Today it was the turn of the Liberal Democrats to release their manifesto: ‘Change Britain’s Future’ ahead of the June elections by being given the “opportunity to change Britain’s future – by changing the opposition”
Liberal Democrats Leader: Tim Farron – “The future of Britain: it’s in your hands.”
Summary: 16 year olds to vote, 18 year olds to smoke weed legally, Britain to go eco and another EU referendum! Meet the Lib Dems who want to do everything and anything but with no suggestion as to where the money is exactly coming from?!
Eliminate the deficit on day-to-day spending by 2020 to control the national debt, and then borrowing only to invest
Additional funding to bring more private investment into renewable energy
Raise 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
This is in relation to taxes – The Liberal Democrats suggest making reforms to Capital Gains Tax and Dividend Tax Relief, as well as reversing previous Tories decisions – The Lib Dems intend to revers the Corporation Tax back to 20% (currently 17%) as well as the marriage allowance – which allows spouses and civil partners to transfer £1,150 of your Personal Allowance if they earn more than you, reducing their tax by up to £230 per tax year. The marriage allowance currently benefits thousands of couples, especially parents who are returning to work after children.
Protect the science budget, including the recent £2bn increase, by raising it at least in line with inflation
Stamp out abuse of zero-hours contracts
The same argument that Labour are proposing – as previously said with their manifesto – zero hour contracts do have their purpose regarding students.
New direct spending on house-building to help build 300,000 homes a year by 2022.
They don’t clarify who will benefit from the new houses – but they intend to build potentially 1.5 million new houses over the next 5 years with funding from their “realistic £100 billion package.”
Green Buildings Act to ensure every home in England reaches at least an energy rating of Band C by 2035
This would mean that houses are more energy efficient which in turn would decrease the amount of bills householders have to pay.
Create at least 10 new garden cities in England
If you are unfamiliar with what a ‘garden city’ is they are “planned new settlements which enhances the natural environment and offers high-quality affordable housing and locally accessible work in beautiful, healthy and sociable communities.” (TPCA) Yes – I’m still confused as to why this is an important aspect and way to spend our money? Houses with more green space around them?! Is that really the best way to use our money?
Oppose expansion of Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick and any new airport in the Thames Estuary – instead focus on improving existing regional airports such as Birmingham and Manchester.
They give no argument for why they oppose expansion of the big 3 airports – no economic or environmental reason given. Instead they suggest expansion of Birmingham and Manchester – both of which have very limited space around them for any possible future expansion. I presume they mean improvement of resources and facilities? Missing out on a huge economic input into society!
Investment in road and rail infrastructure, continued commitment to HS2, Crossrail 2 and rail electrification
Energy and Environment
A diesel scrappage scheme, and a ban on the sale of diesel cars and small vans in the UK by 2025, along with extending ultra-low-emission zones to 10 more towns and cities.
Pass a Zero-Carbon Britain Act to set targets to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2040 and to zero by 2050
Aim to generate 60% of electricity from renewables by 2030
Increase maximum sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years, and a ban on caged hens and clamp down on illegal pet imports.
I agree that the sentence for cruelty against animals does deserve a longer sentence – however the government will have to pay for the cost of sending these individuals to prison. Is illegal pet imports at an all time high then? Is this really a priority for the Liberal Democrats? Will this suggestion really persuade voters? I think not.
Drugs and Policing
Bring in a legal, regulated market for cannabis and introduce limits on potency and permit cannabis to be sold through licensed to over-18s.
Are they actually having a laugh? Ok so I can see their point when they argue that legalising cannabis would bring in apparently £1bn in tax revenues and I can perhaps understand that allowing cannabis to be legal for medical purposes under medial surveillance. But to allow cannabis to be sold to any old Jack or Jill on the street is not the wisest suggestion to come from a political manifesto. The police already have trouble regulating drink driving let alone drug driving. If this suggestion came into force, I can almost guarantee an automatic increase in deaths and road danger related to the use of cannabis and driving. Are you also proposing a nationwide campaign to ensure that the public know the dangers and risks of taking lives when they for example smoke and drive? Who’s going to be paying for that? Tax payer again?
