One of the questions I get asked and a frequent refrain in comments to the blog is why I support coalition with the Conservatives. Today it is 10 weeks exactly since the coalition was born. So here are some of the reasons that explain why I believe in coalition government.
In the little over two months since the Government was formed – we have been able to deliver a huge amount of our manifesto as well being able to greatly influence the Coalition and its agenda.
Going into the election we made clear that we had four key priorities: fairer taxes; a fair start for children with extra funding for disadvantaged pupils; a comprehensive clean up of our politics, including a fairer voting system; and a green, sustainable economy. Thanks to our involvement, the Government will deliver on each of these.
There are also a large number of other Lib Dem policies and pledges that will now begin to make a real, positive difference to people’s lives because of our role in the Coalition Government. These include everything from the rolling back of the surveillance state and giving people back their civil liberties, to prison reforms, fairer pensions, the ending of child detention and the scrapping of the third runway at Heathrow.
Delivering on our promises
The Liberal Democrats promised to make the tax system fairer by ensuring no one pays tax on the first £10,000 they earn and closing loopholes that allow the wealthy to pay a smaller proportion of their income in tax than people on low and middle incomes.
The Coalition Government has already taken a huge step towards achieving this by raising the income tax threshold by £1,000 in last month’s Budget and reforming Capital Gains Tax. The income tax threshold will continue to be increased every year during this Parliament.
The Liberal Democrats also promised to restore the earnings link to pensions, which will now happen.
We also promised wide scale banking reform, including a banking levy to make sure that banks pay for the financial support they received from the taxpayer. The levy, which will raise £2.5bn, was announced in the Budget.
A fair start for children
The Liberal Democrats promised to introduce a Pupil Premium to target extra money at disadvantaged children. The Coalition Agreement makes clear that this will now happen. (In Haringey Labour underfunded our schools for years and years – letting our children get £1300 less each than children in Islington or Camden).
We also promised greater freedoms for teachers over the curriculum, which will also be brought in as a key part of the Coalition’s education reforms.
The Liberal Democrats promised a comprehensive clean up of the rotten political system. This is now a key part of the Coalition’s agenda for which Nick Clegg has responsibility.
The plans include:
• A referendum on the Alternative Vote to take place in May 2011
• The right to sack MPs guilty of serious misconduct
• Fixed term parliaments of five years
• Reform of party funding
• Moving towards a wholly or partly elected House of Lords, elected by proportional representation
• A statutory register of lobbyists
• A radical devolution of power and greater financial autonomy to local government and community groups
A green, sustainable economy
The Liberal Democrats promised a raft of policies to help the economy recover and make sure that we build a new green and sustainable economy fit for the 21st century.
A huge number of these policies will now become a reality, including:
• Tough action to tackle the deficit
• Reform of the banking system to make sure that banks lend to viable British businesses
• An independent commission on separating investment and retail banking
• Measures to improve energy efficiency in homes and businesses
• Support for low carbon energy production and an increase the target for energy from renewable sources
• Enabling the creation of a national high speed rail network
• The creation of a smart electricity grid and the roll-out of smart meters
• The creation of a green investment bank
• The establishment of an emissions performance standard that will prevent coal-fired power stations being built unless they are equipped with Carbon Capture and Storage Technology
• Replacing Air Passenger Duty with a per-plane duty
• The provision of a floor price for carbon, as well as working to persuade the EU to move towards full auctioning of ETS permits
Other Lib Dem policies that will now become a reality
The Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for the restoration of freedoms and civil liberties eroded under Labour and the rolling back of the surveillance state. A huge number of Lib Dem policies will now happen, including:
• The abolition of Identity Cards, the National Identity register, the next generation of biometric passports and the ContactPoint Database
• The repeal of unnecessary laws
• Further regulation of CCTV
• The outlawing of finger-printing of children at school without permission
• Extending the Freedom of Information Act
• Ending child detention for immigration purposes
There are also a host of other Lib Dem policies that will now happen under the Coalition Government. These include:
• Fair compensation for Equitable Life victims
• The modernisation of the Royal Mail
• Flexible working and promotion of equal pay
• Reform of the NHS to strengthen the voices of patients and the role of doctors
• A commission on long-term reform of social care
• Cutting Quangos and government bureaucracy
• Implementing the recommendations of the Calman Commission
• A referendum on further powers for the Welsh Assembly
I agree that the coalition could well be an effective means of government and the programme seems promising. Hopefully things will hold together…….
