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People Housing Transport Rural Affairs Equality Civil Liberties Fair Politics Our World Defence There’s plenty to shout about Note
This guide outlines how Liberal Democrats are working as part of the Coalition Government to give people a fair deal. It contains both our key achievements and some policies we hope to deliver in the future. As the governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have separate powers in many areas, this guide shows achievements within the remit of the UK Government only. The Scottish and Welsh Liberal Democrats publish their own policies on devolved matters. Sources used in this guide include the Office for National Statistics, the House of Commons Library and the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Cover photo copyright of the Cabinet Office. Please contact Bess Mayhew (Bess.Mayhew@libdems.org.uk) in the Liberal Democrat Policy Unit with any questions.
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Building a more liberal Britain
At the 2010 General Election, Liberal Democrats had four priorities: making taxes fairer; building a sustainable and balanced economy; giving every child a fair start in life; and reforming government. I’m immensely proud that Liberal Democrats are now delivering on these key priorities as part of the Coalition Government. We’ve given a £550 tax cut to 21 million people and guaranteed the largest ever cash increase in the state pension. Our Pupil Premium is transforming the lives of disadvantaged children and our Youth Contract is giving half a million young unemployed the chance to earn or learn. We have ambitious plans to cut carbon emissions and slash energy bills through our Green Deal, which gives people loans to insulate their homes. And our Freedoms Act has reclaimed the civil liberties that Labour took from us. These are all things Liberal Democrats have campaigned on for years and none of which would happen without us being in Government. Of course we aren’t able to do everything we want – we are, after all, in coalition with the Conservatives and facing unprecedented economic challenges. But we are making a real difference to people’s lives as we continue to build a more liberal Britain. That’s something we can all be proud of.
Nick Clegg MP Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Deputy Prime Minister
Liberal Democrats have cut tax for millions of working families, making sure they get a fair deal. We have already cut taxes by £550 every year for low- and middle-earners and taken 2 million people out of paying income tax altogether. In the long term we will make sure you only pay tax once you earn more than the Minimum Wage. Liberal Democrats have put a tax on private jets, increased Capital Gains Tax for higher rate taxpayers and blocked inheritance tax breaks, making sure the super rich pay their fair share. We are taking the lead in cracking down on tax avoidance and clawing back money from those who hide their money from the taxman. Under Labour, the richest people could treat tax as optional, employing armies of accountants to exploit the loopholes in the tax system. We are closing loopholes and catching tax dodgers, which will bring £7 billion extra per year by 2015. Liberal Democrats have set out plans to tax mansions worth more than £2 million. This will affect the wealthiest 0.1% and people on low incomes and pensioners could qualify for a rebate or delay payment until the property changes hands.
Tax paid +£4bn 50% lowest paid are paying less - £1bn
The richest are now paying more tax and low and middle earners are paying less
Richest 1% are paying more tax
Tax paid by someone on the Minimum Wage £ 1,018
Future Lib Dem plans
We have given a £550 tax cut to 21 million people
We have put a tax on private jets
Amount being clawed back from people who avoid tax and hide their money offshore
We have already increased Stamp Duty on homes worth more than £2 million and we have plans to create a Mansion Tax
Jobs & Growth
We are cleaning up Labour’s mess, making difficult decisions to cut the deficit and keep interest rates down. Liberal Democrats are tackling youth unemployment. We have created a £1 billion Youth Contract, which guarantees every young person an apprenticeship, work placement or training. We now have more new apprentices than ever before. We are creating 330,000 jobs and supporting local growth through our Regional Growth Fund. This fund has allocated £2.4 billion to 176 companies outside of London to support innovative new projects. Liberal Democrats are creating 60,000 green jobs through our ‘Green Deal’, the biggest ever home insulation scheme, which gives loans to people who want to make their homes more energy efficient. As part of the Coalition, we are helping small business by cutting bureaucracy, increasing lending from banks and helping them export to other countries. Liberal Democrats are making sure the banks never again make the taxpayer foot the bill for their risky casino-style activities. We have introduced a permanent £2.5 billion Bank Levy and will separate high street banking from riskier investment banking. We are ending Labour’s ‘benefits trap’ where people were left for years on benefits without the support they needed to get back to work. Our Work Programme helps the long-term unemployed get into work and we are replacing the 30 different benefits with one simple Universal Credit, which will make sure people are never worse off working than on benefits.
