Election 2015

Election 2015: Liberal Democrat manifesto at-a-glance

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg launches their manifesto

The Liberal Democrats have launched their manifesto ahead of the general election. The full document is available onlineon Instagram. Here are the main things you need to know.


Key messages

The key elements of the party's programmes are on the front page of the document. They are: prosperity for all, fair taxes, an opportunity for every child, our environment protected and quality care for all.

At the launch, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said no party would be in a position to govern alone after the election. He said the Lib Dems would stop a future government "from cutting too much or borrowing too much".

"We will add a heart to a Conservative government and we will add a brain to a Labour one," he added.

The party is also promoting its policies on Instagram.


Key policies

Image copyright PA
Image caption Education played a big part in the manifesto

The main policies the party says it will fight for in government include:

  • Increasing the personal tax-free allowance to £12,500
  • An extra £2.5bn for England's education budget
  • Guaranteeing education funding from nursery to 19 and qualified teachers in every class
  • Investing £8bn more in the NHS
  • Equal care for mental and physical health
  • Balancing the structural current budget by 2017-18
  • Protecting nature and fighting climate change with new green laws

The economy

The manifesto says that taking a "responsible approach" to tackling the deficit is "essential". The party pledges:

  • To eradicate the structural deficit by 2017/18
  • Set the UK on a course to reduce debt as a share of national income
  • Create a fair plan to reduce the deficit by ensuring the rich pay "their fair share" and corporations are unable to avoid "tax responsibilities"
  • Creating new fiscal rules to balance the budget, but also allow for productive investment
  • Increase public spending once the budget has been balanced
  • Double spending on innovation in the economy
  • Devolve more economic decision-making to local areas
  • Allow high-skill immigration to support key sectors of the economy

Banking, business and energy

Image copyright PA
Image caption Greenhouse gases would be reduced under the plans

The party pledges to:

  • Grow a competitive banking sector, supporting "alternative finance providers "
  • Set a legally binding decarbonisation target
  • Prioritise small and medium-sized enterprises for any business tax cuts
  • Push for a Land Value Tax to replace business rates
  • Introduce a law to set a legally binding target to bring net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050
  • Introduce rail upgrades across the country
  • Invest in major transport improvements and infrastructure
  • Set an indicative target for 60% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030
  • Establish a Low-carbon Transition Fund using 50% of any tax revenues from shale gas to fund energy efficiency, community energy, low-carbon innovation and renewable heat

Tax, welfare and pensions

promises the party makes include:

  • Raising the Personal Allowance to at least £12,500 by the end of the next Parliament
  • Taking "tough" action against corporate tax evasion and avoidance
  • Removing a number of distortions, loopholes and excess reliefs from the tax system
  • Extending free childcare to all two-year-olds and parents near end of parental leave; providing 15 hours a week of free childcare to the parents of all two-year olds and aiming to increase this to 20 hours. The party says it also wants to introduce 15 hours free childcare for all working parents with children aged between nine months and two years
  • Expanding shared parental leave with a 'use it or lose it' month for fathers
  • Completing the introduction of Universal Credit
  • Retaining the cap on household benefits
  • Introducing a 1% cap on the uprating of working age benefits
  • Withdrawing eligibility for the Winter Fuel Payment and free TV Licence from pensioners who pay tax at the higher rate
  • Requiring companies with more than 250 employees to publish their gender pay gap
  • By 2020, requiring these companies to publish the number of people paid less than the Living Wage
  • Paying a living wage set by an independent review to workers in all central government departments and their agencies from April 2016
  • Consulting on allowing employees on zero-hours contracts to request a fixed contract
  • Forcing energy companies to allow people to switch suppliers in 24 hours
  • Ensuring rail fares do not rise faster than inflation over the Parliament as a whole

Education

The Lib Dems pledge to:

  • Protect early years, school, sixth form and college budgets
  • Ensure the core curriculum is taught in every school and every child taught by qualified teacher
  • End illiteracy and innumeracy by 2025
  • provide rapid support and intervention to help ensure that all schools become good or outstanding
  • Increase the number of Teaching Schools
  • Rule out state-funded profit-making schools
  • Repeal the rule that all new state funded schools must be free schools or academies
  • Extend free school meals to all primary pupils
  • Double the numbers of businesses hiring apprentices
  • Establish a Educational Standards Authority with responsibility for curriculum content and examination standards in schools
  • Set up a review of higher education finance within the next Parliament to consider any necessary reforms
  • Increase the number of apprenticeships

NHS

Image copyright PA
Image caption The pledges would see GPs weekend and evening opening times extended

On health, the party says it will:

