Clegg’s ‘fairness’; Robbing Peter to pay Paul….

Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg says, will raise the age of qualification for the winter fuel allowance to 65. Clegg justifies these, frankly, outrageous proposals thus:

“We say you should bring that rise in the eligibility age forward to now, that saves you about £400m and you could use some of that money to actually provide extra winter fuel payments to the very disabled or those who are terminally ill.”

Operative word there is ‘could’ which is not the same as will. Given that the Liberal Democrats are committed to funding deficit reduction 100% through spending cuts I think it is fair to say the use of the word *could* leaves Mr Clegg just enough room for breathing space. In reality, Clegg himself costs ‘introducing extra fairness into the system’ ie, bringing in those groups he talks about at £200m; half the money this proposal saves.

Calling for the extension of Winter Fuel Payments is a worthy cause however, Clegg wants to do this by playing various groups off one another; robbing Peter to pay Paul. Amazingly, Clegg has positioned himself and his party to the right of the Conservative Party on the question of fiscal policy with his policy of funding defecit reduction through 100% spending cuts.

Labour gets things wrong but today it can be proud of itself on this issue and Alistair Darling who has continued to support the payment in the Budget today.

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About darrellgoodliffe

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5 responses to “Clegg’s ‘fairness’; Robbing Peter to pay Paul….”

  1. Joe Otten says :

    It’s not 100% cuts – the new banking levy will go towards deficit reduction.

    And it is misleading of you to ignore the Tory plans to cut more and sooner, welching on the internationally agreed fiscal stimulus strategy.

    But whatever the result of the election, Labour will be to blame for nearly all the cuts, because they built up this £110billion structural deficit.

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  2. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Joe,

    Let’s be quite clear what the Liberal Democrats stand for shall we? Rather than take my word for it I will let Clegg speak for himself:

    “We need to bring about the biggest fiscal contraction in post-war political history.”

    I wont ignore it, I will let Mr Clegg take centre-stage again:

    Having said:

    “Our working assumption is that the conditions will be right for cuts from 2011-12, but not before.”

    He then says this:

    “Liberal Democrats will follow Canada’s lead.
    After the election, we will hold an emergency budget and interim spending review which will put in place cuts which could be realised within the financial year”

    His speech is littered with numerous examples of him contradicting himself within the space of a few paragraphs.

    Blame Labour all you want; the Lib Dems supported the major cause of it, the bank bailout (as did I and I still would) so playing the blame game doesnt really wash does it?

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  3. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Clegg in the Spectator:

    “Mr Clegg says the Lib Dems are the most radical of the lot: they propose no tax rises at all. ‘We’re saying “purely spending cuts””

    From the horses mouth….actually as the banking levy is a new tax Joe what you say doesnt change what myself and Clegg have said being the case.

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  4. Joe Otten says :

    Darrell, there was a large structural deficit before the banking crisis. Labour had abandoned prudence and were spending like the Tories had been in 97. (The economy on the other hand is doing as well as can be expected – I don’t support the Tories’ conflation of the economy and the deficit.)

    So, anyway, if you don’t agree with Clegg, how do you propose to deal with the public sector deficit?

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  5. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Joe,

    Labour’s spending was a direct result of the ‘prudence’ that so damaged our public services.

    Through growth. I favour radical structural change (similar to the kind Clegg favoured the day before yesterday) backed-up with investment and a gradual reduction of the deficit through growth-led policies. Clegg’s current policies will collapse the recovery like a house of cards because the private sector, put simply, isnt in a position to do the heavy-lifting.

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