Coalition to go the distance, Cameron and Clegg insist

 

David Cameron: "It's not a marriage. It does what it says on the tin"

David Cameron and Nick Clegg have said their coalition will last a full five years, giving Britain "strong, stable and determined leadership".

Mr Cameron promised help on childcare costs, care costs for the elderly and investment in roads as they marked the halfway point of their government.

The PM and deputy PM described their agreement as a "Ronseal deal" which "does what it says on the tin".

Ed Miliband accused the government of making "empty promises".

Nick Clegg said the coalition had brought about "big, bold reforms" that would stand the test of time.

Before the Budget

Described by Downing Street as a "stock take", the 46-page Mid-Term Review lists what the government says it has achieved in meeting its coalition agreement and outlines further reforms to come.

The full document was presented to the cabinet for the first time on Monday morning.

Start Quote

The coalition was, the official line goes, always a business partnership forced on both sides by events. ”

End Quote

During a joint press conference with his deputy, Mr Cameron said: "Some people thought our coalition wouldn't make it through our first Christmas, but this government is now well into its third year, because this coalition was not and is not some short-term arrangement."

Asked if their coalition was like a marriage, Mr Cameron said: "To me it's not a marriage, it's a Ronseal deal, it does what it says on the tin - we said we would come together, we said we would form a government, we said we would tackle these problems, we said we would get on with it in a mature and sensible way, and that is exactly what we've done."

Mr Clegg added: "Ronseal deal, you could call it the unvarnished truth."

A number of future plans which had been expected to be included in the Mid-Term Review document after being trailed in the media, are mentioned only briefly in the foreword.

But Mr Cameron said that before the Budget in March the government would set out details, including:

  • New investment to help working families cut the cost of childcare.
  • More help for families who cannot raise a deposit for a mortgage.
  • Measures to limit state powers and extend personal freedoms.
  • "Big new steps" on issues including pensions and "capping the potentially huge cost" of social care.
  • Consulting on how to get private investment into motorways and trunk roads.
  • Extending the HS2 high-speed rail line from Birmingham to the north of England.

He promised the coalition would continue to go "full steam ahead" in reforming the economy and tackling the deficit.

Mr Clegg said it was right that the coalition parties had set aside their differences in the national interest and insisted the government was making the right reforms to help the economy continue to heal.

'Full tank'

"We are dealing with the deficit, rebuilding the economy, reforming welfare and education and supporting hard-working families through tough times. And on all of these key aims, our parties, after 32 months of coalition, remain steadfast and united," Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg write in a joint foreword to the review.

"Of course there have been some issues on which we have not seen eye to eye, and no doubt there will be more. That is the nature of coalition.

Analysis

Each standing in front of a lectern sporting the slogan "Coalition Government: Mid Term Review," David Cameron and Nick Clegg published their 46 page document.

It amounts to the Westminster equivalent of a domestic 'to do' list: some items ticked off, others not.

The half time score card is actually longer than the Coalition Agreement itself.

It trots through the staples of government: the economy, schools, the NHS, defence, etc.

But there is very, very, little detail.

Those in Downing Street had emphasised in advance that today wasn't meant to be about the nuts and bolts of specific policy detail, but instead about illustrating drive and direction.

The challenge now will be translating that rhetoric into policies both Conservative and Liberal Democrat backbenchers can support.

"But on the things that matter most - the big structural reforms needed to secure our country's long-term future - our resolve and sense of shared purpose have, if anything, grown over time.

"Our mission is clear: to get Britain living within its means and earning its way in the world once again."

Mr Cameron highlighted education reform, the changes to university funding, transport modernisation, public sector pensions and banking regulation as examples of the coalition's achievements.

The deputy prime minister championed changes to the tax allowance, closing tax loopholes and the pupil premium, which provides additional money for the poorest children.

In the review's foreword they add: "Two-and-a-half years ago, our parties came together in the national interest and formed a coalition at a time of real economic danger.

"This government's most urgent job was to restore stability in our public finances and confidence in the British economy. In just two years we have cut the deficit by a quarter and have set out a credible path towards our goal to balance the current budget over the economic cycle."

But the Labour leader attacked the government's economic record, adding that the review had "no real substance and no real detail".

"All the promises they made to us about what they would achieve about economic growth haven't come true. They are struggling to reduce the deficit this year, the central promise that they made to the country," Mr Miliband said.

The SNP's Angus Robertson said: "Since David Cameron and Nick Clegg's infamous rose garden media appearance, the Westminster government's promises on issue after issue lie in tatters.

"Pledges on meeting borrowing reduction targets, on reversing years of decline to Scotland's defence footprint and on reforming the House of Lords - to name but a few - have all been abandoned."

Ed Miliband says the coalition's plans have "no real substance and no real detail"

John Cridland, director general of the Confederation for British Industry, said: "The coalition deserves high marks for its commitment to tackle the deficit and its plan for growth.

"But... growth-boosting measures like house, road and rail building are getting too bogged down in the planning and procurement process. We don't need a flurry of new announcements, but we do need to see the coalition's ideas translated into action now."

Unlock Democracy, which campaigns for democratic reform, criticised the government's record on political reform and said the review did little to take forward earlier commitments on regulating lobbyists, recalling MPs and reforming the funding of political parties.

"Overall, this is a far cry from Nick Clegg's early promise of the 'biggest shake-up of our democracy' since 1832," the group said.

