The Liberal Democrat manifesto for the December 2019 general election is a bold vision for a brighter future for our country.
The Lib Dems know stopping Brexit is vital for the UK’s prosperity, and the £50billion Remain bonus which would come with staying in Europe could be invested in our all important public services.
Leader Jo Swinson has set out how the party would boost funding for the NHS, schools and tackling the climate crisis, as well as putting mental health on an equal footing with physical health and introducing people’s wellbeing as a measure of the economy’s success.
Our plans have been praised by the IFS, while the pie-in-the-sky promises of the Labour and Tory manifestos have been dismissed as “not credible”. And independent analysis by the Resolution Foundation shows the poorest households would be best off under the Lib Dems - as would every income level.
The Lib Dem Manifesto gives most to the poorest. The Tory Manifesto takes most from the poorest. pic.twitter.com/YVEn9Kt6qM— Jo Maugham QC (@JolyonMaugham) November 26, 2019
But here are some highlights from our policies and plans in the manifesto.
Europe and stopping Brexit
A Lib Dem government would stop Brexit on day one, with the vote swing required to deliver a majority under the UK’s outdated and unfair first past the post electoral system a new mandate to revoke Article 50. If elected to parliament but not in government, Liberal Democrat MPs will continue the party's work of the last three and a half years in pressing for a People’s Vote - something which could already have happened by now if Labour had backed giving the people the final say on any Brexit deal during the last three parliaments.
Stopping Brexit will deliver a £50billion “Remain bonus” thanks to stopping the drain on resources of preparing for leaving the EU, and the devastating impact leaving would have on the economy.
A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to Remain in the EU.
NHS and mental health
Our NHS needs proper funding and less upheaval. The Liberal Democrats are honest about the need for more funding and would add a penny in the pound on income tax, raising an additional £7billion a year. This money will be ring-fenced for health and social care.
Liberal Democrats will put mental health on an equal footing with physical health and make wellbeing a new measure of success, with government decisions taken not just on economic and spending indicators but also on what will improve wellbeing.
Environment and climate emergency
The Liberal Democrats are committed to generating 80% of electricity from renewables by 2030, and will drive the UK to achieve net-zero carbon status by 2045 at the latest. By 2030 every new car sold will be electric, and we will found a new Green Investment Bank.
Frequent flyers will be taxed more, with higher charges for people who make more than two long haul flights a year, with the extra air passenger duty funding efforts to tackle the climate crisis.
We would ban non-essential, non-recyclable single-use plastics within three years and extend the 'Blue Belt' protecting our oceans. Stamp duty would be based on a property's energy rating. We would ban fracking for good, and plant 60million trees a year.
Schools and education
Cuts to school budgets must be reversed, and we would provide an extra £10billion a year to school budgets. The £50billion “Remain bonus” from staying in the EU would be invested in 20,000 new teachers.
The Liberal Democrats will deliver free childcare from nine months for working parents, and for all children aged from two to four. We will also invest in nurseries and Children’s Centres to help disadvantaged children. Other key measures are:
- Give local authorities specific SEND funding for children with special educational needs and disabilities
- Scrapping SATs
- Increasing starting salaries for teachers
- Reform the national funding formula
- A lifelong commitment to learning, with a £10,000 allowance, or skills wallet, for each UK citizen to be spent on education and training throughout their lives
Children and families
Liberal Democrats will introduce free childcare for children from nine months if their parents are working full time, and from age two to four for all children.
We would extend free school meals to all primary school pupils. Secondary school pupils whose parents are on Universal Credit would also get free school meals.
Offer parental leave and pay to the self-employed, and increase statutory paternity leave from two weeks to six.
£500million will be ring-fenced for youth services through local authorities
Transport and HS2
The Liberal Democrats remain committed to delivering HS2 and Crossrail, and promoting better public transport.
We will reform the rail franchising system and freeze rail fares for season-ticket holders while the system is reorganised. We will extend the railway network and improve stations.
We oppose any expansion of Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted and any new airport in the Thames Estuary as we build a clean, green future. Liberal Democrats will continue to promote cycling and walking as means of transport, and will increase funding for buses.
Work and taxation
The Liberal Democrats would:
- Set a higher minimum wage for people on zero-hour contracts
- Raise corporation tax from 19% to 20%
- Reform income tax
- Add a penny in the pound on income tax to fund investment in the NHS
- Scrap business rates and replace them with a commercial landowner levy
- Employees will have a right to flexible working from day ones, and will have the right to request shares if they work for a large listed firm
Universal credit, benefits and pensions
The Liberal Democrats would invest £6billion in the benefits system, and make sure Universal Credit starts in 5 days, not 5 weeks. We would scrap the two-child limit, the Bedroom Tax, the benefit cap and the current fit-for-work testing regime, as well as compensating the WASPI women who have lost out by the change in retirement age.
Housing and homelessness
Liberal Democrats will build 300,000 homes a year, including 100,000 social homes for rent.
We will also establish a Rent to Own model for social housing. We will tackle rogue landlords and provide government-backed tenancy deposit loans for all first-time renters under 30.
Homes left empty for more than six months a year will face higher rates of council tax - with local authorities able to charge rates six times the standard rate.
Stamp duty would be based on a property's energy rating
Crime and justice
The Liberal Democrats would legalise cannabis, taking drugs out of the control of criminal gangs. A regulated market would be safer, and provide another source of income through tax.
We will invest £1billion to restore community policing - enough for two new police officers in every ward.
We will adopt a public health approach to tackling knife crime and youth violence, taking a holistic view and focusing on prevention.
Equality and progressive social policies
Liberal Democrats would lower the voting age to 16, introduce proportional representation for national and local elections and reform the House of Lords.
We would remove VAT on sanitary products and provide them for free at key locations in the community.
Learning about consent, LGBT+ relationships and explicit images would become part of the school curriculum to equip our children with the knowledge they need.
And even more
The Liberal Democrats have a broad manifesto that is fully costed. Search for the issues you care about most at www.libdems.org.uk/plan.