Today the Liberal Democrats will unveil our pre-manifesto. This is a significant political moment as we begin the run in to the 2015 General Election. The pre-manifesto is a comprehensive document that contains the bulk of what will become our 2015 General Election manifesto.
It sets out the Liberal Democrat vision for Britain in the next Parliament, with spreading opportunity at its heart. We are proud of our record of action in this Parliament and this document sets out our promise of more in the next.
Rescue to renewal
Since 2010, Liberal Democrats have worked in government to rescue and repair Britain’s shattered economy. Growth is up; jobs are up; government borrowing is down. The repairs to our public finances must be completed and they must be completed fairly. But we do not believe that in the next five years Britain simply wants more of the same.
We need to move from rescue to renewal. We need to move from austerity to ambition. We need to think boldly and restore a sense of national optimism. After the rescue from recession we cannot go back to the old Britain.
We no longer want an economy based on debt and speculation; out of the rubble of the 2008 crash we must build a new economy, not just reassemble the old one. We cannot accept a society of unfairness and inequality of opportunity. We cannot mortgage our children’s future by ignoring the threat of climate change; and we cannot have a state where power is hoarded at the centre rather than being returned to citizens and to our local areas.
But this manifesto is about the future and not the past. Liberal Democrats played an essential role in rescuing Britain; now we want to lead the renewal.
Spreading opportunity through education
We believe that the task of a liberal party is above all to empower every person to realise their own potential. No matter what your background, your race, your colour, your sex or your sexuality: we believe in you. Liberal Democrats don’t write anybody off. Our determination to set people free is the thread that holds this whole manifesto together. The Liberal Democrat vision for the next five years is to focus our efforts on clearing away the biggest barriers that are holding people, and holding Britain, back.
This is a manifesto for the next generation – one that prioritises the life chances of children and young people. That is why we have put spreading opportunity through education at the heart of our manifesto. Education is key to giving people the knowledge, skills and confidence to get on in life, which is why we will protect education spending, ensure children are taught by qualified teachers and invest more in children from poor backgrounds in the crucial early years.
Our objective is to create a stronger economy and a fairer society: a society of free citizens in which every person is enabled to get on in life. It is only with a stronger economy and a fairer society that we can spread opportunity, and this is something that only the Liberal Democrats can deliver. Labour cannot be relied upon to build a stronger economy and the Conservatives cannot be relied upon to build a fairer society. We want to build a liberal Britain where you and the people you care about have the freedom, the space, and the opportunity to flourish.
Record of action
- The economy rebuilt.
- Millions of people freed from paying income tax.
- More renewable energy than ever.
- The Pupil Premium to help poor children get a first-class education.
- More childcare and shared parental leave.
- Cancelling ID cards.
- Free school meals for under-7s.
- More apprentices.
- The biggest ever cash increase in the state pension.
- A Green Investment Bank.
- Equal marriage.
None of these things would have happened without the Liberal Democrats.
Promise of more Finish the job fairly:
Balance the budget
Rebalance and rewire the economy to cut out carbon, rebuild our national infrastructure, embrace new technology and make sure every region flourishes
Continue to cut taxes for working people
Spread opportunity through education – a manifesto for the next generation:
Protect education spending
A parental guarantee of a core curriculum taught by qualified teachers
Triple the Early Years Pupil Premium to £1,000 a child
Examples of policies announced over the summer:
Protecting education spending: Extend the protection to all education funding from early years through school to college
Parental Guarantee: A core curriculum taught by qualified teachers
Free school meals: Extending free school meals to all primary pupils
Curriculum for Life: Children in state-funded schools, including academies and free schools, will be guaranteed age appropriate sex and relationship education, as well as financial literacy and citizenship lessons
Early Years Pupil Premium: We will more than triple investment in the early years pupil premium from £300 to £1000 per child
‘Daddy Month’: We will expand shared parental leave with an additional four week ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ paternity leave period
Balance the budget: Aim to balance the structural current budget by 2017/18 and set a course to reduce debt as a share of national income. Make deficit reduction fair by ensuring high earners and the wealthiest pay their share. Set new fiscal rules to balance the budget while allowing borrowing for productive investment. Increase public spending again in line with growth in the economy once the budget is balanced.
Cutting taxes for working people: Raise the income tax threshold to £12,500 before beginning to raise the National Insurance threshold
Making our tax system fairer: Introducing a banded High Value Property Levy on residential properties worth over £2m; limit tax relief on pensions to a pot of £1m; maximising revenue from Capital Gains Tax by aligning rates more closely to Income Tax
Council tax discounts for green homes: Households could save at least £100 a year on their council tax bill by improving the energy efficiency of their homes
Five Green Laws: The new laws will include legal targets for clean air and water, an end to dirty coal power stations and an ambitious decarbonisation target for the electricity sector. The laws are: A Nature Bill; a Heating and Energy Efficiency Bill; a Zero Waste Britain Bill; a Zero Carbon Britain Bill; and a Green Transport Bill.
300,000 homes: Set an ambitious target of increasing the rate of house building to 300,000 a year
Ring fence NHS budget: NHS spending will rise by at least the rate of inflation over the next Parliament. We also announced they will pool health and social care budgets. This would help make care more tailored towards individual patients and reduce inefficiencies
Help for Carers: We will support carers with a package of measures designed to make their lives easier. The package includes an annual Carer’s Bonus of up to £250 and raising the amount carers can earn before losing their allowance.
Mental health: We will establish a mental health research fund worth £50m per year to help bridge the gap between physical health and mental health treatment
Drugs: We will end imprisonment for drug users whose only crime is possession for personal use. They will instead receive non-custodial sentences and appropriate medical treatment
Safe Standing: Clubs in the Premier League and Championship will be allowed to work with their supporters to introduce standing areas, which provide better atmospheres and allow clubs to offer cheaper safe standing season tickets