Jobs & Growth
Labour left a budget deficit worth £8,900 for every family We are balancing the Government’s books Over 330,000 jobs are being created in England by our Regional Growth Fund
North East: 41,000 jobs North West: 55,000 jobs West Midlands: 75,000 jobs South West: 25,000 jobs
Yorks & the Humber: 27,000 jobs East Midlands: 14,000 jobs East and South East: 31,000 jobs UK-wide: 64,000 jobs
Lib Dems enter Coalition
Young people guaranteed the chance to ‘earn or learn’ with our Youth Contract
More new apprenticeships than ever
Liberal Democrats are delivering our flagship ‘Pupil Premium’. The £2.5 billion package provides extra funding for millions of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. Teachers can use this money as they see fit, such as through smaller classes or catch-up lessons. Liberal Democrats are helping parents with childcare by providing 15 hours of free childcare per week for all disadvantaged two-yearolds, as well as 15 hours per week for all three- and four-year-olds. We are supporting children with Special Educational Needs with the biggest reforms in 30 years. These will give parents more control and stop them having to battle the system. Families will have a ‘personal budget’ that lets them choose the services that work for them, rather than relying on the options chosen for them by bureaucrats. We have created more new apprenticeships than ever before. Last year nearly half a million people started an apprenticeship. We have made the system of student finance as fair as possible. Graduates won’t start repaying their loan until they earn over £21,000. All graduates will repay less per month. Someone earning £25,000 will pay back £30 per month under the new system, compared to £75 under the old system. The poorest 30% of graduates will pay back less overall, while the richest will pay more. Poorest 30% of graduates pay less overall Richest 1% of graduates pay more overall
Old system New system
Old system New system
Free childcare per week for all 3 and 4 yearolds and 140,000 disadvantaged 2 year-olds
Spending an extra £2.5 billion on the poorest school children thanks to our Pupil Premium
More new apprenticeships than ever before Graduate salary £20,000 £25,000 £30,000 £35,000 £40,000 Monthly payments Labour Coalition £38 £0 £75 £30 £113 £68 £150 £105 £188 £143
Gradates only start paying back their tuition fees when they earn over £21,000 and all now pay back less per month
Liberal Democrats are leading the fight against Climate Change. We have created the biggest-ever home insulation scheme through our Green Deal, which offers loans for people to install energy efficiency measures in their homes. This will reduce the amount of energy they use and cut energy bills. It will also create 60,000 jobs and apprenticeships. We are forcing energy companies to help families cut their fuel bills. The ‘Energy Company Obligation’ will require energy companies to help people make their homes more energy efficient and to drive down the cost of energy by always offering people the cheapest tariff. We have created the Green Investment Bank, the first of its kind in the world. The bank will help channel £15 billion worth of private sector investment into green projects, such as wind farms and solar power. We have set out detailed plans for an 80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 – and laid these plans down in law so that all future governments are bound by them. Liberal Democrats are preserving British countryside. We are planting a million trees in just four years through our ‘Big Tree Plant’, the first government tree planting campaign since the 1970s.
Our Green Deal will help millions insulate their homes, reducing carbon emissions...
... and cutting energy bills
We’re ahead of schedule on our international CO2 targets
We’re planting a million trees in just four years
Our Green Investment Bank will help fund clean energy
We are cutting bureaucracy for the police, allowing them to focus on the front line. If our plans are taken up by every police force, this would save up to 4.5 million police hours every year. That’s the equivalent of getting over 2,100 police officers back on the streets. Liberal Democrats are protecting women from domestic violence and supporting rape victims, with up to £3.5 million per year available for rape support centres. We are tackling anti-social behaviour by giving communities and victims the right to a ‘Community Trigger’, which places a duty on police and councils to take action to deal with anti-social behaviour. We have given the public access to local crime statistics through the new website - www.police.uk, which helps local communities monitor crime and police performance in their local area. Liberal Democrats are giving local communities the chance to have a say in the punishment of offenders through Community Justice Panels. We have also put victims of crime at the heart of the justice system by giving them the right to ask to participate in restorative justice, which makes offenders repair the damage they’ve done. Liberal Democrats have put prisoners to work, giving them skills they can use to stay out of trouble upon release. Some of the proceeds from this work go towards victim compensation funds. We are tackling drug addiction in prisons, as it is one of the major causes of reoffending. We are piloting drug recovery wings to tackle drug addiction.
