South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Denise Bradley

Coalition renews its vows

Monday, January 7, 2013
6.30 AM

The coalition is expected to chart its progress so far and its desired course over the next two years in a long-awaited ‘mid term review’ today.

The document, once touted by some as a ‘coalition agreement mark two’ was expected in the autumn of 2012, but was delayed as Liberal Democrats and Conservatives determined priorities for the run up to the 2015 general election.

Minister and Lib Dem North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said: “In broad terms, there will be a number of headline important reforms that the coalition will commit to do; but it won’t really be anything like a full coalition agreement mark two.

“Part of the review is saying ‘we entered into this agreement in 2010; what has been achieved up to this point and what is there that still remains outstanding?’

“It will then look at what we really need to focus our efforts on to see that the commitments that we laid out in 2010 are delivered.”

Among measures expected in the document are a pledge to legislate for a new system of elderly care in the UK.

The Dilnot Commission recommended that anyone with assets exceeding £100,000 should meet the first £35,000 cost of their own care, after which the state would pick up the estimated £1.7bn bill.

So far ministers have failed to come to an agreement on whether the recommendations should be implemented or not.

Meanwhile the mid term review may also include a commitment to tackle the high costs of childcare, with more solid proposals to follow soon after.

The document is also expected to set out a string of infrastructure proposals, in particular focusing on highways.

South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss said: “I hope that the review will give out a strong sense of what we have achieved so far in terms of education and welfare reform.

“I also want to see further plans to help the economy, especially improving transport infrastructure.”

The document may also tee-up the prime minister to set out the government’s position on Europe, something he is due to do in a speech later this month.

The UK’s future relationship with the EU has been a key point of contention between eurosceptic Conservatives and pro-EU Lib Dems.