The Liberal Democrats release their Manifesto

The Liberal Democrats release their Manifesto

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The Liberal Democrats launched their manifesto for the upcoming general election on Wednesday 17th May. In this article, their four key policies and the details of these four policies will be highlighted.  After extensive research and reading, the four key policies of this manifesto are: the economy, Brexit, health and social scare and housing.

The economy has been a big talking point for all political parties during the election campaign. In their manifesto, the Liberal Democrats have taken their campaign speak and made into properly articulated policies. They promise to eliminate the day to day deficit and only borrow to invest more into the country. They promise to bring in an additional £100 billion of infrastructure investment to help develop the economy through using a new British Housing and Infrastructure Bank using public money to attract private finance. In order to finance this increased investment, they pledge to introduce a 1p increase in income tax, as well as ending the 1% cap on pay rises in the public, give public sector workers more disposable income. They promise to introduce a national Spending Review and National Wellbeing strategy and review board to assess how they are doing in terms of keeping the books balanced and the economy growing. Also, pledged within the manifesto are promises to reduce tax loopholes currently being exploited by big business, and to increase corporate tax and to introduce a General Anti Avoidance Rule, to penalise businesses who do not pay their fair share of tax.  The Liberal Democrats will also expand the activities of the British Business Bank to ensure that they are providing investment in small and start-up businesses. Further to this they promise to develop skilled workers through advanced apprenticeships and national colleges, and to stamp out zero hour contracts.

On Brexit, the Liberal Democrats wish to remain in the single market and the customs union, as well as allow freedom of movement to remain in place, a contrast to the Conservatives and the Labour who wish for freedom of movement to end. The Liberal Democrats like Labour wish to protect the rights of both UK citizens living in the EU and EU citizens living in the UK, so that neither can be used as bargaining chips during negotiations. Finally, on Brexit, as they have constantly said during the campaign process, the Liberal Democrats are committed to giving the British people the final say on any deal with the EU. This would take the shape of a referendum that would decide if Britain accepts the deal, doesn’t accept the deal, or remains in the EU completely. This last policy is sure to be controversial with some.

Health and Social care is the area where the Liberal Democrats truly show their desire for change. They promise that the 1p increase in income tax would be used to increase funding for the NHS. This investment would also be used to improve priority areas of service such as mental health and A and E. They would also reduce waiting times and limit the cost of social care for the elderly. The Liberal Democrats would also reinstate student bursaries to encourage more young people to enter the NHS. Finally, the Liberal Democrats would create a Cross Party Health Convention to review the progress the NHS is making and whether or not it is keeping within budget and is delivering the services that it is meant in to a proper and effective way. There would also be an independent budget agency set up to ensure money is being used properly.

Housing has become a very pressing issue for the electorate, and as such the Liberal Democrat pledges in their manifesto, should perhaps address these concerns. Promising to build 300,000 new houses by the end of the new Parliament in 2022, the Liberal Democrats have set out an ambitious plan. They also wish to build ten new garden cities in the UK, to provide proper environmentally friendly housing. In order to fund these schemes, the Liberal Democrats would use the Housing and Development Bank to provide long term capital investment. To improve the chances of renters and buyers in the property market, the Liberal Democrats would end what they call restrictive Right to Buy Schemes, replacing them with Rent to Own and Rent to Buy schemes. They would also ban letting fees and introduce three-year tenancy agreements and capping up front deposits.

By Vivek Rajkhowa

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