Coalition 'steadfast and united'
Monday, 07 January 2013 11:48
Coalition 'steadfast and united'The coalition government was formed in May 2010

David Cameron and Nick Clegg are to unveil a series of initiatives to mark the halfway point in their government.

Pledges on childcare costs, help towards care costs for the elderly and infrastructure investment are expected to be announced later, as part of the PM and his deputy's mid-term review.

They will insist the coalition is "steadfast and united" and its shared purpose has "grown over time".

Labour have dismissed the review as "another relaunch".

Described by Downing Street as a "stock take", the mid-term review will also look at how successful the government has been in meeting its coalition agreement promises and commits them to further reforms.

The full document was presented to the cabinet for the first time on Monday morning.

"We are dealing with the deficit, rebuilding the economy, reforming welfare and education and supporting hard-working families through tough times. And on all of these key aims, our parties, after 32 months of coalition, remain steadfast and united," Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg write in a joint foreword to the review.

"Of course there have been some issues on which we have not seen eye to eye, and no doubt there will be more. That is the nature of coalition.

"But on the things that matter most - the big structural reforms needed to secure our country's long-term future - our resolve and sense of shared purpose have, if anything, grown over time."

New reforms

The review is expected to pledge to help families with their childcare costs amid speculation working parents with children under five will receive financial support.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

Our mission is clear: to get Britain living within its means and earning its way in the world once again”

End QuoteDavid Cameron and Nick Clegg

It is also expected to pledge to "provide dignity in old age" with an improved state pension and help towards the cost of long term care.

This follows a review by economist Andrew Dilnot, which recommended setting a care bill limit of between £25,000 and £50,000 to stop pensioners being forced to sell their homes to cover costs but the government has looked at a number of options, including a £75,000 limit.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said a cap of £75,000 would mean the coalition had "fallen far short" of finding a fair solution.

Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg's joint foreword states: "We will support working families with their childcare costs. We will build more houses and make the dream of home ownership a reality for more people.

"We will set out plans for long-term investment in Britain's transport infrastructure.

"We will set out two big reforms to provide dignity in old age: an improved state pension that rewards saving, and more help with the costs of long-term care.

"And as we take these steps to reshape the British state for the 21st century, we will take further steps to limit its scope and extend our freedoms. We will be making announcements about each of these policy initiatives in due course.

"Our mission is clear: to get Britain living within its means and earning its way in the world once again."

Lib Dem education minister David Laws admitted there was still "a way to go" to deliver on the coalition's pledge to sort out the public finances.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "There is good progress that has been made so far, for example we have reduced the deficit by 25% from the levels we inherited and there are a million new jobs in the private sector... but obviously there is a long way to go."

Further cuts would be needed, but the coalition would continue to bring about positive reforms, Mr Laws said.

'Full tank'

Mr Cameron and his deputy list welfare reforms, tougher school standards, council tax freezes, protecting the NHS from spending cuts and help with energy bills, fuel duty cuts and increases in the personal income tax allowance among the government's achievements.

David Cameron outlines mid-term coalition plans

They add: "Two-and-a-half years ago, our parties came together in the national interest and formed a coalition at a time of real economic danger.

"The deficit was spiralling out of control, confidence was plummeting, and the world was looking to Britain with growing anxiety about our ability to service our debts.

"This government's most urgent job was to restore stability in our public finances and confidence in the British economy. In just two years we have cut the deficit by a quarter and have set out a credible path towards our goal to balance the current budget over the economic cycle."

The review comes after Mr Cameron said the coalition had a "full tank of gas" and a "packed agenda". He also indicated he wanted to remain as prime minister until 2020.

"I want to fight the next election as the leader of the Conservative Party, I want to win a Conservative majority and I want to serve," he told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show.

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