What's the story on the Coalition?

May 30, 2011 5:01 PM

We understand many people, particularly in the North East where many people work in the public sector, have no great love for the Conservatives, and are critical of the Lib Dem decision to work with them in government. Most Lib Dems don't have a lot of love for the Conservatives (or Labour) either - but we think people prefer seeing politicians work together when it's necessary in the wider national interest.

After the General Election resulted in a hung parliament, the only viable options were a Conservative minority government with no Lib Dem influence, or a Conservative-Lib Dem coalition. A Labour-Lib Dem coalition wouldn't have had a majority in Parliament. A fresh election would have been won by the Tories.

By going into coalition, the Lib Dems have achieved more than 75% of our election manifesto - including major policies on climate change and sustainability, taking millions of low earners out of income tax by raising the starting point to £7500 and then to £10,000, substantial increases for schools funding inked to disadvantaged pupil numbers, and restored the link between pensions and earnings, increasing weekly pensions by £4 for single pensioners and £7.50 for couples from April. It's very clear the Conservatives wouldn't have done this without the Lib Dem influence in government. Only 60% of the Conservative manifesto is being delivered.

However, it's also very clear from the May election results that the voters want to see the Lib Dems do more to stand up against the Conservatives and to use their influence to block unpopular Conservative-led moves on issues like reform of the NHS. We are listening and will step up our efforts to ensure the Coalition does more to address concerns on issues like public services and on securing a better deal on funding and Jobs for the North.