Liberal interpretation

Ellie Zolfagharifard

Senior Reporter

Deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, today takes over as the public face of the coalition government for the next two weeks, making him the first Liberal to take the mantle of power since 1922.

He is likely to be buoyed by a report saying that that the coalition has made ’encouraging’ decisions during its first 90 days in power.

The report, from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), says that the government has achieved a number of key markers in reducing the budget deficit, including a review of employer regulations and a freeze on public sector wages. 

However, David Frost, BCC’s director general, believes that more progress needs to be made in areas such as international trade.

‘While the prime minister has led a trade mission to India, we have not yet seen the appointment of a dedicated trade minister, nor a focus strategy for a strong export economy.’

He added: ‘We challenge the government to build on the good progress it has made over its first ninety days, and to look again at areas where it can do more to enable wealth-generating businesses to drive a lasting recovery.’

One area that the government is hoping to make progress in is healthcare. It is reportedly set to announce sometime this week that there will be an end to most mixed-sex hospital wards in England by the end of 2010.

Currently, one in 10 hospital patients are admitted to mixed sex wards. Labour made promises in two manifestos to provide more mixed-sex accommodation but failed to deliver.

Over the last few years engineers and designers have since been brought in to improve dignity in care.  An article looking at how the latest designs in hospital equipment could improve patient privacy in mixed sex wards can be read here.

In the energy sector, local authorities will be able to sell electricity generated by local renewable energy schemes to the National Grid from Wednesday.

Previously they could only put any renewable power they generate to local use, and benefit from the associated feed-in tariff for projects smaller than 5MW. The income generated for local councils could total £100m in England and Wales.

The renewable energy sector has welcomed government plans to allow councils to sell micro-generated electricity to the grid. Click here to read more.