Lib Dems warn Clegg not to back Tories on welfare cuts

 

Nick Clegg has been warned by Liberal Democrat activists that he must not allow George Osborne to impose more welfare cuts in return for securing the party's long-cherished goal of a wealth tax.

The Social Liberal Forum (SLF), which is on the party's left, fears that Mr Clegg is preparing the ground for a Coalition deal under which the Lib Dems back the Chancellor's plan for £10bn of welfare cuts in return for moves towards a wealth tax such as a levy on homes worth more than £2m.

The SLF will seek to tie Mr Clegg's hands at the Lib Dems' autumn conference in Brighton, which starts a week today and has the power to decide the party's policies. It will table amendments to promote wealth taxation as "fair and economically efficient in its own right, not as a trade-off with further unfair cuts to welfare spending".

On the economy, the group will call for the Coalition to change course, proposing a "flexible approach" to fiscal policy rather than another round of "self-defeating spending cuts."

David Hall-Matthews, who chairs the SLF, said yesterday: "George Osborne's Plan A has failed. The country needs the Liberal Democrats to lead the way in changing the direction of government economic policy. We cannot afford the social costs of more welfare cuts: it is time to use taxation more to address the deficit.

"We welcome Nick Clegg's recent call for a wealth tax, which should be part of a wider attack on inequality, that we hope conference will adopt as party policy – an attack that would see greater investment in early years, greater equality of pay and power in the workplace, and ending the undue political influence of big money."

The Deputy Prime Minister is unlikely to openly distance his party from Mr Osborne's Plan A. He believes that the Coalition's economic strategy is more flexible than it is given credit for, citing plans to boost housing and infrastructure and to clear the deficit over a longer period than originally planned.

Senior Lib Dems believe some further savings on welfare are inevitable but say they will try to limit their impact on the most vulnerable people.

Mr Clegg has joined forces with Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, to propose curbs on winter fuel payments, free bus travel and TV licences for better-off pensioners, but the move has been blocked by David Cameron because he promised at the 2010 election to protect them.

The Liberal Democrat leader told Cambridge University students that he would consider coalition talks with Labour after the next election – but only if that was the message from the British people.

Displaying a lack of enthusiasm for a Lib-Lab deal, he said: "I don't buy this idea that Liberalism is somehow a subset of the Labour Party."

Unions oppose payout limit

Unions yesterday criticised Vince Cable's plans to reduce the maximum £72,300 compensation for unfair dismissal, warning that it could deter mistreated workers from making claims. The TUC welcomed the Business Secretary's decision to kill off a controversial "fire at will" proposal backed by Downing Street. Business leaders gave a broad welcome to the employment law reforms, intended to give companies confidence to recruit.

Andrew Grice

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
News
i100
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Life and Style
health
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: The Job:TEACHERS REQUIREDWe are...

Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are currently...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£60 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Special Needs Teaching Assistant ...

Year 4 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education is urgently recruiting...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?