Coffee House

Lib Dem conference: Nick Clegg says spending plans may be ‘re-jigged’

23 September 2012

4:39 PM

23 September 2012

4:39 PM

There is something very Liberal Democrat about Nick Clegg’s Q&A session with party members at conference. There’s a distinct mix of familiarity, fondness—the loudest applause came for the announcement that today is Nick and Miriam’s 12th wedding anniversary and policy debate.

In response to a questioner who claimed that Danny Alexander was more right wing than ‘Peter Osborne’, Clegg was keen to stress to members that the coalition’s fiscal plans were more flexible than they are given credit for. But his declaration that there ‘won’t be a penny less of a penny more’ of spending cuts than those already agreed indicates that the Liberal Democrats will not accept any more reductions in government spending to hit George Osborne’s target of having the national debt falling as a percentage of GDP by the end of the parliament.

But the Lib Dem leader did concede that there might be some ‘re-jigging of spending plans’ and that he ‘can’t promise you there won’t be changes to the welfare budget.’ But he ruled out finding the £10 billion of welfare cuts that Osborne said he wanted in the Budget earlier this year.
Other topics that came up included that apology, green energy—which the party is using to try and differentiate itself from the Tories and press regulation. On Leveson, Clegg said that ‘lots of patently flase stuff has been written about me and my family.’ But, after a bit more press bashing, he warned that liberals should not be keen on restrictive press regulation.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • jsfl

    £1.3 Trillion debt. Yep thats the real “curse of Clegg” and his anti prosperity party!

  • 2thueblue

    I just love the bit about the pensioners lending their pensions out for their children/grandchildren to buy property! What planet is this man on?

    The LibDums are the party of envy with no real connection to how real people exist. They have come up with no workable ideas to stabilise the economy in a world where there are very few ideas that stand up re stabilising economies right now. They seem to think that any one who has tried to provide for their future is the enemy, and are poisoning the well. The culture to attack the elderly is becoming a real theme….. a drain on resources, etc. etc.
    Obviously Cleggy doesen’t need his pensions, the one as an MP and the EU one, so easy for him.

    One thing that would help everyone is to simplify the welfare payment systems. How tricky can it be? Then we could start on the collection of taxes. We have one of the most complex systems in the world, and pound for pound spend more collecting it.

  • Frank P

    “Nick Clegg says spending plans may be ‘re-jigged’ ”

    Nick Clegg should be re-jigged and re-jiggy-jig-jigged. Several times over. Preferably by a sex-starved dray-horse, borrowed from Young’s Brewery.

    I can’t believe that anybody that comments here is watching the pouftah’s convention. I can understand that the girlie men of the mag have had their orders to write about it, but please don’t encourage them by reading the crap.

  • johnproblem

    He’s just scored a goal in that picture? He should now go after Osborne, whose standing is gradually lowering in the Coalition and who is now evidently wedded to a fiscal policy that doesn’t work but which he daren’t drop. The Head Prefect is getting a bit wary of having George continue as the Chancellor. Nick can get points by challenging George….

    • alexsandr

      ‘He’s just scored a goal in that picture?’ no i reckon he has farted and wondering if he followed through.

  • james102

    Morgan Stanley is predicting our deficit next year as 7.8%
    worse than Greece 6.3% or Spain under 6%—it simply can’t continue.

    Latest YouGov poll:

    CON 34%, LAB 43%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 8%

    • Noa

      True, though the question posed here is ultimately whether the answer to that is increasing taxation to reduce the deficit, rather than cutting taxes and reducing public expenditure.

  • Alexsander

    Have you lot got nothing better to write about than these useless irrelevances?

    • Ian

      Pot and kettle?