Lib Dems make second EU referendum key manifesto plank

17 May 17

The Liberal Democrats have promised a second EU referendum with the release of their anti-Brexit manifesto.

Leader Tim Farron said Brexit could “wreck” the lives of future generations and wants people to have their “choice” on whether to accept any final Brexit deal.

The party has unveiled today a raft of policies aimed at securing what it calls “a brighter future” for the country [see below].

“Imagine a brighter future,” Farron said.

“The Liberal Democrats want you to have a choice over your future. If you don't like the [Brexit] deal you should be able to reject it and choose to remain in Europe.”

He added: “You don't have to accept Theresa May and Nigel Farage’s extreme version of Brexit that will wreck the future for you, your family, your schools and hospitals."

He said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had “let you down by voting with Theresa May on Brexit – not against her”.

Farron has used his manifesto as a pitch for opposition rather than government, saying he would not enter a coalition with either Labour or the Conservatives. 

He writes in his forward: "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."

Today’s Lib Dem manifesto launch follows the release of Labour’s 'radical' programme yesterday, which promises to raise through taxes and spend £48.6bn.

The Conservatives are due to release their general election manifesto tomorrow.

Lib Dem general election 2017 manifesto includes:

Brexit:

  • Offer a referendum on any deal the Brexit negotiations secure 
  • Give unilateral guarantee of the rights of EU nationals in the UK and ask EU counterparts to do the same for UK citizens living in Europe
  • Push to maintain membership of customs union and single market
  • Maintain freedom of movement

NHS and social care:

  • Invest £6bn in the health service with an immediate 1p rise on income tax – including a ring-fenced portion for mental health services
  • Commission the development of a dedicated health and care tax for future NHS funding on the basis of wide consultation, possibly based on a reform of National Insurance contributions
  • Reinstate student nurse bursaries
  • Bring together NHS and social care into one seamless service – pooling budgets in every area by 2020 and developing integrated care organisations
  • 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 qualify

Education:

  • Invest nearly £7bn extra in education, reversing government real-term cuts – increasing school budgets and the Pupil Premium to protect against rising costs and pupil numbers, and introducing a fairer national funding formula
  • Triple the Early Years Pupil Premium to £1,000
  • Oppose any new selective schools and giving local authorities proper democratic control over admissions and new schools
  • Scrap the planned expansion of grammar schools and devolve all capital monies for new school spaces to local authorities
  • Extend free school meals to all children in primary education and promote school breakfast clubs
  • Reinstate maintenance grants for the poorest university students

Economy:

  • Take advantage of historically low interest rates to borrow for a “responsible and realistic” £100bn package of additional infrastructure investment
  • Boost 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
  • Install hyperfast, fibre-optic broadband across the UK
  • Significant investment in road and rail infrastructure, including a continued commitment to HS2, Crossrail 2 and rail electrification
  • Give £5bn to new British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank, using public money to attract private investment

Housing:

  • Create at least 10 new garden cities in England
  • Direct spending on housebuilding from investment borrowing to help build 300,000 homes a year by 2022
  • End the Voluntary right to buy pilots
  • 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

Local government and devolution:

  • 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
  • Enable local authorities to levy up to 200% council tax on second homes and ‘buy to leave empty’ investments from overseas
  • Establish a £2bn flood-prevention fund focused on providing support for small community and council-led schemes to reduce upstream flooding

Tax:

  • Reverse Tory cutting of Corporation Tax from 20% to 17%, as well as cuts and changes to Capital Gains Tax, Capital Gains Tax extended relief, The Marriage Allowance and the raising of the Inheritance Tax threshold

Pensioners:

  • Withdraw eligibility for the Winter Fuel Payment from pensioners who pay tax at the higher rate (40%) but retain the free bus pass for all pensioners
  • Maintain the ‘triple lock’ on state pension

Workers rights:

  • Create a formal right, for zero-hour contract workers, to request a fixed contract and consult on introducing a right to make regular patterns of work contractual after a period of time

Defence:

  • Commit to spending 2% of GDP on defence
  • Procurring three rather than four nuclear-armed submarines and opting for a medium-readiness
  • Responsive posture rather than a continuous at-sea deterrence

Other commitments:

  • End the 1% cap on pay rises in the public sector, and uprate wages in line with inflation
  • Establish a statutory waste recycling target of 70% in England and extend separate food waste collections to at least 90% of homes by 2022
  • Introducing a new Young Person’s Bus Discount Card for young people aged 16–21, giving a two-thirds discount on bus travel
  • 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 wage
  • Increase Local Housing Allowance (LHA) in line with average rents in an area
  • Increase community policing in England and Wales by giving an additional £300 million a year to local police forces
  • Introduce a legal, regulated market for cannabis
  • Keep spending 0.7% of gross national income on aid
  • Introduce votes at 16 for all elections and referendums across the UK
  • Reform the House of Lords with a proper democratic mandate

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