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Live webchat with Nick Clegg, Wed 6 Jan, 1.30-2.30pm

(257 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 04-Jan-10 11:26:28

Kicking off our live webchats for 2010, we're pleased to welcome Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg.

Nick will be live from 1.30 and is hoping to be online for an hour or so.

Nick is MP for Sheffield Hallam, has been Liberal Democrat leader since Dec 2007 and is married with three young children, aged 7, 5 and nine months.

neenz Wed 06-Jan-10 21:06:48

Great webchat, although everything he said I have heard before in radio/TV interviews (stuff which already convinced me to vote Lib Dem).

Not sure he was really saying they would support mums to stay at home for 18 mths though, was he? Just saying that they want 20hrs free nursery provision for children over 18mths.

I'd rather they did more to make it viable for women to stay at home and look after their own children.

But other than that, what's not to like?

Mansion tax smile
£10,000 tax threshold smile
No trident smile
Closing tax loopholes for the very rich smile
No tuition fees smile
Interchangable mat/pat leave smile
Making polluters pay smile

Concordia Thu 07-Jan-10 01:27:53

grin
i was intending to vote lib dem (sometimes dabble with the greens though) and have not been disappointed.
Will do so although it's a straight blue/ red fight where i live sad
Vince Cable is the man though, a politician with brains?? whatever next.

abdnhikinginawinterwonderland Thu 07-Jan-10 07:42:34

neenz the staying home until 18 months is on the party website. If only they would show some support, even if not financial, for SAHMs. But I get the feeling the fact that we are the only people who wont benefit from the LibDem policy is being ignored in the hopes that we don't realize it. I think I'll email my MP (LibDem) and ask what would happen to my family - would my DH end up £700 better off or would we end up worse off because of progressive taxation changes? And I'm in a swing LibDem/Cons riding...

neenz Thu 07-Jan-10 08:42:14

Thanks abdn, I didn't know that. It's a tough one because with your DH on that tax credit threshold you are supposedly well off, when as you know with a family to support it doesn't make you well off at all. So will the £10k tax threshold make everyone £700 better off, or just those on lower incomes?

If they are going to provide 20hrs free nursery then why not also offer a benefit to SAHMs which would equal the Tory plans to switch your tax allowance to your husband. That way you don't have to be married to receive it - you would receive it on the basis of looking after children.

lindsaygii Thu 07-Jan-10 21:39:00

Wow. He actually answered questions with facts and policies! Much better than some of the evasions we had from DM, for example.

Unfortunately, I already vote Lib Dem, so I can't switch my vote... but I really, really hope Nick Clegg manages to get across how much more humane the LDs are than the two big parties.

treedelivery Fri 08-Jan-10 16:53:54

That was very impressive.

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 18-Jan-10 12:33:34

Nick Clegg has come back with some extra answers to questions he didn't get round to during the chat, so we're posting on his behalf.

PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION

Grandmabet: If you do find you hold the balance of power after the election, will you use it this time to instigate changes such as PR - it is the only way it will ever be introduced but you would have to be firm - are you?

SleeperServce: Would the lack of electoral reform be a 'deal breaker' for the Lib Dems in any potential coalition?

Swedington: Isn't it high time the libdems acknowledged their prospect of power lies in holding the balance of power. I think it's terribly cynical to take the electorate for mugs. Who are you arranging to jump into bed with should the situation arise? True blue Dave or red Gordon?

NickClegg: Dear Swedington and others. The simple answer is this: I don't get to decide who forms the next government. The voters do. Whatever the outcome of the election, and there's no way to predict it, my party will focus on getting our policies delivered, in whatever way we can. A fairer voting system is one of the key changes I want to see, but it's not enough in and of itself to build the fair society I want. There are four big changes that are my top priorities: fair taxes (I talked a lot about this one in the web chat), a fair start for all children (investing an extra £2.5bn in our schools to cut class sizes and ensure children get the individual attention they need), a fair, balanced economy (breaking up the banks and investing in green infrastructure) and a new kind of political system (PR's one of the changes, but I also think people should have the right to sack corrupt MPs, and that we need to clean up party funding too). The more people who vote for us, the more power we'll have to make those policies happen.

