Ashdown pledges retention of education priority

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Education will remain the priority for the Liberal Democrats in 1994, Paddy Ashdown pledged in his New Year message, writes Patricia Wynn Davies.

The Liberal Democrat leader renewed the party's commitment to put a penny on income tax for education and provide nursery education for all three- and four-year-olds; reward positive achievement, whether academic or vocational, at school; expand opportunities for training and higher education after school; and introduce an entitlement for everyone to a period of reskilling during their adult life.

Mr Ashdown described 1993 as a 'year of hardship, neglect and wasted opportunity'. He said: 'The leadership, economic record and political programme of the Conservatives is now totally discredited.

'There is a dangerous and growing gap between government and governed in Britain, fuelled by the Government's betrayal of its election promises and the Labour Party's failure to offer a convincing alternative.'

Leading article, page 13