Sorry, there’s no money left’ was the parting shot of the last Labour government. A bare cupboard has meant that there have been no easy choices for this government and I’ve sometimes been a staunch critic when I’ve thought some of those choices have been wrong.
But not to have cut the deficit, as we have seen in Greece, would have meant higher mortgage rates and greater pain for all.
The Lib Dem influence has meant taking 2.2 million people out of paying income tax altogether, better state pensions and higher taxes for the very wealthy.
And last week’s autumn statement makes further progress on that, making the first £9,440 earnings a year tax free from April with the aim of £10,000 by 2015.
In addition, scrapping Labour’s fuel duty increase, due for January, will save the typical motorist £5 every time they fill up. And the triple lock for the pension has banished Labour’s miserly increases – just 75p one year. Pensioners are now £600 a year better off.
The Tories are wrong to oppose the Lib Dems’ plan for a ‘mansion tax’ on properties worth £2m or more. But the Lib Dems have succeeded in having a higher tax rate for millionaires than for 12 years and 11 months of Labour’s 13 years.
Meanwhile, of concern locally is the possibility that BAE might end shipbuilding in Portsmouth. So I’ve been pressing Portsmouth’s case with the firm itself and the government, including Vince Cable.