The Liberal Democrat Manifesto Simplified

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The Liberal Democrats entered the election campaign with an ambitious aim of forming the next government of the UK.  ‘Jo’s Plan For Britain shows the ambition of the party to take votes from moderates in both Labour and the Conservatives, especially those supportive of remaining in the EU.

Unsurprisingly the manifesto begins with the Lib Dem’s central theme: stopping Brexit. The manifesto states that if a Lib Dem government is elected it will revoke Article 50. However, recognising that if it can’t achieve this, they argue that the Lib Dems will instead support a People’s Vote if they cannot form a government on their own.

Brexit is far from the only issue the manifesto tackles. After Brexit, the manifesto moves on to the economy. Here it seeks to draw a middle ground between Labour and the Tories, but also seeks to go beyond traditional concepts of economics. The party commits to investing £130 billion in infrastructure. However, the manifesto also calls for the creation of a ‘wellbeing budget’. This would measure the feasibility of policies by examining how they would affect human wellbeing, as well as examining them in relation to traditional measurements such as GDP.

On education, the Lib Dems would recruit 20,000 extra teachers, as well as reversing all cuts to schools. Improving teacher and student welfare is also emphasised. For example, the manifesto calls for fairer wages for teachers, reducing the number of tests and extending the provision of free school meals. For universities, the manifesto commits to reinstating maintenance grants for poorer students and introducing a Student Mental Health Charter into law.

With regards to the environment, the party commits to reach net-zero carbon by 2045. They plan to achieve this by aiming for 80% of electricity to be generated through renewable sources by 2030, reducing the energy consumption of buildings, and moving people from travelling by car to public transport.

On health, the Lib Dem’s signature policy is to add 1p to income tax to pay for improvements to the NHS. The £7 billion raised from this would be invested in hiring more staff and improving mental health services. Regarding mental health, the Lib Dems emphasise the importance of early intervention in tackling this problem.

The manifesto also makes a call to tackle inequality. The Lib Dems would create a universal right to basic services, such as housing and food. They also commit to constructing 100,000 socially rented homes. The party also pledges to address regional inequality by introducing a £50 billion “Regional Rebalancing Programme”.

The Lib Dem manifesto places a passionate emphasis on human rights. Through its pro-European position, the manifesto calls for a defence of the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights. The party also attacks the Conservatives’ hostile environment policies towards immigration, ending policies such as indefinite detention and asylum seekers being required to start working up to three months after submitting their asylum application.

Given the toxicity of political debate, the Lib Dem manifesto calls for political reform in the UK. First, the party stands by its long-standing commitment to supporting electoral reform. However, the party goes further, arguing that the media needs to play a bigger role in improving the quality of public debate, such as expecting the BBC to take a bigger role in tackling fake news.

Finally, the manifesto ends with a call for the UK to take a leading role in improving international politics. The Lib Dems emphasise the importance of international cooperation through organisations such as NATO and the UN in response to ongoing political and ecological crises. The manifesto also attacks the UK’s arms deals with countries with poor human rights records, which the party aims to stop.

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