What Lib Dem members say about Coalition policies on the economy, shares-for-rights and cutting Council Tax relief
by Stephen Tall on November 15, 2012
Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 550 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.
61% support — with reservations — Coalition’s economic policies
LDV asked: The UK economy recorded growth of +1.0% in the third quarter of 2012, officially bringing the recession to an end. However, many economists including the governor of the Bank of England have warned that recovery will be a slow, faltering process. Which of these is closest to your view:
61% – The Coalition Government’s economic policies, though not perfect, are the best option available for sustained economic growth in the UK in the long-term
32% – The Coalition Government’s economic policies have been mistaken, contributing to the UK’s double-dip recession, and will mean the recovery is more painful than it needed to be
8% – Don’t know
By an almost 2:1 majority Lib Dem members back the Coalition’s economic policies — though not without reservations. A sizeable one-third, however, believe the Coalition has been mistaken, jeopardising the UK’s recovery. It’s worth remembering that Lib Dem members in previous surveys have backed a ‘new approach’ to boosting economic growth, broadly continuing with public spending cuts but investing in capital infrastructure.
Here’s a sample of your views:
The coalition government policies have aided growth, but they are not the best option available. However, neither have they contributed to the double-dip
Our lack of investment in areas with economic multipliers i.e education and infrastructure is worrying but the rate of cutting has been fine.
I’m in between the two options; but I think more could have been done much faster for building, the voluntary sector could have been better protected and not enough was done to examine new ways of achieving the goals implicit in services.
BUT – could do so much better. And recent policy strands being floated suggest policy will get worse not better. Our influence seems to be waning fast.
They should use the low borrowing rates to invest in the future. All it is good at the moment is helping people with tracker mortgages and destroying peoples savings.
92% of Lib Dems oppose Osborne’s shares-for-rights scheme
LDV asked: In his speech to the Conservative party conference, George Osborne announced a new equity ownership scheme, targeted at small companies. It would offer employees shares in their business (from £2,000 to £50,000, Capital Gains Tax free) in return for giving up certain employment rights. This will not apply to existing employees, but both established companies and new start-ups can choose to offer only this new type of contract for new hires. Some key protections like those against discrimination will remain as well as the wide range of reasons for unfair dismissal, such as refusing Sunday work. What is your view?
5% – I support the proposed new scheme
27% – I support the proposed new scheme but only if it is entirely voluntary for employees to opt in to
65% – I oppose the proposed new scheme
4% – Don’t know
Despite Vince Cable’s best efforts here on LDV to persuade Lib Dems that George Osborne’s shares-for-rights scheme is a good ‘un, the view of members is clear-cut: two-thirds oppose it outright, and a further quarter would only support it if it were truly voluntary for all employees to be able to opt in. Just 1-in-20 party members support the scheme as proposed. Here’s a sample of your views:
I am totally opposed to this scheme. It will affect many young and economically unaware people who will only discover the value of the ‘certain employment rights’ they gave up much later when it is too late to do anything about it.
If a company is going to make someone redundant, it’s likely that this is because the company isn’t doing so well, what sort of cushion is shares in a struggling company?
There is no way of making it entirely voluntary for employees to opt in, when the job market is this thin. Also the scheme doesn’t even work – the people who would make pernicious claims have plenty of other legislation to make them under anyway – only people who would be making legitimate claims would suffer.
Employees should have the opportunity to buy into the company they work for and they should not have to give up other rights to do so.
Wider ownership is a good thing but it’s not a quid pro quo for employment rights
2:1 majority of Lib Dems opposed to Council Tax relief cut
LDV asked: As part of the Coalition Government’s existing welfare cuts, Council Tax relief is being reduced and local authorities are being given the power to set their own eligibility criteria from April 2013. The Government has earmarked £100m – a quarter of the amount it had hoped to save in the first year of the scheme’s operation – for councils that promise to limit the sums poorer people must pay to around 8.5% of the full Council Tax rate. However, half of councils are proposing to set the minimum payment at 20% of the full Council Tax or more, while about another quarter plan to set it at between 10-20%. What is your view?
28% – I support the Coalition’s proposals on Council Tax benefit
48% – I oppose the Coalition’s proposals on Council Tax benefit
24% – Don’t know
Though Lib Dems oppose the measure by an almost 2:1 majority interestingly 24% said ‘Don’t know’, which suggests that, at least for now, this issue is below the radar of many — though not Lib Dem peers. Here’s a sample of your views…
Once again it is the poorest being asked to bail out the rich who got us into the mess and still are not sharing the pain sufficiently.
I think this is going to get very messy – Labour run authorities will do everything in their power to make sure the poorest will pay the maximum possible – Blaming it on the coalition, while they spend excessivley in my opinion
As far as I see it this means more decision making is being devolved to local councils – localism in action?
The proposals to decentralise CT benefit, while at the same time dictating how it should be decentralised with certain ring-fences is a dangerous combination.
Devolution shouldn’t be a cost-saving measure, but done because it’s a good idea in itself.