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#Liberal_Democrats’ Party 2017 – #Tim_Fallon’s Manifesto …

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Greg Lance – Watkins






I am in the process of editting this document’s layout to make it more readable – I’m a bit short of time at the moment, sorry!


1 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

2 Contents


3 Your chance to change Britain’s future by changing the opposition

7 Protect Britain’s Place in Europe

13 Save our NHS and Social Care Services

23 Put Children First

33 Build an Economy that Works for You

45 Keep our Country Green

55 Support Families and Communities

67 Defend Rights, Promote Justice and Equalities

79 Make a Better World

87 Fix a Broken System



In every other manifesto, a Liberal Democrat leader has set out a vision for

government. However, I want to make a different case to the British people in

this election – an election that has been called by Theresa May, very cynically,

with the sole purpose of putting the Tories in a position where they can do what

they like unchecked.

To be clear, Theresa May’s Conservative Party is on course to win this election.

Unless we make a stand, they will walk away with a landslide. We risk the

arrogance and heartlessness with which she has governed for the last 10 months

being reinforced by a majority that no government has had for 20 years.

The reason? There is a complete absence of real opposition from Jeremy Corbyn’s

Labour Party.

On the biggest question facing all of us, Brexit, which has such huge implications for

our young people and our future, Corbyn ordered his MPs to stand down against

Theresa May’s government. Where the Liberal Democrats are fighting every step of

the way, Labour is holding Theresa May’s hand as she jumps off the cliff edge of a

hard Brexit.


Your chance to

change Britain’s

future by

changing the


That’s why the Liberal Democrats will not enter into coalition with either Theresa May’s Conservatives or Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour.

Have no doubts – a massive Conservative majority would mean people and communities being taken for granted by a Conservative government that will believe it has the mandate to do exactly as it pleases.

Governments without a strong opposition are bad governments. They become complacent and take poor decisions. So I am asking you to give me your support to make the Liberal Democrats the official opposition to Theresa May’s Conservative government.

I want the Liberal Democrats to be the party that holds Theresa May to account over spending on the National Health Service; our young people’s education, skills and opportunities; the protection of our precious environment; and our future relationship with Europe.

You don’t have to agree with me on everything. But the danger of an arrogant government that doesn’t have to listen to us is apparent to everyone, wherever you live in Britain.

We don’t share Theresa May’s miserable vision. Liberal Democrats are passionate about building a Britain that is open, tolerant and united – that celebrates the very best of what it means to be British.

So on June the 8th, I am asking you to think very hard about what will be best for


you, your friends and family, and the area you live in.

Another Tory MP, to bolster Theresa May’s majority? Another member of Labour’s hopeless and failed opposition? Another Nationalist MP who only wants to break up the UK?

Or a strong and passionate voice sticking up for your area, challenging Theresa May’s Conservative government and holding it to account as part of a real opposition?

This election is your opportunity to change Britain’s future – by changing the opposition.

I love this country. It is optimistic, good-humoured and confident. It is open, fair and finds strength through its diversity. It isn’t inward-looking or mean-spirited.

Our young people are bright, creative and want a world that is clean and green and that the rest of us haven’t wrecked. They want jobs, good health and the chance to choose who they love and how they live, with the security of a roof over their heads. They want to live in a country where the state isn’t snooping into their emails and tracking their internet use.

You might feel uncertain or anxious about the way our country is going. You might worry that jobs and living standards are threatened by the extreme and divisive Brexit that Theresa May has chosen for Britain. You might be fed up with a Labour Party that has given up on opposition, supports the Conservatives on Brexit and offers no vision for our country. If so, this is your chance.

You can stand up for a Britain that is open, tolerant and united.

You can change the opposition. You can change Britain’s future.

Tim Farron Leader, Liberal Democrats Shutterstock


Protect Britain’s Place in Europe 1

Change Britain’s Future


Britain’s Place

in Europe

9 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

1.1 Giving the people the final say

Liberal Democrats are open and outward-looking. We passionately believe that

Britain’s relationship with its neighbours is stronger as part of the European Union.

Whatever its imperfections, the EU remains the best framework for working

effectively and co-operating in the pursuit of our shared aims. It has led directly to

greater prosperity, increased trade, investment and jobs, better security and a

greener environment. Britain is better off in the EU.

Liberal Democrats campaigned for the UK to remain in the EU. However, we

acknowledge the result of the 2016 referendum, which gave the government a

mandate to start negotiations to leave. The decision Britain took, though, was

simply whether to remain in or to leave the European Union. There was no option

on the ballot paper to choose the shape of our future relationship with the EU on

vital issues including trade, travel or security.

While much remains uncertain about Theresa May’s approach, it is now clear that

the Conservatives are campaigning for a hard Brexit. This means leaving the single

market, ending freedom of movement and abandoning the customs union – even

though these choices will make the UK poorer and disappoint many leave voters

who wanted a different outcome.

The effects of Brexit are already being felt. The value of the pound has plummeted.

Inflation has risen. Growth in the economy has slowed and the government is

already borrowing billions more to fill the gap in lost tax revenue. Young people,

who voted overwhelmingly to remain, are being told their voices do not matter.

Urgent problems, such as the future of the NHS, are being neglected because of

the sheer scale of the challenge posed by Brexit.

A hard Brexit will make all these problems worse. It is the wrong choice for the

country. Liberal Democrats will fight to prevent a hard Brexit.

At the end of negotiations there will be a decision on the deal. The Conservatives

want the decision to be taken by politicians. Liberal Democrats believe the British

people should have the final say.

That’s why, when the terms of our future relationship with the EU have been

negotiated (over the next two years on the Government’s timetable), we will


Protect Britain’s Place in Europe 1

put that deal to a vote of the British people in a referendum, with the alternative

option of staying in the EU on the ballot paper. We continue to believe that

there is no deal as good for the UK outside the EU as the one it already has

as a member.

Every vote for the Liberal Democrats in this election is a vote to give the final say to

the British people.

1.2 Fighting a hard Brexit

During negotiations, we commit ourselves to use our strength in parliament to

press for keeping Britain as close as possible to Europe. Our priorities will include:

  • Protection of rights for EU citizens and UK citizens: We will press for the

UK to unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the UK, ending their

ongoing uncertainty. We will call for the overhaul and simplification of the

registration process and the requirements for EU nationals to obtain

permanent residence and UK citizenship, as the current system is not fit for

purpose. We will urge the government, and use our influence with Liberal

leaders in European countries, to secure the same rights for UK citizens living

in European Union countries.

  • Membership of the single market and customs union: We believe that

any deal negotiated for the UK outside the EU must ensure that trade can

continue without customs controls at the border, and must maintain

membership of the single market, which smooths trade between the UK and

the continent by providing a common ‘rule book’ for businesses and a

common mechanism to ensure that everyone abides by the rules.

  • Freedom of movement: We support the principle of freedom of movement

– to abandon it would threaten Britain’s prosperity and reputation as an open,

tolerant society. Any deal negotiated for the UK outside the EU must protect

the right to work, travel, study and retire across the EU. Any restrictions sought

by the government must take account of the vital importance of EU workers to

the British economy, including public services.

  • Opportunities for young people: In an increasingly globalised and complex

world, it is vital that our young people are afforded the same opportunities

their parents enjoyed to work, study and travel abroad. To that end we will do

everything we can to protect Erasmus+ and other EU-funded schemes which

increase opportunities for young people.

11 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

  • Defending social rights and equalities: Many important protections such

as the right to 52 weeks’ maternity leave and rights to annual leave are

currently based on EU law, and many of these rights have been upheld at the

European Court of Justice. Liberal Democrats will fight to ensure that these

entitlements are not undermined.

  • Maintaining environmental standards: The European Union has created

the highest environmental standards in the world. We have a duty to future

generations to protect our environment and tackle climate change. Liberal

Democrats will ensure that everything is done to maintain those high

standards in UK law, including the closest possible co-operation on climate

and energy policy.

  • Law enforcement and judicial co-operation: Europol, the European Arrest

Warrant and shared access to police databases have helped make Britain’s

streets safer. We will fight to maintain maximum co-operation to ensure

criminals are pursued quickly and effectively, and police are not frustrated by

huge amounts of red tape.

  • British business and jobs: We must protect support for domestic industries

such as farming, tourism and the creative industries, as well as regional

support for deprived areas. The City of London is Europe’s financial capital and

must retain its full rights in EU financial markets.

  • Science and research funding: Research is vital for our long-term

prosperity, security and wellbeing – but the Leave vote has already started to

affect existing and proposed research programmes. We will campaign against

any reduction in investment in UK universities and for their right to apply for

EU funds on equal terms.

  • Travel and tourism: Britain is an outward-looking country with commercial and

leisure interests around the world, particularly in Europe. We will strive to retain

traveller and tourist benefits such as the European Health Insurance Card,

reduced roaming charges and pet passports, all of which are at risk by leaving

the European Union.

  • Respect for the interests of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland: We

will fight to ensure that the priorities and long-term interests of the nations of

the UK are fully taken into account during negotiations. We will oppose any

moves that threaten the political stability of Northern Ireland. We will also

campaign to protect the rights of the people of Gibraltar.


Protect Britain’s Place in Europe 1

spotmatik photo/Fotolia


Save our NHS and Social Care Services 2

Change Britain’s Future

Save our NHS

and Social

Care Services

15 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

Good health is a prerequisite to taking full advantage of life’s opportunities, and

we must do all we can to help people stay healthy as well as provide high-quality

care when they are ill. Mental health is just as important as physical health and we

have made it a priority to deliver equality between the two.

The NHS has been the envy of the world, but it is now facing the greatest crisis in

its history and we urgently need to increase its funding.

As a country, we are living longer – but that means more people are living with

conditions like diabetes and dementia and they need help to live with dignity and

the maximum degree of independence. We must set the highest standards in

care, abolishing the artificial boundaries that prevent health and social care

services working together.

Health and wellbeing are affected by far more than just the quality of health and

social care services, so we will work to improve the wider factors that affect people’s

health such as warm homes, clean air and access to exercise and healthy food so

that everyone can have the best chance to lead a healthy life.

Our priorities in the next parliament will be:

  • ● Saving the NHS by putting a penny in the pound on Income Tax to

give the NHS and social care services the cash injection they need.

  • ● Transforming mental health care with waiting time standards to

match those in physical health care.

  • ● Home not hospital: better integration of health and social care and

limiting the amount elderly people have to pay for social care.


Save our NHS and Social Care Services 2

2.1 Saving the NHS and social care

The NHS and social care services are in a state of crisis. The Conservatives have

left them chronically underfunded, while need continues to grow and patient care

suffers. Social care is facing a funding black hole of £2 billion this year alone and

more than a million older people are missing out on the care they need.

People are routinely left stranded in hospital after they finish their treatment

because the follow-up care and support they need is not available. Nearly twothirds

of NHS trusts ended the last financial year in deficit.

Yet Labour and Conservative politicians refuse to be honest with the public about

the scale of the crisis or the tough decisions which are needed to protect these

vital services.

Liberal Democrats recognise that Britain’s health and social care services are our

most treasured national institutions. Any party seeking to lead the country after

this election should be prepared to take bold action to safeguard them. This isn’t

about doing the easiest thing, it is about doing what is right and what is essential.

Liberal Democrats will take five key steps to put our health and social care system

back on a sustainable financial footing:

  1. An immediate 1p rise on the basic, higher and additional rates of Income Tax

to raise £6 billion additional revenue, which would be ringfenced to be spent

only on NHS and social care services.

  1. Direct this additional investment to the following priority areas in the health

and care system: social care, primary care (and other out-of-hospital care),

mental health and public health. This represents the most efficient and

effective way of spending these extra resources – ensuring they will have the

greatest impact on the quality of care patients receive.

  1. In the longer term and as a replacement for the 1p Income Tax rise, commission

the development of a dedicated health and care tax on the basis of wide

consultation, possibly based on a reform of National Insurance contributions,

which will bring together spending on both services into a collective budget and

set out transparently, on people’s payslips, what we spend on them.

17 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

  1. Establish a cross-party health and social care convention, bringing together

stakeholders from all political parties, patients groups, the public and

professionals from within the health and social care system to carry out a

comprehensive review of the longer-term sustainability of the health and

social care finances and workforce, and the practicalities of greater integration.

We would invite the devolved administrations to be a part of this work.

  1. Introduce a statutory independent budget monitoring agency for health and

care, similar to the Office for Budget Responsibility. This would report every

three years on how much money the system needs to deliver safe and

sustainable treatment and care, and how much is needed to meet the costs of

projected increases in demand and any new initiatives – to ensure any

changes in services are properly costed and affordable.

Our longer-term objective will be to bring together NHS and social care into one

seamless service – pooling budgets in every area by 2020 and developing integrated

care organisations.

2.2 Valuing the NHS and social care workforce

Our health and social care services’ greatest resource is their staff, working

tirelessly under immense pressure. This Government has left them feeling

embattled and undervalued.

To support the NHS and social care workforce we will:

  • ● Guarantee the rights of all NHS and social care service staff who are EU

nationals to stay in the UK.

  • ● End the public sector pay freeze for NHS workers.
  • ● Reinstate student nurse bursaries.
  • ● Support innovation in how organisations can empower staff and patients,

including learning from innovative social enterprises delivering community and

mental health services.

  • ● Protect NHS whistle-blowers.

GPs in particular have been put under considerable strain due to severe

underfunding and neglect from the Conservatives, leaving many people waiting

weeks to get appointments. GPs are the core of what the NHS is and they need


Save our NHS and Social Care Services 2

support to ensure that the NHS is able to survive and thrive. We will:

  • ● Produce a national workforce strategy, ensuring that we never again experience

a shortage in the numbers of GPs, hospital doctors, nurses and other

professionals that the NHS needs.