End imprisonment for possession of illegal drugs for personal use
They don’t suggest what the alternative would be – perhaps a fine? Less in prison means decrease in overcrowding and less money spent.
£300m for community policing in England and Wales
Community policing does not need a huge cash injection as you suggest – why not the regular police? Community police officers are merely plastic cops, they have as much powers as I do committing a citizen arrest.
Require all front-line officers to wear body cameras on duty
I whole heartedly agree with this suggestion – the police are here to protect our communities and enforce the law, they are time and time again suffering violence and damage from the public. This would also ensure that the police are doing their jobs satisfactorily as well as providing evidence for convictions.
Social Care and Families
NHS – 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.
Equal care for mental health – 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.
An additional month’s paid paternity leave
Labour suggested a 2-week extension to paternity leave, Lib Dems rival them with an additional month to new-dads. So thats a whole possible 6 weeks off when a child is born, seems a little excessive.
Introduce a new Young Person’s Bus Discount Card for 16-21 year olds, giving a two-thirds discount on bus travel.
Number 1 – most 17 year olds aim is to learn to drive and then get a car – I don’t know how many of them would benefit from a discounted bus travel service. Number 2 – two thirds discount is rather a hike – young people already get student price on travel, and like the railcard offers 1/3 off travel is more than ample.
Votes for 16-year-olds
Did I miss the sentence where you said you were going to allow 16-year-olds to vote after politics became a permanent subject on the education curriculum across the UK? Oh wait, you didn’t suggest that! Let’s allow a bunch of adolescents the chance to vote when they know nothing! How about we teach them what is going on in our country, how the system works and why they will be affected before we let them loose with the future of our country.
Reinstate maintenance grants for the poorest students, ensuring that living costs are not a barrier to disadvantaged young people studying at university.
Just because the higher bracket parents earn more money than those from lower incomes does not suggest that poorer students should get money handed on a plate – what’s wrong with getting a job like most normal students? How do you propose choosing who does and doesn’t get the maintenance grants? What criteria are you suggesting? And have you forgotten universities offer scholarships for those from lower income backgrounds?
No mention of any suggestions to do with lowering / abolishing tuition fees.
Another EU referendum to “give the final say to the British people.”
Seriously? We had the final say – and we voted to leave. How about instead of trying to reverse the outcome of Brexit, you deal with the 30% of those who didn’t vote in that referendum and actually educate them and how they would have made a difference. We’ve made our bed – got to lie in it now! Brexit is happening – no need to divide the country further.
Protection of rights for EU citizens and UK citizens
They want to guarantee the rights of EU nationals that are currently living in the UK, as well as simplifying the registration process and requirements for EU nationals to obtain permanent residence and UK citizenship – in other words make it easier for people to apply for citizenship from the EU – how is this controlling our immigration problem?
Overall conclusion / opinion
I am a little clueless as to what the Liberal Democrats are suggesting they are offering, and I think they are too! It seems they are trying to offer something for everyone, but in fact, there are so many flaws with their suggestions. I applaud them for particularly focusing on making the UK more eco friendly, perhaps they could turn to Sweden and look at their recycling revolution. Unlike Labour who want to increase tax for the richest 5%, The Liberal Democrats do not say, hint or even suggest where, where exactly is the money coming from?!
For the reader to understand the stance I have taken on writing this article, I presently remain unbiased to all political parties, although it should be noted that I have previously supported the Conservative party. However my current political position is that I don’t believe any party leader is fit to do the job, therefore I am scrutinising all manifestos published and my position on voting remains wholly undecided.
I am in no means a political advocate for any party, nor am I an expert in The Liberal Democrats Manifesto 2017 released today. These are just my points and views regarding the arguments made by The Liberal Democrats.