MANSION TAX

Lisadoolittle: I am a part-time student, but I go home to vote, in Chris Huhne's constituency. He owns seven houses, none of which is individually worth more than £2m but the total of which is greater than £2m. Why won't he be paying mansion tax? Why have you structured the mansion tax this way? If you want to tax assets, why not tax the total assets instead of individual ones? And what was wrong with a local income tax? Taxing assets instead of income is fundamentally unfair and encourages consumption instead of saving.

BrahmsThirdRacket: Dear Nick, do you really think that introducing mansion tax will make up for the shortfall from reducing/eliminating tax for the poorest. Also, don't you worry that if you tax the rich too much they will simply move elsewhere, removing their money from our economy? I like what you say in principle, but my main problem with the LibDems is that most of your policies seem to fall into the 'that's a nice idea' camp, but seem fairly naive.

Bramshott: This Mansion Tax is very headline grabbing, but how can any tax which doesn't tax income be fair? What about a pensioner living out her days in a large house, okay she might not need it, but it's her home. Surely the tax should only be on houses when they're sold?

Lisadoolittle: Any chance of an answer on why tax assets instead of income? And if you tax assets, why tax single assets instead of total assets? It really hasn't been thought through, has it? Nice soundbite, no substance. Typical politician. The Lib Dems were meant to be different. Guess I will have to vote Green.

NickClegg: Dear Lisadoolittle, Bramshott and others. I know there's been a lot of argument about the 'mansion tax' and we've planned for some of the concerns people have – over-65s could roll over their tax bill each year, for instance, and have the bill paid out of their estate.

The reason it's worth doing, I think, is that property is an important form of wealth in Britain – and it's also very concentrated, especially when it comes to properties of this value. The money we'd make from the mansion tax would go towards giving money back to people on low and middle incomes – one of several changes we'd make so that we can do this, but still an important one.

Lisadoolittle makes a very good point – I hope I can alleviate your concerns. The reason is that there are two anomalies in the system that mean single mansions are taxed far less than the equivalent value held in several properties.

First: everyone pays Council Tax on houses, but the rates are the same for a £750,000 house as they are for a £20m mansion. Someone who owns lots of houses has a big liability for Council Tax (or if the tenant pays, that's reflected in lower rent), while someone who only owns one big house doesn't. Second: your first home is exempt from Capital Gains Tax. So if you have a single mansion and you sell it, you don't have to pay a penny of tax on the profits. On the other hand, if you have several buy-to-let homes, you have to pay a big chunk of any profit to the tax man.
Our mansion tax doesn't directly correct these anomalies, of course, but it does go some way to correcting, on balance, where the burden of tax falls without the huge complexity of a “wealth tax”.

TAXES/CUTTING PUBLIC SERVICES

Cleanandclothed: Dear Nick, I think everyone is agreed that no matter what additional taxes are raised, spending has to be cut as well to reduce the deficit. In what area will you cut spending the most?

NickClegg: Dear Cleanandclothed, you're completely right - significant cuts are necessary, and simply talking about 'waste and efficiency' savings isn't enough. That is why we have said we will scrap the like-for-like replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system (which will cost £100bn or so) and the Child Trust Fund (why borrow money and lock it up for 18 years when the children who get it will have to pay all the money, plus interest, in higher taxes?)

We've also said we will impose a £400 limit on all public sector pay rises, reform public sector pensions and stop paying means-tested tax credits to above average earners. We will remove great swathes of public administration, such as the central bureaucracy that monitors local government.

We must be willing to look at all areas of public spending and not ring-fence any departments from potential savings. Only by making substantial cuts will it be possible to reduce the deficit, let alone reallocate some of the money to funding our few, limited, proposals for additional spending (like investment in schools and creating new green jobs).

TORIES/FAR-RIGHT GROUPS IN EUROPE

Champagnesupernova: What do you think of the Tories' alliances with some fairly dodgy right-wing types in Europe? And doesn't it put you off sharing power with them?

NickClegg: Dear Champagnesupernova. I think the Tories have made a really serious mistake, and it's not just because their new 'group' has rather a lot of unsavoury people in it. In Europe, you get things done – and deliver for people back home in Britain – by negotiating and keeping a seat at the top table. Their new group in the European Parliament won't carry anything like as much weight as the main groups – and that's bad for British influence. In a global age, we can only keep Britain safe from international crime, work to tackle climate change, and build a strong economy if we work with our allies, especially in Europe. Turning our backs on the EU would, to put it simply, make us less safe, and less prosperous.

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