Crime is down in almost every category in just one year
We are protecting women from domestic violence and supporting rape victims
Our ‘Community Trigger’ will ensure police take action to tackle anti-social behaviour if a community asks for help
We are putting victims and communities at the heart of the justice system
We are cutting red tape and bureaucracy for police, allowing them to focus on the front line
Liberal Democrats are reducing waiting times for patients before they start treatment. 94% of patients now begin their treatment in less than 18 weeks. We have reduced hospital infections to the lowest levels on record. We have reduced mixed-sex accommodation in hospitals by 98%. We have helped almost 12,000 extra patients to benefit from an annual £200 million Cancer Drugs Fund and invested £100 million to develop new treatments for thousands of patients, including treatments for cancer, diabetes and dementia. Liberal Democrats are providing respite breaks to hundreds of thousands of hardworking carers who look after friends or family. Liberal Democrats have committed £400 million to increasing access to talking therapies to support people with mental health problems and make sure that the right action is taken early on. We believe mental health should not be ignored or stigmatised, but should be taken as seriously as physical health.
We have reduced the number of mixed-sex wards by 98%
Dec 2010 July 2012
94% of patients now wait less than 18 weeks to start treatment
We are giving respite breaks to hundreds of thousands of carers who look after a relative or friend The rate of hospital infections such as MRSA is now the lowest ever
Being spent on increasing access to talking therapies for people with mental health problems
Lib Dems enter Coalition 2010 2012
Liberal Democrats are giving pensioners an extra £500 per year by restoring the earnings link to the Basic State Pension. Our ‘triple lock’ on pensions ensures that the state pension rises in line with earnings, inflation or 2.5% - whichever is the highest. On average, pensioners will receive £15,000 more over their retirement. We have protected key benefits for pensioners, including the Winter Fuel Payments, free bus travel, free prescriptions and TV licences for the over-75s. We have cut energy bills by £130 for the most vulnerable pensioners. Our Warm Home Discount forces energy companies to give a discount to those most in need. We are ensuring 2 million pensioners keep warm in the winter by increasing Cold Weather Payments permanently from £8 to £25. When there is a period of very cold weather, vulnerable people, including those on Pension Credit, receive £25 per day to help with heating costs. Liberal Democrats have strengthened age discrimination laws so that it is illegal to unfairly discriminate against someone because of their age both in the workplace and when selling goods or services. We are helping 3 million older people get on the internet and ensure they are not left behind as more and more services and businesses move online.
Pensioners will receive an extra £500 per year thanks to our ‘triple lock’ and this year pensioners received the biggest ever increase in their state pension
£130 cut in energy bills for the most vulnerable pensioners
Permanently increased Cold Weather Payments for 2 million pensioners
We have protected key benefits for pensioners, including free bus travel and Winter Fuel Payments
Liberal Democrats are building 170,000 new affordable homes, which will create or protect 200,000 jobs. As part of the Coalition, we are helping first time buyers purchase their own home through the FirstBuy scheme, which gives first time buyers access to an interest-free equity mortgage. We have allowed councils to increase council tax on empty homes, which can blight communities, particularly in urban areas. After two years of lying empty, councils will be able to charge up to 150% council tax. Liberal Democrats are also bringing more empty homes back into use through a £150 million scheme. We are allowing communities the chance to buy pubs and shops put up for sale so that their high streets and villages are not left without important local services. We have enabled councils to freeze their council tax for two years by offering them enough money to cover the cost. All Liberal Democrat-run councils have decided to freeze council tax in their area, helping families keep bills low.
We have dramatically increased the number of new council homes built
Homes built 2,000 Lib Dems enter Coalition 1,000
Building 170,000 affordable homes, creating or protecting 200,000 jobs in the process
Our FirstBuy scheme helps first time buyers get onto the housing ladder
We are investing £150 million in tackling the scourge of empty homes
We are delivering a Liberal Democrat priority of supporting rail, with £1.4 billion for railway upgrades and expansions. We are making improvements in public transport across the country, increasing capacity, reducing journey times and making travel greener. Liberal Democrats are pushing ahead with High Speed Rail from London to Birmingham and eventually to Manchester, Leeds and Scotland. The new line will see 13.5 million journeys switched from road and air to rail. We are encouraging cycling and walking, creating over 7,500 new cycle spaces at railways and improving safety. We are promoting the use of low carbon cars, including a £5000 grant for people buying electric cars and national recharging network to help people refuel on longer journeys.
Encouraging the use of low carbon cars, including a £5000 grant for people buying electric cars
We are making radical improvements in transport throughout the country
£290m to electrify the Transpennine Express New dual carriageway linking the M56 at Manchester Airport to the A6 £470m to build a second bridge across the Mersey
Super-connected city funding in Edinburgh Other transport projects devolved to the Scottish Government
Creating a Northern rail hub Investing in the Tees multimodal bio-freight terminal
High Speed rail from Birmingham to London Increasing capacity on the M6, Birmingham to Manchester Replacement bridge over the West Coast Mainline on the A45
Accelerating the M1 junction 39 to 42 scheme More vehicles for the Sheffield Supertram Reduced Humber Bridge toll
Major improvements to the M1/M6 Junction Replacing Derby’s London Road rail bridge
Electrifying rail in South Wales Other transport projects devolved to the Welsh Government
Bus Rapid Transit scheme in Bristol £76m for the Kingskerswell Bypass in Devon
New Lower Thames crossing Improving M1 junction 10a
Increasing capacity on the M3 130 new carriages for Southern Rail New rail link between Oxford and Bedford
Continuing with Crossrail Extending the Northern line Accelerating the M25 junction 23 to 27 scheme
Liberal Democrats have ended the Post Office closure programme that took place under Labour. We are modernising the Post Office and giving employees and communities a greater say in how it is run. Post Offices will be able to offer a wider range of services to people who need them, including free-to-use cash machines. We have allowed councils to increase council tax on second homes. Under Labour second homeowners were guaranteed at least a 10% discount on their council tax. Liberal Democrats have ended this scandal. We are improving access to high speed broadband through a £530 million broadband investment fund and extra support for rural areas. We are also allocating £150 million to deliver mobile phone coverage to 99% of the country, ensuring 6 million more people can get a signal. Liberal Democrats are making sure farmers get a fair deal by creating a Groceries Code to stop big supermarkets ripping them off. Liberal Democrats are tackling metal theft from railways and churches, which affects rural communities in particular. We are investing £5 million to target metal thieves and rogue scrap metal dealers.
Rolling out high speed broadband throughout the country. We also plan to deliver mobile coverage to 99% of the country
Making sure farmers get a fair deal and are not ripped off by big supermarkets
Keeping Post Offices open and providing more services to communities
Invested to prevent metal theft from railways and churches, targeting thieves and rogue scrap metal dealers
Liberal Democrats are closing the pay gap between men and women by requiring employers who lose an employment tribunal on equal pay to undertake a full pay audit. Our Campaign for Body Confidence aims to protect women and children from negative body images by reducing airbrushing in adverts. Liberal Democrats are introducing Equal Marriage for gay and lesbian couples and creating a simple and straight forward process to convert civil partnerships into recognised marriages. We have also stopped the deportation of asylum seekers who have had to leave their country because their sexual orientation or gender identification puts them at proven risk of imprisonment, torture or execution. We have ensured more protection from discrimination and better recording of and response to hate crimes towards people with disabilities. We are also reforming the ‘Access to Work’ system, which provides funding to businesses employing disabled people, so they can make their workplace more accessible. Liberal Democrats are ending discrimination in police stop-andsearch tactics by requiring police to record the ethnicity of any suspect in a stop-and-search arrest. This will help end the unfair practice of young black and Asian men being stopped by the police more often than white men.
Equality Older People
We’ve slashed the number of male-only boards in the top 100 UK companies
Male-only boards Lib Dems enter Coalition
Reformed the ‘Access to Work’ scheme, making workplaces more suitable for people with disabilities
We will introduce Equal Marriage
20% of all black people in London were stopped by police in one year under Labour – we are ending this discrimination
Liberal Democrats have scrapped the ID card scheme, which was expensive, unnecessary and intrusive. We have stopped government from permanently storing the DNA of innocent people on central databases without their consent. We have restored common sense to the ‘vetting and barring’ scheme, so that adults who volunteer to work with children and vulnerable groups do not have to undergo criminal record checks every time they volunteer in a new place. We have reduced the maximum period of pre-charge detention for all suspects to 14 days. Liberal Democrats have ended the fingerprinting of children in schools without parental consent and scrapped the invasive ContactPoint database, which was intended to hold the details of every child in England. We have stopped local councils snooping on people, checking their bins or school catchment area. Liberal Democrats have protected motorists from rogue clamping by banning wheel-clamping on private land.
