Lib-Lab coalition? Report highlights key common ground

Ed Miliband

A report conducted by the Fabian Society and Centre Forum has found significant policy areas that the parties could work together on.

May 2015 will likely produce a hung parliament, and even if the Lib Dems suffer in the election they still may be the best chance Labour has if Ed Miliband's party fall short of an overall majority.

The report found common ground between the two parties, as well as some areas the parties could compromise on.

Economics and taxation

The report suggests that the parties would work together on 'fiscal rules which permit the government to borrow for investment'.

Furthermore, it indicates that this post election centre left coalition would agree on taking away the Winter Fuel Payment from the richest pensioners and increase the National Minimum Wage.

As well as this, the report highlights that some form of mansion tax would likely be implemented with the two parties in power.

Electoral and constitutional reform

The report also says that the parties would agree on lowering the voting age to sixteen. Lowering the voting age has been Lib Dem policy for some time now. Additionally, with the SNP also in favour of the change a Lib-Lab coalition would have little problem getting this passed.

As well as this, the two parties could work together on Lords reform 'based on PR' - which failed in this parliament' and extending devolution in England.

Immigration and the EU

Both parties favour EU membership so an in/out referendum would be unlikely under such a coalition, unless they relied on UKIP for support. However, the report suggests that the parties have common ground and would restrict some benefits for EU migrants and favour student migrants.

Areas of significant disagreement

However, despite the great potential for the two parties working together on their common ground there are some areas in which the parties disagree severely. For example, on Trident, an energy price freeze, electoral reform of the House of Commons and social care funding.

Lab-Lib coalition?

If the numbers add up then the parties have a lot they can work together on. Additionally, no doubt in the areas where they disagree, compromise and 'this for that' will take place when a coalition agreement is made. But despite room for working together, two questions remain:

1) Will Labour want a full-on coalition or will it prefer a confidence and supply arrangement if they win the most seats?

2) After five years of coalition and likely significant losses in May, will the Liberal Democrats want to enter into another formal deal - with a different party - so soon?

Come May we will find out.

The full report can be downloaded here:

http://www.centreforum.org/index.php/14-news/releases/712-common-ground-release