Liberal Democrat news
Danny Alexander, a man not normally known for wearing his heart on his sleeve, was doing just that when I joined him at the Treasury for our interview. Sporting Union Jack cufflinks, he told me proudly, “We must keep the United Kingdom together.” Looking ahead to next September’s Independence Referendum, he said, “As one of only two Scots in the Cabinet I play a big role in that. For too long people have associated the Union Jack with one section of politics in this country. It’s the flag of the whole country and we need to own it as Liberal Democrats.”
Commenting, Liberal Democrat Nick Harvey said:
“I very much welcome RUSI’s report today. It’s pleasing to see this well-respected and expert organisation coming to this issue with an open mind.
“The report concludes that a step away from Continuous at-Sea Deterrence (CASD) is a legitimate option, which is quite right: the Lib Dems have long argued that the nuclear status quo is unnecessary and unaffordable.
“We need to come down the nuclear ladder in a way that is consistent with the world today: we no longer need to be able to fire on Moscow at a moment’s notice. We cannot escape uncertainty, but we have finite defence resources and a Cold War nuclear capability has little relevance to the range of security challenges we’re likely to face in the future.”
This means that 18 year olds living in the most disadvantaged areas of England are nearly twice as likely to apply to university than they were 10 years ago increasing from 10.7% in 2004 to 20.7% in 2014.
Overall the applicant rate is up by 4% to 580,000.
Commenting, Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable said:
"Going to university should be accessible to everyone with ability, not the ability to pay. Our reforms were tough but they were right and we are now seeing the fruits of our efforts. Eighteen-year olds from poorer backgrounds are applying at a record rate and are now twice as likely to consider going to university than ten years ago.
“It's also good to see an increase in the number of people applying for engineering and technology. These are key to ensuring our country stays ahead of the global competition.
“It's clear that young people understand that investing in a degree is an investment for their future. New students do not pay fees upfront, there is more financial support for those from disadvantaged backgrounds and everyone will make lower loan repayments once they are in well paid jobs."
This morning we’ve seen yet more proof that the economy is firmly on the path to recovery. Growth is returning, with today’s figures showing the longest period of growth since 2007. We’ve also had good news on jobs – with youth unemployment down, jobs outside of London up and a surge in new full time jobs.
Today’s figures show the economy is growing and that Liberal Democrats in Government have helped to stabilise the economy.
Commenting, Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said:
“This recovery would not be happening without Liberal Democrats in Government. These figures are further evidence that the recovery is becoming established. 2013 was the first year since 2007 to see economic growth in all four quarters.
“Liberal Democrats are building a stronger economy and a fairer society. To ensure the recovery is long term and sustainable, we need business to invest now. UK Plc is sat on over £500bn of cash.
“2014 needs to be the year of ‘Invest in Britain'. Britain is on the right track and we will not waver from the coalition’s economic plan that is delivering jobs, growth and the right climate for investment.”
These rises are a result of Liberal Democrats in Government cutting income tax, to help millions of working people, and lifting the poorest workers out of tax all together.
Commenting, Liberal Democrat President Tim Farron said:
“This is a Liberal Democrat tax cut, it was on the front page of our 2010 election manifesto.
“The Conservatives’ priority was an inheritance tax cut for millionaires, Liberal Democrats’ priority was to help those on low and middle incomes.
“These figures show that the coalition’s economic plan is the rock on which our recovery is being built. This recovery would not be happening without Liberal Democrats in Government.
“Liberal Democrats in Government are building a stronger economy and a fairer society. We have given 24m working people a £700 tax cut and we want to go further by lifting the point at which you start paying tax from £10,000 to the level of the minimum wage.”