I am disappointed that there is nothing specific on equality and diversity in what is probably a centrally produced listing; specifically dealing with the victims of the gender recognition act!
Repealing of unnecessary laws is noted and perhaps amending those which have not had the intended effect should also be included?
You choose not to mention:
* Scrapping school building plans for 700 schools
* Deconstruction of local education authorities and provision of support to most needy schools through wild rush to set up opt out academies
* Backdoor privatisation of health service via GP commissioning
* Retrospective changes to public sector redundancy terms
* Potential devastation of many communities and regions with high dependency on public sector employment
* Increased risk of double dip recession through obsession with running national economy like a household budget
* Ideological obsession with destroying public sector posing as urgent necessity because of financial legacy
We may yet come to realise that this ConDemNation is the natural successor to the Thatcher years and that the Big Society means “no such thing as society”
Do you really have no regrets or reservations after your first 10 weeks in government?
It must have taken quite some time for you to compile this list and who can blame you for trying to put a positive spin on things. I hope you are successful in gettimg implemented some of the things, especially environmental, that you say WILL get done. But what about the things that have BEEN DONE ALREADY; you only need to read yoor own blog to hear the concerns of many and you seem still reluctant to provide any explanations.
By the way, no mention of Trident in your list and what the LibDem position on this will be. Was Clegg wrong when he estimated (pre-elections) that it would cost about £100 billion ?
@Steven Like many of labour’s plans the school building was highly inefficient the cost already in the hundreds of millions before bricks or proper plans had been made.
Areas which depend highly on the Gov. needs to be cut back and find other industry. Private sector cannot support a public sector of equal size or more.
Socially hated Thatcher did a good job on the economy, she cut down a lot of the waste. Decided not to support industries in this country which couldn’t survive on their own. Before Thatcher came in Britian had to get help from the IMF which had more severe tax rises and was dictated to us.
This is the Cycle of the country one party dominance, Labour come in spend spend spend go bankrupt, tories come in cut the waste, create capacity to grow again. Country gets money again we decide Tories prudent finances are harsh vote labour and spend spend spend. I just hope a Coalition will stop this very vicious cycle for the country
Er, all Lib Dem MPs signed a pledge to campaign against any rise in university fees. Do you really think the public will swallow a rebranding of debt exercise that makes students pay more through a graduate tax system (proposed by Vince last week)? If the cost of a degree goes up and you pay for it through the tax system after you graduate then the only change will be that you pay more back.
That would be quite incredible and destroy any (if any remains) idea that some Lib Dems have any principles at all.
Scrapping the Building Schools for the Future program is an excellent idea. We didn’t have the money to pay for it – they would have been funded through Labour’s dodgy “Private Finance Initiatives” which means that us taxpayers would still be footing the bill for these buildings long after they’d fallen down!
BSF was basically an undeliverable promise, made by a Labour party who knew they were going to lose the election, just so a responsible Coalition government would have to cancel it and look bad. Labour’s cynical dishonesty has clearly worked on Steven.
Alternative vote – you lost the support of the labour mps who want electoral reform because you are agreeing to the Tory boundary changes which will massively advantage the Tories. The Tories will vote against AV anyway as will Labour because of LibDem compliance with the unjust boundary changes. Opportunity wasted.
fixed term 5 year parliament – undemocratic – was that actually in your manisfesto?
Pupil Premium – you would have more support here if you had demanded Gove fastrack or ‘ram’ this piece of legislation through parliament rather than the Academies Bill and his crackpot ‘Free’ schools nonsense. The pupil premium will be worthless if the state education system is dismantled before it can have any effect. Also regarding BSF anyone who thinks that providing classrooms that are fit for purpose is a ‘waste of money’ is effectively saying that education is a waste of money, or should I say educating the poor is a waste of money, what a marvellously progressive outlook.
Tax – one slow step at a time eh? Not such small steps on reducing housing benefit, invalidity benefit, forcing single mothers to take work which will certainly be low paid and not fit in with school hours. Under the coalition only the wealthy mothers will have to stress about the old ‘stay at home/go to work – which is best for my child?’ dilemma. Poorer children can go fend for themselves.
A radical devolution of power to Local Government? – except for Education of course where LA’s are about to lose all power and funding. Although as you point out on a different post – they will have the power to decide which services to cut when they are forced to do so by you. What a lovely gift of empowerment that is.
NHS – All together now, “no more pointless top down reorganisations of the NHS” Nick will that speech ever come back to haunt you?
Speaking of Nick – what is her up to these days? Still sifting through those e mails from the public asking him to repeal certain laws so they have the right to marry their horse. Wow Dave really trusts you with to heavy stuff eh?
I don’t have time to go on, but I will say that I think this is a timely blog from Lynne featherstone, as I was really confused by all her previous posts that really were flying in the face of what the LibDems had campaigned on during the election. I think a lot of the anger comes from a misguided belief that the LibDems were going to be some sort of ‘voice of reason’ who would stop a Right Wing Conservative administration running riot.
This post explains a lot. I now believe that she really does believe in what the Goverment is doing. Lynne I no longer think you are a hypocrite. You’re worse than that – you’re a Tory. Well now we know.
I don’t think the list took Lynne any time to compile. It’s a LibDem central office construct with some embellishments by Lynne.
What we have here is a calculated attempt to play up the role of the LibDems by way of “positive” spin in the light of the latest absolutely disastrous opinion polls that point to very serious meltdown in any core LibDem vote.
As for Lynne herself some of the quite loopy posts- low level stress etc- that she has put up lately show the level of her confusion about real life that, as others have pointed out, is hardly surprising given her background. This is not likely to diminish now she shares table time with others who come from the same background.
What is really difficult to accept is how she manages to enjoin the hard right quasi-Thatcherite views of the people she now works with together with a naive hippyish and almost anti-capitalist view of how she would like things to be and ends up sounding alarmingly like a first year student of politics 101.
I have been scratching my head since I first came across what she has to say. She wants people to be nice to each other but is buying into the right wing myth and agenda that public services have failed (see Phillip Blond et al).
Many of us see the provision and maintenance of public service as exactly a way of being nice to each other. I don’t need much assistance (well not yet anyway) but I recognise that others do and I am proud to pay taxes to enable those people to get assistance that is provided hopefully by well qualified professionals. I don’t see it as charity or something that very well meaning volunteers should do. For me that is the definition of a big society where people recognise there are those who need a leg up and that where it’s provided properly it is most likely to provide a stepping stone to better things for them.
It’s not about a dependency culture, it is about a welfare state that we buy into as part of our social compact and YES it does require that people who are able to do so use that as a way of making productive contributions where they are able to do so.
So we come on to one of the central issues Lynne refuses to engage with.
Banks and people who make vast sums by pushing bits of electronic paper around. And how they are the cause of the very lack of values Lynne piously brings up on a regular basis to chastise us normal folks about. And how that has failed and put us in the dire position we now face of being punished because they failed.
The friends of the private companies she and Clegg anticipate coming in and profiting from the demise of local government services and from the destabilisation of the NHS. Salivating with greed at the prospect of rich pickings freely handed over to them as an ideological present by the children of Thatcher. Services provided with a view only to profit, that drive down wages, reduce employment rights (unnecessary laws strike a chord here anyone?) that don’t believe in the equalities agenda Lynne used to follow (bit quiet on that of late).
So keep adopting central lists of achievements Lynne. But if you need to persuade the other party that isn’t in your coalition that they should join with you after the Tories dump you why should they say anything other than that’s fine but we want all the people who were central to this collaboration to go as part of any deal?
And that’s you.
Collaboration – that’s exactly the right word. I agree with every sentiment that Adam has expressed.
Lynne – A fair start for children? By putting their parents out of work, disrupting their schooling, withdrawing their amenities and threatening their healthcare. there is no evidence that you – or your party – care for anyone but yourselves. This explains why you are so out of kilter with most other people who do care about society and aren’t looking for the fist opportunity to turn their backs on anyone in need – let alone offering help to those who are doing OK to enhance their life experience. Your Government is the death of aspiration.
I hear that you had a LibDem meeting the other day in central London and were all told to not reply to texts from journalists but to smile, smile, smile as you trooped through the door and to ‘look happy.’ What a charade.
I’m not even going to bother addressing Lynne’s numerous claims, they’re disingenuous at best.
Should I actually live long enough I will be voting ‘No’ if given the opportunity. I’m going to use it as a referundum on Nick Clegg and the LibDems if for nothing else.
I was a LibDem supporter, always had been and I’m not prepared to do a New Labour and let those in charge swap my principles for a taste of power.
It looks as if most of the comments on this post are taking a pretty different view to the one you have Lynne.
If you are really committed to engaging with your constituents, then at the very least you need to start a dialogue with us via the blog, your Facebook page or Twitter or are all of these social media channels just a one way form of communication?
I have a strong suggestion. List both the actual successes (LibDem manifesto accomplishments) and the things you’re disppointed in but had to agree to for the coalition to work.
It comes across a lot more honest
I’ve just heard David Steel on PM. He said:
‘Nick Clegg’s performance at PMQs has put everybody in good heart’ and ‘People come up to me in the street and on the tube and say how happy they are with the Coalition.’
On what planet??
Helen it must be true because a whole 15% of the population want to vote for the LibDems.
No please not Minister for paper clips. Lovin’ the new politics has pointed out she seems to have spent £22,000 on stationery. I think that’s posh for paper clips.
Latest YouGov poll puts support for Lib Dem on 13%. Say no more.
Just today LibDem voice published this http://www.libdemvoice.org/?p=20386 which at least shows everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet
Lynne has a degree of control and influence over the equality agenda and probably has limited input to the coalition agenda overall.
Let her be judged on what she actually achieves for the down-trodden sectors in her area of responsibility. To do this she must get her equality teams to do things differently (assess their performance on how well they solve problems rather than by commissioning yet more research – the problems are well known).
Let us see if she embraces such sectors by adopting ‘Big Society’ principles to work together to generate and implement solutions for pressing problems. This will only work if there is shared ownership of issues.
See if she is prepared to fight to get a trans commissioner at EHRC (what outcry would there be if there was no black commissioner?).
Lynne, could you please clarify the following:
– Nick Clegg failed to answer the key question on Sheffield Forgematers. Is this an exaample of the LibDems helping their constituents?
– He was openly ageist to Jack Straw and told him to go away and practice as a response. As Equalities Minister, do you feel that ageism is accepable?
– He mistook a Plaid Cymru MP, Elfyn Llwyd, for a Labour MP. He was critical of Clegg so Clegg assumed that only Labour criticise him. Is this your view, that people who criticise you must be Labour supporters? It would explain a great deal in relation to this blog.
– Then there was Iraq. Nick Clegg effectively told all the servicepeople who had to do the dirty work that they were fighting an illegal war making them war criminals. Is this your view? Do you believe that all the service personnel who served in Iraq are simply war criminals?
I think it may be a little too early to begin congratulating yourselves yet, lots of people are really upset by what is happening due to budget cuts and redundancies you need to be really careful not to upset people by being what could be seen as being smug.
I write without prejudice and solely in the interest of honesty, integrity and fairness.
It has been brought to my attention that once again one of your right honourable colleagues has been confused when completing his parliamentary claims form for out of pocket expenses, and, in line with current coalition fiscal reforms may I suggest that you consider the appropriateness of a decentralised and independent ministerial assessment . This proposal would, I feel, incentivise and reward ministers for their fullest concentration before completion,submission and closure of the entitlement process, as well as providing clarity in these most austere of times. I am sure that you and your parliamentary colleagues would welcome this opportunity to align themselves with the general principles that are being experienced by the terminally ill and disabled populace of our great country.
The framework for these proposed assessments is currently in existence, so there is financial disincentive, and no barrier to implementation. Compliance would of course be mandatory, as I’m sure that you would not want to exclude yourself from the excitement process currently being experienced by millions.
The process would closely mirror the personal capability assessment, so much prized and trusted by ministers in another area of similar confusion. Please forgive my naivety if you have already arranged to self- implement these measures without prompt from myself.
Just in case you are not familiar with the general principles I will lay them out below.
1. Under threat of sanctions you will be forced to table all your ministerial financial activities on a pro-forma questionnaire.
2. You will be “invited” to attend an interview at a location that is not greater than 90 minutes travel time by public transport. PLEASE NOTE: You may find the staff hostile, unhelpful and you could be kept waiting for interview for 2 hours. This a merely to ensure that your enjoyment of the experienced is enhanced. You will be automatically suspected of being a scrounger and monitored closely by a cctv system for signs of furtive and/or suspicious behaviour.
3. You could be asked to leave the building if you are a wheelchair user OR, if you are in chronic pain, forced to climb stairs to your interview location. To assist you, non-compliance will result in withdrawal of your entitlements.
4. The interviewer will not necessarily speak fluent English, will know little or nothing about the subject matter, and will completely disregard the pro-forma that you completed, and any other professional evidence that you provide will be totally ignored.
5. In order to help the decison maker arrive at at the pre-arranged decision any answers that you give will be completely disregarded and these will be replaced by responses that will also help the interviewer realise his/her bonus.
Please let me have your comments,
Yes you may well be advancing the 4 objectives, but at what cost. On balance people seem to think it is negative.
Equality and social equality are very important issues the cuts are disproportionately felf by the vulnerable in society.
I was getting very worried indeed about where the coalition was going.
This week I’ve more or less come round to the view that the coalition isn’t Thatcherism Mk II and that in all probability that the cuts will not turn out to be quite as bad as some fear.
Indeed, perhaps the tax/spend policies of the Labour Party would have been very little different from those of the coalition. (An untestable hypothesis, of course.)
*BUT* the only reason I say this is that earlier this week I met up with a Lib Dem councillor that I used to work with, who I absolutely trust, who told me some very interesting things.
Most people are not in that position and will never hear anything positive about what’s happening behind the scenes from someone they trust enough to know they aren’t lying through their teeth.
In particular, the disabled and mentally ill are – some of them quite literally – being WORRIED SICK about proposed changes to DLA.
Many, many people are terrified that they will become homeless due to the housing benefit changes.
Many are worried that decisions about who is made redundant from the civil service and from local councils will not be rational and that they will end up with unexpectedly meagre redundancy payments to tide them over in a harsh jobs market after serving the country, some of them for decades.
It’s no use ministers making statements about “fairness”. That word has been used so often now it’s almost meaningless.
(Indeed, I’d argue strongly that it’s an insult to everyone’s intelligence to use the term “fair pensions” for a policy that amounts to “Private sector pensions have been trashed so we’re going to trash public sector pensions as well. Two wrongs make a right.”)
The words “fair” and “fairness” should simply be banished from coalition statements.
The coalition needs to make clear statements that genuinely disabled & mentally ill people will be assessed in a rational and decent way, so that those who are being damaged by the uncertainty can have some reassurance.
It may sound quite absurd or hysterical, but I am sure that where some of the mentally ill are concerned, the current fear level is such that it’s making their condition considerably worse. I really hope no-one despairs so much that they take their own lives before finding out whether there is cause to be so fearful or not.
And yet, it would be so easy for the coalition to put a lot more effort into reassuring people in much more meaningful ways that it is not the nasty, “more evil than Thatcher” conspiracy so easily painted by the Labour Party and others at present.
You really *DO* need to make far more meaningful statements about how policies on DLA and the like will not just be arbitrary and cruel.
Not to do so – and forcefully – would, to my mind, be quite immoral given the fear level amongst some of the vulnerable now.
The coalition desperately needs to address this problem – and fast.
Please try to get it through to the people that count that such reassurance needs to happen (or at least, start) BEFORE the summer recess.
In other words, get it through to the people that count that a spin needs to be put on proceedings asap.
Just because people can see right through the coalition, and criticise appropriately, doesn’t mean we’re ‘labour supporters’.
In many cases- far from it; the resentment builds from being fed a lie from what was previously thought to have been an honest MP- who is now hugely exposed.
The difference is- most of us saw it for what it was from the get-go, whilst others (i.e. LibDem MP’s with power in their nostrils) keep lying- and try any which way (see today’s blog where a paraphrase is used) to dampen down the bad news that’s on the way, with the worst hand wringing imagineable.
Here’s an exercise for you ‘T Gray’; compare this coalition’s social and economic agenda to that of Thatcher’s c.1983.
Now ask yourself- is it not Thatcherism mark2?
Can I also remind you that the LibDems are now at 13%. Compare that to were they were in May.
You need more than a spin to remedy that, more like LSD.
To quote Mark Thomas the wireless this evening ‘You’ve compromised with people you despised and you’ve only yourselves to blame.’
There was, of course, a huge “if”, implicit in what I said.
“This week I’ve more or less come round to the view that the coalition isn’t Thatcherism Mk II and that in all probability that the cuts will not turn out to be quite as bad as some fear.” is hardly a ringing endorsement of coalition policy.
Time will tell, clearly.
But *IF* my suspicions are right and the Cameron/Osborne/Clegg/Cable cabal at the heart of this really aren’t Thatcherism Mark II or worse (and disquiet on the nasty Tory backbenches is rather telling about that) then my point was that they desperately need to find some way of getting reassurance out there to the incredibly fearful, vulnerable people who are already suffering needlessly.
Not to do so would be either monumentally incompetent and/or immoral.
I think it says a great deal about the appalling state of politics in this country that a Prime Minsiter & Chancellor can’t actually make clear what they’re up to for the benefit of the vulnerable, just because right wingers like David Davis are already on the point of mutiny.
It may not be the Lib Dems walking out that ends this coalition. It may be a coup within the Tory party, unable to tolerate the “Liberal Conservative” brand.
(And, as an aside, it’ll be very interesting to see what Cameron, Osborne et al do then.)
As things stand, Labour will not have renewed themselves enough to be an acceptable option and the Tories are likely to win any general election that would follow a no confidence vote.
(Although possibly not with an overall majority, which just brings the Lib Dems right back to square one. I can’t see the Lib Dems – if there are any! – supporting a right wing led Tory party, but I also can’t see much enthusiam for a coalition with Labour given the vitriol they’ve poured on the Lib Dems for the last 10 weeks. And all this in a still unstable world economic environment. Anyone who thinks that scenario does anyone any good needs their head examining.)
Either way, I find it hard to believe that a right-wing led Tory party would be an improvement on the coalition in the current economic climate.
All very unfortunate, but the voters voted the way they did, and in the middle of a eurozone meltdown.
The Lib Dems took the decision they did for the good of economic stability and we are where we are. The wider economic environment has not yet improved enough to make backing out now a sensible option in the national interest.
There is a limit to what 5/57 can achieve against 23/305.
Clearly there is a real issue about how the Lib Dems can break through the problem of collective cabinet responsibility that makes it *appear* that they are just rolling over, silently, in the face of no matter what stupidity from the Tories.
If they don’t find a way to do so then clearly it’s quite likely they’re doomed.
And, quite frankly, as professional politicians they ought to be able to find some way round that conundrum.
Maybe the summer break will give them pause to think about that.
And if they don’t, then maybe they do indeed deserve everything that you suggest is coming to them.
We’ll see… :-
The Coalition is attacking the poorest and weakest in society.That’s the Law of the jungle.Hit the easy targets like a lame Deer.The ones least likely to fight back.
They say rightly that Labour implemented ESA that is kicking sick people onto jobseekers.But what Moral high ground does it give the coalition to carry on with it.To keep on the inept ATOS in assessing the sick when they clearly are not fit for purpose.
The new rules for housing benefit that will make many homeless.A elderly person that lives some were they lived all their lives suddenly has to move because the place she/he lives is deemed to large.So the elderly person has to leave their friends behind and the support she/he had from them for pastures new.That is the coalitions fairness.
The attack on DLA recipients.Even though the governments own statistics puts the level of fraud very low,most disabled people are being branded scroungers by the coalition and their friends in the press.
This Government is Thatcherism MK 2.I lived through Maggie’s attack on the poor and vulnerable.This is were the theme of the broken society started it.Her household monetary policies made parts of the UK look like a third world country.Some places still look that way in Liverpool and other parts of the country.Well this lot is trying to finish us of for good.They have created so much fear in only ten weeks that I dread to think what they can achieve in five years.
The chickens will come home to roost one day.Then those whom seek to oppress could find themselves in a similar situation/
It’s awfully quiet Lynne.
Why do you not accept that there is no coalition and that you are merely there in order to facilitate policy rather than exert any influence?
Let’s put it simply – There’s this big juggernaut and David’s at the wheel. In order to provide motion it has to be pushed, so there you are at the back pushing for all you’re worth. That’s facilitating.
Now, David (being the driver) controls where this juggernaut is going, and you, being at the back merely push it to it’s eventual destination but fail to exert any control. That’s influence.
Do you get it yet?
I am a staunch supporter of the party and am one of those who defended the coalition vigorously. However, I feel hugely disappointed and let down today. I am a civil servant and have discovered today that a decision has been taken to axe the civil service playscheme. The civil service playscheme is run for the children of civil servants. There hasn’t been any consultation or prior warning. The playscheme has run during every school holiday and allows women with children like me to carry on working without having to worry about childcare. However, the scheme will terminate at the end of this summer holiday. I can’t believe that the coalition govt with our LibDem family friendly policies has been a part of this. The decision reduces the work/life balance of women like me but, more importantly, sends a wrong message to the rest of the country. Forget my hardship for a moment and consider the wider picture. If the Govt can’t be bothered to run a playscheme then who needs to try? Government has always set an example to the rest of the workforce in terms of setting a workplace agenda. Flexible working, work life balance and the concept of working from home were put into practice by the Government in the civil service before others followed suit. The Diversity Agenda is crucial to the inclusion of women in the workplace. Why bother worrying about including more women in Parliament when we are making life harder for them at grassroots level? To make matters worse the decision to axe the scheme was taken by the Department for Business of which Vince is in charge. This has always been the department that set the agenda for workplace practices.
What do you think of the legal challenge against the governments emergency on the grounds of discrimination against Women Lynne.Do you support the Fawcett Society’s Legal Action.Read more here.