On plans to increase private investment in roads, the Campaign for Better Transport - which supports sustainable transport - said the lack of detail on the plans showed the policy was "unworkable".

 

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  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1368.

    1212.geoff
    ... we all spent/borrowed to much. We were all to greedy

    In managing THEIR risks, banks had a duty to lend responsibly, yet they encouraged rampant consumerism and easy credit. Gullible consumers trusted their ‘expertise’ – and we ended up bailing them out.

    Not all consumers are financially astute – which was why loans used to be refused once upon a time!

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 1367.

    1346. Tonester_7
    "... with comments like this what you fail to understand is basic maths. Most unemployed people are unemployed because there are not enough jobs, in Edinburgh there were 350 people who applied for one basic administrative position where I work. I am sick of hearing Bastiats type of attitude - GET REAL."
    =
    If there were no minimum wages, there'd be jobs aplenty.
    Real enough? :D

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 1366.

    Labour, LibDems, Tories..... it doesn't matter what the flavour is, they all taste the same.

    All have the same political agenda - screw everyone, let's make loads of money.
    Take a look at Tony Blair, war profiteer.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1365.

    "1341.FR_Andrew
    I cannot afford to buy a house, even though I have a PhD in Nuclear Physics and have a good job. Estimates of a housing crash this year say that houses could fall by 40% to 60%"


    So you're anticipating house prices will fall by up to 60% but are comlpaining that you can't buy one.

    A PhD in Nuclear Physics but not even a GCSE in common sense.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 1364.

    David Cameron is very good at mentioning all the issues people are most affected by,childcare costs,mortgages,increased living costs etc..Thank you for pointing them out. He gets us excited that the coalition will put something in place to help us with these issues. Brilliant.They then forget about these PR speeches,they never go into any detail about their proposals and move onto something else.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 1363.

    We as the the electorate and the true custodians of power need to wake up an show these wasters who is in charge. They rule because we the majority allow them to. Its time they knew it. Nick you sold your sole to the Devil and a fire pit awaits you in 2015. You will burn and vanish. These lot have no mandate any more. Call an election we've had it the lot of you.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1362.

    I think i can speak for the large Majority of people not just on HYS but in the country, David and Nick hope you two have a lousy new year because that is what we are all going to face this year. These two are like Pinky and the Brain, minus the brain.

  • Comment number 1361.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1360.

    1327. An Eton Mess

    'They do nothing but privatise vital services, selling everything we own to their mates'

    And of course Labour thought they were so important they re-nationalised none of them during their 13 year tenure. Perhaps Ed and Old Labour or Nu Labour (I get confused who he represents now), will.

    ps Without Unions and BBC Labour would struggle to exist

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 1359.

    As much as I consider myself a fan of Labour, a coalition seems to be a practical way of dealing with addressing peoples different needs. Dare I say it, but the libdems are learning to stand their ground on social matters, while the torys are doing their best to fix the economy. There are no ideals in this tough climate, but I'd rather we had a balanced coalition than an unfocused majority party.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1358.

    The coalition have been in power for 2 years and they in the eyes of labourites are single handedly responsible for all the wrongs in the world past present and future. It must be really depressing supporting labour as they have nothing positive to say about anything (or a policy either)

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 1357.

    Whatever.

    It could be worse.

    Instead, it could have been the 2 Eds dribbling their mid term spin up there & thinking about it, it is a relief that these 2 are there instead, not that theres any other real choice.

    Choices-
    Ed & Ed & the PC crew
    Dave & Nick - best of the worst
    Farage - pure numptyism

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1356.

    1340.bulekingfisher


    You may be right on the money - though one has to wonder with his type of person.....

    ....they are usually brought to believe they can do no wrong, what we know these days as the "entitlement culture," so his tantrums/red face when he doesn't get his way may be a manifestation of that......

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 1355.

    There's not any part of the Labour party involved in the coalition............that's good enough for me!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1354.

    1328.
    What part of Singapore was that exactly? Did you actually go there and see this yourself? Most of the low skill level jobs are indeed not carried out by Westerners or even those indiginous to Singapore, but are instead carried out by asian and indonesian immigrants who work there because there is no work back home.

    I can't recall ever seeing any kids though.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 1353.

    1305
    3.Child tax credits Paid to those who do not need them
    5.‘Record exam results in schools’ And an ever decreasing level of literacy
    6.More police officers then ever before Filling in paperwork
    8.2 million more jobs than in 1997 Mainly non jobs in the public sector
    9. Peace in NI Apart from the flag riots and assinations
    Oh, you forgot the massive debts they left.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 1352.

    1023.Norman Brooke
    Left wing spin & lies! Rich to Poor inequality is widely measured by the Gini coefficient. This currently this sits at 0.34 it's lowest level since 1990. It rose under Labour to 0.36 but has reduced under the Condems with the biggest reduction occurring in 2010-2011. Inequality as measured by the 90/10 and 50/10 ratios indicate the gap top be at it's lowest level since 1987!

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 1351.

    The only thing that will improve the political landscape of Britain is a revolution, not a coalition.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 1350.

    So PR dave and his poodle Clegg are happy pals again. I hope they enjoy the next few years in government because it will be over come the next election.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1349.

    If either Mr Cameron or Mr Clegg think that they and their parties will win the next election they truly out of touch with the wider community. After so much damage to people's lives i doubt it. I can't see labour winning either so who are we left with. People's memories aren't that short that in 2015 they will allow them back in power

 

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