General Election 2015: Housing and childcare to be Lib Dems' manifesto keystones
Nick Clegg launches 300 new policies
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Wednesday 03 September 2014
Plans to build 300,000 homes a year and a £2.8bn-a-year expansion of childcare will be at the heart of the Liberal Democrat manifesto at next May’s general election.
Nick Clegg will today unveil an 80-page pre-manifesto document including 300 policies. Housing and childcare would be top priorities for his party in negotiations with the Conservatives or Labour if there is another hung parliament.
The Lib Dem plan would trump Labour’s pledge to build 200,000 homes a year by 2020 and make housing a key election issue. Mr Clegg’s party wants to set up a Housing Investment Bank to streamline public funding and attract private investment, and to set up a ministerial task force to ensure the target is set.
The housing policy will be proposed by Tim Farron, the Lib Dem president, and Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, when the draft manifesto is put to the Lib Dems’ annual conference in Glasgow next month.
Mr Farron said: “We can and must choose to build a new generation of homes for those on ordinary salaries. Central to this is the need for consistent and committed action at all levels – a long term strategy - to tackle the biggest issue of our generation.”
On childcare, the Lib Dems would “guarantee” the extension of 15 hours a week of “free” provision to all two-year-olds for 38 weeks a year. At present, this is limited to 40 per cent of two-year-olds, based on parental income. This would cost £800m, funded by scrapping the Conservatives’ planned tax break for married couples.
It would be the first step towards the Lib Dems’ long term ambition to phase in 20 “free” hours a week to all children between the ages of two and four, and to all children between nine and 24 months when both their parents work. This would cost £2bn a year.
The second stage would extend the 15 hours of childcare to all children between nine and 24 months to “close the gap” between the end of parental leave and the current provision.
The third and final phase would be increasing the offer to 20 hours a week, starting with four-year-olds and then extending it to younger children.
Jo Swinson, the Lib Dem Business Minister, said: “This is a ultimately a fundamental difference in values. Lib Dems want to help all families with childcare support and nursery education right the way through from the end of parental leave to the start of school. The Tories are more bothered about helping only some couples through a married couples’ tax break.”
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
Jihadi John': MI5 may have identified Isis militant who killed David Haines but options limited
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: Police will be on high alert on Friday whatever the result
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Secondary supply teac...
£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Full time German Supply Teacher...
£45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...