2.3 Equal care for mental health

In government, we fought tirelessly to reduce the historic inequality between the

way physical and mental health are treated in the NHS and are proud of the strides

forward we made. We legislated to give mental and physical health equality under

the law. We introduced the first waiting time standards for access to treatment for

mental health. We introduced the crisis care concordat which dramatically reduced

the number of people who end up in police cells when they experience a mental

health crisis; and we secured more money for children and young people’s mental

health services. But we know that not enough resources reach front-line services

and that in the fight for parity of esteem there is still a very long way to go. We will:

  • ● Ringfence funding from within the one penny Income Tax rise, to provide

additional investment in mental health.

  • ● Continue to roll out access and waiting time standards for children, young

people and adults. This will include a guarantee that people will not wait more

than six weeks for therapy for depression or anxiety and no young person will

wait more than two weeks for treatment when they experience a first episode

of psychosis.

  • ● Increase access to clinically- and cost-effective talking therapies so that

hundreds of thousands more people can receive this support.

  • ● Examine the case for introducing a dedicated service for children and young

people based on the Australian ‘headspace’ model and building on many

excellent youth information, advice and counselling services.

  • ● Transform mental health support for pregnant women, new mothers and

those who have experienced miscarriage or stillbirth, and help them get early

care when needed.

  • ● Continue to promote and invest in the Frontline programme to fast-track

exceptional graduates into children’s social work, as well as the Think Ahead

scheme aimed at encouraging high-achieving graduates to pursue a career in

mental health social work.

  • ● Ensure that no one in crisis is turned away, with new waiting time standards

19 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

and better crisis care in accident and emergency departments, in the

community and via phone lines. This will enable us to end the use of police

cells for people facing a mental health crisis.

  • ● End out-of-area placements, ensuring those admitted to hospital for mental

ill-health are able to be treated close to home.

  • ● Ensure that all front-line public service professionals, including in schools and

universities, receive better training in mental health.

  • ● Roll out the Liaison and Diversion programme nationally, helping to identify

people who have mental health problems, learning disabilities, substance

misuse or other vulnerabilities when they first come into contact with the

criminal justice system.

  • ● Tackle stigma against mental ill-health, including by building on the good work

done by organisations such as Heads Together and changing the standard of

proof in suicide conclusions in the Coroner’s Court.

  • ● Ensure that LGBT+ inclusive mental health services receive funding and support.

Medical research is vital for developing new and better treatments. We will fight

the threat Brexit poses to medical research funding. We support the principle that

all medical trials using public facilities or resources should comply with the Open

Trials standards and that a fair proportion of all public funding for medical

research should be focused on research into mental ill-health. We also favour the

further development of open access academic journals.

2.4 Home not hospital: joining up health and social


We need services that fit around people’s lives, not ones that force them to fit their

lives around the care they need. This will become increasingly important as our

population ages and the number of people living with long-term conditions grows. It

is also more cost-effective to support people to be able to live at home rather than

endure lengthy stays in hospital. We must move away from a fragmented system to

an integrated service with more joined-up care and more personal budgets so that

people can design services for their own individual needs. We believe this should

happen from the bottom up, suiting the needs of local communities.

The number of family carers is rising, including in the ‘sandwich generation’ who

find themselves trying to care for their children and their parents at the same

time. Carers are unsung heroes; we need to do more to help them. We will:


Save our NHS and Social Care Services 2

  • ● Finish the job of implementing a cap on the cost of social care, which the

Conservatives have effectively abandoned.

  • ● Move towards single place-based budgets for health and social care by 2020,

allowing local areas to decide how best to provide the full spectrum of care for

their community.

  • ● Remodel the health care funding system to eliminate perverse incentives, by

moving away from payments for activity and introducing tariffs that encourage

joined-up services and promote improved outcomes for patients and better

preventive care.

  • ● Ensure those who work in the social care sector are properly trained, with

accessible career pathways, and are suitable to practice by introducing a

statutory code of conduct backed up by a care workers’ suitability register.

  • ● Raise the amount people can earn before losing Carer’s Allowance from £110

to £150 a week, and reduce the number of hours’ care per week required to


  • ● Give the NHS a legal duty to identify carers and develop a Carer’s Passport

scheme to inform carers of their NHS rights, such as flexible visiting hours and

access to support.

  • ● Provide more choice at the end of life and move towards free end-of-life social

care, whether people spend their last days at home or in a hospice.

  • ● Evaluate the valuable work of hospices with a view to putting them on a more

sustainable financial footing and allowing them to expand their services.

2.5 Better access to community services

Most people’s experience of the NHS is their local GP or the nurses and support staff

who visit them at home or work in community clinics. Access to care in GP surgeries

and closer to home is better for patients and will also help reduce pressure on

hospitals, accident and emergency departments and ambulances. We will:

  • ● Promote easier access to GPs, expanding evening and weekend opening to

meet the needs of local patients, encouraging online, phone and Skype

appointments, encouraging GPs to work together in federations and allowing

people more choice.

  • ● Provide national support to struggling GP practices, preventing mass

practice closures.

  • ● Support GPs to come together to collectively provide services such as out-ofnormal-

opening-hours appointments.

21 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

  • ● Use innovation funding to promote GP-led multidisciplinary health and care

hubs, including mobile services to keep people out of hospital.

  • ● Encourage GPs and other community clinicians to work in disadvantaged

areas through our Patient Premium – which would give incentive payments to


  • ● Ensure that any changes to the way pharmacies are funded do not leave local

areas without reasonable access to a community pharmacist.

  • ● Review the rules for exemption from prescription charges to ensure they are

fair to those with long-term conditions and disabilities.

2.6 Helping people stay healthy

It is better for patients and for the NHS if we keep people healthy in the first place,

rather than just waiting until people develop illnesses and come for treatment, but

40% of NHS spending is on diseases that are preventable. We need to do more to

promote healthy eating and exercise, making people aware of the dangers of

smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol and other drugs, and helping to

improve mental health and wellbeing. We will:

  • ● Move towards a health and social care system that empowers and encourages

people to better manage their own health and conditions and to live healthier


  • ● Publish a National Wellbeing Strategy, which puts better health and wellbeing

for all at the heart of government policy.

  • ● Implement the recommendations of the O’Neill report on antimicrobial

resistance to ensure responsible prescribing and investment in diagnostics

and innovation.

  • ● Make Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention available on the


  • ● Support effective public awareness campaigns such as Be Clear on Cancer and

learn from what works when designing new health promotion campaigns to

change behaviour.

  • ● Keep public health within local government, where it is effectively joined up

with preventive community services, and reinstate the funding cut from public

health budgets by the Conservatives.

  • ● Develop a strategy to tackle childhood obesity, including restricting the

marketing of junk food to children, restricting TV advertising before the 9pm

watershed and closing loopholes in the sugary drinks tax.


Save our NHS and Social Care Services 2

  • ● Encourage the traffic-light labelling system for food products and publication

of information on calorie, fat, sugar and salt content in restaurants and


  • ● Introduce mandatory targets on sugar reduction for food and drink producers.
  • ● Reduce smoking rates, introducing a levy on tobacco companies so they fairly

contribute to the costs of health care and smoking cessation services.

  • ● Implement the recommendations of the Keogh review to regulate cosmetic

surgery and ensure that the NHS is not picking up the tab for private


  • ● Introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol, subject to the final outcome of the

legal challenge in Scotland.

  • ● Develop a public health campaign promoting the steps people can take to

improve their own mental resilience – the wellbeing equivalent of the ‘Five a

Day’ campaign.

  • ● Support good practice among employers in promoting wellbeing and ensure

people with mental health problems get the help they need to stay in or find

work, with a ‘wellbeing premium’ to reward employers who take clear action to

measurably improve the health of their employees.

  • ● We will develop a just settlement for haemophiliacs who were given

contaminated blood, and for their families.

iStock/ DGLimages


Put Children First 3

Change Britain’s Future

Put Children


25 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

Liberal Democrats have always put education at the heart of our agenda. Education

opens the mind, it fosters understanding and tolerance, and it empowers our

children and our communities. We believe every child deserves a great start in life so

they are equipped to shape their own future, and are determined to make sure that

the education system finds and unleashes the best in everyone. This is essential in

order to break down the unfair divisions in our society, to ensure a productive,

competitive economy and to overcome intolerance.

Too many people have their chances in life determined by who their parents are

rather than by their own efforts and abilities. With our Pupil Premium, investing in

children who might otherwise fall behind, we are finally beginning to tackle the

scandalous gap in attainment between rich and poor. But now the Conservatives

want to take us back 50 years, to an outdated system of grammar schools and

secondary moderns, ignoring all the research and expert advice that show it will

damage the life chances of so many children.

Liberal Democrats recognise the dual role of education in giving young people the

knowledge and skills they need to be part of a productive, competitive economy, and

helping them grow into happy, healthy and engaged members of their community.

Children’s education is too often distorted by schools’ need to focus on the next

set of league tables and the next inspection. Teachers deserve to be treated as

professionals and given the flexibility and support to apply their expertise. Schools

should be free to encourage children to participate in a truly rounded curriculum

including the arts, sport and culture that broaden children’s learning and develop

their passion for education.

Our priorities in the next parliament will be:

  • ● Investing nearly £7 billion extra in our children’s education – increasing

school budgets and the Pupil Premium to protect against rising costs

and pupil numbers, and introducing a fairer national funding formula.

  • ● Investing in high-quality early years education, tripling the Early Years

Pupil Premium to £1,000.

  • ● Opposing any new selective schools and giving local authorities proper

democratic control over admissions and new schools.


Put Children First 3

3.1 Stop the education cuts – fair funding for every


Schools in England are facing an unprecedented funding crisis, with rising pupil

numbers and an inadequate financial settlement meaning that real-terms perpupil

funding is being squeezed. At the same time the Conservatives’ flawed

approach to the National Fair Funding Formula means some schools will lose out

even more. Liberal Democrats believe every child deserves a high-quality

education, wherever they live. We will:

  • ● Reverse all cuts to front-line school and college budgets, protecting per-pupil

funding in real terms.

  • ● Introduce a fairer national funding system with a protection for all schools, so

that no school loses money.

  • ● Protect the Pupil Premium which targets extra help at disadvantaged children.

Over the parliament, this means nearly £7 billion more for school and college


3.2 Quality really counts in early years

Investing in high-quality early years education has a huge impact on children’s

attainment as they enter school. Our most vulnerable children have the most to

gain from excellent early years settings, with partnerships with parents a key

component. We will:

  • ● Increase our Early Years Pupil Premium to £1,000 per pupil per year.
  • ● Raise the quality of early years provision and aim for every formal early years

setting to employ at least one person who holds an early years teacher

qualification by 2022.

3.3 Teachers – our biggest asset in education

Too many good teachers are leaving the profession – in many cases because of

the excessive pressure they are under from heavy workloads and funding cuts. We

want to empower teachers and make sure they feel valued for the essential work

they do. We want to improve the status of the teaching profession, and support

and nurture teachers in their work – helping to drive up standards in every school.

27 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

We will:

  • ● End the 1% cap on teachers’ pay rises.
  • ● Guarantee that all teachers in state-funded schools will be fully qualified or

working towards qualified teacher status (QTS) from January 2019.

  • ● Introduce a clear and properly funded entitlement to genuinely high-quality

professional development for all teachers – 25 hours per year by 2020, rising

to the OECD average of 50 hours by 2025.

  • ● Support proper long-term planning of initial teacher training places, prioritising

close partnerships with higher education and specialist routes such as Teach First

in order to recruit the highest-quality teachers in shortage areas such as science,

technology, engineering, the arts and maths.

  • ● Tackle unnecessary teacher workloads, including by:

— Establishing an independent Education Standards Authority to pilot, phase

in and resource future policy changes in consultation with professionals

and experts.

— Reforming Ofsted inspections so that they include a focus on longer-term

outcomes and sustainable improvement as well as teacher workload,

sickness and retention.

— Supporting the establishment of a new, independent Foundation for

Leadership in Education, working under the umbrella of the Chartered

College of Teaching, to promote high-quality, evidence-based leadership and

help the best leaders into the most challenging schools.

  • ● Continue to work with the Education Endowment Foundation to establish a

comprehensive evidence base on what works in teaching.


Put Children First 3

3.4 Driving up school standards

Far too many children are still failing to get the opportunities they need. We cannot fail

our children – especially when we know it is the children who need the most help who

are the most likely to be let down. The Conservatives’ obsession with more grammar

schools is not the answer. Liberal Democrats want to give every child the chance of

attending an excellent local school. We will:

  • ● Give democratically accountable local authorities clear responsibility for local

school places planning and repeal the rule that all new state-funded schools

must be free schools or academies. We will encourage local head teachers

with a strong record to play a key role in school improvement, working with

schools and local authorities.

  • ● Scrap the planned expansion of grammar schools and devolve all capital

monies for new school spaces to local authorities.

  • ● Allow Ofsted to inspect both local authorities and academy chains.
  • ● Rule out state-funded profit-making schools and ensure that new schools are

built in areas where there is a need for new school places, instead of wasting

money on oversupply.

  • ● Ensure that identification and support for special educational needs and

disabilities takes place as early as possible. All new policies should have an

assessment of how they affect pupils who have special educational needs, and

ensure they adhere to duties under the Equality Act.

3.5 Curriculum and qualifications

We want schools to have flexibility, but we also believe that parents and children

need to know that the curriculum in every school will cover the essentials, and that

teachers will be skilled educators who know how to inspire a love of learning.

