Page last updated at 11:23 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 12:23 UK

At-a-glance: Lib Dem general election 2010 manifesto

The Liberal Democrats have launched the manifesto they say is a serous plan for government. Here are its key points:


Fairness is the key strand running through the Lib Dem manifesto, which incorporates four main themes of fair taxes, more chances for children, a greener economy and cleaning up politics.

Lib Dem manifesto cover
Fairness is the theme running through the Lib Dem manifesto

Along with the much-touted pledge to scrap income tax on earnings up to £10,000, it features guarantees to protect the state pension and increase pay for service personnel.

Measures aimed at cleaning up politics include limiting political donations to £10,000, giving people the power to sack errant MPs and introducing the single transferrable vote system.

Through their manifesto, the Lib Dems attempt to position themselves as the party being honest on the economy by spelling out their estimates on tax and spending.

We have annotated policies where they apply only for England, or for England and Wales

  • Tax-free earning threshold to rise to £10,000, paid for by a "mansion tax" of 1% on properties worth over £2m applicable to value of property over that figure
  • Annual savings totalling £15bn, including scrapping ID cards and not renewing the Trident nuclear deterrent
  • Cap pay rises at £400 for all public sector workers, initially for two years
  • Banking levy to pay for the state support they have received. Break up banks into retail and investment sections
  • Base business rates on site values rather than rental values. Small company relief to be automatic
  • Flights to be taxed per-plane, rather than according to the number of passengers they carry
  • Set up UK Infrastructure Bank offering stable long-term returns on savings and private finance. Encourage regional stock exchanges to help business access equity. Turn Northern Rock into a building society
  • Minimum wage set at same level for all workers aged over 16 - except apprentices
  • Replace council tax with local income tax [England only]

Big difference from Labour/Tories?

The huge shift in income tax policy, which their rivals say cannot be funded

  • Replace national curriculum with "minimum curriculum entitlement" in state-funded schools and scale back tests at age 11. More freedom for school management [England only]
  • Pupil premium of £2.5bn given to head teachers, aimed at disadvantaged children, which could allow average primary school to cut class size to 20 pupils [England only]
  • Early intervention to tackle misbehaviour. Special Educational Needs diagnostic assessments for all five-year-olds [England only]
  • Schools to get loans to improve energy-efficiency - paid back from energy savings [England only]
  • Independent Educational Standards Authority to oversee and restore confidence in exams. General Diploma to bring GCSEs, A-Levels and high quality vocational qualifications together [England only]
  • Reform school league tables and give 14 to 19-year-olds right to go to college, rather than school, if it suits them better [England only]
  • Phase out university tuition fees within six years. Scrap fees for final-year students immediately. Scrap target of 50% of people going to university [England only]
  • Introduce shared parental leave from work - extended to 18 months over time - and right for fathers to attend ante-natal appointments. Right for grandparents to request flexible working
  • Enforce publication of serious case reviews in child protection. [England only] Support "panic" buttons on social networking sites

Big difference from Labour/Tories?

The Lib Dems keep their commitment to phasing out university tuition fees, albeit over a longer period.

  • Payments to health boards and GPs to be linked more directly to illness prevention measures [England only]
  • Cut size of the Department of Health by half, abolishing or cutting budgets of quangos, scrapping Strategic Health Authorities and seeking to limit pay of top NHS managers to below level of prime minister [England only]
  • Integrate health and social care, allow people to stay in homes for longer rather than going into hospital or residential care by limiting bureaucracy [England only]
  • Scrap Labour's personal care at home and divert cash to give one week's respite for one million carers [England only]
  • Prioritise dementia research, improve access to counselling for people with mental health problems [England only]
  • Look into introduction of minimum alcohol pricing [England only], ban below-cost sales and review tax on drink
  • Local health boards to take over role of primary care trusts [in England] to allow local people more say over service provision

Big difference from Labour/Tories?

The Lib Dems see Labour's National Care Service as unaffordable but neither do they back the Tories' insurance proposals.

