Charles Kennedy: Labour have wasted the chance given to them

From a speech given at an election rally in London by the leader of the Liberal Democrats
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The Independent Online

Let me spell out the Liberal Democrats' plans for a fairer Britain. Quality local public services - clean hospitals and good schools. Putting patients first in the health service - not chasing central government targets and missing the whole point of proper quality health care.

Let me spell out the Liberal Democrats' plans for a fairer Britain. Quality local public services - clean hospitals and good schools. Putting patients first in the health service - not chasing central government targets and missing the whole point of proper quality health care.

More teachers and lower class sizes for our youngest children, so they can get the best start in life. An end to student tuition fees, because access to higher education should not be based on the ability to pay.

Ten thousand more police on the streets, cutting crime and the fear of crime - not expensive identity cards. Free personal care for the elderly - help with things like washing and feeding - when they get a long-term illness like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. A "Citizen's Pension" for the over 75s, with an extra £100 on the basic state pension and ending the scandalous discrimination against women in our pensions system. A greener Britain, living up to our responsibilities on the environment - cleaner energy, less pollution.

An end to the unfair council tax - we want a fair system of local tax based on income, not on property prices. And we say no hidden taxes - we have one tax-raising measure which will affect 1 per cent of taxpayers. One new tax on 1 per cent of earners. And we should be proud of what that will pay for - an end to tuition fees; providing free personal care for the elderly; and reducing the burden of local taxation.

This is about giving people hope that things can change for the better. Why? Because Labour have wasted the opportunity given to them by the British people over these last 8 years. Under Labour the poorest 20 per cent of people are paying more of their income in tax than the wealthiest 20 per cent. So much for social justice.

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