Lib Dem manifesto: Where the party stands on Brexit, the NHS and climate change

All you need to know about what Jo Swinson’s party is promising

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 20 November 2019 16:08
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Jo Swinson 'absolutely categorically' rules out working with Jeremy Corbyn even to deliver new Brexit referendum

The Liberal Democrats have launched their election manifesto, promising to stop Brexit and “build a brighter future”.

Jo Swinson’s party put keeping the UK in the EU at the heart of their plan for government and said the boost to the economy that this would bring would allow them to invest in public services.

The party’s 100-page manifesto said a Lib Dem government would fund all day-to-day spending increases through tax rises but would borrow £130bn for investment in infrastructure.

Here is all you need to know about the party’s pledges.

Brexit

The party has placed its “Stop Brexit” message at the front and centre of its campaign. Its manifesto says the Lib Dems “unequivocally believe that the UK is stronger as part of the EU”.

A Lib Dem government would revoke Article 50. The manifesto says that “in other circumstances” the party would continue to push for a fresh Brexit referendum, in which it would campaign for Remain.

The Lib Dems claim that stopping Brexit would deliver a £50bn “Remain bonus” that could be invested in public services.

The economy

The Lib Dems say they would borrow £130bn to fund new infrastructure, including HS2, Crossrail 2, electrifying train lines, building 300,000 homes a year and rolling out high-speed broadband. It would also fund the modernisation of schools and hospitals, while £5bn would go towards a Green Investment Bank to help attract private investment for zero-carbon initiatives.

£50bn would be spent on a “Regional Rebalancing Programme” for infrastructure across the UK.

The manifesto also proposes a “mechanism to allow the public to share in the profits made by tech companies” – almost certainly meaning a new tax. Corporation tax would also be restored to 20 per cent.

The party has also promised to scrap the Marriage Tax Allowance, which gives married couples a tax break of up to £250 a year.

It would also set up a “wellbeing budget” and appoint a minister for wellbeing to ensure that government decisions are taken with people’s wellbeing in mind.

Education and skills

The Lib Dems are promising to introduce a £10,000 “Skills Wallet” for every adult in England to allow them to invest in education and training throughout their life. This would see people given £4,000 at the age of 25, £3,000 at age 40 and £3,000 at age 55. Individuals and employers would be able to “top up” these wallets.

The party is also promising free childcare for all 2-4 year olds, and children from nine months whose parents are working full time.

£1bn a year would be invested in children’s centres, while the Early Years Pupil Premium, which helps children from disadvantaged backgrounds, would be tripled to £1,000.

In total, £13.9bn a year more would be spent on childcare and early years.

A further £10.6bn a year extra would be spent on schools, including employing 20,000 more teachers.

The party is also promising to scrap mandatory SATs tests and replace league tables with “a broader set of indicators”.

Ofsted would be replaced by a HM Inspector of Schools.

Climate and environment

This is another issues that the Lib Dems are putting at the heart of their campaign.

As part of plans to make the UK net carbon neutral by 2045, the party says it would insulate all of the UK’s homes by 2030, ensure 80 per cent of electricity comes from renewable sources by 2030 and plant 60 million trees a year.

It would also ban fracking and non-recyclable single-use plastics.

£20bn of investment in public transport would see £15bn spent on electrifying train lines and a further £4.5bn on restoring bus routes. Rail fares for commuters and season ticket holders would be frozen for five years.

The party would also ensure that all new cars are electric by 2030.

Health

The 1p rise in income tax would raise £7bn a year for spending no the NHS and social care.

£10bn of the £13bn being borrowed would be spent in upgrading hospitals and purchasing new equipment.

The Lib Dems are also promising to transform mental health services, including by introducing more targets on waiting times, increasing the range of talking therapies

It would reduce out of area placements, which see people with severe mental health problems sent miles from home for treatment.

A compulsory levy on gambling companies would be introduced to fund research, education and treatment of problem gambling, while credit card use for gambling would be banned.

Minimum unit pricing for alcohol would also be introduced.

Jo Swinson address 'fake news' story which said she fired stones at squirrels

Crime

The party says it will invest £1bn in community policing and take a “public health approach” on violence by not “wasting money locking people up on short sentences that don’t work”.

An extra 2,000 prison officers would form part of a push to make prisons “places of rehabilitation”.

The manifesto also promises to fully fund an immediate 2 per cent pay rise for police officers, “properly resource” the National Crime Agency, end the “disproportionate use” of stop and search powers and replace police and crime commissioners with boards of local councillors.

Welfare

Reforming Universal Credit forms the heart of the Lib Dems’ welfare policy. This includes reducing the wait for first payments “from five weeks to five days,” and also making the benefit “more supportive” of the self-employed.

A “legal right to food” would become law and public policy would be audited for its impact on food security.

The party would retain the so-called triple lock on the basic state pension – where it rises in line with the highest of wages, prices or 2.5%. Women born in the 1950s – the WASPI women – would also be “properly compensated” for the increase in the state pension age.

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