliband.

    5. The labour / Burnham cover up of the failing NHS under Labour. The words pot, kettle and Black spring to mind.

    Oh lord I’ve just really lost the will to go on…

    Don’t get me wrong I really dislike the Liberal Democrats. They really need to go home and take off their Hemp underpants, hair shirts and sandals as they do tend to see themselves as saviours of the world. In reality they are a bunch of eco loon hand wringers.

    However there are those in the Labour Party that seem intent on copying them.

  3. Amanda says:

    On liberal political compliance and policy dexterity I read this the other day. Lessons from history eh!?

  4. Ann says:

    Secret courts, savage cuts to legal aid….

  5. Ann says:

    ….employment tribunal fees…..

  6. David says:

    Hi Michael

    What kind of society is it that taxes our grannies and our bedrooms and our striver’s. Labour will definitely repeal them in its first budget after winning the election, won’t it? And can we depend on it to promise to reduce VAT and increase the tax rate back up to at least 50% and re-introduce the tax on bankers bonuses.

    And what will it promise to do about rail fares, tuition fees, the future jobs fund, the fuel poverty budget and the EMA?

    And how much of an increase in spending on the NHS and the police can we look forward to?

    Without these commitments being in the manifesto I worry that Labour’s criticisms might get a severe going over in the run up to the election. What will differentiate the parties? Why vote labour for more of the same?

  7. JasonH says:

    huh? whats that?

    BREAKING NEWS: “The party that came THIRD in the 2010 General Election unable to implement 100% of their manifesto”

    Good grief, what is the point of the LibDems if they can only implement 75% of their manifesto (according to University College London)???

    After all they have a full 8.7% of seats in the House of Commons, (despite getting 23% of the public vote), and are outnumbered by 5 Tory MPs to each LibDem MP!

  8. John p Reid says:

    5 ex Labour ,I often agree with you, and admire,but to claim that burnham tried to cover up mid staffs,is tosh,

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