The 21 areas where the Lib Dems and Labour agree

by Stephen Tall on July 27, 2014

Miliband-CleggIt’s a few months since I first published my list of 17 policies on which the Lib Dems and Labour now agree. These ranged from including tax-cuts for low-earners, the introduction of a mansion tax, a major council house-building programme, cuts to universal benefits for wealthy pensioners, and an elected House of Lords.

One I highlighted was the likely scrapping of the Bedroom Tax, noting then: “Officially the Lib Dems are committed to an immediate review of the impact of the ‘bedroom tax’ (or ‘spare room subsidy’ as no-one calls it), including looking at what money (if any) has been saved, the costs incurred, and the effect on vulnerable tenants. However, party president Tim Farron has made no secret of his wish to reform / scrap it. Ed Miliband announced at the last Labour conference that any government he led would scrap it.” Things have moved on since then, with the Lib Dems now committed to reforming the Bedroom Tax so that no tenant will lose housing benefit unless they decline the offer of alternative suitable housing.

To those 17, I subsequently added another three in May:

  • increasing the provision and affordability of childcare;
  • a living wage for public sector workers; and
  • private sector rent reforms to encourage three-year leases.
  • And then last month, the 21st area of broad agreement became clear when Nick Clegg announced that the Lib Dems would argue the next government “will be able to borrow in order to fix our creaking national infrastructure” in growth-enhancing projects. Though, as Adam Corlett argued here, the policy is not identical to Labour’s, it is certainly more in sympathy with Eds Miliband’s and Balls’ approach.

    So that’s the up-to-date 21 areas where the Lib Dems and Labour agree. As I pointed out in my Total Politics column this month, “If Labour ends up the largest party in a hung parliament there’s plenty of material for a Lib/Lab pact.”

    * Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.