  • Put 3,000 more police on the beat, paid for by spending cuts elsewhere. Direct election of police authorities with powers to sack chief constables [England and Wales only]
  • Focus on treatment, rather than imprisonment, of drug addicts. Drug policy based on independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs advice
  • Make prisoners work, contributing from prison wages to compensation fund for victims. As resources allow, increase number of hours prisoners spend in education and training [England and Wales]
  • Presumption against short-term sentences of less than six months - replaced by rigorously enforced community sentences - allowing cancellation of prison-building programme [England and Wales]
  • Neighbourhood Justice Panels to get powers to decide punishments for anti-social behaviour. Introduce statutory Youth Service, encouraging local sector involvement [England and Wales]
  • Make hospitals share non-confidential information with police to allow targeting of gun and knife crime hotspots [England and Wales]
  • Immediately reintroduce exit checks at all ports and airports, set up National Border Force with police powers and introduce regional points-based system to ensure migrants only work where needed
  • Prioritise deportation efforts on criminals, people-traffickers and other high-priority cases. End deportations of refugees to countries where they face persecution, imprisonment, torture or execution

Big difference from Labour/Tories?

On immigration, the Lib Dems adopt Labour's points-based system - but on a regional level - and dismiss the Conservatives' annual limits.

  • Introduce single transferrable vote system, cut number of MPs by 150 and introduce fixed-term parliaments
  • Replace House of Lords with smaller, fully-elected upper house. Introduce written constitution
  • Introduce voting rights from age 16. Give powers for electorate to sack MPs who break rules. Require all MPs, Lords and parliamentary candidates to pay UK tax
  • Introduce statutory register of lobbyists, changing Ministerial Code to ban ministers and officials from meeting MPs on issues where the MP is paid to lobby
  • Implement Calman Commission recommendations to give more power to the Scottish Parliament and turn Welsh Assembly into true parliament, with greater powers to pass laws
  • Review funding of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments and "address status" of England within UK

Big difference from Labour/Tories?

Firm proposals to reform the way MPs are elected, without referendum.

  • Scrap compulsory retirement ages. State pension to rise in line with earnings, by 2.5% per year or in line with the Retail Price Index measure of inflation - whichever is highest
  • Tax relief on pensions only at the basic rate, with capital gains taxed the same way as income
  • New powers for HM Revenue and Customs to ensure properties cannot avoid stamp duty if they are put into an offshore trust
  • Commission independent review of public sector pensions, with aim of ensuring they are "sustainable and affordable" in long-term
  • More flexibility to access personal pension fund early, to help in times of financial hardship
  • Winter fuel payments delayed until age 65 but extended to severely disabled people
  • Year-long "Eco Cash-Back" scheme to offer £400 to install double glazing, replace an old boiler, or install micro-generation
  • Change energy tariffs so first, "essential" use of energy is cheapest

Big difference from Labour/Tories?

No commitment to preserve winter fuel payments in current form.

  • Increased pay for members of the armed forces - at least equivalent to those on starting salaries in the emergency services
  • Split up Royal Mail and Post Office, keeping latter in public ownership. Sell off 49% of Royal Mail, dividing rest between government and employee trust
  • Block new coal-fired power stations, unless accompanied by highest level of carbon capture and storage and reject new generation of nuclear power
  • Reform regional development agencies, transferring more power over economic development to councils [England only]
  • Review public sector value for money based on National Audit Office and Commons Public Accounts Committee findings
  • Invest £400 million in refurbishing shipyards so they can manufacture offshore wind turbines and other marine renewable energy equipment
  • Grants or cheap loans for renovations to bring 250,000 empty homes back into use [England only]
  • Flexible working extended to all employees. Introduce name-blind job application forms to reduce sex and race discrimination in employment, initially companies with more than 100 employees
  • Cancel plans for a third runway at Heathrow and other airport expansion in south-east England. Tighter regulation on vehicle exhausts. End "hidden" charges in airline pricing
  • £140m bus scrappage scheme to help firms replace polluting vehicles. Reopen regional rail lines, paid for by cutting roads budget [England only]
  • Cut rail fares, force train operators to ensure regulated fares fall behind inflation by 1% per year. Make Network Rail refund a third of ticket price if replacement buses used

Big difference from Labour/Tories?

Plans for the railways focus on re-opening local routes, rather than firm proposal of high-speed project.


Nick Clegg said the Lib Dems would bring change that people could trust

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