The Liberal Democrats - a general election summary
This is the sixth of a series of weekly blog posts giving an overview of each of the main political parties' manifestos ahead of the General Election.
Since the Liberal Democrats formed part of the coalition government in 2010 they have received some negative feedback in the media for not following through with some of the polices that were promised in the last general election. Below we go through some of their policies of this campaign.
When it comes to green issues, the Liberal Democrats don’t shy away from announcing that they are the only major party who cares about tackling climate change. They claim on their website to be the first party to have tackled the subject of climate change back when environmental issues were on nobody’s agenda in the 1980’s. The Liberal Democrats pledge to invest in renewable energy, thereby creating 200,000 new green jobs through doubling the amount of electricity generated from offshore wind. They also pledge to plant 1 million trees in England and introduce a 5p plastic bag charge.
When it comes to the younger generation, it was hard to find any specific policies other than their plans for the education system. The Liberal Democrats have always historically been against University tuition fees, and received strong criticism from across the board for promising to oppose any increase in tuition fees ahead of the 2010 General Election, before performing a dramatic U-turn during the course of the coalition. This single factor will probably lead to them losing many seats on May 7th – they are considered unreliable by many. They intend to support working parents with children under 12, invest heavily in the secondary education system, and have a strong strategy for creating more apprenticeships. They are also credited with extending the free childcare provision to 40% of children aged 2 during the course of the last 5 years.
The Liberal Democrats’ social policies revolve around working to create a fair welfare system. They plan to do this by cutting unemployment by helping to create new jobs and apprenticeships. The Lib Dems promise to give low paid workers a £700 a year tax cut and introduce a benefits cap. This aims to make it prefereable to get a low paid working job than live on benefits. They also plan to raise the state pension and introduce an automatic workplace pension. During the coalition they helped to achieve a major change by implementing equal marriage opportunities.
The Liberal Democrats promise to build a stronger economy and enable a free, fair and open society by trying to achieve both sustainable growth (through economic competence) and equal opportunities (through their policy of social justice). They are willing to work with whichever of the 2 main parties gains more seats on May 7th, even though they themselves are set to lose a large proportion of their current seats.