Scrapped expensive and intrusive ID cards
Reduced the maximum period of pre-charge detention 28 days Banned wheel-clamping on private land
Restored balance to our justice system by stopping government from permanently storing the DNA of innocent people without consent
Liberal Democrats have introduced fixed-term parliaments of five years. Prime Ministers will never again be able to manipulate the date of a General Election to suit their own political agenda. The Coalition has created the e-petitions website, where members of the public can create and sign petitions on any issue. If a particular petition gets at least 100,000 signatures, it can be considered for debate in the House of Commons. MPs have already debated seven of these e-petitions, including on the publication of public documents relating to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. Liberal Democrats are devolving more powers to councils to make a real difference in their local area. Nick Clegg’s ‘City Deals’ are a series of individual agreements between the government and eight city councils. They are designed to help councils invest in growth, improve local workers’ skills and create jobs, support local businesses, control budgets and improve critical infrastructure. There are already deals in place in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester. As part of the Coalition, we have cut ministers’ pay by 5% in one year and frozen ministerial pay for the rest of this parliament. Overall this will save the taxpayer £3 million.
Introduced fixed-term parliaments of 5 years so that Prime Ministers can’t change the date of an election to suit themselves
Introduced e-petitions, which can be considered for debate in the House of Commons once a particular petition gets at least 100,000 signatures Given eight city councils new powers to generate local growth through Nick Clegg’s ‘City Deals’
Cut ministers’ pay by 5% and frozen pay for five years, saving £3 million
Liberal Democrats are working to make UK families £3,500 better off every year by removing the remaining barriers to trade within Europe in areas such as services, energy and online business. We are working to develop an international grid which will transport new offshore green sources of energy to and from the UK, making energy cheaper for all. Liberal Democrats are protecting human rights abroad. We are working to prevent the trafficking of women and children, promoting freedom of expression, particularly on the internet, and pushing for gay rights around the world. Liberal Democrats are making sure the UK will meet its obligation to spend 0.7% of our national income on international aid by 2013. We will be the first country in the G20 to keep this promise. We are reducing infant and maternal mortality. British aid will save the lives of 50,000 mothers and 250,000 babies and help to immunise 55 million children against preventable diseases by 2015.
£3,500 per family
Families will be £3,500 better off per year as we remove the remaining trade barriers in the EU
An international energy grid will allow the UK to import and export energy, lowering bills for families
We are protecting human rights around the world
We’re on target to meet our international commitment to give 0.7% of our national income in aid
Liberal Democrats have ensured there is no like-for-like replacement of Trident in this Parliament. We have ensured that no decision can be taken before 2016. We have doubled the operational allowance for our Armed Forces serving in Afghanistan and we are committed to withdrawing from a combat role in Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Liberal Democrats have provided £250 extra funding for every child with a parent in the Armed Forces. Our flagship £2.5bn ‘Pupil Premium’ gives teachers the freedom to use this money as they see fit – through smaller classes or extra-curricular activities. We have increased Council Tax Relief to 50% for service personnel on eligible operations overseas.
No like-for-like replacement of Trident in this Parliament
We’ve doubled the operational allowance for our Armed Forces in Afghanistan
Secured a 50% discount in Council Tax for service personnel on certain overseas operations
Extra funding for service children every year, thanks to our flagship £2.5bn Pupil Premium
There’s plenty to shout about
For the first time in generations, Liberal Democrats are taking ideas from the front pages of our manifesto and we are putting them into action on the ground. We are delivering fair taxes in tough times, giving every child a fair start in life, rebalancing the economy by investing in green jobs and we are reforming the way government works. We’re delivering on the promises we made on the front page of our manifesto and we are making a positive difference to the lives of millions of people right across the country. And we’re achieving all this with just 10% of MPs and in the most difficult of economic circumstances. Despite these challenges, we are on track to implement three quarters of our manifesto policies over the course of this parliament, and at this half way point there is already huge progress to report. It’s a record of action to be proud of, that shows we can deliver in government. And it’s a great platform from which to make our case at the next election. With your help, let’s get out on the doorstep and sell our successes.
Danny Alexander MP Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Compiled and produced by: The Policy Unit Liberal Democrat HQ 8-10 Great George Street London SW1P 3AE Copies of this guide and all other Liberal Democrat Publications can be purchased from: Liberal Democrat Image The Workshop 24 Cheyne Way Farnborough Hampshire GU14 8RX Tel: 07505 412467 www.libdemimage.co.uk
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