I've been giving the Liberal Democrats a bit of bashing in my previous two posts for their opposition to the Child Trust Fund (CTF). In the interests of balance, I thought I should add that there have been some signs of Lib Dem rethinking, if not on the CTF, then on the broader idea of 'asset-based welfare'.
Back in March 2008, the Public Policy Unit at Oxford University organised a meeting with CentreForum, the liberal thinktank, to discuss liberalism and the agenda around asset-based welfare (or inclusive assets policy as I would call it). Rajiv Prabhakar and I gave a presentation on why we think this is naturally an agenda that liberals should support. Danny Alexander MP offered a response and a roundtable discussion followed.
As the summary of the discussion (prepared by CentreForum) shows, while the Lib Dems present did not think that they should retreat on their specific opposition to the CTF, they did acknowledge that it would be good to think about what a distinctively Lib Dem form of 'asset-based welfare' might look like. As Danny Alexander put it: 'I am enthusiastic about the possibilities of asset based welfare policies...'
Is it too much to hope, that as the Lib Dems develop their strategy to increase social mobility, they might explore this thought a little further?