What have the Liberal Democrats ever done for us?

Though I would love to mimic the Life of Brian “Romans” sketch, I couldn’t possibly carry it off and any attempt to do so would quickly become strained. Instead, I’m going to borrow heavily from Chris Davies excellent post when I outline some of our achievements in government.

But first, I want to make a point on cuts. We have been accused of trying to cut the debt too quickly. We are not cutting the debt at all: government debt is currently growing by £400 million every day! The cuts are only intended to reduce this growth so that, in three years or so, the debt won’t be growing.

So when Labour talk of “halving the deficit by 2015″ this doesn’t mean reducing government debt; it means debt would still be growing by £200 million a day.

Actually reducing this mountain of debt that we inherited from Labour is another matter entirely. But it is a question we must address as it would illiberal for us impinge on our descendants freedoms by ignoring it and leaving them with such onerous interest payments.

Anyway, back to the main topic: our achievements. When you consider them against this background of essential cuts to prevent further growth in debt, I’m extremely proud that (in our first year in government) we’ve managed to:

  • Reduce taxes on the poor, taking nearly one million people out of paying tax at all
  • Link pensions to earnings growth or 2.5%, whichever is greater
  • Improve civil liberties and extend human rights
  • Launch a Green Investment Bank with £3 billion of initial capital
  • Put a “Green Deal” before parliament that will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and insulate millions of homes and offices.
  • Launch the pupils’ premium to help disadvantaged children
  • Replace the Educational Maintenance Allowance
  • Put a Localism Bill before parliament that devolves significant powers to local authorities and communities.
  • Outline plans for a £155 universal pension

Additionally, our influence in government has prevented implementation of many illiberal measures, such as tax incentives for marriage.

Contrast this with Labour’s record. At a time of increased spending (built on excessive borrowing and spiralling debt) they increased taxes on the poor, allowed pensions to decline in value, curbed fundamental freedoms, and failed to advance substantive measures on climate change.

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