The political parties will shortly be dusting down slogans for their party conferences in September – but is the Lib Dem one of ‘A Stronger Economy, A Fairer Society’ justified?
The past few years have been extremely challenging for all economies in the developed world. But encouraging recent figures show that the British economy grew significantly in the last quarter and at a rate twice that of the Eurozone countries on average.
I’m never one to overplay the green shoots of recovery and there is still a long way to go with many people feeling squeezed as inflation has outpaced wages. But we are now clearly heading in the right direction.
I may never have been the coalition’s biggest fan, but I recognised in 2010 that the country needed stable government to achieve economic recovery.
A significant contributor to that recovery has been to give most people a tax cut of £700 – money that people can then go out and spend in the local economy. And we’ve seen a million new private sector jobs partly as a result.
David Cameron branded this tax cut as impossible in the General Election leaders’ debates. But by asking the very wealthy to pay more than the Tories wanted and more than all but one month under Labour, the coalition has achieved it.
As poorer children face additional barriers to learning, a key plank of the Lib Dem manifesto was the Pupil Premium, extra money to schools based on the number of children from lower income families each has – worth now an additional £7.2m a year for the city’s schools
And I remember the miserly 75p increase for pensioners under Labour. The coalition has ended that – by law. The state pension will now rise year-on-year in line with average earnings, a link cut by the Tories in the 1980s. And the increase will be at least 2.5 per cent or inflation if either are more.
At a time of very tight public finances, the Lib Dems have secured a fairer deal for the young, pensioners and those in between, coupled with an economy that is growing once again.
For once, a political slogan is actually justified!