Education should equip children with rich knowledge for life, nurturing creativity and

problem-solving, and instilling a passion for lifelong learning. Children should be

helped to develop the life skills they will need as adults, and every pupil should be

given advice and guidance about their future. We will:

  • ● Introduce a curriculum entitlement – a slimmed down core national

curriculum, which will be taught in all state-funded schools. This will include

Personal, Social and Health Education: a ‘curriculum for life’ including financial

29 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

literacy, first aid and emergency lifesaving skills, mental health education,

citizenship and age-appropriate Sex and Relationship Education (SRE).

  • ● Include in SRE teaching about sexual consent, LGBT+ relationships, and issues

surrounding explicit images and content.

  • ● Make the curriculum the responsibility of an Educational Standards Authority

to pilot, phase in and resource future changes in consultation with

professionals and experts while retaining legitimate democratic accountability.

  • ● Prioritise primary progress measures instead of floor thresholds and work

with the profession to reform tests at 11, preventing curriculum narrowing in

upper Key Stage 2.

  • ● Protect the availability of arts and creative subjects in the curriculum and act

to remove barriers to pupils studying these subjects.

  • ● Improve the quality of vocational education, including skills for

entrepreneurship and self-employment, and improve careers advice in

schools and colleges.

  • ● Improve links between employers and schools, encouraging all schools to

participate in employment and enterprise schemes that promote regular

experiences in business. In particular, we will seek to inspire more children

and young people to follow technical and scientific careers through

partnership with relevant businesses.

  • ● Challenge gender stereotyping and early sexualisation, working with schools to

promote positive body image and break down outdated perceptions of gender

appropriateness of particular academic subjects.

3.6 Getting children and families ready to learn

England’s young people are some of the unhappiest and most anxious in the

world. Schools are on the front line in dealing with children and young adults with

mental health issues. We also know that children cannot learn properly if they are


Parents are under huge pressure and receive little support even though home is the

biggest influence on children’s learning. Liberal Democrats believe that parents need

to be properly empowered and supported with the tools they need to raise the next

generation, and involved in the running of their children’s schools. We will:

  • ● Ensure that all teaching staff have the training to identify mental health issues

and that schools provide immediate access for pupil support and counselling.


Put Children First 3

  • ● Include promoting wellbeing as a statutory duty of a school, to be part of the

Ofsted inspection framework.

  • ● Extend free school meals to all children in primary education and promote

school breakfast clubs.

  • ● Establish a new online Family University, supported by leading organisations

such as the BBC and Open University, to provide every family with advice and

guidance for learning and parenting at home, as well as inspiring trips out and

local opportunities.

  • ● Ensure collaboration between leading education and family organisations to

improve the flow of helpful information between home and school without

increasing teacher workload.

  • ● Tackle bullying in schools, including bullying on the basis of gender, sexuality,

gender identity or gender expression.

3.7 A world-class university sector, open to all

The ability of universities to attract funding to maintain top-quality research activity

and deliver the best teaching depends on being open and outward looking. The

ability to attract and retain the best staff and students in our world-class

universities is vital. Brexit undermines these at every turn.

In government, Liberal Democrats established a fairer system such that no

undergraduate student in England had to pay a penny of their tuition fees up front

or pay anything afterwards until they earn more than £21,000 per year. This meant

that only high-earning graduates would pay their tuition fees in full, and eliminated

systematic discrimination against part-time students. We now have the highest

university application rates ever, including from disadvantaged students. But the

Conservatives are threatening to undermine opportunity by ending student

bursaries, freezing the repayment threshold and raising the level of fees. We will:

  • ● Reinstate maintenance grants for the poorest students, ensuring that living

costs are not a barrier to disadvantaged young people studying at university.

  • ● Establish a review of higher education finance in the next parliament to

consider any necessary reforms, in the light of the latest evidence of the

impact of the existing financing system on access, participation and quality,

and make sure there is no more retrospective raising of rates, or selling-off of

loans to private companies.

  • ● Ensure that all universities work to widen participation across the sector,

31 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

prioritising their work with students in schools and colleges, and require every

university to be transparent about selection criteria.

  • ● Reverse the damage to universities and academics by changing the country’s

course away from a hard Brexit.

  • ● Recognise the value of international staff to universities and promote

international collaboration.

  • ● Fight to retain access to Horizon 2020 and Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions funding.
  • ● Reinstate quality assurance for universities applying for degree-awarding powers.

3.8 Lifelong opportunities to learn

We need to grow the country’s skills base, especially in the technologies and

industries that are most important to Britain’s economic future. We want it to

become the norm for businesses to take on and train up young people as

apprentices in every sector of our economy, and for higher-level apprenticeships

to be understood as a respected alternative to university education.

As our economy rapidly changes the need for people to retrain and reskill has

never been more important. It is no longer the case that the skills learned at 18 or

21 will last throughout a career. The ability to learn new skills or change careers is

also vital in creating the opportunity for people to succeed no matter their stage in

life. That’s why Liberal Democrats support the need for lifelong learning. We will:

  • ● Aim to double the number of businesses which hire apprentices, including by

extending apprenticeships to new sectors of our economy such as creative

and digital industries.

  • ● Develop national colleges as national centres of expertise for key sectors,

such as renewable energy, to deliver the high-level vocational skills that

businesses need.

  • ● Work with the Apprenticeship Advisory Group to increase the number of

apprentices from BAME backgrounds, ensure gender balance across industry

sectors and encourage under-represented groups to apply.

  • ● Identify and seek to solve skills gaps – for example the lack of advanced

technicians – by expanding higher vocational training such as foundation

degrees, Higher National Diplomas, Higher National Certificates and

Higher Apprenticeships.

  • ● Ensure that all the receipts from the Apprenticeship Levy in England are spent

on training, aiming to fund a wider range of types of training.


Put Children First 3

  • ● Aim to meet all basic skills needs including literacy, numeracy and digital skills

by 2030.

  • ● Create individual accounts for funding mature adult and part-time learning

and training, and provide for all adults individual access to all necessary career

information, advice and guidance.

  • ● Facilitate across the UK an effective and comprehensive system for credit

transfer and recognition of prior learning and qualifications.

33 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

iStock/ dolgachov


Build an Economy that Works for You 4

Change Britain’s Future

Build an

Economy that

Works for You

35 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

Britain’s economy is unbalanced. There are stark contrasts between regions,

between old and young, and between the successful and those left behind.

New technologies are beginning to transform the economy. Machine learning,

artificial intelligence and automation are affecting the type and the scale of

employment. New global markets are opening up for low-carbon and resourceefficient

goods, services and infrastructure. The scope and speed of these changes

will be profound and rapid.

Britain needs a sustainable and balanced economy not just to help fund public

services but because growth and enterprise create jobs and opportunities for

all. Liberal Democrats believe that there is much to be done to create an

economy that ensures that the whole population benefits from the technological

advances ahead.

We will work to support growth now and put in place a sustainable economy that will

create growth for the future – an economy that works for the long term: prosperous,

green, open and fair.

The actions of the Conservatives have undermined the Coalition’s work in fixing

the economy. They have chosen to risk the long-term future of our economy

by limiting vital spending on infrastructure and creating an over-reliance on

consumer spending fuelled by debt to prop up growth. They have consistently

put their own short-term ambition above long-term economic prosperity. Above all,

their disastrous determination to pursue a hard Brexit casts a shadow over our

economic future.

As a result, our economy is at its most fragile since the 2008 crash. We need a

radical programme of investment to boost growth, develop new infrastructure fit

for the future and get our economy back on track.


Build an Economy that Works for You 4

4.1 Responsible finances: investing in

Britain’s future

Liberal Democrats reject the Conservative Government’s damaging and irrational

commitment to run budget surpluses on both capital and revenue, which imposes

completely unnecessary deep cuts in spending and limits the scope for muchneeded

capital investment. But we have no intention of just throwing away our

hard-fought efforts to control the deficit during the Coalition years. Liberal

Democrats will therefore commit to eliminating the deficit in day-to-day spending

by 2020. This means we will be able to keep debt as a share of national wealth

falling through the parliament, unless there is a recession. Once we have brought

current expenditure into balance we will ensure that overall public spending grows

roughly in line with the economy. This means that we can improve key public

services and provide them with the investment they need.

A long-term stable economy requires more than just discipline over spending. It requires

us to invest in people, innovation and infrastructure in order to give our economy the

opportunity to remain competitive for the future. The Conservatives have failed to take

advantage of historically low interest rates to borrow for the investment that would

create jobs now and prepare us and our economy for the future.

Liberal Democrats will therefore commit to a responsible and realistic £100 billion

package of additional infrastructure investment. This will prioritise:

  • ● New direct spending on housebuilding to help build 300,000 homes a year

by 2022.

Our priorities in the next parliament will be:

  • ● Boosting the economy with a major programme of capital investment

aimed at stimulating growth across all areas of the UK.

  • ● Eliminating the deficit on day-to-day spending by 2020 to control the

national debt, and then borrowing only to invest.

  • ● Ensuring strong public services by investing the proceeds of a 1p rise

in Income Tax in the NHS and social care, and commiting to

protecting the schools budget in real terms.

37 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

  • ● A programme of installing hyperfast, fibre-optic broadband across the UK.
  • ● Capital investment in schools and hospitals to support capacity increases and


  • ● Significant investment in road and rail infrastructure, including a continued

commitment to HS2, Crossrail 2 and rail electrification.

  • ● Additional funding to bring more private investment into renewable energy.
  • ● £5 billion of initial capital for a new British Housing and Infrastructure

Development Bank, using public money to attract private investment for these


We will ensure that the National Infrastructure Commission takes fully into account

the environmental implications of all national infrastructure decisions. We will also

devolve significant infrastructure spending to local areas.

Our investment in new infrastructure is matched by our commitment to protecting vital

public services, including the NHS and education. We will make the difficult decisions

needed to ensure our NHS is protected for the long term and that children are given the

opportunities they need to succeed. We will therefore commit to:

  • ● Increase spending on the NHS and social care, using the proceeds of a 1p rise

in Income Tax. This will be paid by taxpayers in England, Wales and Northern

Ireland, and the revenue will be ringfenced for spending on NHS and social

care services in England, with the appropriate share also being transferred to

Wales and Northern Ireland. This taxation will be neither levied nor spent in

Scotland. There will be a commensurate 1p increase in dividend taxation

which is a UK-wide tax. The receipts of this will be similarly earmarked, with

Scotland also receiving its share.

  • ● Protect the education budget in real terms per pupil from early years to

age 19.

  • ● End the 1% cap on pay rises in the public sector, and uprate wages in line

with inflation.

The Conservative pursuit of hard Brexit will have serious impacts on the UK’s

national finances – impacts which current government plans may not fully take into

account. Liberal Democrats would choose to pursue a very different European

policy, and therefore would expect a better financial situation.

We will initiate a spending review after the general election focusing on delivering


Build an Economy that Works for You 4

iStock/ DaveBolton

39 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

efficiency, funding proven spend-to-save initiatives, pursuing local and community

integration to drive efficiency, and investing in technology to get public services

and front-line staff online.

Traditional indicators of economic activity such as GDP are poor guides to genuine

prosperity and wellbeing. We will therefore introduce a National Wellbeing

Strategy covering all aspects of government policy, including health, housing and

the environment.

4.2 Fair taxes

In order to balance the books and build a sustainable economy for the future we

must ensure that everyone pays their fair share. Liberal Democrats have a longstanding

commitment to fairer taxation, and in government we raised the personal

allowance for Income Tax. It remains our ambition to make taxes fairer and

simpler, to help those on low and middle incomes, and to ensure that those on

the highest incomes, and large international companies, make a fair contribution.

We will:

  • ● Aim in the long term, and as resources allow, to raise the employee national

insurance threshold to the Income Tax threshold, while protecting low earners’

ability to accrue pension and benefit entitlements.

  • ● Ensure those with the highest incomes and wealth are making a fair

contribution. We have identified a series of distortions, loopholes and

excessive reliefs that should be removed. These include reforms to Capital

Gains Tax and dividend tax relief, and refocusing entrepreneurs’ relief.

We would reverse a number of the Conservatives’ unfair and unjustified

tax cuts, including:

— The cutting of Corporation Tax from 20% to 17%.

— Capital Gains Tax cuts.

— Capital Gains Tax extended relief.

— The Marriage Allowance.

— The raising of the Inheritance Tax threshold.

  • ● Take tough action against corporate tax evasion and avoidance,i ncluding by:

— Introducing a General Anti-Avoidance Rule, setting a target for HM

Revenue and Customs to reduce the tax gap, and continuing to invest in

staff to enable them to meet it.

— Reforming Corporation Tax to develop a system that benefits the smallest


Build an Economy that Works for You 4

companies while ensuring the biggest multinationals cannot avoid paying

sums comparable to nationally based competitors. We will consult on

shifting away from a profits-based tax to one that takes account of a wider

range of economic activity indicators, such as sales and turnover.

— Reviewing the Business Rates system, prioritising reforms that recognise

the development of the digital economy, lessening the burden on smaller

businesses, and ensuring high streets remain competitive. We will also

consider the implementation of Land Value Taxation.

  • ● Conduct a full-scale review into the burden of taxation and spending

between generations to ensure that government policy promotes fairness

between generations.

4.3 Supporting entrepreneurs and small business

As well as the need for public infrastructure investment, the role of entrepreneurs

and small businesses in delivering a thriving economy is fundamental. Liberal

Democrats believe there is a vital need for access to finance for new businesses,

and those wishing to scale up. Creating true competition means allowing new

businesses to rise and challenge established companies. There are also many

well-established small businesses and traders which form the backbone of local

economies. Our priority in supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses is to

ensure that they have access to the funding they need, and in particular long-term

(and patient) capital. We will:

  • ● Expand the activities of the state-owned British Business Bank, enabling it

to perform a more central role in the economy by tackling the shortage of

equity capital for growing firms and providing long-term capital for mediumsized


  • ● Create a new ‘start-up allowance’ to help those starting a new business with

their living costs in the crucial first weeks of their business.

  • ● Support fast-growing businesses seeking to scale up, through the provision of

mentoring support.

  • ● Review Business Rates to reduce burdens on small firms, and make them the

priority for any future business tax cuts.

  • ● Reform the Regulatory Policy Committee to remove unnecessary regulation,

reduce regulatory uncertainty, and support new markets and investment,

particularly in low-carbon and resource-efficient innovation.

41 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

4.4 Innovation, science and new technology

In the knowledge-based economy of the future, scientific research, innovation and

skills will be crucial to prosperity. The advent of robotics and increasing artificial

intelligence will also change the nature of work for many people. The government

needs to act now to ensure this technological march can benefit everyone and

that no areas are left in technology’s wake. We will:

  • ● Protect the science budget, including the recent £2 billion increase, by

continuing to raise it at least in line with inflation. Our long-term goal is to

double innovation and research spending across the economy. We would

guarantee to underwrite funding for British partners in EU-funded projects

such as Horizon 2020 who would suffer from cancellation of income on Brexit.

  • ● Build on the Coalition’s industrial strategy, working with sectors which are

critical to Britain’s ability to trade internationally, creating more ‘catapult’

innovation and technology centres and backing private investment in

particular in green innovation.

  • ● Develop the skilled workforce needed to support this growth with a major

expansion of high-quality apprenticeships, including advanced

apprenticeships, backed up with new sector-led national colleges. We will

develop a national skills strategy for key sectors, including low-carbon

technologies, to help match skills and people.

  • ● Invest to ensure that broadband connections and services to be provided

before 2020 have a speed of 2 Gbps or more, with fibre to the premises (FTTP)

as standard and unlimited usage by 2020 across the whole of the UK. SMEs

should be prioritised in the roll-out of hyperfast broadband.

  • ● Aim to double the number of SMEs participating in the digital economy by

supporting ICT capital expenditure by businesses in non-digital sectors.

  • ● Build on the success of Tech City, Tech North and the Cambridge tech cluster

with a network across the UK acting as incubators for technology companies.

  • ● Create a new retail and business strategy to look at the impact of new

technology on jobs in key sectors.

  • ● Commit to build digital skills in the UK and retain coding on the national

curriculum in England.

  • ● Support growth in the creative industries, including video gaming, by continuing

to support the Creative Industries Council and tailored industry-specific tax

support, promoting creative skills, supporting modern and flexible patent,

copyright and licensing rules, and addressing the barriers to finance faced by


Build an Economy that Works for You 4

small creative businesses.

  • ● Invest in the future – supporting innovative technologies including the

space industry.

4.5 Helping everyone earn a decent living

Most businesses recognise the long-term value in treating their employers decently

and developing their skills. However, there are still too many examples of

unscrupulous employers who perpetuate bad practice, which not only exploits

workers but can also undermine the competitive position of good employers. This

has to change if we are to give everyone a decent chance of earning a living and

move towards a more productive economy. We will:

  • ● Encourage the creation and widespread adoption of a ‘good employer’

kitemark covering areas such as paying a living wage, avoiding unpaid

internships and using name-blind recruitment to make it easier for customers

and investors to exercise choice and influence.

  • ● Establish an independent review to consult on how to set a genuine living

wage across all sectors. We will pay this living wage in all central government

departments and their agencies, and encourage other public-sector

employers to do likewise.

  • ● Extend transparency requirements on larger employers to include publishing

the number of people paid less than the living wage and the ratio between top

and median pay.

  • ● Modernise employment rights to make them fit for the age of the ‘gig’

economy, looking to build on the forthcoming Taylor report.

  • ● Stamp out abuse of zero-hours contracts. We will create a formal right to

request a fixed contract and consult on introducing a right to make regular

patterns of work contractual after a period of time.

  • ● Strengthen enforcement of employment rights, including by bringing together

relevant enforcement agencies and scrapping employment tribunal fees.

43 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

4.6 Helping everyone to share in prosperity

Too many people justifiably feel left behind. Liberal Democrats believe that it is

vital that everyone is given a stake in our economy, that we can only be united and

competitive as a country if the rewards are reaped by all.

A well-functioning economy which works for everyone cannot be based solely on

companies owned by and operated on behalf of small groups of shareholders. It

should seek to foster a diversity of types of business, including encouraging

alternative models such as mutuals, social enterprises or community-interest


In all cases, it is vital to ensure the engagement and involvement of employees;

successful businesses work for all stakeholders. That is why we will:

  • ● Encourage employers to promote employee ownership by giving staff in listed

companies with more than 250 employees a right to request shares, to be held in

trust for the benefit of employees.

  • ● Strengthen worker participation in decision-making, including staff representation

on remuneration committees, and the right for employees of a listed company to

be represented on the board. We will change company law to permit a Germanstyle

two-tier board structure to include employees.

  • ● Reform fiduciary duty and company purpose rules to ensure that other

considerations, such as employee welfare, environmental standards,

community benefit and ethical practice, can be fully included in decisions

made by directors and fund managers.

  • ● Reduce the reporting requirement for disclosure of shareholdings to 1% in

order to increase transparency over who owns stakes in the biggest


  • ● Require binding and public votes of board members on executive pay policies.

It is a scandal that in Britain today there are 1.7 million people without a bank

account, eight million experiencing problem debt and 40% of the working-age

population who have less than £100 in savings. To tackle the problem of financial

exclusion Liberal Democrats will:

  • ● Take forward the recommendations of the House of Lords Select Committee


Build an Economy that Works for You 4

on Financial Exclusion, in particular by expanding the Financial Conduct

Authority’s remit to include a statutory duty to promote financial inclusion as

one of its key objectives.

4.7 Spreading opportunities to every part of the


Prosperity is very unevenly spread across the nations and regions of the UK. The

prospect of Brexit, including the loss of £8.9 billion of European Structural and

Investment Funds, is only likely to make the problems faced by disadvantaged

areas worse. Local autonomy with real financial muscle is the only sustainable

answer to the regional divide. We will:

  • ● Continue to champion the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine

initiatives and invest significant capital resources in infrastructure projects

across the north of England and the Midlands.

  • ● Devolve further revenue-raising powers away from Westminster, to regions from

Cornwall to the north-east. We will ensure that any powers devolved are

matched by the funding to deliver on the needs of local people.

  • ● Devolve more decision-making power over key levers of economic development

including transport, housing and skills.

  • ● Provide assistance to areas heavily dependent on fossil fuel industries, such as

the north-east of Scotland, to diversify away from these industries.

  • ● Give the immediate go-ahead to the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project.
  • ● Encourage local authorities and local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) to work in

partnership with existing business, universities and other business hubs to

develop plans for building on already established success in a particular area,

including the ability to raise money to incentivise clustering by businesses with

particular specialisations.

  • ● Use central government public procurement policy as a tool of local growth

and community development by, for example, purchasing from diverse

sources and using local labour, goods and services, and encouraging local

government to do the same.

  • ● Require the major banks to fund the creation of a local banking sector

dedicated to meeting the needs of local SMEs.

45 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

iStock/ Tomasz Wyszołmirski


Keep our Country Green 5

Change Britain’s Future

Keep our

Country Green

47 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

Eighteen months ago, it seemed that the world had come to a consensus on the

need to take the perils of climate change seriously. Countries across the globe had

recognised that rising temperatures and pollution were not just an environmental

issue, but an economic and security issue. But with the election of Donald Trump

in the US and Britain’s vote to leave the EU, the tides of isolationism and populism

could halt or even reverse the progress that has been made.

The Conservatives seem determined to take Britain back to the 1980s, when the

UK was the ‘dirty man of Europe’. They have cut support for renewable energy and

home insulation, sold off the Green Investment Bank and failed to control air

pollution. Their actions put not just Britain’s environment at risk but the health of

its citizens and its economy, undermining the increasingly successful green

industries which already employ more than half a million workers.

Liberal Democrats are determined that we live up to our environmental

obligations. That’s why we will pass five green laws: a Green Transport Act, a

Zero-Carbon Britain Act, a Nature Act, a Green Buildings Act, and a Zero-Waste Act

to incorporate existing EU environmental protections, maintain product standards

such as for energy efficiency, and establish a framework for continual


Our priorities in the next parliament will be:

  • ● Ensuring that four million properties receive insulation retrofits by

2022, prioritising fuel-poor households.

  • ● Preventing 40,000 deaths a year with our Air Quality Plan to reduce

air pollution.

  • ● Ensuring British farming remains competitive and doesn’t lose

out – refocusing support towards producing healthy food and

public benefits.


Keep our Country Green 5

5.1 Clean air and green transport

Air pollution in the UK is a killer. It contributes to 40,000 premature deaths a year

and costs the NHS £15 billion. This year, London exceeded its annual air pollution

target in just five days. The government has failed time and again to comply with

EU limits on pollution.

That’s why the Liberal Democrats will pass a Green Transport Act, introduce

an Air Quality Plan to reduce air pollution and protect UK citizens, and support the

manufacture of low-emission and electric vehicles, generating jobs and exports.

This plan will include:

  • ● A diesel scrappage scheme, and a ban on the sale of diesel cars and small

vans in the UK by 2025.

  • ● Extending ultra-low-emission zones to 10 more towns and cities.
  • ● All private hire vehicles and diesel buses licensed to operate in urban areas to

run on ultra-low-emission or zero-emission fuels within five years.

We will also reform vehicle taxation to encourage sales of electric and lowemission

vehicles and develop electric vehicle infrastructure including universal

charging points.

5.2 Low-carbon energy and green jobs

In government, we championed green energy, and oversaw the trebling of

renewable electricity generation. But the Conservatives have repeatedly cut support

for green energy producers – damaging the environment and costing British jobs.

Liberal Democrats will expand renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions, cutting

dependence on fossil fuel imports and generating more jobs and prosperity. We will:

  • ● Pass a Zero-Carbon Britain Act to set new legally binding targets to reduce net

greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2040 and to zero by 2050.

  • ● Set up a British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank to mobilise

investment into the low-carbon and sustainable infrastructure the UK needs

to remain competitive.

  • ● Support the Paris agreement by ensuring the UK meets its own climate

commitments and plays a leadership role in international efforts to combat

climate change.

49 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

  • ● Expand renewable energy, aiming to generate 60% of electricity from

renewables by 2030, restoring government support for solar PV and onshore

wind in appropriate locations (helping meet climate targets at least cost) and

building more electricity interconnectors to underpin this higher reliance on


  • ● Support investment in cutting-edge technologies including energy storage,

smart grid technology, hydrogen technologies, offshore wind, and tidal power

(including giving the go-ahead for the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon), and investing

heavily in research and development.

  • ● Support an ambitious carbon capture and storage programme, which is essential for

delivering clean industrial growth.

  • ● Oppose ‘fracking’ because of its adverse impact on climate change, the energy

mix, and the local environment.

  • ● Accept that new nuclear power stations can play a role in electricity supply

provided concerns about safety, disposal of waste and cost are adequately

addressed, new technology is incorporated, and there is no public subsidy for

new build.

  • ● Maintain membership of Euratom, ensuring continued nuclear co-operation,

research funding, and access to nuclear fuels.

5.3 Greener homes, lower energy bills

At more than £1,200 a year, the cost of heating and lighting an average home in

the UK is too high – and with a falling exchange rate, costs will rise further. More

than two million families – one in 10 households in England – cannot afford to

heat their home properly.

Liberal Democrats will reduce energy bills permanently by improving home

insulation and encouraging small-scale, community and local-authority renewable

schemes. We will make saving energy a top infrastructure priority, slashing energy

bills and carbon emissions, creating thousands of jobs and helping end the fuel

poverty crisis once and for all. We will:

  • ● Pass a new Green Buildings Act to set new energy-efficiency targets, including a

long-term ambition for every home in England to reach at least an energy rating of

Band C by 2035.

  • ● Ensure that at least four million homes are made highly energy efficient (Band
  1. C) by 2022, with priority given to fuel-poor households.


Keep our Country Green 5

  • ● Restore the zero-carbon standard for new homes which was set by Liberal

Democrats in government and since abandoned by the Conservatives, increasing

the standard steadily and extending it to non-domestic buildings by 2022.

  • ● Expand community energy schemes, encourage councils to develop

community energy-saving projects and local electricity generation, and

promote city-scale demonstration projects in electric vehicles and clean


  • ● Continue to back new entrants to the energy market, aiming for at least 30%

of the household market to be supplied by competitors to the ‘Big 6’ by 2022.

5.4 Protecting nature

Britain’s natural environment is precious. The countryside, wildlife and urban

green spaces are critical to health, wellbeing and a sense of community. The

quality of the environment also underpins key industries such as agriculture and

tourism. We will:

  • ● Establish a £2 billion flood-prevention fund focused on providing support for

small community and council-led schemes to reduce upstream flooding, and

the knock-on effects in downstream and coastal areas, in addition to

improving flood defences, and introducing high standards for flood resilience

for buildings and infrastructure in flood-risk areas.

  • ● Pass a Nature Act to put the Natural Capital Committee (NCC) on a statutory

footing, set legally binding natural capital targets, including on biodiversity, clean

air and water, and empower the NCC to recommend actions to meet these


  • ● Significantly increase the amount of accessible green space, including

completion of the coastal path, and create a new designation of national

nature parks to protect up to one million acres of accessible green space

valued by local communities.

  • ● Protect and restore England’s lakes, rivers and wetlands, including through

reform of water management and higher water-efficiency standards, and

establish a ‘blue belt’ of protected marine areas.

  • ● Reverse the current sharp decline in the rate of woodland creation by aiming to

plant a tree for every UK citizen over the next 10 years, and protect remaining

ancient woodlands.

  • ● Suspend the use of neonicotinoids until proven that their use in agriculture

does not harm bees or other pollinators.

51 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

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Keep our Country Green 5

  • ● Introduce stronger penalties for animal cruelty offences, increasing the

maximum sentencing from six months to five years, and bring in a ban on

caged hens.

  • ● Clamp down on illegal pet imports through legal identification requirements

for online sales, and minimise the use of animals in scientific experimentation,

including by funding research into alternatives.

5.5 Farming, food and agriculture

The vote to leave the EU puts farming and agricultural businesses in huge danger,

threatening both cuts to the support which underpin farmers’ livelihoods and

ability to manage the countryside, and also tariffs on exports. For agricultural

products outside the EU, tariffs average 22.3% – putting Britain’s £18 billion of

food exports in danger.

Our system must support farmers, ensure food production and protect the

environment. That’s why we will:

  • ● Continue our long campaign to reform agricultural subsidies – making sure

British farming remains competitive and doesn’t lose out in the event of Britain

leaving the EU, rebalancing away from direct subsidy and refocusing support

towards the public benefits that come from effective land management

including countryside protection, flood prevention, food production and

climate-change mitigation. This would ensure that smaller farms are protected

and move support away from large landowners, while delivering a more

localised agricultural policy.

  • ● Encourage new and younger entrants to farming by championing different

forms of ownership including longer tenancies, share farming and community


  • ● Introduce a national food strategy to promote the production and consumption

of healthy, sustainable and affordable food.

  • ● Increase the powers of the Groceries Code Adjudicator and extend its remit to

include businesses further up the supply chain, helping to ensure that farmers

receive a fair price.

  • ● Continue to improve standards of animal health and welfare in agriculture by

updating farm animal welfare codes and promoting the responsible

stewardship of antibiotic drugs.

  • ● Ensure that future trade deals require high safety, environmental and animal

53 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

welfare standards for food imports, including clear and unambiguous countryof-

origin labelling for meat and dairy products.

  • ● Develop safe, effective, humane and evidence-based ways of controlling

bovine TB, including by investing to produce workable vaccines.

Despite reform, the Common Fisheries Policy has failed to deliver the economic or

environmental objectives necessary and has suffered from being remote, overly

centralised and bureaucratic. Hard Brexit and the loss of export markets threatens

to further damage the industry, which has long suffered from being used as a

bargaining chip by UK governments. Liberal Democrats would defend and

maintain our fishing industry by not allowing fishing rights to be traded away

against other policy areas, and work with the industry and other stakeholders to

develop a national plan for sustainable fisheries.

5.6 Cutting waste, using resources wisely

Britain’s economy fails to make the most efficient use of natural resources. We aim

to cut waste, increase recovery, reuse and recycling and move towards the

so-called ‘circular economy’ in which resource use, waste and pollution are

minimised and product lifetimes are extended. This will cut costs for consumers

and businesses, and create new jobs and enterprises, helping to grow Britain’s

economy. We will:

  • ● Pass a Zero-Waste Act, including legally binding targets for reducing net

consumption of key natural resources, and introducing incentives for

businesses to improve resource efficiency.

  • ● Benefit consumers by promoting better product design to improve

repairability, reuse and recycling.

  • ● Establish a statutory waste recycling target of 70% in England and extend

separate food waste collections to at least 90% of homes by 2022.

  • ● Building on the success of our plastic bag charge, introduce a 5p charge on

disposable coffee cups to reduce waste.

  • ● Establish a coherent tax and regulatory framework for landfill, incineration and

waste collection, including reinstating the landfill tax escalator and extending it to

the lower rate, and consulting on the introduction of an incineration tax.

  • ● Work with local government to ensure these commitments are fully funded.


Keep our Country Green 5

To ensure the policies set out in this chapter are implemented, and to put the

protection of the environment at the heart of policies across all areas of

government, we will establish a Cabinet Committee on Sustainability, chaired by a

cabinet minister, establish an Office for Environmental Responsibility to scrutinise

the government’s efforts to meet its environmental targets, and place a

responsibility on every government agency to account for its contribution towards

meeting climate targets in everything it does.

55 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

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Support Families and Communities 6

Change Britain’s Future


Families and


57 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

A fair society is one in which everyone has the means to get by and the chance to

get on. It means being able to provide for your family, afford somewhere to live

and work within your community.

That’s why we will increase the availability of childcare to help parents who want

to work and why we will ensure that the benefits system is fair – focusing on

helping people and not just saving money. It’s why we will work to build more

houses and make them affordable. And it’s why we will empower local councils

and communities to run their own services – free from the interference of

central government.

Our priorities in the next parliament will be:

  • ● Extending free childcare to all two-year-olds and to the children of

working families from the end of paid parental leave, and

encouraging new fathers to take time off with an additional month’s

paid paternity leave.

  • ● Reaching a housebuilding target of 300,000 homes a year by 2022,

including half a million affordable and energy-efficient homes, with

direct government commissioning where the market fails to deliver.

  • ● Introducing a new Young Person’s Bus Discount Card for young

people aged 16–21, giving a two-thirds discount on bus travel.


Support Families and Communities 6

6.1 Help with childcare costs

Parents often want to take time out from paid work to care for young children but

in many families both parents want, or have, to work. The costs of childcare can be

prohibitive and opportunities for flexible working are scarce.

In government, we were proud to introduce Shared Parental Leave and increases

in free childcare but there are still gaps in the system. We will:

  • ● Expand Shared Parental Leave with an additional ‘use it or lose it’ month to

encourage fathers to take time off with young children. We would make

Paternity and Shared Parental Leave a ‘day one’ right.

  • ● Encourage employers to provide more flexible working, making this a ‘day one’

right, so that there is a presumption that work is flexible unless there is a clear

business reason it cannot be.

  • ● Provide 15 hours a week of free childcare to the parents of all two-year-olds in

England. We will then prioritise 15 hours’ free childcare for all working parents

in England with children aged between nine months and two years.

  • ● Commit to an ambitious long-term goal of 30 hours’ free childcare a week for

all parents in England with children aged from two to four years, and all

working parents from the end of paid parental leave to two years. This will not

only help parents afford to work, but will also help all children start school

confident, happy and ready to learn.

  • ● Ensure that this provision is fully funded at sustainable levels, provides

flexibility for parents who work unsocial hours and enables parents to use free

hours during school holidays.

6.2 Helping people find work

Having a paid job is for many people the key opportunity they need to be able to

achieve their life goals. Unemployment isn’t just an economic challenge – it’s a

personal problem and government must do everything it can to help those who can

work find a job and provide for themselves and their family. To that end, we will:

  • ● Separate employment support from benefits administration – making

Jobcentres places of training and support into work.

  • ● Take 13,000 children out of poverty by letting both parents earn before their

Universal Credit is cut and also reverse cuts to the Family Element.

59 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

  • ● Encourage people into work by reversing the cuts to Work Allowances in Universal

Credit, enabling people to work for longer before their benefits are cut.

  • ● Raise awareness of, and seek to expand, Access to Work, which supports

people with disabilities in work.

  • ● Improve links between Jobcentres and Work Programme providers and the

local NHS to ensure all those in receipt of health-related benefits are getting

the care and support to which they are entitled.

  • ● Accelerate the roll-out of Individual Placement and Support, a proven

approach to getting people with mental ill-health back into work.

6.3 Treating people fairly

The Liberal Democrats are clear – balancing the books on the backs of the poor

and disabled, and demonising people who claim benefits, is neither acceptable nor

responsible. Although all government budgets must be scrutinised to minimise

waste and ensure value for money, this must not be used as an excuse to attack

the poor and vulnerable. In any case it is more effective to tackle the causes of the

benefits bill – low pay, high rents, unemployment and ill-health.

That’s why we will reverse unfair Conservative policies such as reducing support

for younger people and cutting the benefits of people not fit for work. We will

reinstate the legally binding poverty targets of the Child Poverty Act. We will:

  • ● Uprate working-age benefits at least in line with inflation.
  • ● Abandon the two-child policy on family benefits and abolish the Conservatives’

‘rape clause’ where a woman has to declare children that are born as a result

of rape in order to access benefits.

  • ● Help young people in need by reversing cuts to housing benefit for

18-21-year-olds and increase the rates of Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal

Credit for those aged 18-24 at the same rate as minimum wages.

  • ● Reverse cuts to Employment Support Allowance to those in the work-related

activity group.

  • ● Increase Local Housing Allowance (LHA) in line with average rents in an area,

ensuring that LHA is enough for a family to pay their housing costs no matter

where they live.

  • ● Scrap the ‘bedroom tax’, while seeking to achieve the aim of making best

use of the housing supply through incentivising local authorities to help

tenants ‘downsize’.


Support Families and Communities 6

  • ● Scrap the discredited Work Capability Assessment and replace it with a new

system, run by local authorities according to national rules, including a ‘real

world’ test that is based on the local labour market.

  • ● Withdraw eligibility for the Winter Fuel Payment from pensioners who pay tax

at the higher rate (40%). We will retain the free bus pass for all pensioners.

  • ● Ensure that those using food banks are aware of their rights and how they can

access hardship payments where relevant.

6.4 Saving for and enjoying your retirement

Life expectancy is increasing. This is good news, but it brings challenges; older

people may need a pension income that will last for 20, 30 or even 40 years.

We want Britain to be the best place in the world to save for, and enjoy, your

retirement. We will:

  • ● Maintain the ‘triple lock’ of increasing the state pension each year by the

highest of earnings growth, prices growth or 2.5% for the next parliament.

  • ● Establish a review to consider the case for, and practical implications of,

introducing a single rate of tax relief for pensions, which would be designed to

be simpler and fairer and would be set more generously than the current 20%

basic rate relief.

6.5 Building more and better homes

The housing crisis in Britain has become an emergency. For far too long Britain has

built many fewer homes than we need; unless we build enough to meet demand,

year after year, we will find that housing costs rise further out of reach. That is why we

have set an ambitious target of increasing the rate of housebuilding to 300,000 a

year – almost double the current level. These new houses must be sustainably

planned to ensure that excessive pressure is not placed on existing infrastructure.

We will:

  • ● Directly build homes to fill the gap left by the market, to reach our

housebuilding target of 300,000 homes a year, through a government

commissioning programme to build homes for sale and rent. We will ensure

that half a million affordable, energy-efficient homes are built by the end of the


  • ● Create at least 10 new garden cities in England, providing tens of thousands of

61 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

high-quality, zero-carbon homes, with gardens and shared green space, jobs,

schools and public transport.

  • ● Set up a new government-backed British Housing and Infrastructure

Development Bank with a remit including providing long-term capital for major

new settlements and helping attract finance for major housebuilding projects.

  • ● End the Voluntary Right to Buy pilots that sell off housing association homes

and the associated high value asset levy.

  • ● Lift the borrowing cap on local authorities and increase the borrowing capacity

of housing associations so that they can build council and social housing.

  • ● Scrap exemptions on smaller housing development schemes from their

obligation to provide affordable homes, and strengthen the hand of local

government to prevent large developers reneging on their commitments.

  • ● Require local plans to take into account at least 15 years of future housing

need – focusing on long-term development and community needs.

  • ● Create a community right of appeal in cases where planning decisions go

against the approved local plan.

  • ● Enable local authorities to:

— Levy up to 200% council tax on second homes and ‘buy to leave empty’

investments from overseas.

— Enforce housebuilding on unwanted public sector land.

— Penalise excessive land-banking when builders with planning permission

have failed to build after three years.

— End the Right to Buy if they choose.

6.6 Buying and renting

House prices are high across the country – even where houses are available to buy,

they are often unaffordable for first-time buyers. In many areas, the rental market

has also become unaffordable. Young people, in particular, need support from the

government to help them find and keep a home of their own. We will:

  • ● Help people who cannot afford a deposit by introducing a new Rent to Own

model where rent payments give tenants an increasing stake in the property,

owning it outright after 30 years.

  • ● Improve renting by banning lettings fees for tenants, capping upfront deposits

and increasing minimum standards in rented homes.

  • ● Help young people into the rental market by establishing a new Help to Rent

scheme to provide government-backed tenancy deposit loans for all first-time


Support Families and Communities 6

renters under 30.

  • ● Give British buyers a fair chance by stopping developers advertising homes

abroad before they have been advertised in the UK.

  • ● Give tenants first refusal to buy the home they are renting from a landlord

who decides to sell during the tenancy at the market rate according to an

independent valuation.

  • ● Promote longer tenancies of three years or more with an inflation-linked

annual rent increase built in, to give tenants security and limit rent hikes.

  • ● Improve protections against rogue landlords through mandatory licensing and

allow access for tenants to the database of rogue landlords and property


  • ● End the scandal of rough sleeping by increasing support for homelessness

prevention and adequately funding age-appropriate emergency

accommodation and supported housing, while ensuring that all local

authorities have at least one provider of the Housing First model of provision

for long-term, entrenched homeless people.

6.7 Investing in the transport we need

High-quality public transport is essential to building sustainable communities and

the local and national economy. Britain needs better transport infrastructure, a

modern railway system run for the benefit of its customers, and less congestion

and pollution on the roads. We also need to ensure that local communities,

particularly rural communities, remain connected with local rail and bus services,

and that stations serve the needs of their local community. To build a transport

system fit for the 21st century, we will:

  • ● Ensure that new rail franchises include a stronger focus on customers,

including a programme of investment in new stations, lines and modern trains.

We will allow public sector bodies and mutual groups involving staff and

passengers to bid for franchises. We will continue the Access for All

programme, improving disabled access to public transport as a key priority.

  • ● As a result of severe failings that rise to the level of breach of contract,

establish government-run companies to take over the running of Southern

Rail and Govia Thameslink, with a long-term plan to find more effective and

sustainable ways of managing these franchises involving greater powers for

local government.

  • ● Pursue the electrification of the rail network, improve stations, reopen smaller

63 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

stations, restore twin-track lines to major routes and proceed with HS2, HS3

and Crossrail 2, including development of a high-speed network stretching

to Scotland.

  • ● Invest capital in major transport improvements and infrastructure. We will:

— Shift more freight from road to rail.

— Deliver the Transport for the North strategy to promote growth, innovation

and prosperity across northern England.

— Develop more modern, resilient links to and within the south-west

peninsula to help develop and diversify the regional economy.

— Complete East West Rail, connecting Oxford and Cambridge and catalysing

major new housing development.

— Ensure London’s transport infrastructure is improved to withstand the

pressure of population and economic growth.

— Support the takeover of metro services in London by London Overground.

— Encourage the swift take-up of electric and driverless vehicles.

  • ● Develop a strategic airports policy for the whole of the UK, taking full account

of the impacts on climate change and local pollution. We remain opposed to

any expansion of Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick and any new airport in the

Thames Estuary and will focus instead on improving existing regional airports

such as Birmingham and Manchester. We will ensure no net increase in

runways across the UK.

To protect and extend local public transport, we will:

  • ● Introduce a rail ombudsman to enforce passenger rights and improve the

provision of compensation, with the power to sanction rail companies as


  • ● Introduce a new Young Person’s Bus Discount Card, for young people aged

16–21, giving a two-thirds discount on bus travel – allowing young people to

access education, apprenticeships and work.

  • ● Halt the decline in bus services and carry out a review of bus funding and bus

policies. We will give principal local authorities the power to run, commission

and regulate the bus network in their area.

  • ● Provide local authorities and communities with the powers to improve

transport and ticketing with the ability to introduce network-wide and smart

ticketing systems.

  • ● Design towns and cities as safe and attractive walking spaces and implement


Support Families and Communities 6

the recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling report.

6.8 Local communities working together

Liberal Democrats believe in community politics – in the power of local people to

come together to solve their own problems and make a better life for their

neighbourhoods. This means rejuvenating democratic local government in

England and also supporting other forms of community organisation and

empowerment. We will:

  • ● Drastically reduce the powers of central government ministers to interfere in

democratically elected local government.

  • ● Remove the requirement to hold local referenda for council tax changes,

ensuring that councillors are properly accountable for their decisions by

introducing fair votes.

  • ● Aim to increase the number of neighbourhood, community and parish

councils and promote tenant management in social housing.

  • ● Establish a government process to deliver greater devolution of financial

responsibility to English local authorities and any new devolved bodies in

England, building on the work of the Independent Commission on Local

Government Finance. Any changes must balance the objectives of more local

autonomy and fair equalisation between communities.

  • ● Support social investment, ensuring charities and social enterprises can

access the support and finance they need to strengthen their governance and

deliver innovative, sustainable solutions to challenges in their communities.

  • ● Enable central and local government to prioritise employee-owned and

community-benefit companies in awarding procurement contracts by

strengthening the Social Value Act.

  • ● Grant new powers to local authorities to protect high streets and consumers

by reducing the proliferation of betting shops and capping the maximum

amount able to be bet on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) at one time

to £2.

65 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

6.9 Sustainable rural communities

A thriving rural community needs local services and community facilities such as

schools, public transport, local shops, cultural venues and pubs. It needs enough

homes, affordable for local families, to ensure those services are viable. Liberal

Democrats understand the changes needed to support a living, working

countryside. We will:

  • ● Ensure that every property in the UK is provided, by 2022, with a superfast

broadband connection with a download speed of 30Mbps, an upload speed

of 6Mbps, and an unlimited usage cap.

  • ● Invest £2 billion in innovative solutions to ensure the provision of highspeed

broadband across the rural UK, working with local authorities and

providing grants to help areas replicate the success of existing communityled


  • ● Set up a £2 billion Rural Services Fund of capital investment to enable

communities to establish a local base from which to co-locate services such

as council offices, post offices, children’s centres, libraries and visiting healthcare


  • ● Work with Ofcom to ensure that mobile phone companies provide fast and

reliable coverage in rural areas.

  • ● Commit to preventing Post Office closures and protect Royal Mail’s Universal

Service Obligation to deliver across the UK for the same price.

  • ● Work with local authorities to deliver a significant increase in social and

affordable housing in rural areas.

6.10 Access to culture and sport

Arts, media and sports are essential for personal fulfilment and quality of life

– they are part of what turns a group of people into a community. Funding for

these organisations is put at risk with Brexit and the Liberal Democrats will ensure

that we continue to invest in our cultural capital. We will:

  • ● Maintain free access to national museums and galleries.
  • ● Move towards introducing ‘safe standing’ at football clubs, requiring the Sports

Grounds Safety Authority to prepare guidance for implementing this change.

  • ● Protect the independence of the BBC and set up a BBC Licence Fee


Support Families and Communities 6

Commission, maintain Channel 4 in public ownership and protect the funding

and editorial independence of Welsh language broadcasters.

  • ● Protect sports and arts funding via the National Lottery.
  • ● Maintain current standards of intellectual property (IP) protection with

continuing co-operation on enforcement of IP generated in the UK and

working within the EU to ensure the continuation of territorial licensing of


  • ● Create creative enterprise zones to grow and regenerate the cultural output of

areas across the UK.

  • ● Examine the available funding and planning rules for live music venues and

the grassroots music sector, protecting venues from further closures.

67 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

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Defend Rights, Promote Justice and Equalities 7

Change Britain’s Future

Defend Rights,


Justice and



69 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

Liberal Democrats believe that every person is entitled to the same opportunity to

succeed in life. That means breaking down the barriers that hold people back –

reducing inequality, fighting discrimination and defending individuals against an

overreaching government.

It means promoting universal liberal values such as openness, tolerance and unity.

It also means opposing the extreme and divisive forces that now blight our politics

and public life. The rise in hate crime, the abuse of refugees, and the toxic rhetoric

on immigration and about immigrants themselves is not the future Liberal

Democrats want for Britain. We will not let campaigners for a hard Brexit pretend

that racism and discrimination are a kind of patriotism.

We will fight to make sure that what you do and where you get to in life are not

affected by your gender, the colour of your skin or who you love.

Our priorities in the next parliament will be:

  • ● Making the positive case for immigration and reducing hate crimes

by targeting the people who commit them and making all hate

crimes aggravated offences, allowing for harsher sentencing of


  • ● Defending human rights: we will vote against any attempts to scrap

the Human Rights Act or withdraw from the European Convention

on Human Rights and we will strengthen the UK’s commitment to

international human rights law.

  • ● Offering safe and legal routes to the UK for refugees, expanding

the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme to offer

sanctuary to 50,000 people over the lifetime of the next parliament

and reopening the Dubs scheme to take 3,000 unaccompanied

refugee children from Europe.


Defend Rights, Promote Justice and Equalities 7

7.1 Rights and equalities

Whether by righting past wrongs, protecting citizens or increasing freedom, the

Liberal Democrats believe that legislation defending rights and liberties protects

individuals and drives opportunity for many underrepresented groups.

Liberal Democrats oppose all discrimination and believe that government should

take an active role both in punishing discrimination and in ensuring it does not

happen in the first place. Our society is only strong once it includes everybody –

regardless of their background.

To extend diversity in public life and business, we will:

  • ● Fund more extensive childcare, and provide better back-to-work support to

reach an ambitious goal of one million more women in work by 2025.

  • ● Continue the drive for diversity in business leadership, pushing for at least

40% of board members being women in FTSE 350 companies and

implementing the recommendations of the Parker review to increase ethnic

minority representation.

  • ● Extend the Equality Act to all large companies with more than 250 employees,

requiring them to monitor and publish data on gender, BAME, and LGBT+

employment levels and pay gaps.

  • ● Extend the use of name-blind recruitment processes in the public sector and

encourage their use in the private sector.

  • ● Require diversity in public appointments. We will introduce a presumption that

every shortlist should include at least one BAME candidate.

  • ● Extend requirements on companies to strengthen responsibility for

supply chains.

  • ● Focus on good practice in tackling modern slavery, including training for police

and prosecutors in identifying and supporting victims, and implement the

Ewins report recommendations on domestic workers.

To safeguard rights and promote equalities, we will:

  • ● Campaign to reduce intolerance, including anti-Semitism, and hate crimes

alongside organisations such as Show Racism the Red Card, the Anne Frank

Trust UK, and Kick It Out.

71 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

  • ● Ask the Advisory Committee on Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs

periodically to review rules around men who have sex with men and other

related groups donating blood to consider what restrictions remain necessary.

  • ● Guarantee the freedom of people to wear religious or cultural dress, and

tackle the growing incidence of Islamophobic hate crime.

  • ● Introduce an ‘X’ option on passports, identity documents, and official forms for

those who do not wish to identify as either male or female, and campaign for

their introduction in the provision of other services, for example utilities.

  • ● Decriminalise the sale and purchase of sex, and the management of sex work

– reducing harm, defending sex workers’ human rights, and focusing police

time and resources on those groomed, forced or trafficked into the sex

industry. We would provide additional support for those wishing to leave

sex work.

  • ● Strengthen legal rights and obligations for couples by introducing mixed-sex

civil partnerships and extending rights to cohabiting couples.

  • ● Extend protection of gender reassignment in equality law to explicitly cover

gender identity and expression, and streamline and simplify the Gender

Recognition Act 2004 to allow individuals to change their legal gender without

unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles, for example the intrusive medical tests

currently required.

  • ● Remove the spousal veto, and abolish remaining marriage inequalities in areas

such as pensions, hospital visitation rights and custody of children in the event

of bereavement.

  • ● Develop a government-wide plan to tackle BAME inequalities, and review the

Equality and Human Rights Commission to determine whether it is effectively

fulfilling its role and whether its funding is adequate.

  • ● Increase accessibility to public places and transport by making more stations

wheelchair accessible, improving the legislative framework governing blue

badges, setting up a benchmarking standard for accessible cities, and bringing

into effect the provisions of the 2010 Equality Act on discrimination by private

hire vehicles and taxis.

  • ● Address period poverty by providing free sanitary products to girls at school.
  • ● Outlaw caste discrimination.
  • ● Enshrine the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in UK law.


Defend Rights, Promote Justice and Equalities 7

7.2 Liberty

Liberal Democrats believe that we should all be free from an overreaching state and

that the individual freedoms guaranteed by the European Convention on Human

Rights (ECHR) and the Human Rights Act are central to a free and democratic society.

For that reason, the Liberal Democrats will:

  • ● Oppose any attempt to withdraw from the ECHR or abolish or water down the

Human Rights Act.

  • ● Introduce a digital bill of rights that protects people’s powers over their own

information, supports individuals over large corporations, and preserves the

neutrality of the internet.

  • ● In light of the press’s failure to engage in effective self-regulation, seek to

ensure delivery of independent self-regulation, and commence part two of the

Leveson inquiry as soon as practicable.

  • ● End the ministerial veto on release of information under the Freedom of

Information Act, and take steps to reduce the proportion of FOI requests

where information is withheld by government departments.

  • ● Order Ofcom to launch an immediate full assessment of media plurality in the

UK, including a review of the ‘fit and proper persons test’ and whether the

communications regulator, and the Competition and Markets Authority, have

appropriate powers to deal with concentrations of power in the digital economy.

7.3 Crime and policing

After years of reduction in traditional crime we have seen an increase, particularly in

violent crime, since 2015. At the same time police forces are under pressure from

reduced funding, with less money available for the community policing we all value.

For these reasons Liberal Democrats will:

  • ● Increase community policing in England and Wales by giving an additional

£300 million a year to local police forces to reverse the increase in

violent crime, boost community confidence and increase the flow of

community intelligence.

  • ● Maintain, as part of our fight against hard Brexit, cross-border co-operation in

combatting serious organised crime, including international fraud and child

sexual exploitation, by retaining the European Arrest Warrant, membership of

Europol and access to EU information databases.

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Defend Rights, Promote Justice and Equalities 7

  • ● End the 1% cap on police pay rises.
  • ● Require all front-line officers to wear body cameras on duty, protecting the

public from abuse of power and police officers from malicious accusations.

  • ● Resource BAME staff associations such as the National Black Police Association

to increase ethnic diversity and BAME participation in the police.

  • ● Provide government funding for a national rape crisis helpline with increased

opening hours and advertisement.

  • ● End the anomaly that forces Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue

Service to pay VAT on their purchases.

  • ● Replace Police and Crime Commissioners, elected at great expense in

elections with very low turnout, with accountable police boards made up of

local councillors.

  • ● Build on the success of crime maps to use data more effectively to reduce

crime and improve policing, including exploring the feasibility of mandatory

reporting of fraud losses by individual credit and debit-card providers.

7.4 Criminal justice

The criminal courts need modernising. There are too many people in prison. Our

reoffending rates are terrible and our prisons, many old and squalid, are in crisis

– overcrowded and woefully understaffed, with drug abuse, violence, suicide and

self-harm endemic. That’s why Liberal Democrats will:

  • ● Introduce a Victims’ Bill of Rights that will create a single point of contact for

victims in the criminal justice system, increase victims’ access to information

about their cases, and give victims the right to request restorative justice

rather than a prison sentence.

  • ● Introduce a presumption against short prison sentences and increase the use

of tough, non-custodial punishments including weekend and evening custody,

curfews, community service and GPS tagging.

  • ● Promote community justice panels and restorative justice that brings victims

and wrongdoers together to resolve conflict, reduce harm and encourage


  • ● Extend the responsibility of the Youth Justice Board to all offenders under 21,

giving it the power to commission mental-health services.

  • ● Establish a Women’s Justice Board with a remit to meet the special needs of

women offenders.

  • ● Transform prisons into places of rehabilitation, recovery, learning and work,

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with suitable treatment, education or work available to all prisoners; adopt a

holistic approach to prisoners with multiple problems, and ensure that

courses started in custody can be completed on release.

  • ● Review the investigation, prosecution, procedures and rules of evidence in

cases of sexual and domestic violence.

  • ● Ensure that trans prisoners are placed in prisons that reflect their gender

identity, rather than their birth gender.

  • ● Reduce the overrepresentation of individuals from a BAME background at

every stage of the criminal justice system, taking into account the upcoming

recommendations of the Lammy review.

  • ● Secure further funding for criminal legal aid from sources other than

the taxpayer, including insurance for company directors, and changes to

restraint orders.

7.5 Civil and family justice

The justice system is under pressure. Brexit threatens international co-operation,

the Conservatives have failed to defend the rule of law which is the cornerstone of

our democracy, and cuts to legal aid have denied effective access to justice to

many. For these reasons Liberal Democrats will:

  • ● Ensure that the UK retains international arrangements for jurisdiction, the

recognition and enforcement of judgments and for family cases currently

enjoyed under the EU Brussels I and Brussels II regulation and the Hague

child abduction convention.

  • ● Conduct an urgent and comprehensive review of the effects of the Legal

Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act on access to justice,

particularly funding for social welfare appeals, and domestic violence and

exceptional cases.

  • ● Reverse the massive increases in court and tribunal fees, which prevent many

from pursuing good cases.

  • ● Continue to modernise and simplify court procedures.
  • ● Protect our system of judicial review from further attack, retaining government

accountability for unlawful action, and offer a staunch defence of our judiciary

and the rule of law.


Defend Rights, Promote Justice and Equalities 7

7.6 Terrorism and violent extremism

As recent events across Europe – and at the heart of our own democracy – have

shown, terrorism and violent extremism threaten us all. As liberals, we must have

an effective security policy which is also accountable, community and evidencebased,

and does not unduly restrict personal liberty. That’s why the Liberal

Democrats will:

  • ● Continue cross-border co-operation between security forces across Europe.
  • ● Permit intercepts where justified and permit surveillance of those suspected

of serious crime and terrorism with proper judicial oversight.

  • ● Scrap the flawed Prevent strategy and replace it with a scheme that prioritises

community engagement and supports communities in developing their own

approach to tackling the dangers of violent extremism.

  • ● Roll back state surveillance powers by ending the indiscriminate bulk collection

of communications data, bulk hacking, and the collection of internet

connection records.

  • ● Oppose Conservative attempts to undermine encryption.
  • ● Notify innocent people who have been placed under targeted surveillance

where this can be done without jeopardising ongoing investigations.

7.7 Combatting the harm done by drugs

The war on drugs has been a catastrophic failure. Every year, billions flow to

organised crime while we needlessly prosecute and imprison thousands of people,

blighting their employment and life chances, and doing nothing to address the

impact of drugs on their health. Our current approach to drugs helps nobody

except criminal gangs. For that reason Liberal Democrats will:

  • ● End imprisonment for possession of illegal drugs for personal use, diverting

those arrested for possession of drugs for personal use into treatment and

education (adopting a health-based approach), or imposing civil penalties.

  • ● Break the grip of the criminal gangs and protect young people by introducing a

legal, regulated market for cannabis. We would introduce limits on potency and

permit cannabis to be sold through licensed outlets to adults over the age of 18.

  • ● Concentrate on catching and prosecuting those who manufacture, import or

deal in illegal drugs.

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  • ● Repeal the Psychoactive Substances Act which has driven the sale of formerly

legal highs underground.

  • ● Move the departmental lead on drugs policy to the Department of Health.

7.8 Immigration and asylum

Immigration and asylum are under attack. Immigration is essential to our economy

and a benefit to our society. We depend on immigration to ensure we have the

people we need contributing to the UK’s economy and society, including doctors,

agricultural workers, entrepreneurs, scientists and so many others. Immigration

broadens our horizons and encourages us to be more open, more tolerant.

Refugees are human beings fleeing from war zones and persecution, and we have

a legal and moral obligation to offer them sanctuary. The Liberal Democrats are

proud of the UK’s historic commitments to assisting those seeking refuge from

war, persecution and degradation, and believe that we should continue to uphold

our responsibilities.

The immigration and asylum systems have suffered from inefficiency and severe

backlogs and delays over many years, harming their credibility and ability to

operate effectively. We recognise that large-scale immigration has placed strains

on some local communities and services. Major improvements are urgently

needed. For that reason, when it comes to immigration the Liberal Democrats will:

  • ● Ensure that the immigration system is operated fairly and efficiently, with strict

control of borders, including entry and exit checks, and adequately funded Border

Force policing of entry by irregular routes.

  • ● Hold an annual debate in parliament on skill and labour market shortfalls and

surpluses to identify the migration necessary to meet the UK’s needs.

  • ● Continue to allow high-skilled immigration to support key sectors of our economy,

and ensure work, tourist and family visas are processed quickly and efficiently.

  • ● Recognising their largely temporary status, remove students from the official

migration statistics.

  • ● Ensure the UK is an attractive destination for overseas students. We will

reinstate post-study work visas for graduates in STEM (science, technology,

engineering and maths) subjects who find suitable employment within six

months of graduating. Give the devolved administrations the right to sponsor

additional post-study work visas.


Defend Rights, Promote Justice and Equalities 7

  • ● Work with universities to ensure a fair and transparent student visa process and

find ways to measure accurately the number of students leaving at the end of

their course.

  • ● Establish a centrally funded Migration Impact Fund to help local communities to

adjust to new migration and meet unexpected pressures on public services

and housing.

  • ● Provide additional government funding for English as an additional language

classes to help migrants and residents gain independence and integrate with

their local communities.

And for asylum, the Liberal Democrats will:

  • ● Apply the asylum system fairly, efficiently and humanely, includni g the process for

those who have no right to be here.

  • ● Offer safe and legal routes to the UK for refugees to prevent them from making

dangerous journeys, which too often result in the loss of life, for example via

reform of family reunion rules to make it easier for refugees to join relatives

already living in safety in the UK.

  • ● Expand the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme to offer sanctuary

to 50,000 people over the lifetime of the next parliament.

  • ● Re-open the Dubs unaccompanied child refugee scheme, ensuring Britain

meets its responsibilities by taking in 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children.

Liberal Democrats would offer these children indefinite leave to remain,

meaning they will not be deported once they turn 18.

  • ● End indefinite immigration detention by introducing a 28-day limit.
  • ● Speed up the processing of asylum claims, reducing the time genuine refugees

must wait before they can settle into life in the UK.

  • ● Expect working-age asylum seekers who have waited more than six months for

their claim to be processed to seek work like other benefit claimants, and only to

receive benefits if they are unable to do so.

  • ● Offer asylum to people fleeing countries where their sexual orientation or

gender identification means that they risk imprisonment, torture or execution,

and stop deporting people at risk to such countries.

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iStock/ Riccardo Lennart Niels



Make a Better World 8


Change Britain’s Future

Make a

Better World

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Liberal Democrats are internationalists – we understand that by working together,

people and countries can achieve so much more than they can alone.

It is a difficult time for people who believe in international co-operation.

Liberals have been challenged by the vote to leave the EU, the election of

increasingly nationalist and isolationist leaders across the globe, and a

Conservative government seeking new trade deals with countries who are

fundamentally opposed to our liberal values. With the election of Donald Trump

and an increasingly assertive Russia, we must work to defend the international

liberal order.

The Liberal Democrat approach to Britain’s place in the world is patriotic,

optimistic and progressive. We will work with our European and other

international partners to promote the ideals that bring us together and make us

more secure – championing human rights, helping the poorest people in the world

and protecting our country and our allies.

Our priorities in the next parliament will be:

  • ● Defending international co-operation against the rising tides of

nationalism and isolationism, supporting multilateral organisations

like the UN and NATO which are increasingly under threat.

  • ● Spending 0.7% of gross national income on aid: reducing poverty,

defending human rights, protecting the environment and preventing

violent conflict worldwide.

  • ● Controlling arms exports to countries listed as human rights priority

countries in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s annual human

rights report and suspending arms sales to Saudi Arabia.


Make a Better World 8

8.1 Working for peace and security across the world

This is a challenging time for peace and security across the world. Terrorist

organisations prosper, the conflict in Syria continues to present a significant

problem to the region and the world, and rising tensions between Russia and the

USA threaten a long-standing balance of power.

The UK has a proud record of playing a leading role in the European Union and in

international institutions like the UN, NATO and the Commonwealth and should

continue to do so, promoting wherever possible the liberal values of freedom and

opportunity for all. We will:

  • ● Champion the rules-based international order, which provides a strong basis

for multilateral action to address the world’s most pernicious problems,

including poverty, armed conflict, disease, climate change and the abuse of

human rights, including forced marriage, so-called ‘honour’ killings, and female

genital mutilation.

  • ● Use all aspects of government policy – trade, aid and diplomacy as well as

military co-operation – to strengthen UK efforts to prevent violent conflict.

  • ● Work with our international partners to address the ongoing refugee crisis,

which has seen more people displaced across the world than ever before.

  • ● Support the UN principle of Responsibility to Protect, focusing on conflict

prevention and only resorting to military intervention to prevent mass civilian

atrocities if all other means of resolution have been fully exhausted.

  • ● Improve control of arms exports by:

— Implementing a policy of ‘presumption of denial’ for arms exports to

countries listed as human rights priority countries in the Foreign and

Commonwealth Office’s annual human rights report.

— Enforcing end-user certification on all future arms export licences with an

annual report to parliament on this certification.

— Creating a public register of arms brokers.

Liberal Democrats believe that despite efforts to prevent violent conflict,

sometimes military intervention is necessary. The UK should only intervene

militarily when there is a clear legal and/or humanitarian case, endorsed by a vote

in parliament, working through international institutions whenever possible. We

will encourage dialogue and mediation to reduce conflict between and within

countries, working through the UN and other agencies.

83 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

In response to current major conflicts worldwide, we will:

  • ● Work with international partners to tackle violent extremism manifested by

organisations like Daesh and Boko Haram, paying special attention to UK

citizens who have fought overseas for terrorist organisations and may become

significant sources of terrorist activity if and when they return to Britain.

  • ● Seek new ways to bring an end to the conflict in Syria, working within the UN

to break the deadlock in the Security Council. We will work to deter the use of

chemical and conventional attacks on civilians and demand humanitarian

access and the release of political prisoners and their families.

  • ● Remain committed to a negotiated peace settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian

conflict, which includes a two-state solution. We condemn disproportionate

force used by all sides. We condemn Hamas’ rocket attacks and other

targeting of Israeli civilians. We condemn Israel’s continued illegal policy of

settlement expansion, which undermines the possibility of a two-state

solution. We support recognition of the independent State of Palestine as and

when it will help the prospect of a two-state solution.

  • ● Suspend UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia in response to their consistent

targeting of civilians, in breach of international humanitarian law, in Yemen.

We will work with international partners to recommence the peace process

in Yemen.

  • ● Promote democracy and stability in Ukraine and neighbouring countries

against an increasingly aggressive Russia. We will work closely with European

and other international partners to exert maximum economic and political

pressure on Russia to stop interfering in the affairs of sovereign Eastern

European nations, and will stand by our obligations under the NATO treaty in

the event of threats to NATO member states.

8.2 Our armed forces and security services

The UK must be able to defend itself and the territories for which it has

responsibility, support its neighbours and allies, and engage in humanitarian

intervention. The security challenges the UK faces are shared by our partners and

allies in the EU and NATO and the UK is more effective and more resilient when we

work closely with those partners. We will:

  • ● Commit to spending 2% of GDP on defence.
  • ● Strengthen our armed services and address critical skills shortages by


Make a Better World 8

recruiting STEM graduates to be armed forces engineers, providing ‘golden

handshakes’ of up to £10,000.

  • ● Recognise the expansion of warfare into the cybersphere, by investing in our

security and intelligence services and acting to counter cyberattacks.

  • ● Work to lead international nuclear disarmament efforts.
  • ● Maintain a minimum nuclear deterrent. We propose continuing with the

Dreadnought programme, the submarine-based replacement for Vanguard, but

procuring three boats instead of four and moving to a medium-readiness

responsive posture. This would mean replacing continuous at-sea deterrence

– instead maintaining the deterrent through measures such as unpredictable

and irregular patrolling patterns.

  • ● Build on the framework for defence co-operation that is already wellestablished

with France, the Netherlands, Germany and other European

partners, and promote European defence integration where appropriate by

enhancing European defence industry co-operation.

Liberal Democrats recognise the vital role the UK’s armed forces play in the

defence of the nation and believe that it is the role of government to safeguard

the interests of service personnel and veterans. We will:

  • ● Support the Armed Forces Covenant and ongoing work to support veterans’

mental health.

  • ● Review the current Career Transition Partnership with a view to extending its

remit to provide free further or higher education for anyone who has served in

the armed forces for 12 years or more.

  • ● Improve the quality of service housing by bringing the Ministry of Defence into

line with other landlords, giving tenants the same legal rights to repair and

maintenance as private tenants.

8.3 International development

Liberal Democrats have always been – and remain – strongly committed to

ensuring justice and equity for poor people around the world. We believe that the

UK must continue to play a leading role in ending poverty and promoting

environmentally sustainable development, through implementing the UN

Sustainable Development Goals. We will:

  • ● Maintain our commitment to spend 0.7% of UK gross national income on

85 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

overseas development assistance, in line with the OECD definition, which we

legislated for in the last parliament.

  • ● Invest to eliminate within a generation preventable diseases like TB, HIV and

malaria and explore new ways to support research and development into

vaccinations and treatment to combat these and other deadly diseases

and infections.

  • ● Develop a global education strategy to address the urgent funding crisis causing

263 million children to miss out on schooling.

  • ● Lead international action to ensure global companies pay fair taxes in the

developing countries in which they operate, including tightening anti-tax haven

rules and requiring large companies to publish their tax payments and profits

for each country in which they operate.

  • ● Continue building the resilience of poorer countries to resist future disasters,

investing in healthcare and infrastructure and training emergency response

volunteers, and respond generously to humanitarian crises wherever they

may occur.

  • ● Provide greater resources for international environmental co-operation,

particularly on climate change and on actions to tackle illegal and

unsustainable trade in timber, wildlife, ivory and fish.

  • ● In light of the US government’s dangerous and anti-science attacks on

international programmes of vaccination and family planning, which impact

disproportionately on the health of women and children, seek to protect

global spending on these essential provisions.

8.4 Standing up for liberal values

Liberal Democrats believe that British foreign policy and international aid should

seek to promote the liberal values of human rights and democracy throughout the

world. We will:

  • ● Support free media and a free and open internet around the world,

championing the free flow of information.

  • ● Support the current UN initiative to protect journalists and to combat the

impunity with which many countries treat those who attack reporters on the

front line. To this end, we will provide ad hoc funding to UNESCO’s

International Programme for the Development of Communication.

  • ● Campaign strongly for the abolition of the death penalty around the world.
  • ● Champion global anti-corruption initiatives to safeguard global security and


Make a Better World 8

economic development and maintain a strong voice in international platforms

on ending corruption. We will implement outstanding commitments made by

the British government at the 2016 Global Anti-Corruption Summit.

  • ● Publish a government anti-corruption strategy.
  • ● Introduce Sustainable Development Goals audits of new trade, investment

and development deals, reviewing the impact of the deal on people, planet,

prosperity, peace and partnership.

  • ● Maintain funding for the BBC World Service, BBC Monitoring and the British


  • ● Develop a comprehensive strategy for promoting the decriminalisation of

homosexuality around the world and advancing the cause of LGBT+ rights.

  • ● Prioritise support, protection and equal rights for women and girls, which is

both right and essential for effective, sustainable economic development.

We will aim to end female genital mutilation worldwide within a generation.

  • ● Appoint an ambassador-level champion for freedom of belief to drive British

diplomatic efforts in this field, and campaign for the abolition of blasphemy,

sedition, apostasy and criminal libel laws worldwide, having already been

responsible for ending them in this country.

87 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

iStock/ MichaelJay


Fix a Broken System 9

Change Britain’s Future

Fix a Broken


89 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

Britain suffers from an overcentralised political system with a lack of openness and

accountability. Parliament is unrepresentative of the electorate and weak in

restraining the power of the government, we still have an unelected House of

Lords, local government is hobbled by central control, and people feel they have

no effective means of making known their concerns and priorities. It’s no wonder

people feel frustrated and angry at the system.

This anger found its most recent expression in the result of the EU referendum,

but ironically this was as much a verdict on the performance of British political

institutions as European ones. The Conservatives’ proposed Great Repeal Bill

threatens to centralise power even more, handing to central government powers

to alter vast swathes of the statute book without proper parliamentary scrutiny.

We believe in a United Kingdom where people have power over their own lives

and how their country is run. To make this happen we need to revitalise our

political system – strengthen devolution, make the argument that we are stronger

together than we are apart, and increase trust in our institutions.

Our priorities in the next parliament will be:

  • ● Creating a better democracy with a fair voting system in local

government and Westminster, with votes at 16 and preventing

evasion of constituency election spending limits.

  • ● Delivering on our promises to Scotland in full, devolving more

powers to Wales and securing the political stability of the Northern

Ireland Assembly.

  • ● Meeting the needs of England with ‘devolution on demand’, letting

local areas take control of the services that matter most to them.


Fix a Broken System 9

9.1 Better politics

Unfair votes, overcentralisation of decision-making, the power of patronage and the

influence of powerful corporate lobbies mean ordinary citizens and local

communities are too often excluded and left alienated by politics today. We need to

reform British politics to make it more representative and more empowering of our

citizens so it earns greater public confidence. We will:

  • ● Introduce votes at 16 for all elections and referendums across the UK.
  • ● Ensure that every reasonable effort is made to ensure that those people

legally entitled to vote are included on the electoral registers, with far greater

efforts in particular to register under-represented groups such as young

people qualifying for the first time and students moving to universities.

  • ● Introduce the Single Transferable Vote for local government elections in

England and for electing MPs across the UK.

  • ● Enable all UK citizens living abroad to vote for MPs in separate overseas

constituencies, and to participate in UK referendums.

  • ● Reform the House of Lords with a proper democratic mandate.
  • ● Take big money out of politics by capping donations to political parties at

£10,000 per person each year, and introducing wider reforms to party funding

along the lines of the 2011 report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

  • ● Strengthen trade union members’ political freedoms by letting them choose

which political party they wish to support through the political levy.

  • ● Cancel the boundary review due to report in 2018.

While new constituencies would need to be established for a new voting system, we

believe constituency boundary reviews should respect natural geographical

communities, with greater flexibility for the Boundary Commission to deviate from

exact equality to take account of community ties and continuity of representation,

and should take place every 10 years.

  • ● Mandate the provision of televised leaders’ debates in general elections based

on rules produced by Ofcom relating to structure and balance, and allowing

for the empty-chairing of party leaders who refuse to attend.

  • ● Strengthen and expand the lobbying register and prohibit MPs from accepting

paid lobbying work.

  • ● Introduce trials of weekend voting to help raise turnouts in elections.
  • ● Introduce legislation to allow for all-BAME and all-LGBT+ parliamentary shortlists.

91 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

  • ● Make parliament more family friendly, and establish a review to pave the way

for MP job-sharing arrangements.

The recent media, police and Electoral Commission investigations into possible

breaches of spending limits by candidates in the 2015 general election show that

the current system is not fit for purpose. The clear objective must be to ensure

that all expenditure on campaign material targeted at an identifiable constituency,

and in particular at voters within that constituency, is included in its expense

return, rather than it being possible to count against a national party limit.

We do not believe that political parties themselves have an incentive to change the

existing system. We will therefore task the Electoral Commission with producing a

framework for an up-to-date expenses system that adequately governs the

running of a modern campaign, and put these proposals to a vote in parliament.

9.2 A decentralised United Kingdom

Liberal Democrats have a proud record of leading the way on giving greater powers

to the nations of the UK. Now we must deliver on the promises made to the people

of Scotland and the rest of the UK to further decentralise power. We will deliver

home rule to each of the nations of a strong, federal and united United Kingdom.

Change has been taking place rapidly. We now need to make sure all the new

arrangements work together coherently and we will therefore establish a UK

constitutional convention, made up of representatives of the political parties,

academia, civic society and members of the public, tasked with producing a full,

codified constitution for the UK, to report within two years.

We will work with devolved parliaments and assemblies to allocate to them any

powers repatriated as a result of Brexit in their areas of responsibility, and ensure

that the devolution of any repatriated powers or responsibilities does not

disadvantage the nations of the UK.

9.3 Scotland

After the 2014 independence referendum, Liberal Democrats in the UK

government established the Smith Commission to bring together Scotland’s five

biggest parties to agree what further powers should be assigned to the Scottish


Fix a Broken System 9

Parliament. Liberal Democrats ensured the package of powers agreed reflects

Scotland’s priorities.

The Scottish Parliament will raise in tax half of what it spends in its budget. A Scottish

welfare system will allow the Scottish Parliament to change the benefits regime where

there is specific Scottish need or priority, with a starting budget of around £3 billion.

These powers and more will deliver for people in Scotland an empowered and

accountable Scottish Parliament in a strong and secure United Kingdom.

Our plans for a written, federal constitution will include a permanent Scottish

Parliament that could only be abolished by the sovereign will of the Scottish people.

We will work hard to ensure that Scotland remains a part of the United Kingdom.

We will oppose a second independence referendum and oppose independence.

Scotland benefits from being inside the UK and EU single markets. Each is worth

billions of pounds and supports tens of thousands of Scottish jobs. Under the Liberal

Democrats inclusion in those single markets will continue. Keeping the UK in the EU

will remove the basis for the SNP’s divisive proposed referendum on independence.

9.4 Wales

We welcome the new Wales Act, which is intended to implement the St David’s Day

agreement secured by Liberal Democrats in government – but it does not go

far enough.

Liberal Democrats will deliver proper home rule for Wales and a Welsh Parliament

by implementing the remaining Silk part 1 proposals on financial powers and the

Silk part 2 proposals to devolve powers over transport, youth justice, policing and

other justice powers.

We will raise the status of the National Assembly to become a Welsh Parliament,

strengthening its capacity to scrutinise legislation and to hold the Welsh

Government to account. We will drastically reduce the number of reserved

subjects and prevent Westminster from being able to override Wales on devolved

matters. We will recognise Wales as a distinct legal jurisdiction. Among other

powers which we would devolve are funding of Network Rail in relation to the

93 Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2017

Wales network, allowing the Welsh Government to set its own bank holidays and

giving the Children’s Commissioner for Wales the power to examine issues that

affect children in Wales but are not within the control of the Welsh Government.

To help create jobs and boost growth in Wales we will abolish the economically

distorting tolls on the Severn Bridge, after the costs have been recouped in 2018.

9.5 Northern Ireland

Liberal Democrats wish to see a permanently peaceful, stable, non-sectarian and

truly democratic society in Northern Ireland. We will work constructively with the

political parties in Northern Ireland and with the Irish government to secure the

political stability of the Northern Ireland Assembly and other institutions of the

Belfast agreement and the implementation of all the recommendations of the

report on disbanding paramilitary groups. In particular we are determined to:

  • ● Maintain the common travel area and freedom of movement.
  • ● Support local businesses by ensuring participation within the single market and

customs union.

  • ● Ensure that the international human rights protections hard wired into the

Good Friday Agreement are not compromised.

  • ● Protect the rights of Northern Ireland citizens living and working in the EU, and

EU citizens living and working in Northern Ireland.

  • ● Protect the current financial settlement and the funding of programmes

supporting peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

To grow the economy, tackle social exclusion, overcome inequality and deliver

efficiencies in public services, Liberal Democrats will support policies and initiatives,

such as integrated education, that promote sharing over separation and counter the

cost of division.

9.6 England

Devolution of power to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has implications

for the UK parliament and its dual role in legislating for England as well as

the federal UK. It is possible that a future UK government could use the

support of MPs representing Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland to secure the


Fix a Broken System 9

passage of legislation that only affects England, even if the majority in England

were opposed. This would be a key issue for our proposed constitutional

convention to address.

Liberal Democrats support an English-only stage in legislation affecting England, so

English MPs can have a separate say on laws that only affect England. However,

this should be on a proportional basis, genuinely reflecting the balance of opinion

in England.

In some areas of England there is a greater appetite for powers, but not every part

of the country wants to move at the same speed and there cannot be a one-sizefits-

all approach. All areas should however have access to the same opportunities

and mayoral authorities should not be ranked higher in terms of the powers with

which they can be granted. We will therefore introduce ‘devolution on demand’,

enabling even greater devolution of powers from Westminster to councils or

groups of councils working together – for example to a Cornish Assembly or a

Yorkshire Parliament.

9.7 Funding

The nations of the United Kingdom have long had different needs with regard to

funding. The Barnett formula is the mechanism used to adjust spending

allocations across the UK.

The Liberal Democrats have already delivered a substantial extension of financial

powers to the nations of the UK and we will devolve further fiscal powers to the

devolved governments. In order to ensure reliable funding we will retain the

Barnett formula and the agreed fiscal framework as the basis for future spending

allocations for Scotland and Northern Ireland. This will protect the individual

nations’ budgets from external shocks.

We recognise the findings of the Holtham commission that the current formula

underfunds Wales, and will commission work to update this analysis. We will

address the imbalance by immediately ensuring that the Barnett floor is set at a

level that reflects the need for Wales to be funded fairly, and seek over a

parliament to increase the Welsh block grant to an equitable level.

This manifesto sets out Liberal Democrat policies and priorities for

the United Kingdom. The Scottish and Welsh Liberal Democrats set

their own policy on devolved matters, and for those policy areas, the

proposals here apply to England only. Our sister party, the Alliance

Party of Northern Ireland, makes its own policy on devolved

issues in Northern Ireland.

ISBN: 978-1-910763-37-7 © May 2017

Price: £10

Further copies may be obtained from:

Liberal Democrat Image, The Workshop, 24 Cheyne Way, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 8RX



This manifesto can be found online at:

For further information on obtaining copies of this manifesto in alternative formats please email

Published and promoted by Tim Gordon on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, both at 8-10 Great George Street, London SW1P 3AE

Printed by: Sarum Colourview Ltd, Unit 8, The Woodford Centre, Old Sarum, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 6BU

Layout and design by: Think Publishing Ltd

8th floor, Capital House, 25 Chapel Street, London NW1 5DH

To view the original of this document CLICK HERE


Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
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