Coalition Mid-Term Review

Resignation of top Tory lord leaves a stain on PM's 'Ronseal' relaunch

Cameron and Clegg insist coalition is 'steadfast and united'

David Cameron and Nick Clegg vowed today that the Coalition would last until polling day 2015, as they emphatically committed themselves to a full five-year deal for the first time.

The Prime Minister and his deputy put on a show of unity as they published a mid-term review of the Coalition's work since 2010 and flagged up imminent policy announcements on care for the elderly and childcare.

Mr Cameron said: "To me it's not a marriage, it's a Ronseal deal, it does what it says on the tin." But the relaunch was marred by the surprise resignation of Lord Strathclyde, the Leader of the Lords.

And the review was criticised for being thin on new detail. Michael Dugher, Labour's vice-chairman, said the "Ronseal" label breached the Trades Description Act. "It's now clear there is nothing in the tin," he said.

Despite the convincing united front shown by Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg at a rare joint press conference, it emerged that there are still differences between the Coalition parties on at least two of the six new policies they signalled yesterday.

On childcare, Mr Clegg is battling for an extension of the current system under which the state provides 15 hours of free childcare for three- and four-year-olds during school terms. He is arguing that it would give more help to low-income families than allowing families to write off childcare bills against tax, which is preferred by the Chancellor, George Osborne. The result is likely to be a package combining both elements.

The Liberal Democrats are also cautious about Tory plans for new motorways and trunk roads and improvements to existing ones to be funded by tolls. Mr Clegg's party fears a backlash from motorists but Mr Osborne is keen to press ahead. Their dispute means a public consultation exercise will be held that is likely to delay any toll roads until after the 2015 election.

The other four areas on which new policies are promised are:

* a cap, possibly £75,000, on what people must pay for long-term care;

* a new minimum basic state pension, likely to be at least £140 a week;

* more help for families who cannot raise the deposit for a mortgage; and

* measures to limit state powers and extend personal freedoms.

However, the cap on care costs and the minimum pension might not take effect until after the next election.

Other differences between the two leaders were evident at yesterday's launch. The review document included a clear hint that Mr Osborne will soon announce transferable tax allowances for married couples, a move opposed by the Liberal Democrats, who will be allowed to abstain.

The report also promised a Commons vote on plans for new electoral boundaries which could give the Tories an extra 20 seats, even though Mr Clegg has vowed to block them.

The Liberal Democrat leader backed plans to cap benefit rises at one per cent but criticised the language of Tory ministers accused of portraying claimants as "scroungers". He said: "I don't think it helps at all to try to portray that decision as one which divides one set of people against another, the deserving and the undeserving poor, people in work and out of work." The two leaders agreed – politely – to disagree on Europe, on which Mr Cameron will soon promise a referendum.

The two leaders were anxious to portray a business-like, professional relationship rather than the "marriage" they were happy to celebrate in the Downing Street Rose Garden when the Coalition was formed in 2010.

Expanding on the Ronseal comparison, Mr Cameron said: "We said we would come together, we said we would form a government, we said we would tackle these problems, we said we would get on with it in a mature and sensible way, and that is exactly what we have done."

Mr Clegg added that the Coalition was doing "what it said on the tin" – providing stable, effective government for five years. He insisted that would not stop the parties setting out their separate stalls for the 2015 election.

Mr Cameron dashed the hopes of Tory MPs who want the Coalition to end well before polling day. "Some people thought our Coalition wouldn't make it through our first Christmas, but this Government is now well into its third year, because this Coalition was not and is not some short-term arrangement," he said. "It is a serious five-year commitment to give our country strong, stable and determined leadership that we need for the long term."

Pressure groups attacked the absence of detail on social care and pensions. Ros Altmann, director of Saga, said: "The principles outlined in the Coalition's mid-term review sound good but where is any of the detail?"

Simon Gillespie, who chairs the Care and Support Alliance, said: "We now urgently need clarity and certainty on what the future holds for the crumbling social care system."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, Brokerage)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention