The Labour leader recently made a speech supposedly announcing his party’s plans for a localism agenda. The speech was interesting because every suggestion made by Mr Milliband is already being put in place by the Lib Dems in Government!
The 11th hour conversion to Lib Dem policy is an unexpected move by Ed Milliband, but it is good to hear he has seen sense.
Here is a breakdown of just a few of Labour’s “new” policies, compared to those the Lib Dems have already implemented:
Labour Opposition: Increase the number of apprenticeships (despite describing half a million apprentices as ‘deadweight’)
Lib Dems in Government: Led by Vince Cable and Gordon Birtwistle, the Coalition has created 1.8 million apprenticeships since 2010.
Labour Opposition: Move towards keeping rates locally.
Lib Dems in Government: We’ve reformed rates to ensure that Local Authorities keep a proportion for the first time in 20 years – meaning they have direct control of 80% of their budgets rather than 50%.
Labour Opposition: 25% of government procurement contracts to go SMEs
Lib Dems in Government: This is already government policy, up from the 6.5% under Gordon Brown.
Labour Opposition: Create new University Technical Colleges (UTCs).
Lib Dems in Government: Since 2010, 45 new UTCs have opened, allowing 27,500 students to train as engineers and scientists.
Labour Opposition: Expand Catapult Centres for manufacturing and cell therapy
Lib Dems in Government: Catapult Centres, brought in by Vince Cable, give scientists, engineers, and businesses a place to work together on late stage research. These are extremely successful and will be expanded with two new centres and £7 million further funding.
So, yet again, Labour are adopting ideas from the Lib Dems just like they have with tax cuts for low earners, voting reform, and decarbonisation.
They’ve even admitted they would have made the same spending cuts if they were in Government after the last General Election!
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery….