Speaking at the Institute for Government in London today, Mr Clegg said that decisions such as those to balance the public finances may be painful in the short term but were necessary to create a more sustainable economy in the future.
His speech was one of two which will set out the Government’s guiding purposes. Prime Minister David Cameron is set to make the other speech, on redistributing power from central government to local communities and people, at a future date.
Mr Clegg said that society as a whole and politicians in particular were guilty of “short-termism”.
He said the Government was already trying to change this culture through measures such as five-year economic plans and the Parlimentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill. The Comprehensive Spending Review in October will also be a long term plan, Mr Clegg added.
The Deputy PM said:
I am under no illusions about the significant political risks both parties in the Coalition are now taking by now facing up to these difficult decisions in government. But I also think people will see, even through these tough times, that the Coalition Government is acting in the interests of a better future…
Denying the need to sort out the public finances would lead to bigger problems in the longer term, and would be a betrayal of the prospects and prosperity of future generations. We have had a budget for the future; our Spending Review is aimed squarely at the future too.
It falls to our political generation to take the necessary steps now for a better, fairer future. Reform and change today is necessary if we want mobility and prosperity tomorrow. That’s the horizon shift we need. That’s what the Coalition Government is about.
Full speech: Governing for the long term