The coalition has made Britain a worse place because of their savage cuts to so many of the frontline services upon which we all depend. They have in a curious kind of way attempted to infect the country. I don’t think they have been particularly successful in this area, that there is only one way out of our particular difficulties.
They’ve also markedly failed to keep faith with the electorate. The coalition said that they would protect the most vulnerable who are first in the firing line. To speak from an entirely gender-biased point of view, of course women are being targeted, because it is women in the main who are going to have to carry the can.
Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn
The government has produced this stuff about growth but every department is cutting. I can’t see the other departments doing the things that they need to do for growth.
I think it’s a very dishonest kind of politics that’s making me very frustrated. They are spinning ‘we’re for growth’, when, actually, all they’re doing is spinning.
Labour MP for Slough
One of the things that is striking about the coalition is a growing incoherence between different parts of the government. There doesn’t seem to me to be a very firm grip at the centre. You get rows, for example, between the local government secretary and the work and pensions secretary about council tax benefit. The government really needs to address the issue of other problems which don’t get resolved. The prime minister needs a firmer grip on what’s going on across the different bits of his government. One year on, are we better off? I think the prospects for Britain are now much more worrying than they were ahead of the general election because of the scale of the cuts that are ahead and the likely impact on the economy as well as on public services.
Labour MP for East Ham
There’s two things I’d say. Most of the people I represent are actually impressed to see two political parties working together in a grown up way. It makes a real positive difference. But to me the most important challenge facing the country is the deficit and we saw in the emergency Budget last June a clear plan to get on top of that and deal with it. If you look at the interest rates we’ve got in this country compared with elsewhere that has made a real difference. It’s tough, it’s difficult, but it’s important and the chancellor’s made a good start. I’m very keen to see that continue in the course of the Parliament.
Conservative MP for Croydon Central
It’s made Britain a better place because the number one priority is to bite down on the deficit. We couldn’t do that with one party running the country and two parties sniping from the sidelines. As it stands, we are getting the job done. Once we’ve sorted out the deficit, which we will over a full five-year term, then the public will deserve and hopefully get a one-party government next time round.
Conservative MP for South Derbyshire
My belief is that Britain is in a vulnerable position because the government is cutting too fast, too deep and is taking a reckless gamble with the economy.
Consumer confidence is tumbling, inflation is rocketing fuelled by the VAT hike. Living standards are inevitably falling and unemployment is rising. These do not seem to me good indicators.
Clearly, a year ago the country was in difficulty.
The actions of the Brown government had put the investment into the economy to help stabilise that precarious situation and throughout the autumn that began to show dividends in growth figures in the right direction and employment figures in the right direction. But what we are now seeing is the impact of coalition policies but we haven’t yet had the impact on the ground. It won’t be until April that people begin to lose their jobs in the public sector and once the public sector pulls back its spending significantly that will have an impact on the private sector. So I have got grave concerns for 2011-12.
Labour MP for Scunthorpe
We have got the country back on the right track. We inherited one of the most challenging fiscal and economic positions the government has ever had to face. And to the government’s credit they have set a very bold plan to get us back on track. That means some difficult decisions. It means some decisions that will not be popular in the short term but they are the right ones. I’m very happy that by the end of this Parliament we will have sorted out the deficit, stimulated economic growth and got the country back on its feet.
Conservative MP for Milton Keynes South
The biggest achievement of the coalition is regime change. Britain was crying out for regime change and the coalition delivered a new stable government. But beyond that, in the first year we put through a bigger proportion of the coalition agreement than anyone could have thought possible when you look at the economic field. In my own area of immigration, things that previous governments would have put off for a rainy day are just getting done. The sheer scale of the ambition of the coalition, you can already see how quickly Britain will become a better place because of what this government brings. And the shared values between the two parties of the coalition are hugely important in that.
Conservative immigration minister
One year on we’re seeing a number of the tensions in the coalition that many of us have suspected were better disguised in the early days. There are very large numbers of Liberal Democrats particularly at a local level in constituencies who are extremely unhappy about the extent to which they are essentially giving cover to a Conservative government.
Economically we are very much worse off. We are in a position where we know the forecasts for growth have been reduced from relatively optimistic figures set out by the coalition in June to the 1.7 per cent growth figure which the chancellor had to concede in his Budget statement.
Labour MP for Greenwich and Woolwich
The coalition is creating sensible, practical politics, which is exactly what our country needs at this most difficult time having inherited a stifling economic mess.
I see considerable determination on both sides to make it work.
I do believe the coalition government is succeeding in lifting Britain out of Labour’s grim legacy.
Conservative MP for Maidstone and the Weald