  • Increase NHS England's budget by £8 billion per year by 2020, with more funding for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Invest £500m in mental health care and ensure waiting time standards match those in physical health care
  • Improve access to "clinically and cost-effective talking therapies"
  • Introduce a package of support for carers including a £250 Carer's Bonus per year
  • Ensure frontline public service workers are given better training in mental health
  • Repeal any parts of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 which make NHS services vulnerable to forced privatisation
  • Expand evening and weekend opening for GPs and encourage phone and Skype appointments
  • Restrict marketing of junk food to children, including restricting TV advertising before the 9pm watershed
  • Introduce Minimum Unit Pricing for alcohol
  • Pass a Nature Act to increase access to green spaces

Environment and communities

The manifesto includes pledges to:

  • Introduce a legally-binding target for Zero Carbon Britain by 2050
  • Expand accessible green space by creating new National Nature Parks
  • Introduce a statutory waste recycling target of 70% in England
  • Require government to set out a 25-year plan for recovering nature, with annual updates to Parliament
  • Establish low emission zones in towns with a pollution problem
  • Introduce a National Food Strategy, promoting healthy, sustainable and affordable food
  • Implement reforms of the Common Fisheries Policy
  • Prepare a national resilience plan to deal with a rise in global temperature
  • Establish a commission to research back-to-nature flood prevention schemes
  • Set 2040 target for only Ultra-Low Emission vehicles on UK roads for non-freight purposes
  • Implement recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling report, including steps to deliver a £10 per head annual spend on cycling
  • Give local authorities powers to improve transport in local areas
  • Establish fund to help keep local GPs, post offices and libraries open

Housing

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The party wants to establish 10 new garden cities

The party says it will:

  • Establish a goal to build 300,000 homes a year, including in 10 new garden cities
  • Establish new "rent-to-own" homes where monthly payments buy a stake in the property
  • Introduce "Help to Rent" tenancy deposit loans to help young people move into their first property
  • Cut council tax by £100 for 10 years if tenants insulate their home
  • Ban landlords from letting out properties tenants cannot "reasonably afford to heat"

Image caption The Lib Dems want to recruit more black, Asian and minority ethnic police officers

Freedom and opportunity

Pledges include to:

  • Create a Digital Bill of Rights
  • Introduce a second Freedoms Act to protect free speech, stop "heavy-handed policing" and ban Mosquito devices
  • Support a million more women who want to work with better childcare
  • Fight discrimination in the criminal justice system
  • Recruit more black, Asian and minority ethnic police officers

Policing

The party says it will:

  • Scrap police and crime commissioners
  • Introduce specialist drug courts and non-criminal punishments "that help addicts get clean"
  • End FGM at home and abroad in a generation
  • Complete border checks and use information to improve visa rules and deport people with no right to stay

Devolution and democracy

Pledges include:

  • Introducing a £10,000 cap on donations as part of wider funding reform
  • Reducing the voting age to 16
  • Delivering devolution promises to Scotland
  • Devolving more powers to Wales
  • Pursuing a "shared future" in Northern Ireland
  • Devolving more powers in England, letting local areas take control of services they want to control

Foreign policy

Image copyright PA
Image caption The party would end continuous nuclear weapon patrols

The Lib Dems say they will:

  • Ensure 2015 Sustainable Development Goals aim to end poverty, protect the environment and "leave no-one behind"
  • Ensure Britain plays a "constructive part" in the European Union
  • Work towards a binding global agreement on cutting emissions and stronger commitments in the EU to 50% reduction by 2030
  • Ensure armed forces have training and equipment they need
  • End continuous nuclear weapon patrols

Others

  • Roll out high-speed broadband to reach 99.9% of households
  • Maintain free access to national museums and galleries
  • Ensure the BBC licence fee does not rise faster than inflation
  • Extend Freedom of Information laws to cover private companies delivering public services

What the other parties say

Labour's deputy leader Harriett Harman: "People know that the Lib Dems are every bit as much to blame as the Tories. They have backed the Tories every step of the way while people's living standards have fallen and the NHS has been going backwards. People know that the Lib Dems' manifesto can't be trusted. They broke the key promises in their last manifesto and are repeating them once again."

Chancellor George Osborne: "A vote for any of the alternatives to the Conservatives is a vote for that Ed Miliband government and their economic chaos. So I say let's stick with David Cameron's strong leadership and the plan that's working."

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett: "The Lib Dems have published an unambitious, business-as-usual manifesto that people won't trust them on anyway."

SNP deputy leader Stewart Hosie: "Having effectively ripped up their 2010 manifesto when they entered coalition with the Tories, people no longer believe a word the Lib Dems say. We already know the reality of the Lib Dems. After five years propping up the toxic Tories, all Nick Clegg and his party have to show is a trail of broken promises."

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