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."

News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
News
Jennifer Lawrence at the Vanity Fair Academy Awards party in February 2014
people12 undisclosed female victims are seeking $100m in damages
Arts and Entertainment
Adam Levine plays a butcher who obsessively stalks a woman in Maroon 5's 'Animals' music video
music'Animals' video 'promotes sexual violence against women'
News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
voicesI like surprises - that's why I'm bringing them back to politics, writes Nigel Farage
News
Bear and hare woodland scene from John Lewis Christmas advert
newsRetailer breaks with tradition, selling real festive fir trees online for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Anthony Horowitz will write the next 007 novel
booksAnthony Horowitz to write new instalment in spy series for 2015
News
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
people
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

Sport
Kicking on: Nathaniel Clyne is relishing the challenge of the Premier League after moving from Crystal Palace
footballSurprises include a first ever call-up for one Southampton star
Voices
4 May 2013: The sun rises over Tower Bridge in London. Temperatures across the UK could be higher than several European holiday destinations by Monday, including parts of Italy and France (Andy Hepburn/PA)
voices
News
The moon observed in visible light, topography and the GRAIL gravity gradients
science

...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought

News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
Extras
indybest
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

HR Advisor - East Anglia - Field-based

£35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: To be considered for this position you will n...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: We have opportunities for Cov...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Maths Teacher required to tea...

Digital Fundraising Analyst/Web Analyst - West Sussex - Permanent - £30k DOE

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?