Nick Clegg puts recovery on menu

By Jessica Elgot, February 3, 2011
Nick Clegg with Jewish Care chief executive Simon Morris

Nick Clegg with Jewish Care chief executive Simon Morris

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg outlined the problems the coalition government must tackle when he addressed a Jewish Care business breakfast on Tuesday.

Mr Clegg gave an off-the-cuff talk and took questions from some of the 270 guests in the Egyptian Hall of London's Mansion House.

Although focusing largely on economic issues, he also spoke about a range of key issues facing the coalition, such as the lack of mobility in British society and the need to restore trust in politicians after the expenses scandal.

The Lib-Dem leader also touched on voting reform, saying that many MPs won seats with just 30 per cent of the vote and then assumed they had a job for life.

"Coalitions are often criticised for not working," he told the breakfasters. "We find ourselves being criticised for moving too fast and being too radical.

"We are confident that we can create a more prosperous, balanced, mobile and liberal society than the one we found when we came to power."

His audience included Sir Victor Blank, Lord Young, Lord Mayor of London Michael Bear and newly-appointed West London Synagogue rabbi Baroness Neuberger.

As for his hosts, Mr Clegg warmly praised Jewish Care for putting the wishes of the community "front and centre", adding: "It is clear that your work has imbued a spirit of self-reliance, care and compassion in the community."

Jewish Care chairman Stephen Zimmerman thanked Mr Clegg for an interesting and thought-provoking speech.

He said the charity was equipped to meet the challenges of difficult economic times.

"We are continuing to think carefully about how we develop in the future as we must continue to ensure that our services meet the varied needs of our community."

The breakfast raised £50,000 for Jewish Care's work.

Last updated: 2:42pm, February 3 2011