Statement from the Social Liberal Forum Executive: These are exceptional times. The nation faces two great crises: a financial crisis and a political crisis. The next government needs to be strong enough and honest enough to deal with the economic mess and our discredited democratic system. The most credible way to tackle this would be the formation of a Government of National Unity. The cornerstones of such a Government must be as follows
Second, we need robust but fair action to deal with the financial crisis. The deficit needs to be tackled. However, rushing to make cuts would be counter-productive and in many cases, socially unjust. Where cuts are made, they should be to unnecessary programmes such as ID cards. If such cuts do not close the deficit on their own, then burden should then fall on those with the broadest shoulders.
Within such a Government the Liberal Democrats should also pursue the excellent four key pledges that were the focus of our manifesto. We should also make clear some lines that we do not wish to cross, given the proud liberal and social democratic traditions of our party.
- First, we
- We will not collaborate in any measures that would increase the gap between rich and poor, such as tax cuts for the wealthy. As outlined in our manifesto, we should not rule out further tax rises on those who can most afford it. Any tax cuts must be targeted at those on the lowest incomes.
- We will not collaborate in any real terms cuts to front-line public services or social spending in the current financial year.
- We will not collaborate in worsening the treatment of asylum seekers, which is already unconscionably inhumane.
- We will not collaborate in any watering down of the Human Rights Act, which is essential to protect law-abiding British citizens.