Scotland politics

Scottish Lib Dem conference: Danny Alexander voices election optimism

Danny Alexander delivered a speech to the Scottish Liberal Democrat Party's spring conference
Image caption Danny Alexander delivered a speech to the Scottish Liberal Democrat Party's spring conference

Liberal Democrat Coalition minister Danny Alexander said he was optimistic about May's general election despite the fight that lay ahead.

He was addressing his Scottish party's spring conference in Aberdeen.

Recent polls have suggested that the Liberal Democrats could lose most of their Scottish Westminster seats.

However, Mr Alexander said he was not daunted by the election because he knew "who we are fighting for, and what we are fighting for".

He told the gathering: "Our vision is optimistic. It's positive. It's full of hope. Now you might be reeling in shock that I am talking about optimism. But I am.

"And here's why - these last five hard years of repairing the economy, of having to take difficult decisions, of having to fight through the tough times, have put us in a place that is the envy of so many other countries.

"We are now within touching distance of being able to finish the job of balancing the books."

On Wednesday, Mr Alexander sat alongside Tory Chancellor George Osborne who delivered his final Budget before the country goes to the polls.

And on Thursday the chief secretary to the Treasury revealed the Liberal Democrats economic plan, contained in a yellow box.

Mr Alexander said the Budget had been agreed by the two halves of the coalition, but his party would not cut as much from public spending as the Tories, or borrow as much as Labour.

In a speech to the Scottish Liberal Democrat conference, the MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey said: "I want the plans contained in the Yellow Budget Box to shape a fairer, stronger Britain for the next five years.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Danny Alexander presented an alternative budget the day after Chancellor George Osborne's address to parliament

"Tax cuts for working people - an income tax personal allowance of £12,500.

"Balancing the books fairly, not on the backs of the working people on low pay.

"A new tax on high value property.

"A new crackdown on tax dodgers.

"Protecting education - from cradle to college.

"No rises in the taxes that most people pay - VAT, income tax, National Insurance.

"A Liberal Democrat plan, for a stronger economy and a fairer society, that's what we will deliver in the next parliament."

He went on to criticise his coalition partners, the Conservative Party, saying that "they want to balance the books solely on the backs of the most vulnerable in our society".

On Labour, Mr Alexander insisted the party was "still so deep in denial about its role in the greatest financial crash of modern history, that they seem determined to repeat the same mistakes again".

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