Monday, 11 January 2010

Nick Clegg Launches Our Campaign

Nick Clegg is this morning setting out our key messages for the general election campaign. He is outlining what our priorities are and what we stand for. The Liberal Democrats are different because we’re the only party that believes in fairness: we’ll bring change that works for you, instead of just those at the top.

Our four key pledges to deliver a fairer society are:

Fair Taxes: We will make the first £10,000 you earn tax-free. People earning £10,000 or less will not pay any income tax and those on the basic rate of tax will have a tax cut of £700 per year. We’ll pay for it by making sure the rich pay their fair share by introducing a mansion tax on the value of homes over £2m, by taxing income and capital gains at the same rate, and switching tax from income to pollution.

A fair start for all our children: We will cut class sizes and give every child a fair start in life by introducing a pupil premium. This will provide an extra £2.5 billion to our schools allocated according to the number of disadvantaged pupils on their rolls. It will allow schools to reduce class sizes, recruit more teachers to improve discipline and provide more one-to-one tuition to help pupils who are struggling. This will be paid for by stopping tax credits for higher earners and scrapping Labour gimmicks in the Department for Education.

A fair and sustainable economy that creates jobs: We will make Britain the world leader in the green economy - investing to create tens thousands of new jobs that last. We will use at least £3.5 billion of savings that we have identified from current expenditure in the first year of a new government to invest in public transport, a national programme of home insulation and new social housing. Our nation’s finances need to be sustainable too - we will be honest about where savings must be made to balance the books and will break up the banking system to ensure financial gambling can never again bring our economy to its needs.

Fair, transparent and more local politics: We will introduce a fair voting system to end safe seats so all MPs listen to people; we will ensure MPs can be sacked by their voters if they break the rules; we will return powers to local councils and local communities so they can take more decisions that affect their local areas and we will stop tax avoiders from standing for parliament, sitting in the House of Lords or donating to political parties.

We also have the following commitments:

· Protect NHS services from cuts: Paid for by diverting planned efficiency savings to frontline services like cancer care, dementia, and mental health. Unlike the other parties our detailed deficit reduction plans also mean that we will be able to avoid unplanned cuts.

· Recruit 3,000 more police officers to keep our streets safe: Paid for by scrapping the ID card scheme.

· Scrap student tuition fees to reduce burden of student debt immediately and eliminate it within 6 years: Paid for by stopping unnecessary spending across government including abolishing the Government Offices of the Regions.

· A pay rise for our brave service men and women: Paid for by cutting back on senior bureaucrats in the MoD.

· Uprate the basic state pension in line with earnings immediately: so that pensioners do not continue to fall behind earnings when the economy starts to grow again.

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